Distinguished Faculty Lecture Series 2018
Professor Samuel Black
Approaching the End Game: Seeking Sustainable Control of Animal African Trypanosomiasis
February 5, 2018
For more than a century, scientists have attempted to sustainably control animal African trypanosomiasis—protozoan parasites that can be fatal to people and domestic livestock. The development of effective vaccines has been blocked by the parasites’ ability to vary the surface structures with which the immune system reacts and to mask the conserved surface components the parasites need to acquire nutrients. At UMass Amherst and elsewhere, research is unlocking the mechanisms of innate immune control and trypanosomiasis pathology, giving new hope of developing trypanosomiasis-resistant cattle through selective breeding and genetic engineering.
Professor Maria Santore
From the Surfaces of Cells to Materials Innovation: Synthetic Systems that Mimic the Behaviors of Biological Cells
March 6, 2018
When cells contact other cells or foreign objects, their responses can determine an organism’s survival. For example, reactions triggered at the surfaces of white blood cells amplify to produce organism scale behaviors, such as fighting infection or developing immunity.
Synthetic systems from the Santore lab recreate biological mechanisms that start at the surface and become large scale—examples will include materials that selectively scavenge, capture, kill, or release targets in response to chemical and mechanical cues; control particle movement on surfaces; and assemble into molecularly thin force-responsive reconfigurable circuitry. These systems may ultimately facilitate biomedical devices, sensors, and protective gear or materials for energy harvesting.
Professor Léonce Ndikumana
Capital Flight From Africa: Is the World Genuinely Ready for Action?
April 9, 2018
Domestic and global structural factors have caused a sustained outflow of capital from Africa, a continent that faces deep development financing constraints. This lecture will explain how capital flight is part of a pattern of integration of Africa into the global economy that has entrenched the continent’s exploitation and marginalization. It will also show how structural flaws in the global economic system and its governance make it difficult to combat capital flight and illicit financial flows from Africa and propose new ways to address these problems.