2017 Lucian Symposium Schedule – Friday, 29 September

From the 2017 Lucian Professor and Chair of Chemistry, Dr. Tricia Shepherd:

This week Friday, the Lucian Symposium will be held in Carter Auditorium beginning at 8:50 am.  You can find details on the Lucian Symposium website:  https://sites.stedwards.edu/lucian/.  The Lucian Symposium is an annual event, open to the public.

Lunch follows the keynote speakers.  After lunch, student research posters will be available for viewing in the halls of the John Brooks Williams North Building from 1:30 – 3:30 pm.

There will be four keynote speakers:

  • Thomas E. Cheatham, Professor of Medicinal Chemistry & Director of the Center for High Performance Computing at the University of Utah
  • Michelle M. Francl, Professor and Chair of Chemistry at Bryn Mawr College
  • Ward Thompson, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Kansas
  • Garritt Tucker, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Colorado School of Mines (http://inside.mines.edu/Garritt-Tucker)

While there will be a common thread among speakers in terms of the using various computational methods in their research, the application/connections with undergraduates in each Natural Science discipline was my goal for the symposium. In particular, the presentations will be broadly applicable as follows: Cheatham: Biology/Computer Science, Francl: Mathematics, Thompson:Chemistry, Tucker:Physics/Engineering. I have advised all the speakers to include background/context appropriate for a broad audience of majors that span the Natural Sciences. Below is the schedule with tentative titles:

Friday, Sept 29th
8:50 am welcome
9:00-9:45   Garritt Tucker: Exploring the Nanoscale Mechanisms of Functional Materials with Computational Materials Science
9:45-10:30   Ward Thompson: The Big Deal about Being Small: Dynamics and Spectroscopy in Nanopores
10:30-10:45   break
10:45-11:30   Michelle Francl: Tools for predicting and understanding molecular structure from paper and pencil to Beowulf clusters
11:30-12:15   Tom Cheatham: Optimizing the use of computers to understand the complexity of biomolecular systems
12:15-1:30   lunch
1:30-3:30   poster session

I appreciate your support of this annual event for our school!

Tricia Shepherd, PhD
Chemistry Professor & Dept. Chair
St. Edward’s University

2017 Lucian Symposium and Poster Session

Dear colleagues and students,

A reminder to students that if you did research ANYWHERE this past summer and would like to present a poster on that work as part of the student poster session following this year’s Lucian Symposium (Friday, 29 September), here are the deadlines:

Students who would like to present a poster will need to submit their abstract and title by Noon, Friday, 15 September. To submit your abstract, visit https://cmt3.research.microsoft.com/LS2017 and click the “Registration” tab or “Create Account” link.  Once registered, you will receive an activation link and can then access the “2017 Lucian Symposium” conference.  To enter your research information, from the home page click the “Create new submission” link.  Note: if the conference is not visible from your home page when you log in, click the “All Conferences” tab then enter “2017 Lucian Symposium” in the filter search field and click the title once it is visible.

This year, we are again using Spoonflower to print fabric posters for each student so we will need extra time to allow for the print process. Submit your poster print request in PPT or PDF format as soon as you are able but absolutely no later than 10 am on Thursday, 14 September. Submit your requests to NSCI Poster Print Request.

Each student may have one poster printed by the School of Natural Sciences each academic year.  Additional poster printing should be paid for by research grant accounts as appropriate.  Students should use the poster they print for all appropriate conference presentations during the 2017 – 2018 academic year.  The poster template can be accessed through Box:  NSCI Poster Template.

NOTE:  posters submitted after 10 am on Thursday, 14 September will not be printed by the School of Natural Sciences.  I recommend that if you need to print your poster after that date, please look for poster printing services at local area businesses (e.g., FedEx print).

We are asking students to hang their posters by 3:00 pm on Thursday, 28 September.  That afternoon, the School of Natural Sciences Advisory Board will meet.  Members of the board often enjoy reading through student posters.  They will have time to do so after their meeting concludes around 4:30 pm that afternoon.

We ask students to take their posters down by 5 pm on Friday, 29 September.

We ask students to plan to be at their posters for some portion of the time period 1.30-3.30pm on Friday, 29 September.  It is not necessary to stand at your poster for the entire period of time, but do commit to spending some portion of that period of time at your poster if at all possible.

