February 2011

MAC still on task

Obesity, obesity, obesity

In keeping with tradition, our scientific programming for the annual meeting will deal with a disease of high public health significance – obesity. Sessions will cover topics ranging from the molecular basis of obesity to medical complications of obesity. I am particularly excited about the lecture from Nora D. Volkow. Volkow is the director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse and will tell us how the science of addiction also may apply to the treatment of obesity.

Outreach

The final activity that I would like to mention is our latest foray into outreach. In collaboration with the Education and Professional Development Committee, Regina Stevens-Truss and Ishara Mills-Henry of MAC will bring junior high school science students and their teachers from the D.C. area to the annual meeting for some special programming that promises to convey the thrill of discovery to all. The programming will emphasize strategies that each of us can use to connect with and engage this important, at-risk cohort. We are excited about the potential effects this outreach activity will have on educating the public and hope to repeat this line of programming annually.

MAC is busy! My priority has been to make the meeting a memorable experience for both our under-represented and junior scientists; to create scientific programming that is of broad appeal and will permit a platform of diverse scientists to be assembled; and to begin to prevent leaks in the pipeline of future scientists by targeting the underserved junior high school population, their teachers and their parents.

February is Black History Month. As important as it is to remember our past, it also is important to remember that the impact of blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans on the life sciences has yet to be fully realized. So as we look back, let’s also look forward and use this month to say or do something to inspire the next generation of black scientists.

Craig E. Cameron (cec9@psu.edu) is the Paul Berg professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at The Pennsylvania State University and chairman of the ASBMB Minority Affairs Committee.

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