Friday, April 21, 2017

Bring the kids!

The March for Science in Morgantown is a family-friendly, non-partisan, all-ages event. From 10:00-11:00 there will be multiple hands-on activities for children prior to the march. Join us to celebrate science!


  • Participate and learn about nanotechnology and nanobiology
  • Make a pipe cleaner neuron
  • Build a mechanical hand with K-NEX
  • Play an animal tracking game
  • Learn about soils and make dirt pies
  • Experiment with hands-on climate science
  • Get recipes for science experiments you can do in your own kitchen!
  • See 3-D printing in action
  • Birds of Prey will be on site! Courtesy of the Avian Conservation Center of Appalachia

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

SPEAKER: Lisa M. Salati, PhD

Dr. Lisa Salati was born in Philadelphia, PA and received her BS from the University of Delaware in Nutrition and Dietetics. She then worked as a Clinical Dietitian at Penn Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania before obtaining her MS and PhD from the University of Minnesota in Nutritional Sciences. Specializing in Biochemistry, she completed Postdoctoral Fellowships at both Case Western Reserve University and the University of Iowa. Dr. Salati joined the faculty at WVU in the Department of Biochemistry in 1992 and proceeded through the ranks to full professor, serving as Vice Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Director of Graduate Recruiting and Program Development in the Health Sciences Center at West Virginia University. In 2015, she was selected to serve as Assistant Vice President for Graduate Education in the Health Sciences Center, which includes a variety of highly-regarded programs in Biomedical Sciences, Clinical & Translational Sciences, Health Services & Outcomes Research, Nursing Research, Public Health Sciences, and the MD/PhD Scholars Training Program.

Along with her leadership roles in health science education, she has maintained an active research program. Her research focuses on nutrient control of cellular function and metabolism, which has applications to atherosclerosis, diabetes mellitus, metabolic syndrome, and obesity. Dr. Salati has over 30 publications in biochemistry and nutrition science, and her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association, and the American Cancer Society. She lives in Morgantown with her husband, Dr. Brad Hillgartner, together they raised two children, Daniel and Anne, both of whom have moved on to independent careers.

SPEAKER: Jay Lockman

Dr. Felix James "Jay" Lockman is the Green Bank Telescope Principle Scientist. He provides advice and assistance to the Green Bank Assistant Director, and the NRAO Director, on issues related to the scientific priorities for the GBT and its role in the wider Observatory and in the US astronomical community. He also assists in setting long-term scientific goals for Green Bank and in setting priorities for new instrumental development based on the needs of the U.S, astronomical community.

Lockman received his B.S. from Drexel University and his Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism of the Carnegie Institution of Washington and a second postdoc at NRAO before joining the NRAO scientific staff. In 1993 he became Green Bank site director, a position he held for six years before returning to the resident scientific staff in Green Bank. He has served on numerous advisory panels for the NSF and NASA and in 2007 was elected to a three year term on the Board of Directors (the "Council") of the American Astronomical Society.

Lockman's research interests include the structure and evolution of the Milky Way, and the structure of the interstellar medium. He is currently doing studies of gas flows into and out of galaxies, using the Green Bank Telescope and other instruments to make extremely sensitive measurements of neutral hydrogen beyond the disk of the Milky Way. He recently discovered that there is a cloud of gas falling into the Milky Way that contains enough gas to make more than a million new stars like the Sun. He is also involved in collaborations with scientists using the Planck satellite to study interstellar dust and the cosmic Infrared background.

SPEAKER: Steven G. Kinsey, PhD

I am a biomedical researcher with specialized training in behavioral neuroscience. My strong research interests in modulating stress, inflammation, and emotionality motivated me to seek postdoctoral training in cannabinoid pharmacology. My research interests center on the effects of stress and endogenous cannabinoids on pain and emotionality using experimental animal models. The ultimate goal of my work is to identify targets for the development of new pharmacological treatments for inflammatory and emotional disorders in humans.

