Current and former Parkland College students who took part in a scientific research program last summer will present their findings during the first of the season's James B. Kaler Science Lectures at the William M. Staerkel Planetarium next month.
Their talk, "Nature and Nurture: Examining How Diverse Organisms Adapt to Changes in their Everyday Environment," will take place Friday, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. Admission is $2 at the door with Friends of the Staerkel Planetarium admitted free of charge.
The students conducted research as part of the 2019 Phenotypic Plasticity Research Experience for Community College Students (PRECS) program, a collaboration between the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Parkland College and funded by the National Science Foundation. Phenotypic plasticity is a phenomenon in which changes in physical appearance or behavior occur in genes in response to environmental conditions.
Current Parkland student Isiah Ramos investigated the link between respiratory infections and the worsening of multiple sclerosis symptoms. Erinn Dady, a Parkland graduate and a current UIUC student, studied how plants responded to caterpillars eating their leaves and how their responses may be affected by the root associations they share with fungi. Parkland graduate Justina Lee, also a current UIUC student, monitored the impact of THC on rat behavior, specifically on their anxiety levels.
Following the presentation, the Staerkel Planetarium will show the fulldome feature, "Dark Matter Mystery" at 8 p.m. Tickets for regular programs range from $5 to $6 per person. For a full schedule, call the show hotline at 217/351-2446 or visit parkland.edu/planetarium.
[Image: Parkland students and alumni present research as part of Kaler Science Series.]