The department of natural sciences on NSU’s Broken Arrow campus is continuing its annual spring biology and chemistry seminar series. The series was started four years ago by Dr. Sapna Das-Bradoo, assistant professor of biology. 

“Dr. deBanzie does a similar series on the Tahlequah campus, but nothing was offered for the BA students so I started this,” said Das-Bradoo.

These seminars are open to any students who are interested in the subjects. Das-Bradoo said the speakers are informed to start with good background information, so anyone can attend. 

“I went to one of the seminars last spring with a friend of mine who is a biology major, and of course I didn’t know anything about the topic beforehand, but I’d be lying if I said that it wasn’t interesting,” said Christian Gomez, Broken Arrow senior.

It is especially beneficial to students who are majoring in a scientific field because the seminars go more in-depth on topics they may hear about in class, and it gives them the opportunity to interact and network with the speakers directly. In addition to hearing about current research on these topics, students also get some refreshing perspective on the field in general.

“The benefit for my specific seminar was, I hope, the ability to see how a scientific question was developed and studied in a research laboratory,” said Dr. Franklin Hays, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at OU. “This included an introduction to the methodology, as well as the general thinking.  Most of scientific research is not linear.  It is riddled with failures and sidetracks and unexpected twists.  I tried to convey in my seminar that part of our work is knowledge and skill, while part of it is very much luck and being tenacious and open to things that don’t go as planned or expected.”

Hays led a seminar in last spring’s series about deciphering the molecular basis for ShcA function in diabetes. He also shared some advice for students pursuing careers in scientific research.

“Don’t provide yourself with other options,” said Hays. “Be focused, work hard, charge ahead and be willing to put yourself out there while being open to new opportunities and adventure. Science isn’t about intelligence. It’s about work ethic and vision and having a passion for the topic and pursuit. In my experience, the profession has always provided and is rich in opportunity and discovery. Over time, it has a major influence on your perspective and worldview, like any job, I guess. For me, it is rewarding and our pursuits are oriented towards discovery that will eventually lead to new treatments for disease.”

Das-Bradoo encourages students to take advantage of the opportunities this seminar series provides. 

The series consists of four seminars over the spring semester, each covering a different topic. The four topics are “The second brain” on Jan. 27, “The role of organic synthesis in drug discovery” on Feb. 24, “Characterization of the mechanism of lipid metabolism in breast cancer stem cells and breast to brain metastasis” on March 24, and “ER stress and Th2 cells: The role of the unfolded protein response in immune function” on April 21. Each seminar will have a different speaker according to his or her field of expertise, and they range from NSU’s Dr. Kyeorda Kemp to professors from the University of Arkansas and OU.

The seminars are free, open to everyone and will have complimentary coffee and cookies for attendants. Each session will last one hour beginning at 10 a.m. in the Administrative Services Building, Room 141 (Auditorium) of the Broken Arrow campus.

For more information, email Das-Bradoo at dasbrado@nsuok.edu.

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