James Gentile

 October 5, 2012   1-2pm  reception to follow

Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science auditorium

Solving Complex Questions in Science through Innovation and Interdisciplinary Collaboration

Science advances in two fundamental ways, both valuable in their own right: incrementally -- with new projects building upon the results of previous studies; and dramatically -- with the application of radically different approaches or interpretations resulting in the creation of new paradigms or new scientific fields. It's the latter approach that transforms science, creates new industries, and redefines economies. As science has become more complex, there is too often a tendency for scientific inquiry to become increasingly segmented within designated disciplinary cones of knowledge. But, it's when teams of scientists from different disciplines come together, combining areas of expertise in new ways and challenging each other to contemplate new paradigms that innovation, and scientific breakthroughs, becomes more likely. Encouraging intellectual risk-taking and dialog among scientists from different disciplinary backgrounds is crucial to solving some of the most complex questions of our times. And infusing our science curricula with interdisciplinary opportunities for learning is necessary to best prepare future scientists for the exciting opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. In this seminar we will explore how high risk-high reward research questions can be best addressed, through collaboration, in the laboratory and in the classroom.



 James M. Gentile is President of Research Corporation for Science Advancement, located in Tucson, AZ. He obtained a bachelor's degree from St. Mary's University, MN, a M.S. and Ph.D. from Illinois State University and he spent two years in postdoctoral studies in the Department of Human Genetics at the Yale University School of Medicine. He held a named professorship at Hope College (Holland, MI) in Biology, served as the departmental chair in Biology, and held the position of Dean of the Sciences during his 29 years at the institution.   He currently holds Adjunct Professorships at the University of Arizona (Chemistry) and Hope College (Biology).

He has held, or currently holds, numerous national/international leadership positions. In Arizona he is a member of several Boards including the University of Arizona College of Science, the Biosphere2, the University of Arizona Cancer Center, the Loft Cinema, and the Southern Arizona Leadership Council. Nationally he is a member of the Board for the State of Maine Biomedical Research Initiative and is a past Co-Chairperson of the National Academies Summer Institutes for Education in Biology. He is also a former member of both the State of Michigan Hazardous Waste Site Review Board and US EPA Science Advisory Board as well advisory boards for NIOSH, NSF and NIH. He served on both the NRC Committee on Undergraduate Science Education and NAS Life Science Board, where he had a leadership role in the preparation of the highly praised publication Biology 2010: Transforming Undergraduate Education for Future Research Biologists. More recently he was appointed to the National Science Board Commission on science education and the American Association of Colleges & Universities Leadership Council for Liberal Education.

He is a past-President of the North American Environmental Mutagen Society and also the International Association of Environmental Mutagen Societies as well as the past Editor-in-Chief for the international journal Mutation Research. He is a former Governor for the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research, a past Council member for the Council on Undergraduate Research, and a founding member of the Executive Committee for Project Kaleidoscope. He has been, or continues as, a consultant to numerous national and international public and private colleges, universities, and foundations and corporations.

Among his many awards he has received the Alexander Hollaender Research Excellence Award from the Environmental Mutagen Society, the Cancer Medallion of the Japanese National Cancer Institute, and the Science Medal of Distinction of Pisa, Italy. He is an AAAS Fellow, a National Associate of the National Academies of Sciences, and a National Academies Education Mentor. He was also honored by Illinois State University with an Alumni Achievement Award and election to the university Hall of Fame, and was given a Special Achievement Award by the Council on Undergraduate Research.

His research programs have focused on plant-activation of environmental carcinogens and on the connection between inflammation and cancer.  He has been program director for numerous grants from the public and private sectors to support his own research as well as institutional education and research. Dr. Gentile has had the opportunity to work with over 125 undergraduate students in collaborative research in his laboratory and has authored and co-authored more150 research articles, book chapters, book reviews, Huffington Post Blogs and special reports in areas of scientific research and higher education.