Assistant Professor of Psychology
Coordinator, Behavioral Neuroscience Training Program
53 Campus Dr.
Morgantown, WV 26506-6040

SPEAKER: Rich Giersch

Rich Giersch is the director of Health Science Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Commercialization at WVU as well as CEO of ValtariBio and, and Chairman of BioWV the Biotech association for the state of WV. He has held director level positions at two venture capital firms, was chief operating officer for a biotech company in RTP, North Carolina, and Chief Science Officer for the New Jersey Center for Biomaterials. His work at WVU centers on translating research to practice through technology transfer, company formation, building a community of innovators, and educational programming for entrepreneurs.

Richard Giersch
West Virginia University
Director Health Sciences Innovation Center

8 Medical Center Drive
PO Box 9115
Morgantown WV 26506-9115

Monday, April 17, 2017

Discounts for Morgantown Marchers

The following downtown Morgantown establishments have offered specials for those participating in the event. Patrons must mention the "celebration of science" to receive their discount:

  1. Garcia’s Latin Market
    143 High Street
    Free chips and salsa with purchase of two (2) tacos
  2. Great Wall
    162 High Street
    20% off purchase
  3. Salam
    350 High Street
    10% purchase from 11am-1pm
  4. Oliverio’s
    52 Clay Street
    10% purchase after 3pm
  5. Morgantown Brewing Company
    1291 University Avenue
    $1 off a pint (or $1 donation to Friends of Deckers Creek); purchase a pint and receive a free red spruce tree for planting.
    Free red spruce tree with purchase of kid’s meal
  6. The Cupcakerie
    10% off purchase

Want to stay in touch? Hit up our post-march survey:

SPEAKER: Sharmi B. Roy, Ph.D.

Sharmi B. Roy, Ph.D.
Interim Vice president of Academic Affairs
Professor, Department of Mathematics & Physics
Davis & Elkins College
Elkins, WV 26241
  • Have been faculty at D&E since 1985, primarily teaching courses in Mathematics and Physics;
  • Developed hands-on method and experiments in physical science for elementary education majors using readily available objects to be used in their classrooms;
  • Love gardening and spending time with my 3 granddaughters: Priya, Aaliyah, Ariyana

Sara Anderson: Why I March

I didn't grow up saying I wanted to be a scientist. Of all things, I said I wanted to be President in second grade. Go figure. In high school, I was good in school at most subjects. I dabbled in astrophysics in undergrad, only to discover that I didn't really love math. (Fortunately, I wound up marrying one so I still get some stars in my life.) I went almost directly to a PhD program in psychology after leaving undergrad and left after I was frustrated by the questions my discipline (at the time) was answering.

I love science because I like to solve problems. I am practical by nature and I eventually returned to graduate school in child development to answer questions that can improve the lives of children and families.

I love the tools of science -- its rigor, systematic methods, and tools. I love using statistics to determine how adverse developmental contexts shape children's lives and to discern how we can reverse those trends.

I march for science because I know it is the way forward.

Sara Anderson
Morgantown, WV

Friday, April 14, 2017

SPEAKER: Evan Hansen

Evan is an environmental scientist. In 1997, he founded Downstream Strategies, which offers consulting services to help build resilient communities, promote economic development, and protect the environment.

Evan has more than 25 years consulting for government agencies, nonprofit organizations, attorneys, private businesses, and individuals. He has developed and applied computer models; provided testimony and training on issues related to environmental laws, policies, and permits; and led multi-disciplinary research teams that integrate science and policy.

He received a B.S. in Computer Science and Engineering from M.I.T. and an M.S. in Energy and Resources from U.C.-Berkeley. He has consulted across sub-Saharan Africa and in China, Egypt, and Barbados.

