July 2020

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Upcoming Events

07/06/2020: Bench Talk: The Week in Science (The show repeats weekly each Monday 7:30pm, Tuesday 11:30am, and Wednesday 7:30am)

07/13-17/2020: Earth Educators Rendezvous 2020

07/13/2020: Bench Talk: The Week in Science

07/17/2020: KAS Governing Board meeting

07/20/2020: Bench Talk: The Week in Science

07/22-24/2020: Stay-In-stitute for Climate Change Education

07/27/2020: Bench Talk: The Week in Science

07/28-30/2020: Smithsonian K-12 Science Education: Action Planning Institute (API)

Bench Talk: The Week in Science

#ShutdownSTEM: Resources for dismantling racism in science

As scientists and academics, we are all aware that understanding a problem is the first step towards solving it. This is just as true in dealing with systemic and structural racism! It is our responsibility to rid academia and STEM of any form of racism and to stand in support of the Black Community. 

It is important for non-Black folks to not rely on the Black community for their education about these issues. #ShutdownSTEM offers thought-provoking resources to help non-Black folks no matter the level they are at in terms of their understanding of the issue. Those who are new to discussions about race, for example, can begin here

In addition to resources compiled by the #ShutdownSTEM initiative, here are a few others:
  • Seeing White is a podcast series that explores the history of our notions of race and their implications over the course of the development of the United States. This series has been recommended by the Union of Concerned Scientists.
  • "What Is Systemic Racism?" is an 8-part video series that shows how racism shows up in our lives across institutions and society: Wealth Gap, Employment, Housing Discrimination, Government Surveillance, Incarceration, Drug Arrests, Immigration Arrests, and Infant Mortality.
  • Project Implicit is a non-profit organization interested in implicit social cognition. They aim to educate the public about hidden biases. Take the test to understand your own implicit biases.
#ShutdownSTEM is still an active hashtag in social media. Follow it on twitter and instagram to stay updated. If you have resources or ideas you want to share with your colleagues, do not hesitate to tell us!

Bench Talk Live @ July 13, 2020

Join us on July 13th 2020 for another exciting Bench Talk Live session! This month, speakers will lead discussions about the neuroscience and psychology of perception and communication. They will tackle important questions including: How do we use visual and other cues when we communicate with each other? How do we adjust to new norms of communicating through screens or from behind a mask?

Register HERE to join us by Zoom!

What You See is What You Get
Dr. Naomi Charalambakis, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB)

Our eyes are an important feature of the visual system. They connect to our brains and, in milliseconds, translate the objects and people we see into things we recognize. How exactly does the brain do this so quickly, and is it affected when our environment changes? As we continue to navigate these interesting times—wearing masks and having virtual meetings—is it possible these interactions affect the wiring of our nervous system? When our sight is impaired, the lack of visual information from mouth movements can impact other senses such as hearing, but how does this work? To answer these questions, we will explore the neuroscience behind how visual information is transmitted and examine the area and characteristics of the brain regions specifically responsible for recognizing faces.

The Eyes Have It - Anticipating Difficulty in Facial Emotion Cue Perception
Andy Mienaltowski, Western Kentucky University

Interpreting body cues, especially facial cues, is important to understanding the emotions that others experience. Today's environment poses some interesting challenges for us as we navigate social interaction wearing masks or as we interact with one another as perceptually smaller beings on screens. Visual emotion cues from the lower half of the face are hidden, potentially reducing our ability to anticipate others' emotional status. Older interaction partners may also cope with unique challenges given age-normative changes in facial scanning patterns and in facial cue confusion. The role that facial cues play in emotion recognition across adulthood will be discussed, as well as the impact that blocking these cues may have on social interaction.

Register HERE and join us Monday July 13 @ 7pm EDT!

Update about the 2020 KAS Annual Meeting

KAS Annual Meeting 2020 Update

KAS leadership is taking a lot into consideration and we have decided that it is not advisable to hold an in-person annual meeting this fall at EKU.  We are in the process of determining what we do this fall and we'll have a more complete update later this month. We'll be in touch with our members and post updates to our website. Stay tuned. Thank you!

KAS members advancing research against Coronavirus

KAS members and University of Louisville researchers have developed a promising technology that has the potential to block novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 from infecting human cells. AS1411, a DNA aptamer, was initially developed and used to target multiple cancers. Recent evidence now shows that it also has the potential to stop viruses, including coronaviruses, from hijacking cellular machinery required to replicate inside human cells. As of June 2020, Qualigen Therapeutics Inc. has signed an exclusive license agreement to facilitate further development of AS1411. 

AS1411 was initially developed by UofL researchers Dr. Paula Bates (photo), Dr. John Trent, and Dr. Donald Miller. Dr. Bates, in collaboration with another KAS member, Dr. Kenneth Palmer, also from UofL, explored the possibility of using the same technology against coronaviruses amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more about AS1411 and its development:

Diversity and Inclusion Posters

If you have a lab (or an office) and would like to express your support for marginalized communities, check out these posters designed by Dr. Sammy Katta, Genetics and Public Policy Fellow at the American Society of Human Genetics and the National Human Genome Research Institute. Posters are free to download, print, and modify. 

Feel free to share with us your own versions or where you posted your posters by tagging us on social media!

Summer Science Everywhere: STEM@Home Guide 2020

Summer is finally upon us! This does not mean that we cannot keep learning! Home or Away from Home, the KY Girls STEM Collaborative has you covered. You can even search for activities by age level or geographic area. Check out this STEM at Home Guide. Thanks to the Kentucky Girls STEM Collaborative for bringing to us this new and helpful resource for your young (or young-at-heart) scientists!

Also check out their Summer 2020 Event Guide for a list of Kentucky-based virtual and in-person camps, clubs, and workshops for K-12 students.

Learn more about the KGSC and their other programs by visiting their webpage.

Engage Your Fellow Kentuckian Scientists!

In June 2020, we started sending out short monthly newsletters in addition to our quarterly editions to make sure our members are updated with what is going on in the scientific and research community in the Bluegrass.

If you have any story, research update, job openings, volunteer opportunities, or anything that you think will be of interest to your fellow Kentuckian Scientists -- or perhaps there is something you want to see in our monthly newsletters -- let us know and shoot us an email
KAS Newsletter - July 2020