SOUTHFIELD—Where is biotechnology leading us? Longer, healthier lives? A greener and more sustainable planet? Or some Frankenstein-like nightmare?
“Disruptive Biotechnology” will be the topic of Eric Meyer, a professor and researcher at Lawrence Technological University, in the Presidential Colloquium at LTU’s 10th annual Research Day, Friday, April 21.
Research Day kicks off with a 9 a.m. keynote by Erin Dolan, an expert on innovative science education from the University of Georgia. Meyer’s presentation will follow at 10:30 a.m. Both will speak in the Mary Marburger Auditorium, Room S100 in LTU’s Science Building (building 7 at www.ltu.edu/map).
The subtitle of Meyer’s presentation is “Past and Future Promises of Biomedical Engineering and Wearables.” Meyer studies the mechanics of sports injuries and their prevention in LTU’s Experimental Biomechanics Laboratory. But in recent years he’s studied biotech sensors and devices that are compact enough to be worn on–or implanted in–the human body.
Meyer says biotech has the potential for societal change no less sweeping than Henry Ford’s mass commercialization of the automobile changed the course of civilization itself. Nature, he says, has driven revolutions in biology since the dawn of life on Earth, but recently, biotechnology has also entered the picture, with modified organisms and new biomolecular treatments for disease.
But just as biotech holds great promise, it also holds risk. Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel “Frankenstein,” widely regarded as the first work of science fiction, is an early (and thankfully fictional) example of the ways biotechnology can be misused.
After Meyer’s presentation, LTU’s Research Day activities shift to the Buell Building Atrium (building 5 on the map), where more than 140 LTU students and faculty members, and selected high school students, will present the results of research projects. All four of LTU’s Colleges–Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Business and Information Technology, and Engineering–will be represented. Two poster sessions will be held–noon to 2 p.m., and 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.
There will also be oral research presentations in Rooms 210, 217, and 218 of the Buell Building from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.
The posters and presentations cover a wide variety of topics, from the effects of alcohol on fetal development to eye-tracking technology on computer screens to novel highway construction safety techniques to the science of teamwork in small groups
All LTU Research Day events are free and open to the public.
The number of research presentations at the event is up 50 percent from last year, further evidence of LTU’s growing research emphasis. LTU gives even first-year students the chance to participate in meaningful, groundbreaking, published research, a rarity at most universities. LTU President Tarek Sobh says the university’s emphasis on undergraduate course-based research experiences “is a key differentiator for Lawrence Tech.”
Stefanini, the global tech company with its North American headquarters in Southfield, is Gold Sponsor of Research Day. The Livonia-based heavy equipment firm Alta Equipment Co. is Silver Sponsor. Bronze Sponsors include the Ann Arbor biotech industry accelerator ArborHive, the patent law firm Ward Law Office, and the LTU chapter of Sigma Xi, the scientific research honor society.
More about the event at https://www.ltu.edu/research-day/
Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, is one of only 13 private, technological, comprehensive doctoral universities in the United States. Located in Southfield, Mich., LTU was founded in 1932, and offers more than 100 programs through its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Business and Information Technology, Engineering, and Health Sciences. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 11 percent of universities for alumni salaries. Forbes and The Wall Street Journal rank LTU among the nation’s top 10 percent. U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best in the Midwest colleges. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.