Last year’s event was a tremendous success, and with our prestigious visitors on campus (both for the Advisory Board meeting and for the Lucian Symposium), we have a great opportunity to share what our students have been doing in the area of research and the successes you all are having in advancing the frontiers of science.

Remember, it is not essential that the research occurred at St. Edward’s— any REU or other university research program at which you did research this summer is eligible for a printing of one poster.

Finally – if you were a recipient of a Brother Romard research grant this past summer, the expectation is that you will print out and present a poster at this event.

If you have any questions, please contact NSCIdean@stedwards.edu.

Looking forward to another great student research poster session.


Rest in Peace Bro. Romard Barthel, SEU and NSCI Icon

It is with great sadness that I pass along the news that Bro. Romard Barthel (CSC ’47), of the Order of the Holy Cross, passed away on Wed., 7 December at the age of 92.  Bro. Romard taught physics and life at St. Edward’s University for generations of students.

I arrived at St. Edward’s as Dean of Natural Sciences in July 2014.  It did not take long for the stories of Bro. Romard to begin making their way to me.  I quickly began meeting some of the numerous alumni and current faculty members whose lives were forever changed by Bro. Romard’s kindness, dedication, attention, and inspirational model.

Bro. Romard significantly impacted the trajectory of the School of Natural Sciences and St. Edward’s University. In the history of an institution, there are but a precious few who truly earn the distinction of being recognized as a cultural icon, and they usually do so with the greatest modesty imaginable.  I can assure you that in the case of Bro. Romard, that recognition as an icon of the Natural Sciences at St. Edward’s University is richly deserved..

His legacy will live on in the lives of those he touched, both directly and indirectly. (You can find a nice example in the Winter 2015 issue of the St. Edward’s Magazine.)

Of significance to today’s students, who did not have the honor of meeting him in person or being directly inspired by him, the Bro. Romard Barthel Scholarship and Research Fund was established by alumni in his honor to support summer research opportunities and scholarships for today’s Natural Sciences students.  Through these students and the paths they forge on their own journeys in life, his impact will continue to be felt and honored.

Please remember Bro. Romard in your prayers.  May his model and inspiration live on in those of us who benefit today from his years of servant leadership and dedication to the place he cherished, St. Edward’s University.


Please share your stories below.

Lucian Professorship History

Prior to the summer of 1982, J.B.N. Morris and family (hs ’48, ’52) established an endowment with the University to honor the name of Brother Lucian Blersch, CSC, a longtime professor of engineering, who died in 1986.  Proceeds from the endowment support a faculty chair in the name of Brother Lucian.

The Lucian Professor, among other tasks, has been the lead faculty member in organizing the Lucian Symposium each year, a roster of renowned experts in a particular subfield of interest to the Lucian Professor.

There have been 4 Lucian Professors appointed since the endowment was established:

Brother Daniel Lynch, CSC (biology):  1982 – 1997
Dr. Jean McKemie (mathematics):  2000 – 2005
Dr. Allan Hook (biology):  2005 – 2009
Dr. Eamonn Healy (chemistry):  2010 – 2016

Lucian Symposium Speakers 2016 – Antonio Fojo

Dr. Antonio Fojo is Professor in the Division of Hematology and Oncology at Columbia University Medical Center.

Dr. Antonio Fojo is Professor in the Division of Hematology and Oncology at Columbia University Medical Center.

Antonio “Tito”Fojo, M.D. Ph.D. is Professor in the Division of Hemotology and Oncology at Columbia University Medical Center. He received his M.D. and Ph.D.from the University of Miami and completed internal medicine training at Washington University School of Medicine / Barnes Hospital. Prior to his arrival at Columbia Dr. Fojo was a Principal Investigator in the Medicine Branch, and Program Director for the Medical Oncology Fellowship Program, of the National Cancer Institute, where he established a highly successful translational clinical program. Dr. Fojo works to understand the molecular basis of drug resistance, and has worked on the development of novel microtubule-targeting agents therapies for endocrine and neuroendocrine cancers, Dr. Fojo is also active in the design, conduct and interpretation of oncology clinical trials.

