University Relations and Communications

Special faculty presentations at MSU Billings range from biology to BMX

February 9, 2009


MSU Billings Library, 657-2262


First in Library Lecture Series this spring is set for Feb. 26


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — Topics as diverse as biology and BMX bicycles will be featured over the next three months in special faculty lectures at Montana State University Billings.


As part of the MSU Billings Library Lecture Series, special lectures delivered by MSU Billings faculty will focus on drug discovery research, views of modern education assessment and acceptance of alternative sports. The series showcases the exceptional scholarly work and/or research by faculty at the university.


Sponsored by the MSU Billings Library, the lectures are scheduled for Feb. 26, March 26 and April 16. All will be held from 12:15 to 2 p.m. in Room 205 in the Liberal Arts Building on the MSU Billings Main Campus, 1500 University Drive. All are free and open to the public.


Below are outlines of the upcoming lectures this spring.


Lecture Date: Thursday, February 26
Lecture Title: “Just Say No to Fungus:  Drug Discovery Research at MSU Billings”
Speakers: Dr. David Butler, Associate Professor, Biology; Dr. Kurt Toenjes, Assistant Professor, Biology; Department of Biological & Physical Sciences


Speaker Bios:
Kurt A. Toenjes has a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of Arizona (1998).  He was a post-doctoral fellow and research faculty at the University of Vermont from 1997 to 2005 and has been a faculty member at MSU Billings since 2005. While on the faculty at the University of Vermont and MSU Billings, Toenjes has received approximately $900,000 in grant funding and has three patent applications. In the fall of 2008, he was the co-recipient of the Walter and Charlotte Pippenger Excellence in Innovation award.

David K. Butler has a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin (1991).  Butler was an NIH post-doctoral fellow at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington from 1991 to 1995 and has been a faculty member at MSU Billings since 1995.  He has received over $1,000,000 in grant funding and has eight first-author publications and one patent application. In the fall of 2008, he was the co-recipient of the Walter and Charlotte Pippenger Excellence in Innovation award.


Lecture Summary: 
Human fungal infections are commonly caused by an organism called C. albicans. This organism is a major opportunistic pathogen of immunocompromised  hosts, including individuals with immunodeficiency diseases, and those undergoing chemotherapy and organ transplants. Approximately 10,000 people die each year from C. albicans infections. In normal healthy humans, C. albicans exists in our bodies in a nonpathogenic state that does us no harm. One important aspect of infections by C. albicans is that it forms tubes that spread out like unchecked urban sprawl, eventually causing organ destruction. Our research projects revolve around a drug (called BH3I-1) that blocks the "sprawl" and potentially stops infections. Because of this activity, BH3I-1 has the potential to be an important tool in C. albicans research, as well as form the basis for a novel approach to controlling fungal infections in humans. To develop this potential, the molecular target of BH3I-1 in fungal cells must be identified.  We are utilizing Proteomic, Genomic and Molecular approaches identify potential BH3I-1 targets in C. albicans.


Lecture Date: Thursday, March 26
Lecture Title: “Breaking the Mold:  Millennial Instruction and Assessment”
Speakers: Mr. Jim Hughs, Instructor, Process Plant Technology, College of Technology


Speaker Bio:  Jim Hughs has an AAS in Chemistry from Eastern Montana College and a BAS from the University of Alabama in Applied Chemical Engineering.  An ExxonMobil employee for over 30 years, Hughs worked in process operations, environmental permitting, laboratory systems, and process engineering.  He joined the MSU Billings College of Technology in 2006 as an instructor and program director for the Process Plant Technology program. 


Lecture Summary:  The profile of the average U.S. student has changed rapidly since the early 1940s.  Students have gone from “Baby Boomers” to “Generation Xer’s” and now the Millennial Student.  Hughs will explore how the changing face of students has affected curriculum delivery within the university system and will “take you for a walk down memory lane” and hopefully offer some information that will assist people in addressing the needs of today’s learners.


Lecture Date: Thursday, April 16
Lecture Title: “Holeshot or loop out?  Olympic BMX and the Future of Action Sports”
Speakers: Dr. Joy Honea, Assistant Professor, Sociology, Department of Native American Studies, Political Science, & Sociology


Speaker Bio: 
Dr. Joy Crissey Honea is assistant professor of sociology at MSU Billings.  She teaches in the areas of gender and women’s studies, medical sociology, social theory, the sociology of culture and the sociology of sport.  Honea earned her Ph.D. at Colorado State University in 2004.  Her dissertation was titled “Youth Cultures and Consumerism: Sport Subcultures and Possibilities for Resistance.”  Her most recent publication, in the Sociology of Sport Journal, was titled “The Relationship between Athletic Participation and Perceptions of Body Size and Weight Control in Adolescent Girls: The Role of Sport Type.”


Lecture Summary: 
Through analysis of discussion boards and blogs, Honea identifies reactions to 2008 Olympic inclusion among bicycle motocross (BMX) participants.  Of particular interest are themes of resistance to the co-optation of previously alternative sports by mainstream sport institutions like the International Olympic Committee and the International Cycling Union. 


For more information on these lectures, contact the MSU Billings Library at 657-2262.


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