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The Ann Stuart and Ray R Poliakoff Celebration of Science

The 2016 Ann Stuart and Ray R. Poliakoff
Celebration of Science

October 14, 2016
Location: Ann Stuart Science Complex

8:30-9:30 a.m. 

Poster Session

ASSC Atrium
10:30-11:45 a.m.   Forum and Panel Discussion
  Pathways and Challenges for Women in Science 
ACT 301
1:30-4:30 p.m. Symposium
Women in Science: Research at the Interface of Biology and Chemistry
ASSC 259

Dr. Pera: “Human Development and Disease: The Biology and Personal
Reflections on a Scientific Career”

Dr. Conaway: “Elongin and the Elongin A Ubiquitin Ligase: At the
Intersection of Transcription and DNA Repair”

Dr. Fleming: “The Versatile Beta Barrel Gives Up Secrets of the

4:30-5:30 p.m. Reception
ASSC Atrium


Joan Conaway, PhD
Helen Nelson Distinguished Chair, Stowers Institute for Medical Research
Professor, Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
University of Kansas School of Medicine

Dr. Conaway received an A.B. degree in Chemistry and Biology from Bryn Mawr College and her Ph.D. in Cell Biology from Stanford University.  Her research is focused on understanding, at a molecular level, how synthesis of eukaryotic messenger RNA by the multi-subunit enzyme RNA polymerase II (Pol II) is regulated.  Her research has led to the discovery of a collection of transcriptional regulatory proteins, which have roles in transcription initiation, elongation, and chromatin remodeling.  These transcription factors are the major focus of her current research.  She has received a number of awards for her work and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Renee Reijo Pera, PhD
Vice President for Research and Economic Development
Montana State University

Dr. Reijo Pera leads a research team that recently found a method to treat male infertility.  The team used skin cells from infertile men to create the precursors of sperm.  Taking skin cells from men who suffer from azoospermia, the team generated induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which were implanted into the testes of mice where they produced the precursors to sperm. Dr. Reijo Pera is MSU’s new vice president for research.  She had previously directed Stanford University’s Center for Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Research and Education and the Center for Reproductive and Stem Cell Biology. She is regarded as one of the world authorities on embryonic stem cells.

Karen Fleming, PhD
T. C. Jenkins Department of Biophysics 
Johns Hopkins University 

Dr. Fleming completed undergraduate studies at the University of Notre Dame and received her PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Georgetown University Medical School in 1993.  Her doctoral work and subsequent postdoctoral fellowship at Yale University were supported by the National Institutes Health (NIH).  She is now a tenured Professor at the Johns Hopkins Univeristy Department of Biophysics.  Her independent research program has been continuously funded since its inception from agencies including the National Science Foundation, the NIH, and the Department of Defense Research Division. Her research focuses on understanding the molecular basis for membrane protein thermodynamics and membrane protein folding pathways with the goal of gaining physical insight into how genetic mutations cause diseases when they occur in membrane proteins.

About the Ann Stuart and Ray R. Poliakoff Celebration of Science Series

Chancellor Stuart established the Ann Stuart and Ray R. Poliakoff Celebration of Science Series in 2011 with a $200,000 gift to the university.  Through a commitment of two decades of funding, the Celebration of Science Series intends to provide the opportunity for the Departments of Biology and Chemistry/Biochemistry to develop a sustained program of promoting and celebrating the wonders, truths and mysteries of science. 

The Celebration of Science Series will continue annually through 2032.  Although events will vary from year to year, the intent always will be to engage current TWU students and faculty, alumni, K-12 students in Denton and others in the community.

Both Dr. Ann Stuart and Mr. Ray Poliakoff, wife and husband, were first generation graduates of public higher education, and both often said it was their education that enabled them to pursue the opportunities that enriched their lives.

Dr. Stuart, a professor of English, loved the quest of learning, the pleasure of reading, and her career in education both as a teacher and as an administrator.

Mr. Poliakoff served in a reconnaissance intelligence unit in Europe during World War II and was twice wounded in combat. After the war, he graduated from law school and spent the majority of his professional career working with various national and international concerns and individuals in coal, oil, gas, and other natural resource ventures and concessions in the U.S., Alaska, Canada, Europe, Australia, the Mid-East and the Far East.

They both gave generously to create opportunities for young people to pursue their goals.

TWU Chancellor Ann Stuart, her late husband Ray Poliakoff and their dogs Georgette and Honeybear.

Photo courtesy of Ronda DuTeil.

Celebration of Science Archives

2015 Celebration of Science

2014 Celebration of Science

2013 Celebration of Science

2012 Celebration of Science 

2011 Celebration of Science and Dedication of the Ann Stuart Science Complex (ASSC)

page last updated 2/14/2017 1:24 PM