Denison University's Opening Convocation Of 2007 Features Renowned Neuroscientist
Posted: August 22, 2007
What makes you lie awake at night? Chances are, it's stress. Robert Sapolsky, neuroscientist and acclaimed author of "Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers," will discuss stress-related diseases in humans and animals at Denison University's opening convocation. The lecture, sponsored by the Denison University McGregor Connections Initiative Series, is at 8 p.m. on Thursday (Sept. 6) in Swasey Chapel. The theme for this year's McGregor Series is "Hum/an/imal: Where We Meet."
Sapolsky, a MacArthur "Genius" Fellow, author of five books and Stanford University professor of biology and neurology, is known for using good humor and practical advice to explain how prolonged stress creates or intensifies a range of physical and mental afflictions. A research associate with the Institute of Primate Research with the National Museum of Kenya, Sapolsky was one of the first to prove that stress damages neurons.
Sapolsky says that as a child he dreamed of living in the African dioramas of the New York Museum of Natural History. At 21 he moved to Africa to join a troop of baboons, conducting research on how stress affected them. For the last 25 years, Sapolsky has divided his time between fieldwork and laboratory research. His work sheds new light on issues previously thought to be exclusive to humans, such as premeditated warfare and the effects of poverty on communities.
Co-sponsored by the Ronneberg Fund and First-Year Programs, the lecture is free and open to the public.
The year-long McGregor Connections Initiative series will investigate the biological, social, ethical and metaphorical relationships between human and nonhuman animals. Fall semester speakers will include: Carol Adams, an eco-feminist discussing our relationship to animals as food; Kathleen Conlee of The Humane Society of the United States on the ethics of using animals in medical and educational research; Marc Mauer of the Sentencing Project, a nonprofit prison-reform group, who will explore issues of de-humanization during times of war, famine, or incarceration; and Peter Singer, a bio-ethicist and author of "Animal Liberation," who leads an international effort to obtain basic rights for the various primates most used in medical and academic research. The art department will stage an exhibition of student works related to the theme in the visual and performing arts in December.
The McGregor Connections Initiative at Denison University connects students with renowned scholars and activists, spotlights intersections between academic disciplines and fosters academic achievement.
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.
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