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Teen Science Cafe: And the Beat Goes On, On, On—New Therapeutics in Cardiovascular Research

Monday, January 28, 2019 @ 6:30 PM-8:30 PM


Saint Louis Community College at BRDG Park
1005 North Warson Road, St. Louis, MO 63132 United States  + Google Map

REGISTRATION REQUIRED. FREE and OPEN to Junior Academy of Science members and all middle and high school students in grades 6-12 from throughout the region. PRE-REGISTRATION for Junior Academy members ONLY thru Wednesday, January 16. General registration opens Thursday, January 17. REGISTER BELOW.

To join the Junior Academy of Science, or to find out more about the benefits of membership in the Junior Academy, click here.

6:30 pm – 7:00 pm: Dinner
7:00 pm – 8:30 pm: Presentation & Activities

Featured Cafe Presenter: Dana R. Abendschein, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Medicine, Cell Biology and Physiology, Center for Cardiovascular Research, Department of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine

The heart is an amazing organ that beats more than 3 billion times in an average lifetime and pumps over 52 million gallons of blood throughout the body (about 100 Olympic-sized swimming pools full)! However, the blood vessels of the heart, brain, and other parts of our body are prone to develop atherosclerosis (fatty, hard deposits) as we age, made worse by our bad habits including eating fried food and smoking. This disease process can result in complete occlusion of the vessel with thrombus (clotting) leading to heart attacks and strokes; the most common causes of death among adults in the United States. The research in my lab focuses on developing new medicines/drugs from naturally occurring proteins that our body makes to fight the process of thrombosis (clotting) and inflammation of the blood vessels. In this interactive Teen Science Café, we’ll explore and discuss how these new drugs made by recombinant DNA technology not only work better than those currently available (some derived from insect or leach saliva), but also don’t cause the bleeding side effects that are a problem with available drugs.

Dana Abendschein PhD For Gerry and Bob Virgil Ethic of Service Award.

Dana Abendschein PhD
For Gerry and Bob Virgil Ethic of Service Award.

Presenter Bio
Hi, my name is Dana and I think I’ve always been interested in science. My favorite program on TV growing up was Mr. Wizard (sort of like the Science Guy). I was interested in lots of different areas including biology, astronomy, meteorology, geology and paleontology, but when I got a job one summer working in the lab of a well-known diabetes researcher in my hometown, Buffalo, New York, I realized that life-sciences research was what I really wanted to do. I spent all my free time after that during high school and on weekends running experiments and doing gel electrophoresis to separate lipids as part of studies to find out what part of the brain controlled diabetes in rats and mice. I went to college at the SUNY at Fredonia and studied more neurobiology with a researcher who was interested in the effects of minor tranquilizers on behavior in mice. I was the head ‘cook’, who made the food for the mice containing the drugs, and then studied their behavior in a maze. Thinking that I wanted to be a neurobiologist, I went to Purdue University for graduate study to work with leading researchers in neurophysiology. However, when I met a new group of bioengineers that had just joined the faculty and were doing exciting research to treat hearts that developed bad rhythms during a heart attack, I knew that cardiovascular physiology was the area of science I was looking for. My research there involved dropping the body temperature of animals several degrees to protect the heart muscle from damage during a heart attack; a procedure that recently has been shown to be helpful in people. After my postdoctoral training at the Cardiovascular Research Institute at UCSF, and a physiology teaching appointment in Indiana, I came to Washington University to study new ways to detect heart damage and prevent the process of thrombosis that blocks arteries leading to a heart attack. I’ve been at Wash U 35 years and love each day as I work with other scientists in molecular biology, and cardiologists who treat the patients with vascular and heart disease to translate our basic findings into new drugs to help people. Getting to develop and test new drugs that work because they’re derived from the body’s own defense mechanisms and thereby minimize the side-effects in patients is what keeps me excited to be a scientist.

And the Beat Goes On is an Evenings on Genetics and Genomics Series Teen Science Cafe Event of The Academy of Science – St. Louis, Washington University in St. Louis Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences, the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center, Siteman Cancer Center, and the Children’s Discovery Institute of St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine.
Genetics Series Logos 365-3


Monday, January 28, 2019
6:30 PM-8:30 PM
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Saint Louis Community College at BRDG Park
1005 North Warson Road
St. Louis, MO 63132 United States
+ Google Map