Meet the Panelists for 2019

Submitted by mantry on Wed, 02/28/2018 - 22:42

Exploring Earth’s Systems:  Saturday 10:00 am

The rocks in the earth, the plants, animals and bacteria, the oceans, and even the atmosphere and clouds in the sky: the Earth’s living and nonliving systems are intimately connected. This panel will discuss the (sometimes surprising) ways that Earth’s systems are interconnected, and the ways that human activities are affecting those connections.

  • Moderator:  Nancy Dalman, Ph.D., is a Professor of Biology at UNG, the Head of the Biology Department, and her research interests are in the broad area of environmental toxicology. She also has an interest in the scholarship of teaching and learning and, in particular, how inquiry-based classroom activities influences successful material comprehension and critical thinking skills.
  • Dobroslawa Bialonska, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Microbiology at UNG. Her areas of expertise include environmental microbiology, natural products in drug development, human gut microbiota, food microbiology, quorum sensing inhibition, and antimicrobial natural products.
  • Mattias Johansson, Ph.D., is an Asst. Professor of Marine Biology at UNG Gainesville. Although Dr. Johansson’s research background and training are mostly marine, he has used genetic tools to study both native and invasive species in a variety of aquatic environments. Past projects have looked at mate choice in fishes, dispersal in giant kelp, and the spread of invasive species throughout the Great Lakes.
  • Christopher Seminack, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Geology at UNG Gainesville. His areas of expertise include coastal geology, geomorphology, sedimentology, and stratigraphy. Dr. Seminack's research deals with analyzing the geologic framework of coastal environments, specifically the barrier islands along the U.S. Atlantic coast.
  • J. Marshall Shepherd, Ph.D., is the Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Sciences and Geography, and Director of the University of Georgia’s Atmospheric Sciences Program. Dr. Shepherd is a leading international expert in weather and climate.  His research focuses primarily on hydrometeorological extremes, urban climate, and the intersections of atmospheric sciences with society.

The Science of Space Exploration:  Saturday 11:15 am

Fly through the solar system with us to learn what science we pursue and discover when we explore space with humans and robots, seeking to answer the fundamental questions:  Where did we come from? How did our Universe form? What other worlds exist? How do we get there? And how can humans survive in space?

  • Moderator:  Allison Smith, Ph.D., is a radio astronomer and adjunct lecturer at UNG. She is a graduate of Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA and received her M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Physics at the Univ. of Georgia. Allison enjoys researching the intricacies of the interstellar medium of our Galaxy with the hope of understanding how the Milky Way acquires fresh gas for star formation, and she considers sharing astronomy with others to be one of her favorite pastimes.
  • Laura Forczyk is the owner of Astralytical, a space consulting firm, and the Executive Director of the nonprofit Georgia Space Alliance. She holds bachelor's and master's degrees in astrophysics and conducted doctoral studies in planetary science. She is the author of upcoming book Rise of the Space Age Millennials.
  • Larry Gibson, D.C., has spent six years in UNG’s Biology Department as a full-time lecturer in Human Anatomy and Physiology, and has 30 years of clinical experience in chiropractic, physical, and holistic medicine.
  • Trina Ray is an Investigation Scientist for the ice penetrating radar instrument on NASA’s newest flagship mission, the Europa Clipper.  She worked on the Cassini-Huygens Mission to Saturn (JPL/NASA) for over 20 years (specializing in Titan) and is an active public speaker, invited to give many talks around the nation.
  • Kim Steadman is a system engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  Currently she is a Tactical Uplink Lead for the Curiosity Rover and a Science System Engineer for the Mars 2020 Rover. Her job is to enable science while keeping the spacecraft safe and happy.

What’s Lurking in Your Genome?  Saturday 12:30 pm

These days just walking through a pharmacy or surfing the internet can make you wonder what’s lurking in your genome. If you’ve ever wondered “should I do a DNA test?!” come spend the afternoon discussing the current trends in genetics with human genetics experts! We’ll take a tour through the human genome to discuss topics including genetic evolution, human-virus gene interactions, and the current ethical considerations in the field of genetics.

  • Moderator: Clarke Miller holds a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Kentucky, MBA from Oglethorpe University, and has over 20 years of experience as a chemist and biochemist.  Before moving to Georgia, he was a cancer researcher at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center in Louisville, Kentucky where his focus was drug discovery. Currently, he teaches Chemistry/Biochemistry on the Gainesville Campus of UNG.
  • Jacob Appel is a physician, attorney and bioethicist who serves as Director of Ethics Education in Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.  His collection of ethical dilemmas for laypeople, “Who Says You're Dead?”, is forthcoming from Algonquin in October 2019.   More at: www.jacobmappel.com
  • Adam Davis, Ph.D., studies how genes are regulated and expressed during embryonic development. Understanding those processes lets us understand how genes are regulated during our own development, even though we share most of the same genes as other animals These types of studies have allowed us to understand how human genetic disorders occur but also the amazing diversity of organisms on this planet.
  • Alison Kanak, Ph.D., got her doctorate in microbial genetics from GSU, studying ways bacteria degrade petroleum. She currently studies the genes involved in the way phage infect bacteria with the goal of using phage as alternatives to antibiotic use in the treatment of bacterial infections.
  • Katie Lang received her M.S. in Biotechnology from Johns Hopkins and a M.S. in Genetic Counseling from Virginia Commonwealth University. She was awarded a fellow-ship at the Fisher Center for Familial Cancer Research and then began working as coordinator of the Hereditary Cancer Program at Northside. Katie is a founding member and president of the GA Association of Genetic Counselors.

