Mesa hosts STEM Lecture Series

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Mesa Office of Communications

The STEM Lecture Series this year was held via Zoom.

Walker Armstrong, News Editor

Mesa College is hosting a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) lecture series in the form of two separate events in the month of March. 

The first lecture in the series took place on Mar. 9 via Zoom and hosted a talk by Dr. Manjiri Dahdul, DPT. Dahdul, who is the Director and Co-Program Coordinator of the Neurological Residency Program at Precision Rehabilitation, held an interactive seminar on the rare genetic disorder Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), the progressive loss of lower motor neurons in the spinal cord.

“This is a disorder that is very dear to my heart,” Dahdul said. Although the semantics proved to be dense with medical jargon, Dahdul assured “this is going to be a fun, light conversation.”

Anar Brahmbhatt, Professor of Biology at Mesa College and a STEM Lecture Series organizer, noted that this series boasts a number of benefits to students, faculty, and staff.

“It’s important for us to celebrate progress in STEM fields and educate ourselves about these current areas of work,” Brahmbhatt said. “As students, staff, and faculty we are often decision-makers; so we should be well informed when doing so.”

Although STEM subjects are uniquely relevant to the coursework and curriculum of students studying such subjects, Brahmbhatt noted that this series provides all students with an important experience.

“Students are exposed to research and concepts in the STEM field that extends and adds relevancy to their coursework,” she said. “Speakers are eager to share their knowledge in an open and welcoming environment where students can ask questions.”

The next lecture in the series will take place on Mar. 19 and will host a seminar on Alzheimer’s by Associate Professor at Ohio Wesleyan University, Suren Ambegaokar. According to Brahmbhatt, Ambegaokar “studies neurodegenerative disorders, infectious diseases of the nervous system, and the intersection of the two.” 

“He uses genetic models of human diseases in Drosophila (fruit flies) for use in identifying molecular mechanisms of pathology and to test pharmacological and genetic modifiers of disease,” Brahmbhatt said. 

Brahmbhatt also made a note that she shares a relation to both of the speakers.

“Dr. Dahdul is my sister, Dr. Ambegaokar is my cousin…both are very distinguished in their fields,” she said. “I am very proud and honored to have them both speak at Mesa College. Dr. Dahdul will be speaking at Mesa for the third time, Dr. Ambegaokar will speak for the first time at Mesa.”

Despite a mistake on the original flyer, Ambegaokar’s talk will be held on Mar. 19 at 12 P.M.