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UAS Alumni & Friends Lecture “Superhero Science” Explores Special Abilities Occurring in Nature

On Friday, October 4 the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) Ketchikan Campus is hosting “Superhero Science: Biology and Beyond” in partnership with the UAS Alumni & Friends Association.

Ketchikan, Alaska

Date of Press Release: September 27, 2019

On Friday, October 4 the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) Ketchikan Campus is hosting “Superhero Science: Biology and Beyond” in partnership with the UAS Alumni & Friends Association. This fascinating and fun lecture features Dr. Matthew Pawlus, Assistant Professor of Science, addressing the question, “Where can we find superpowers in nature and within our own bodies?”

Dr. Pawlus will be discussing three aspects of Superhero Science. First, he will discuss spontaneously occurring human "superhero" mutations — those that affect physical performance, confer survival advantages, or some other special ability. Next, he will give examples of superhero abilities occurring in other species. Dr. Pawlus will wrap up the lecture by talking about how a superhuman may be created in the laboratory. The talk will present information on genetics, physiology, and biotechnology associated with special abilities in an entertaining format that should be fun for all audiences. Some examples of specific mutations to be discussed include those affecting expression of human erythropoietin and myostatin proteins which enhance strength and endurance.

In Ketchikan and online, Dr. Matthew Pawlus teaches classes on anatomy and physiology, microbiology, general chemistry, science communication, and oceanography, among others. He has a background in biomedical research, and has published in the areas of molecular and cellular biology, encompassing work on cancer, stem cells, and regenerative medicine. He co-coordinated the first UAS Ketchikan Interdisciplinary Student Symposium last year which feature past and current students and their research projects. He received the 2019 University of Alaska Southeast Invention Disclosure 2019 SPIKE Award in collaboration with undergraduate student Shane Bennett. Pawlus and Bennett invented a Nemotode Biosensor for Shellfish Toxin Home Kit which is a simple, inexpensive, portable method of detecting toxins in shellfish.

Dr. Pawlus remarked, “The overarching goal of my educational programs is to cultivate in students both a driving curiosity for biological sciences and provide them with the necessary skills to succeed in the modern realm of research science. By stimulating community-based interest in the local science and culture of southeast Alaska, residents will become empowered to protect the unique natural and cultural resources of this area of the world and students will find support and encouragement for their success in educational endeavors.”

“Superhero Science: Biology and Beyond” is free and open to the public, and can also be viewed online through the UAS YouTube channel for those unable to attend in person. The event starts at 5:30 pm in the UAS Ketchikan Library. At 6:30 pm, there will be a drawing for the winners of the UAS Ketchikan Campus Advisory Council Scholarship Endowment fundraiser raffle. UAS Alumni & Friends hosts programs and events to share and broaden the valuable work and research of UAS faculty, alumni, and students; raise funds for student scholarships; and keep alumni and friends connected with UAS.

Learn more about science degrees and other programs at UAS or speak to an advisor at (907) 796-6100.

Additional Resources

Press Release Contact

Keni Campbell
University of Alaska Southeast
(907) 796-6509