Celebration of Science

The Celebration of Science poster show
The Celebration of Science poster session is located in the Ann Stuart Science Complex atrium.

The Ann Stuart and Ray R. Poliakoff 2017 TWU Celebration of Science

Friday, October 13, 2017


9 - 10:30 a.m. 

Poster Session with science students and faculty mentors
Guests introduced to Dean Abigail C. Tilton
Location: Ann Stuart Science Complex Atrium 

9:40 - 10:25 a.m.  

Guests meet with Chancellor and President Carine Feyten

10:30 - 11:45 a.m. 

Manal Omary - Moderator
Chancellor Feyten's Welcome
Forum and Panel Discussion with Students
Pathways and Challenges for Women in Science
Location: ACT 301 

12 - 1 p.m. 

Lunch with Students  (invitation-only event)

1 - 1:30 p.m.   Break
1:30 - 3:30 p.m.  

Jennifer Martin's Welcome
Women in Science: Research at the Interface of Biology and Chemistry
Location: ASSC 259

3:30 – 5:30 p.m. 

Location: ASSC Atrium



Sue Wessler, Ph.D.

Distinguished Professor of Genetics and the Neil A. and Rochelle A. Campbell Presidential Chair for Innovation in Science Education at the University of California Riverside
Presentation Title: "Success strategies of transposable elements that rapidly diversify genomes"

Susan Wessler is Distinguished Professor of Genetics and the Neil A. and Rochelle A. Campbell Presidential Chair for Innovation in Science Education at the University of California Riverside. In 2011 she was elected Home Secretary of the National Academy of Sciences, the first women to hold this position in the 150-year history of the Academy. She is a molecular geneticist known for her contributions to the field of transposon biology, specifically on the roles of plant transposable elements in gene and genome evolution. A native of New York City, she received a bachelor’s degree in biology from SUNY Stony Brook (1974), a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Cornell University (1980) and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Carnegie Institution of Washington (1980-1982). She began her career at the University of Georgia in 1983 where she remained until moving to UC Riverside in 2010. Wessler has contributed extensively to educational initiatives, including co-authorship of the genetics textbook, Introduction to Genetic Analysis.

As a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor (2006), she adapted her research program for the classroom by developing the Dynamic Genome Courses where incoming freshman can experience the excitement of scientific discovery. Wessler is co-author of over 130 research articles. She is the recipient of several awards including the inaugural Distinguished Scientist Award (2007) from the Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA), the Stephen Hales Prize (2011) from the American Society of Plant Biologists, the Excellence in Science Award from FASEB (2012) and the McClintock Prize for Plant Genetics and Genome Studies (2015). She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (1998), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2007), the American Philosophical Society (2013), and a Foreign Member of the Royal Society (2017).

Patricia Clark, Ph.D.

Rev. John Cardinal O'Hara CSC Professor of Biochemistry, University of Notre Dame; Concurrent Professor, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, University of Notre Dame
Presentation Title:  "Same Sequence, Different Structures: Translation Rate Effects on Protein Folding"

Patricia Clark is a Rev. John Cardinal O'Hara CSC Professor of Biochemistry and Concurrent Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Notre Dame. In 2013, she received the Michael and Kate Barany Award for Young Investigators, Biophysical Society. In 2003-2007, Clark received the American Heart Association National Scientist Development Award. In 2003-2008, she also received the NSF Career Award.

Clark's research focuses on proteins, the long flexible polymers of amino acids that must fold into a complex 3D shape in order to carry out a specific catalytic, binding, or structural activity. Experiments with purified proteins have demonstrated that the information needed for a given protein to obtain its final folded structure is contained within the sequence of its amino acid residues. However, the rules that dictate how a given sequence will fold into a given structure are still unclear. Understanding the rules of protein folding is of utmost importance for predicting protein structure from genomic sequence data, designing novel proteins, and understanding how and why protein folding mechanisms can fail. Failure of protein folding mechanisms, often due to genetic mutations or adverse conditions such as thermal or chemical stress, is the cause of numerous human diseases including cystic fibrosis, Alzheimer's disease, juvenile cataracts, and many forms of cancer.

Research in the Clark laboratory is focused on two related questions. First, how are the rules for protein folding affected by their native environment, the cell? And second, what are the protein folding rules that govern the formation of β-sheet structure? 

TWU Alumna Speaker

Jennie Wojtaszek, M.S.

Chief Toxicologist and Vice President of Laboratory Operations, AIT Laboratories


Manal Rawashdeh-Omary, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, TWU Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

The Ann Stuart and Ray R. Poliakoff Celebration of Science Series

TWU Chancellor Ann Stuart, her late husband Ray Poliakoff and their dogs Georgette and Honeybear.
TWU Chancellor Ann Stuart, her late husband Ray Poliakoff and their dogs Georgette and Honeybear. Photo courtesy of Ronda DuTeil.

Chancellor Stuart established the Ann Stuart and Ray R. Poliakoff Celebration of Science Series in 2011 with a $200,000 gift to the university.  Through a commitment of two decades of funding, the Celebration of Science Series intends to provide the opportunity for the Departments of Biology and Chemistry/Biochemistry to develop a sustained program of promoting and celebrating the wonders, truths and mysteries of science. 

The Celebration of Science Series will continue annually through 2032.  Although events will vary from year to year, the intent always will be to engage current TWU students and faculty, alumni, K-12 students in Denton and others in the community.

Both Dr. Ann Stuart and Mr. Ray Poliakoff, wife and husband, were first generation graduates of public higher education, and both often said it was their education that enabled them to pursue the opportunities that enriched their lives.

Dr. Stuart, a professor of English, loved the quest of learning, the pleasure of reading, and her career in education both as a teacher and as an administrator.

Mr. Poliakoff served in a reconnaissance intelligence unit in Europe during World War II and was twice wounded in combat. After the war, he graduated from law school and spent the majority of his professional career working with various national and international concerns and individuals in coal, oil, gas, and other natural resource ventures and concessions in the U.S., Alaska, Canada, Europe, Australia, the Mid-East and the Far East.

They both gave generously to create opportunities for young people to pursue their goals.