KABT 50th Anniversary Fall Conference at ESU

On Saturday, September 12, 2009 the annual KABT Fall Conference took place at Emporia State University. The conference had speakers give talks about H1N1 status, the new National Bioterrorism Agriculture Facility at KSU, Global Warming, Wind Energy, Nuclear Energy, Great Plains Nature Center, the Status of Biology Teachers in Kansas, and Collaboration in Biology Teaching. The agenda allowed for all to be able to listen to all of the topics that were presented. Another aspect that made this meeting special was that this was the 50th Anniversary of KABT! Some of the past members that have since retired were present and accounted for. The retirees added a special flair and it was a pleasure and honor to visit with previous members that built KABT into what it has become today. They were, in fact, the shoulders that biology teachers today stood on. There were quite a few Kansas biology teachers that attended the meeting and they are always given the opportunity to “freebies” from different area agencies.

If given the chance, and your schedule allows time, attending a KABT meeting provides an interaction among biology teachers that is hard to find in other gatherings. Listening to experienced teachers and young teachers allows a learning experience for all involved. Below are some photos from the conference.

KABT Free Give-aways

KABT lunchtime

KABT lunchtime

Bob Gress talking about the Great Plains Nature Center

Bob Gress talking about the Great Plains Nature Center

Dr. Jerry Jax discussing the NBAR facility

Dr. Jerry Jax discussing the NBAR facility

Registration for KABT conference

Registration for KABT conference

Eric Kessler and Stan Roth discussing biology

Eric Kessler and Stan Roth discussing biology

KSU Rabies Symposium

Second Annual Merial Rabies Symposium

Saturday, September 19th, 7:30 am to 6:00 pm
Continental breakfast, lunch, and dinner pizza provided
Registration is free but the deadline is September 10th or until full

The symposium is sponsored by the KSU College of Veterinary Medicine and is being held in recognition of the World Rabies Day.  Topics of the symposium will include:

  • Global Perspective and One Health Opportunities
  • National and Regional Perspectives
  • Recent Rabies Cases and Public Health Implications

The symposium will bring together noted public health and animal health speakers, veterinarians and veterinary students to discuss this public health issue from a global, national and local perspective. The event will heighten understanding of the impact of human and animal rabies, while encouraging prevention through education and vaccination.

Registration and more information can be found at: http://www.worldrabiesday.org/EN/Events/KSU_Symposium.html

If would like to know more about the event feel free to contact:

Joan Leavens
Integration/Outreach Leader
One Health Kansas
Kansas State University
Olathe Innovation Campus
18001 West 106th Street, Suite 130
Olathe, KS  66061

KABT Fall Meeting Reminder

Walk-ins welcome; Registration on-site.
($15 pre-registered online earlier); $20 new.
Map attached.
Parking free and available along Science Hall on Merchant Street.
This is also “Parents Day” at ESU
Kansas Biology Teacher Conference
Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009
Science Hall 72
Emporia State University
Tentative Schedule:
8-9am onward Registration
9am               Welcome/Instructions
9:10am          H1N1, Avian Flu, and Vaccinations—Mayo (Lyon Co. Health Dept.)
10:00am        National Biosecurity Agricultural Facility—Jaax (KSU)
11:00am        Global Warming Modeling—Fedemma (KU)
Noon             Lunch/KABT Business Meeting
1:00pm          2009 Kansas Biology Teacher Survey–Tuel
1:40pm          2009 Kansas Biology Teacher Survey (Evolution Results)—Schrock
2:00pm          Wind Energy—Lovelace (Westar)
2:30pm          Nuclear Energy—Hammond (Wolf Creek Nuclear)
3:00pm          Kansas Course Codes—(KSDE)
3:30pm          Great Plains Nature Center—Bob Gress (GPNC)
4:00pm          Collaboration in Biology Teaching—Welch & Busch (Wichita)
Click to see full size

Click to see full size

Facebook and Frameshift

I don’t know about you, but I timidly joined facebook last fall to begin my journey in learning how this social networking resource might be of use both personally and professionally.  

Happily, I have discovered that there are educational relevant uses for facebook!  I will write a extended blog post on how I use it with students in the near future but today I read something on my facebook home page that I thought I should pass along.

As a member of facebook, one can join groups and follow updates on other people’s pages.  Some of these people happen to be practicing scientists or others on the periphery of the science community.  One individual I happen to follow is Carl Zimmer.  Most of you are familiar with Carl’s collection of quality books.   If you aren’t a member of facebook, you can follow his blog via his website (which links to the Discover’s blogsite – my how connected things are – if you have your own website you can add it with an RSS feed – maybe KABT should consider this).  

Well, the cool thing about reading Carl’s blog is that you are kept up-to-date on his insights into the active world of science, and don’t have to wait a year or two for such insights to be integrated into his next book.


In one of his posts from yesterday, Losing Teeth, but Keeping Genes, he reviews a recently published article Molecular Decay of the Tooth Gene Enamelin (ENAM) Mirrors the Loss of Enamel in the Fossil Record of Placental Mammals from the online journal PLOS Genetics.    Here is the gist of the story from Carl:

Their results were pretty much what they expected, but they’re still pretty amazing. There were no frameshift mutations in ENAM among the mammals with teeth. But 17 out of 20 species without teeth or enamel had at least one. In all 20 enamel-free species, a stop command (known as a stop codon) was present. These genes are shot.

I am certain that you all teach about “frameshift” mutations.  The two resources above could become additions to your bag of supplemental tricks that make such concepts come alive for your students.  They can also help in your integration of evolutionary biology throughout the curriculum, and to supplement topics like “adaptation, pseudogenes, purifying and neutral selection, molecular clocks, and radiation and convergent evolution”. 

Enjoy reading, and maybe I’ll see meet you in facebook someday soon!