One of my favorite activities of the BSURF program was the opportunity for all of my classmates and I, along with Dr. Grunwald and Jason, to gather in the early hours of the day to listen to inspiring scientists discuss their research focus and their academic path towards this focus.
From Dr. Schmid’s focus on extremophiles, to Dr. David’s focus on microbiomes, I learned so much about aspects of science that I had never even heard of before. One faculty talk that really intrigued me was Dr. Noor’s talk on evolution and genetics. In his talk, Dr. Noor explained that evolution is comprised of two processes: changes within a current lineage and formation of a new lineage. He then discussed one of his current research ideas about recombination and what happens to differentiation of species if recombination is stopped. He studies this in Drosophilia (fruit flies). From my understanding, one of his broader goals is to examine how new species are formed and how they are sustained through genetic inheritance.
One thing I really liked about Dr. Noor’s faculty talk is his ability to explain his research project in a fun, interesting, and lively way. He also really brought to light the intersections of science and society through his discussion of the current political climate on evolution. I could definitely understand his concern about the lack teaching of evolution in grade school, having seen this phenomenon in my own high school biology class. Another aspect of Dr. Noor’s talk that I really enjoyed was his discussion of evolution as it applies to other sciences, including medicine. Specifically, he discussed how evolution could explain antibiotic resistance to bacterial diseases/ infections, as well as mosquito-borne diseases. Prior to this, I had never even know that this was a growing problem. Overall, I think it was really interesting to see how Dr. Noor’s research can help increase our understanding of evolution. Hopefully I can have a chance to take one of his classes in the future!