SPEAKER: Dan Carder

Dan Carder is the director of WVU’s Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines and Emissions, a position he has held since 2011. He is responsible for the development and growth of the center, its faculty, staff and students through promotion of the center’s capabilities, expansion of its resources and cultivation of new research collaborations. For more than 20 years, Carder has specialized in the measurement and control of heavy-duty mobile source exhaust emissions and alternative fuels research. In the 1990s, he was an integral part of the WVU team that worked with six heavy-duty diesel engine manufacturers on a historic settlement with the United States Environmental Protection Agency to conduct real-world pollution research and upgrade existing engines in order to lower emissions. In 2013, he led the WVU research team that conducted on-road testing of emissions from diesel passenger cars and discovered elevated levels of oxides of nitrogen emissions from Volkswagen vehicles. The team's research helped spark investigations by regulators that led to news that the automaker had used a "defeat device" to cheat on emissions tests. Carder is also a native of Mineral Wells.

Meet April Kaull, March for Science WV's M.C.

In her role as director of news for University Relations, April Kaull oversees the day-to-day operations of the unit, which is charged with telling West Virginia University’s story.

Kaull joined WVU in January 2015 after a 20+ year career as a broadcast journalist in West Virginia. She joined WBOY-TV in Clarksburg in 1995, and rose through the ranks from reporter and producer to vice president of news operations for West Virginia Media LLC, a statewide media company which purchased WBOY in 2001. She also served as executive producer for WV Media and anchored the company’s nightly 30-minute statewide newscast. Kaull is a 1995 graduate of WVU in broadcast news, and received her master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communication from WVU in 2016. She also serves as an adjunct faculty member at the Reed College of Media.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Linda Blake: Why I March

I march for clean streams and clean air and a better tomorrow for us and our children. I march for science-based healthcare, science-based policy making, and science-based global diplomacy.

Linda Blake

Monday, March 20, 2017

Debi Lewis: I march for life

While I could easily post several stories where medical science has prolonged the lives of loved ones, I'll instead say that I march for life.

Now, don't get your knickers in a twist. This is apolitical, folks.

When you think about scientific advances, many -- if not most -- have to do with quality of life. Science:
  • Allows us to spend more time doing the things we find fulfilling by lessening the amount of time we must spend doing onerous tasks.
  • Increases our independence well into our "twilight years."
  • Lessens our impact on the environment resulting in cleaner air and water which, in turn, keeps us healthier and better able to enjoy our longer lives.
  • Improves our access to distant friends and relatives.
  • Enhances the ability of people with communication or mobility issues to study, to work, and to socialize.
  • Increases our understanding of the natural world around us, both to appreciate its stunning complexity and to prevent us from doing harm to ourselves or our home.
  • Enables us to maintain a sustainable, accessible food supply.
  • Fixes us when we break.
  • Prevents the spread of disease and mitigates its impact.
  • Frees us to be creative. People who must spend all of their time simply meeting their survival needs do not have that luxury.
Science, in a nutshell, improves life. It's as simple as that.

Debi Lewis
Morgantown, WV

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Kim Kelly: I march for my father & my daughter

Neither of my parents were able to complete high school, and their dream was that I go to college. My dad always wanted me to be a teacher. When I was in elementary school, he got colon cancer. Every year after that, with each clean exam, we could breathe a little deeper. And then it happened, just when he reached the 8 year mark, when we thought he would be cancer-free, they found the metastasis to his liver. I was 16 years old.

Years later, my mother and I cried when we heard on the radio that they had found an amazing treatment for colorectal cancer that might have saved my father’s life. One less person that will have to go through this, we said.

My dad didn’t make it until I graduated high school, but he did go with me to my interview at my dream college. All through my studies, I knew if I could just keep one person from suffering the way my dad did, it would not be in vain, which lead me to go into research for those with familial cancer and cancer prevention. And I did become a teacher in a way. I am a professor, training the next generation of researchers. I march for my father, for all the new discoveries to make our lives better, and for my 5-year-old daughter who is just discovering science.

