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New Kennedy College of Sciences Initiatives Foster Collaboration

Programs Will Help Students and Faculty Keep Abreast of the Latest Research News, Provide Networking Opportunities

Kennedy College of Sciences Dean Noureddine Melikechi, left, congratulates Michael Liebman, Ph.D., after delivering the inaugural Dean’s Distinguished Guest Lecture on Feb. 1.
Kennedy College of Sciences Dean Noureddine Melikechi, left, congratulates Michael Liebman, Ph.D., after delivering the inaugural Dean’s Distinguished Guest Lecture.

By Edwin Aguirre

This year, the Kennedy College of Sciences has initiated the first of an ongoing series of Distinguished Guest Lectures, New Faculty Research Symposiums and topic-specific “Conversation Starters” that provide new opportunities for faculty, staff and students to learn about the activities of faculty researchers and to hear from leading industry experts, and offer interdisciplinary platforms for interaction and expanded collaboration.

On Feb. 1, Michael Liebman, Ph.D., the first Distinguished Guest Lecturer and an expert on computer modeling of disease progression from the clinical perspective, talked about “Real World Medicine and Real World Patients: Critical Understanding for Translational and Precision Medicine.” Liebman is managing director of IPQ Analytics LLC and Strategic Medicine Inc. His research studies risk factors and the progression of illnesses as a way to improve diagnoses, treatment and patient care. Computer science, biology, physics and health sciences faculty members and students held separate meetings with Liebman for in-depth discussions and to explore possible ways to work together.

The New Faculty Research Symposium on Feb. 7 featured brief presentations by the college’s 12 new faculty members about their current research. Among the many topics covered were: “Understanding the Evolution of our Universe” by Asst. Prof. Nishant Agarwal of Physics, “New Materials and New Methods to Enable Low-cost Diagnostics” by Asst. Prof. Dionysios Christodouleas of Chemistry and “Motors, Struts and Springs: The Actuators of Skeletal Movement” by Asst. Prof. Nicolai Konow of Biological Sciences. Such interdepartmental events help students and faculty keep abreast of the latest research news and provide networking opportunities for further collaboration and new ideas.

Inspired by the positive reception to the research symposium, the college hosted its first Conversation Starter on space research on May 10. The event, which featured experts from the Kennedy College of Sciences, the Francis College of Engineering and the Boston Museum of Science, opened up opportunities for further discussion and collaboration. The meeting came on the heels of the highly successful Space Symposium on April 22 and 23, which was organized by the Lowell Center for Space Science and Technology. The symposium brought together on campus NASA astronauts, space researchers and industry experts from across the United States and the world.

“We plan to offer a robust program of topic-specific and interdisciplinary learning opportunities that inspire, connect and inform our students, faculty, staff and the community,” says Dean Noureddine Melikechi. If the first nine months of the Dean’s tenure are any indication, the Kennedy College of Sciences is well on its way to fulfilling his vision.