Exploring the Energy Frontier: Saturday 1:45 pm

It is estimated that the world energy consumption is equivalent to approximately 14 billion tons of oil equivalent (14 Btoe) per year.  In order to support economic growth and reduce the impact of fossil fuels on the planet, we need to develop and deploy a variety of clean energy alternatives.  The panel will explore a wide range of such alternatives including renewable sources such as solar, hydroelectric, wind, and biomass and nuclear energy from fission and ultimately fusion.

  • Moderator:  Sarah Formica, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Physics and holds the Fuller E. Callaway Professorial Chair at UNG where she has implemented new teaching methods for introductory physics courses and has led in the adoption of an open lab format. Her research interests include X-ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy and materials analysis.
  • Olu Ajala, BS, MBA, Registered Professional Engineer, is a research engineer for the R&D organization of Southern Company. In this role, he is responsible for developing and managing a variety of projects within the renewables, storage and distributed generation program area, including projects ranging from photovoltaic solar and wind energy systems. 
  • Paul Cunningham is the owner and operator of Engineering Systems & Design (ES&D), one of the top producers of quality micro hydro energy machines. His company was started 35 years ago to create an efficient and reliable micro hydro machine. With machines all over the world, ES&D has achieved international recognition for being a leading manufacturer of efficient & reliable micro hydro machines.
  • Ed Erickson, BS, MS, MBA, has extensive experience in the management of businesses and organizations in STEM fields and as a strategy consultant in the energy and natural resources industries. He was an officer in the US Navy’s nuclear propulsion program and qualified in submarines on the USS Nautilus and for operation, maintenance, and supervision of naval nuclear power plants.
  • Thomas Vogel, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Physics at UNG. He received both his Diploma in Physics and Doctorate from the University of Leipzig in Germany.  His research interests include material science, algorithm development, soft-hard-matter interfaces, statistical physics, soft matter systems biophysics, and supercomputing.

The Story of Our Universe: The Big Bang, Stars, and Planets :  Saturday 3:00 pm

Our observable universe is roughly 90 billion light years across with trillions of galaxies, each made up of hundreds of billions of stars orbiting supermassive black holes. The origin of our vast universe can be traced back to a primordial soup of elementary particles, the Big Bang, 13.8 billion years ago. Come spend the afternoon to explore the story of our universe from elementary particles to stars and planets.

  • Moderator:  Mark Spraker, Ph.D., is a Professor of Physics at UNG and is associated faculty at Duke. His research in nuclear physics has been supported by a US DOE grant. He helped found the N GA Undergrad. Edu. Program with funding from the NSF to bolster the number/ability of STEM-prepared secondary education teachers in north Georgia.
  • Greg Feiden, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of Astronomy and Director of the N GA Astronomical Observatory at UNG. He earned his Ph.D. from Dartmouth College and was a postdoctoral scholar in theoretical astrophysics at Uppsala University in Sweden. He studies theoretical stellar structure and evolution, with an emphasis on how magnetic fields affect the properties of stars smaller and younger than our sun.
  • Nathan Harrison, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of physics at UNG.  He has been part of a collaborative physics research project at the Jefferson National Lab in Virginia since his days as an undergraduate at Rensselaer Polytechnic institute in 2008 and continues to research the tiniest building blocks of matter.
  • Alison Smith, Ph.D., is a radio astronomer and adjunct lecturer at UNG. She is a graduate of Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA and received her M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Physics at the University of Georgia. Allison studies the intricacies of the interstellar medium of our galaxy with the hope of understanding aspects of the Milky Way.  Sharing astronomy with others to be one of her favorite pastimes.
  • John Wise, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Georgia Tech in the School of Physics and Center for Relativistic Astrophysics. He received his Ph.D. from Stanford University, and worked previously at NASA and Princeton University.

 

Tales from NASA JPL Spacecraft Operations:  Saturday 4:15 pm

Decades of working spacecraft operations, and dozens of stories: Christmas day surprises! Terror in the wee hours of the morning! Transcendent joy while crashing into Saturn! Come hear our guests discuss their varied experiences working spacecraft operations on missions exploring Mars, Saturn, and the edges of the solar system.

  • Trina Ray is an Investigation Scientist for the ice penetrating radar instrument on NASA’s newest flagship mission, the Europa Clipper.  She worked on the Cassini-Huygens Mission to Saturn (JPL/NASA) for over 20 years (specializing in Titan) and is an active public speaker, invited to give many talks around the nation.
  • Kim Steadman is a system engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  Currently she is a Tactical Uplink Lead for the Curiosity Rover and a Science System Engineer for the Mars 2020 Rover. Her job is to enable science while keeping the spacecraft safe and happy.