Science Salon - Stay Current, Stay Connected

What is Science Salon? 

Science Salon, a program of the Minnesota Academy of Science, is a forum for professional scientists to stay current on groundbreaking research and emerging technologies and engage in cross-disciplinary networking. At Science Salon, you will meet your peers from other disciplines, enjoy refreshments, participate in stimulating activities or learn about cutting-edge research. 

Stay tuned for upcoming events!

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Most Recent Event

October 24, 2017:  Talk and Tour of Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, University of Minnesota 


Dr. Jim Collins, Professor in the Department of Veterinary Population Medicine, Board Certified Veterinary Pathologist and former Director of the University of Minnesota's Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in the College of Veterinary Medicine took Science Salon Participants through an extensive tour of the University of Minnesota's Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.

Learn about the work of Dr. Jim Collins

The University of Minnesota's Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) is a national leader in providing rapid diagnosis of animal diseases, identifying emerging diseases, developing new diagnostic methods, and training diagnosticians and veterinarians. The VDL has been actively involved in research and diagnosis of mad cow disease and swine flu, receiving samples from all over the North American Continent and beyond. The VDL collaborates with agencies such as the Diabetes Center, USDA and is the lab for the Board of Animal Health  (Veterinary and domestic animal oversight).

Participants learned from Dr. Collins and fellow researchers about work happening in the following VDL labs:

1. Necropsy Lab including the BSL-3 Lab. The University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory performs over 16,000 necropsies - or animal autopsies - on all different types of species every year.  Participants toured the BSL-3 section of the lab which makes possible developments of new treatments, preventative vaccines, and diagnostic tests against Risk Group 3 pathogens and epidemiological surveillance for emerging and reemerging infectious diseases. Equipment that enables the space to be a BSL-3 lab includes a large pass-through autoclave, an effluent decontamination system, and a HEPA filtered air handling system. The lab also contains a chemical digester which is their means to dispose of organic animal waste.  With a combination of heat, pressure, and an alkaline chemical, tissue is mostly liquefied and in the process and sterilized.

2. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) Lab. Researchers in the IHC lab collaborated with the Electron Microscopy Submission lab to co-author a publication on equine shivers which won the prestigious Davis-Thompson Foundation (former CL Davis Foundation) Journal award for best article in the journal Veterinary Pathology for the year 2016. 


Dr. Jim Collins
Professor in the Department of Veterinary Population Medicine, Board Certified Veterinary Pathologist and former Director of the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Collins has 20 years of experience working with the Schulze Diabetes Institute establishing testing protocols for pigs used as pancreatic isles. He has been a member of United States Animal Health Association (USAHA), American College of Veterinary Pathologists (ACVP) and has been a member of the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD) for 30 years. These associations are important for collaboration with regulatory officials and academia. He is also a member of American Telemedicine Association. His accomplishments include development of rapid detection methods for emerging diseases such as Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) virus, Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) virus.                                                                                                       


Previous Talks

February 15, 2017: Reinventing Cities, with Dr. Anu Ramaswami

Dr. Anu Ramaswami spoke about her work exploring how to develop healthy, sustainable cities in the United States, India and China. She shared results from her collaborative work with researchers across the world on redesigning cities to address not only urban infrastructure issues, but also reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve social structure and create more open space. 


October 18, 2016: EcoLab on how to tackle biofilms

Ecolab's Dr. Ruth Petran, Dr. Scott Burnett and Tony Erickson shared with us the work their team is doing with biofilms in the food and beverage industry: how they form, why they are harmful, and how to remove and prevent biofilms from forming in the machinery that our food comes into contact with.

September 22, 2016: Dr. Marla Spivak talked with us about the research she and her team have been doing to help improve the health of our bee populations.

Marla Spivak is a MacArthur Fellow and McKnight Distinguished Professor in Entomology at the University of Minnesota. Recent awards include the 2015 Minnesota AgriGrowth Distinguished Service Award, the 2016 Siehl Prize laureate for excellence in agriculture, and the 2016 Wings WorldQuest Women of Discovery Earth Award. She and Gary Reuter bred a line of honey bees, the Minnesota Hygienic line, to defend themselves against diseases and parasitic mites. Current research includes studies of the benefits of plant resins (propolis) to honey bees, and the effects of agricultural landscapes and pesticides on bee health.

See a list of her talks here, including a link to a past TEDGlobal talk in 2013.

March 2016: The Zika virus has spurred an interest in infectious diseases for many people. A Science Salon featured Dr. Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy and teaching professor in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health at the Univerity of Minnesota. Dr. Osterholm will talk about "Emerging Infections in a Modern World: A View From the Front Windshield and Rearview Mirror."  

Click here for a synopsis of his talk.

In September 2015, Science Salon featured Dr. Fotis Sotiropoulos (below left), the then-James L. Record Professor of Civil Engineering and the Director of the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory at the University of Minnesota. This Science Salon included a tour of the newly renovated St. Anthony Falls Laboratory. Click here to learn more about this Science Salon. 



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