UT Pregame Showcase Highlights Bacteria’s ‘Thoughts’

Gladys AlexandreKNOXVILLE—Gladys Alexandre, associate professor in the department of biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology, will be speaking at this week’s Pregame Showcase on “Research of the Microbial Kind.”

The showcase will take place Saturday, October 1, before the Vols’ home game against the University of Buffalo. Featuring a thirty-minute presentation followed by a fifteen-minute question-and-answer session, each showcase is free and open to the public and held two hours before home game kickoffs in the Carolyn P. Brown Memorial University Center Room 213. Light refreshments are provided, and guests have a chance to win door prizes. Guests who complete a registration form receive a ten percent discount coupon for game day purchases from the UT Bookstore.

“The talk will demonstrate how bacteria ‘think’ and what the consequences are of those decisions, such as how microbes may cause diseases,” Alexandre said. “I will also highlight how research on microbes is used as fundamental models from which much is learned regarding how more complex organisms function.”

Alexandre will also illustrate how integrating education and research can be used to effectively train and teach students at all academic levels.

Alexandre’s research uses microbial physiology and molecular genetics approaches to address questions on how motile bacteria use chemotaxis signal transduction pathways to detect and process environmental cues that trigger motility and other cellular responses. Her publication in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences was highlighted in Faculty of 1000—Biology.

Alexandre’s scholarship has attracted more than $1.25 million in federal government and private funding, and her current research is funded by the National Science Foundation.

The rest of the showcase lineup includes:

  • October 1—Gladys Alexandre, associate professor of biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology, presents “Research of the Microbial Kind,” discussing how microbes “think” and her research which seeks to characterize, at the molecular level, the strategies used by bacteria to adapt to changes in their surroundings.
  • October 8—Jered Sprecher, School of Art associate professor, presents “An Exploration of Humanity through Abstract Painting” and will share work of his own and others, as well as examine how commonplace objects can inspire and influence works of art.
  • October 15—Michael Best, associate professor of chemistry, presents “Bioorganic Chemistry: Advancing the Frontiers of Medicine.” His research involves the design and synthesis of organic molecules, which can be used to understand biological processes relevant to disease. One aspect of his research is geared to the making of enzyme inhibitors, which are used in an array of applications in modern medicine, including the development of new drugs to treat various diseases.
  • October 29—Tom Burman, department head and professor of history, presents “Christians’ Reactions to the Koran in History.” His remarks will provide an overview of Christian-Muslim relations throughout the ages, drawing from his scholarly work which focuses on the intellectual and religious interactions between Latin Christendom and Arab Islam, especially as these can be seen in the transition and circulation of Arabic works in medieval and early-modern Europe.
  • November 5—Casey Sams, associate professor of theater, will present “Creating Choreography for the Clarence Brown Stage,” as she examines the role of a choreographer in theatrical production, using examples from two of this fall’s Clarence Brown Theatre productions.
  • November 19 – Michael Knight, professor of English, presents “The Typist: An Author’s Translation of History Into Fiction,” talking about his inspiration for and the writing of his novel about an American soldier working as a typist in General Douglas MacArthur’s headquarters in post-war Tokyo.

The Pregame Showcase is sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences. Sponsorship is also provided by WUOT 91.9 FM, with support from the UT Knoxville Office of Alumni Affairs and UT Athletics. For more information, visit http://pregameshowcase.utk.edu/.

C O N T A C T :

Beth Gladden (865-974-9008, bgladden@utk.edu)

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