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02.09.2018


West Shore Community College’s Humankind Series continues on Feb. 15, at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m., in the Center Stage Theater, with an expert panel who will share their various perspectives on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and their impact on life in developing nations versus our own.

The panelists, whose backgrounds represent fields as diverse as animal biology, genetics, and agricultural biotechnology, will explore and discuss the ethics of GMOs found in everyday life within Nigeria and West Michigan. They will also address the differences between developing and developed nations regarding chosen crop sciences, implementation, and the impact they have on the region and its people.

The panelists include Dr. Robin Buell, who joined the Michigan State University’s (MSU) Department of Plant Biology in October 2007, after spending nine years at The Institute for Genomic Research.

The research activities in the Buell Laboratory are centered on genome biology of plants. Her research involves projects focused on high throughput sequencing, functional genomics, comparative genomics, bioinformatics, and computational biology.

Dr. Paul Bilinski, associate professor of biology at West Shore Community College, teaches various plant related and general biology courses and he will be using his experience working within the plant breeding industry to discuss the scientific concerns with the use of GMO's.

During his post-doctoral research in Germany, Bilinski studied genetic changes in the tomato plant as it was brought from South America to Europe, and participated in discussions of GMO regulation in the European Union.

Dr. Ruth Mbabazi is a research assistant professor with the World Technology Access Program (WorldTAP) in the Department of Entomology in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at MSU.

The WorldTAP is an international capacity building and technology transfer program. Mbabazi is also a core faculty member with MSU’s African Studies Centre and the Asian Studies Centre. Her research focuses on the policy and regulatory aspects of agricultural biotechnology and biosafety.

The final panelist is Dr. Karim Maredia, a professor of entomology in MSU’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Born in a tiny remote village of India, Maredia left home at the age of five and today is one of the world’s authorities on diverse agricultural topics such as biotechnology, biosafety, and integrated pest management.

During the past five years, he has been engaged in outreach activities through international projects funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID, USDA-FAS, and Mead Johnson Company. The outreach activities implemented through these projects cover diverse stakeholders in more than 15 developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

WSCC is sponsoring the Humankind Series to examine different regions of the world. With speakers and exhibits, music and movies, the college and its guests are exploring Sub-Saharan Africa and science; the Middle East and home, culture, and conflict in fall 2018; and Cuba and the Caribbean and how politics affect the ways people live, work, and learn in fall 2019.

“Whether or not any of us travel to Africa, the Middle East, or Cuba, our hope is that students and the community at large will discover there is so much to learn from people living elsewhere in the world who face some of the same and some very different issues as we face right here in West Michigan,” says Dr. Brooke Portmann, WSCC’s dean of arts and sciences and one of the organizers of the series.

Both panel presentations are free and open to community members.


Author: Thomas Hawley | Executive Director of College Relations