Wednesday Nite @ the Lab

Arguing America on 'Meet the Press'

Solon Simmons, Interim Dean, The School for Conflict Analysis & Resolution, George Mason University, analyzes the twists and turns of American politics based on the weekly television program ‘Meet the Press.’ On the air since 1945, ‘Meet the Press’ provides an unparalleled record of the people who directly influence policy and hold the reins of power in Washington.

The Evolution of the Western Plains

Deborah Rook of the UW-Madison Geosciences Department shares her work on prehistoric grasslands and grazers in North America using fossilized teeth, as well as rocks and soil. Evolution of grasslands and grazers are in a feedback loop. Which came first is an on-going question.

Anticipation, Uncertainty, and Anxiety

Jack Nitschke, Associate Professor, Psychiatry and Psychology, UW-Madison, explores using brain imaging to better understand anxiety and how to treat it. Nitschke introduces the Uncertainty and Anticipation Model of Anxiety (UAMA), and presents data for a range of anxiety disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

How Vitamin Research Uncovered Essential Minerals

Roger A. Sunde, Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences, UW-Madison, explains that copper and zinc, essential elements, were discovered in food while using the bioassay approach (feeding studies with rats) while searching for vitamins. Both vitamins and trace essential minerals were present in levels so low as to evade detection by analytical means, and had to be teased out using bioassay.

Orange Maize Provides Vitamin A

Sherry Tanumihardjo, Associate Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences, UW-Madison, discusses the advantages to eating Orange Maize. This variety of corn provides a significant amount of Vitamin A which, if it became a staple of their diet, could help to decrease the occurrence of blindness in the world’s poorest children.

Great Lakes Restoration Efforts

Peter McIntyre, Assistant Professor, Center for Limnology, UW-Madison, discusses the efforts of federal, state and local agencies to restore the Great Lakes. McIntyre presents new information which focuses on maps of stressors, human use of the lakes, and connections between the lakes and their watersheds.

Microgrids: A New Energy Paradigm

Robert Lasseter, Professor Emeritus, College of Engineering, UW-Madison, explores new ways to efficiently deliver electricity. Lasseter introduces the idea of using the microgrid concept which would allow an aggregation of loads and micro-sources operating as a single system providing both power and heat.

WeBIRD: Electronic Bird ID Database

Mark Berres, Assistant Professor, Department of Animal Science, UW-Madison, introduces the Wisconsin Electronic Bird Identification Resource Database, a software tool that uses sound patterns to identify birds.

Virus Takeover of Host Cell Functions

Paul Ahlquist, Lead Scientist, Virology, Morgridge Institute, UW-Madison, outlines how identifying and studying virus-host interactions provides major insight into both infection and normal cellular functions. Host genes required by viruses also offer opportunities for improved control strategies to provide longer-lasting and potentially broader spectrum antiviral protection.

50 years of Newborn Screening

Charles Brokopp, Director, Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, offers the history of screening newborns which began 50 years ago with testing for PKU, phenylketonuria. Newborn babies in Wisconsin are now screened for more than 40 disorders with early detection saving lives, improving quality of life and cutting health care costs.

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