The Virginia Tech Life Science Seminar Series is in full swing this semester, with renowned scientists from across the world visiting campus to speak on diverse topics, including infectious diseases, cancer biology, plant sciences, and genomics.

Launched more than 10 years ago, the series is funded by the Fralin Life Science Institute, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute. Seminars occur every Friday, from 12:20 p.m. to 1:20 p.m., in the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute conference room. 

The program also gives graduate students the opportunity to meet with invited speakers over lunch to explore more in-depth scientific concepts, career paths and opportunities, and to get feedback on their own work. Students who are interested should contact the corresponding faculty hosts listed on the website to reserve a slot for lunch with a specific speaker.

"The goal is to pick a diverse group of speakers to provide our scientific community with an opportunity to catch up on what is going on in other areas of research and to spark our students’ curiosity in areas still unexplored for them," said Carla Finkielstein, associate professor of biological sciences in the College of Science and coordinator of the series since 2010.

Speakers are nominated by life science faculty members who serve as hosts. Nominations take place twice a year and all faculty members working in the life sciences are encouraged to submit a nomination form.

"The series is the only one on campus with a broad breadth of scientific topics, and support from all faculty is needed to keep this series running," Finkielstein said.

For more information, email Dinah Girma at the Fralin Life Science Institute.

Upcoming seminars

  • March 1: Dr. Qing Nie, "Stochastic Dynamics in Signal Transduction and Developmental Patterning"
  • March 8: Dr. Raskia Harshey, "The flagellar motor: multiple central roles in Salmonella swarming"
  • March 15: Dr. Ikhide Imumorin, "When fathers and mothers are unequal: studying imprinted genes in domestic cattle"
  • March 22: Dr. Jose Ranz, "Uncovering the mode of structural evolution of the Drosophila genome"
  • March 29: Dr. Colin Parrish, "Host jumping viruses that cause epidemics: understanding the host range shifts of parvoviruses and influenza viruses in dogs"
  • April 5: Dr. John Clore, "Emotional impact: How affect regulates thought"
  • April 12: Dr. Deborah Bell-Pedersen, "Circadian clock regulation of MAPK pathway activation"
  • April 19: Dr. Ralf Langen, title TBA
  • April 26: Dr. Martin Polz, title TBA
  • May 3: Dr. Michael Klemba, "Natural variation in the substrate binding pocket of M1-family aminopeptidases modulates specificity and promotes functional specialization"
  • May 10: Dr. Doug Lyles, title TBA