Lucian Symposium Speakers 2016 – Beverly A. Teicher


Dr. Beverly A. Teicher, Cheif of the Molecular Pharmacology Branch at the National Cancer Institute

Dr. Beverly A. Teicher, Cheif of the Molecular Pharmacology Branch at the National Cancer Institute

Beverly A. Teicher, PhD is Chief of the Molecular Pharmacology Branch at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Dr. Teicher completed a PhD in Bioorganic Chemistry at the Johns Hopkins University and postdoctoral training at Yale University School of Medicine. After positions at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, Dr. Teicher served as Research Advisor in Cancer Drug Discovery at Lilly Research Laboratories and Vice President of Oncology Research at Genzyme. Dr. Teicher is best known for her work in solid tumor models and physiologic measurements of tumor hypoxia and oxygenation. She has authored or co-authored more than 400 scientific publications, edited eight books, and is editor for the journal Clinical Cancer Research, the journal Pharmacology and Therapeutics, and the Cancer Drug Discovery & Development book series.

Lucian Symposium Speakers 2016 – Michael A. White

Prof. Michael A. White, U. Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Prof. Michael A. White, U. Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Michael A. White, Ph.D. is Professor of Cell Biology and the Grant A. Dove Chair for Research in Oncology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. His research is aimed at uncovering the molecular nature of cell autonomous regulatory mechanisms with the goal of permitting appropriate responses of human cells to their environment. Dr. White received his undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa, and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina. Through elaboration of the biogenesis of catabolic organelles, Dr. White’s laboratory is helping to uncover some of the central principles that govern cellular homeostasis, and examining the processes governing the adaptive modulation of cell growth and self-renewal. His ultimate goal is to identify authentic intervention targets for the development of a sufficiently diverse cohort of therapies to contend with oncological heterogeneity.

Lucian Symposium 2016 – Global Health and Infectious Disease: CANCER – NOVEL TARGETS AND THERAPIES

Displaying the relationship among target proteins by representing the Euclidean distance among gene signatures.

Displaying the relationship among target proteins by representing the Euclidean distance among gene signatures.

Despite billions of dollars, decades of research, and an unparalleled level of international cooperation between research scientists and clinicians, cancer remains a major cause of death worldwide.

Therapies have improved and many forms of cancer are now treatable, but the disease still kills over eight million people throughout the world each year. For this reason, cancer research funding represents one of the largest expenditures of the United States federal government, and has led to improved medical treatments as well as greater understanding of the molecular intricacies of the disease. However because cancer is now considered not simply one disease but rather a multitude of independent disorders that can all result in malignant cellular growth, the dream of a cure for cancer, the “magic bullet”, to miraculously eliminate the disease, is now considered unrealistic in light of these overwhelming complexities.

Activation of the C-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK2) through conformational change from the DFG-out (yellow) to DFG-in (blue) state.

Activation of the C-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK2) through conformational change from the DFG-out (yellow) to DFG-in (blue) state.

The interdisciplinary approach that has emerged is offering new hope for therapies and treatment. Since not all tumors are the same, molecular targeting, or the attempt to tailor therapy to the specific abnormalities causing disease, has become one of the most promising areas in cancer biology research. By combining molecular biology and biochemistry with combinatorial chemistry and organic chemistry , pharmaceutical research has embraced the field of rational drug design as a specific application of molecular targeting. In the past few years, the rapidly advancing field of cancer immunology has produced several new methods of treating cancer. These immunotherapies increase the strength of immune responses against tumors.

However, cancer cells are sometimes able to avoid detection and destruction by the immune system. Drug development takes time, and it is years, often decades, before a drug that shows promise in the lab will make it into the clinic. And of course resistance to chemotherapy and molecularly targeted therapies remains a major problem. This symposium seeks to highlight some of the innovative and creative approaches being pursued in light of these challenges.


EVENT SCHEDULE – Friday , September 23rd , JBWS Carter Auditorium

9.30 am           Welcome

9.40 am           Dr. Eamonn F. Healy (St. Edward’s University): “Modulating Kinase Activity Through Desolvation”

10.10 am         Dr. Michael A. White (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center):  “Towards Patient-based Cancer Therapeutics”

11.00 am         Break

11.15 am         Dr. Beverly A. Teicher (National Cancer Institute): “Antibody conjugate therapeutics: challenges and potential”

12.05 pm         Dr. Antonio Fojo (Columbia University Medical Center): “Novel Therapies for Cancer:  Why Dirty Might Be Better ”

1.00 pm           Lunch and Student poster session: Foyer, JBWN

A phagocytosis assay utilizing the murine macrophage cell line J774.A1

A phagocytosis assay utilizing the murine macrophage cell line J774.A1