Alumni Weekend Teach-Ins 2017: stem cell research and standing up to "alternative facts"

At the popular Teach-Ins lecture series during UC Santa Cruz's Alumni Weekend celebrations, returning Slugs hear thought-provoking presentations by outstanding faculty.

Lindsay Hinck
Camilla Forsberg
Daniel Kim
Gina Dent

The always-popular Teach-In lecture series returns to UC Santa Cruz’s Alumni Weekend this year, with button-pushing presentations about the role of the humanities in a "post-truth" world and the intriguing potentials of stem cell research.

The students in both classes can bring their intellectual curiosity but leave those exam booklets behind.

This series will be one of the many highlights of Alumni Weekend festivities, which take place April 28–30. Those who wish to attend this fun-filled weekend may register here.

There is no need to cram all night beforehand for these Teach-Ins. Just show up and enjoy. But be prepared with a couple of questions to ask. This will guarantee a lively and far-ranging discussion.

In the past, Teach-Ins were held simultaneously; returning Slugs wished they could have taken a class that would teach them how to clone themselves so they could attend all the talks. But this year, the lectures are being held at different times at Stevenson College, meaning that it is technically possible to attend both lectures—providing that you register in advance to guarantee your spot.

The Teach-In lectures kick off on Saturday, April 29, at 1 p.m., at Stevenson College, room 150, with “Rejuvenate Now: Stem Cell Research at UC Santa Cruz,” a special talk by professor of molecular, cell and developmental biology Lindsay Hinck; professor of biomolecular engineering Camilla Forsberg; and assistant professor of biomolecular engineering Daniel Kim, who talk about the stem cell research taking place at the Institute for the Biology of Stem Cells (IBSC) at UC Santa Cruz.

Stem cells hold great promise for curing or mitigating the effects of many diseases and injuries.  This talk will focus on three areas of stem cell research in particular: breast cancer, blood, and cellular reprogramming.

Attendees will learn how stem-progenitor cells that regulate breast development are targeted to become breast cancer stem cells, how stem cells “decide” to become a particular type of mature blood cell, and how this process can go haywire, causing disease in the process. Registration is required to attend this talk, and you can do so by visiting this link. 

While stem cell research can fight disease, the humanities can fight lies and distortions in the political arena.

In a Teach-In entitled “Ex Post Facto,” Gina Dent, associate professor of feminist studies, history of consciousness, and legal studies at UC Santa Cruz, will discuss the role of the humanities in responding to the current discussion of “alternative facts.” How can we develop a critical relationship to “facticity,” while preserving the ability to think and act politically?  The talk starts at 2:45 p.m. at Stevenson College, room 175.

This discussion could not be more timely in this era of suspect sourcing and plastic realities. Register here for this Teach-In.