Kim Kelly
Morgantown, WV

Friday, March 17, 2017

Kristin Moilanen: I march for science because of my mom

I celebrate science because it allowed me to have this picture, which is the most precious photo I have. I don’t celebrate the science behind digital cameras in a technical sense. This is the only photo I have with my mom and my son. My mom died two days before Thanksgiving in 2014, almost precisely a month after I took this snapshot the day after he was born. She was 64 years old.

Though she’d already been sick for quite a while, my mom was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) shortly after I had my daughter in 2010. MDS is a rare disorder of the bone marrow, which appears to be caused by environmental triggers such as excessive radiation exposure. She was so anemic and weak that she could hardly hold my newborn daughter. A few months later, it became clear that she was not responding well to initial treatments, which included medications, blood transfusions, and eventually, chemotherapy.

My mom had a bone marrow transplant (BMT) when my daughter was about 18 months old. Her donor was anonymous and non-familial – all I know is that he was a middle-aged man in Germany, and they matched on the international donor registry (for more information, see After the BMT, we didn’t get to see her at all for over a year – kids carry too many germs for BMT patients. That year was hard for my mom and her caretakers; it was a year full of IVs, too many days in the ICU, too many trips to the ER, a heart attack, lots of boredom, and at the very end, a broken hip. But at the end, once her leg healed, she was doing okay. 

She did okay for about two years, other than being susceptible to every virus that went around, and developing graft-versus-host disease  in her eyes, which made it hard for her to read and to be outside on sunny days. She was doing so well that her BMT specialist at the University of Michigan Cancer Center told her she could come out of retirement and return to her job as a school social worker. She was definitely healthy enough to care for her granddaughter while her second grandchild was born, while I recovered after his arrival by c-section. 

Yet a month after my son's arrival, without any warning she developed septicemia. She was unconscious by the time the ambulance arrived to rush her to the hospital, and couldn’t even be stabilized sufficiently to get a CT scan. She passed away about 24 hours after being admitted. I am ever grateful that she was not in pain, and that she was unaware that she was so ill.

I realize that this sounds like a lot of doom and gloom for a celebration. I march in her memory, and in the hopes that research will continue so other families have hope when faced with such grim diagnoses. Truly -- I miss her every day and my heart will always break over this loss -- but the fact that she made it for two fairly healthy years after recovering from the BMT is a scientific achievement worth celebrating! My mom celebrated science, and would be marching on April 22 if she were still here (though likely in the Ann Arbor sister march).  Even now, despite my broken heart, I still celebrate science for the miracle of that BMT that kept her with us for those two years. Without that, I wouldn’t have this most precious of photos to share with my son, and my daughter wouldn’t have her special memories of her last visit with her grandma.

Kristin Moilanen
Morgantown, WV

Penny Dacks

Why I celebrate science…

For Frances Letts, my grandma, lost to dementia.

For Pamela Bunte, my sister-in-laws mother, lost to multiple systems atrophy.

For Rocky Hoff, my best friend’s father, lost to frontotemporal dementia.

For Toby Levy, my husband’s grandmother, lost to vascular dementia.

For Marina Cholanian, a friend and brilliant neuroscientist who happens to have epilepsy.

Years ago, I decided to dedicate my career to science because medicine still had too little to offer these people. There are so many unanswered questions and we need the answers to conquer these diseases. And we can conquer these diseases. After 6 years of PhD training, 1 year of postdoctoral training, 5 years at the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, and now at the American Epilepsy Society, I am intimately aware of the frustrations, challenges, and roadblocks on the paths to cures.

We can conquer these diseases if we work together and strive to be better. Government-funded scientists cannot do it alone, often lacking the training and resources to take a discovery all the way to the clinic. Industry scientists cannot do it alone, lacking the incentive to invest in high-risk innovation, particularly for those cures that cannot promise large profits. There are ways to improve the system to make the research more efficient and effective. The scientists that I have met along my journey have a commitment to helping patients and to seeking truth that gives me hope and courage. And when I kiss my children goodnight, I do so with the knowledge that one day, when it is their time to grow old, medicine will have answers for them. I will not give up.

Penny Dacks
Morgantown, West Virginia