It is so much fun to have the opportunity to sample the smorgasbord of talent at our University.

The Roads Scholars Academy held last week for friends and alumni of WVU in Florida was such an opportunity.

Here is a sampling.

George Spirou

George Spirou, Ph.D., who directs our Center for Neuroscience, did a great job exploring many facets of the human brain. He touched on diverse array of issues related to neuroscience. Some are new clinical interventions, such as deep brain stimulation. Others are fascinating new areas of research opportunity, like defining the connections within the human brain and studying how areas of the brain regenerate after injury.

Bill Petros, Pharm.D., the interim director of the WVU Cancer Institute, presented work on genetically-targeted therapy to precisely kill cancer cells and immune therapy to augment our bodies’ existing systems to fight cancer.

Bill Petros

Importantly, he also talked about preventing cancer -- and focused on age, obesity and smoking as critical factors in cancer.

I recently blogged that eating differently (less sugar) and exercising more (12,000 steps a day) could reduce obesity and increase your life-span.

Well, it also may reduce your risk of cancer.

Two other talks I loved (besides our great president and terrific students) were the talk about supply chain management from business professor John Saldanha, Ph.D. and a very powerful presentation by Lois Raimondo of WVU’s Reed College of Media called Fractured Spaces.

John Saldanha

John talked about how logistics and managing inventory can be quantified monetarily and socially. An interesting issue that came up is that trust between suppliers and customers creates resilience for the supply chain – culture counts in supply chain management, too.

Lois presented a set of stories she told in pictures of battered areas of the world and the people she got to know and to love. She shared that at one time, her driver identified a bomb in the trunk of the car she was in and averted an explosion in the car that would have killed her. When she asked about this to a senior military official, she was told that foreign journalists were targeted in that area.

Lois Raimondo

Despite this danger, she was determined to tell the story of the people. That same official eventually pledged his life to protect her and she told the story. Upon her time to leave, she asked him how to say goodbye.

He told her that she had changed everything for him – journalists and America. He saw people, not only ideology.

She had given hope for the solider and gained hope in the world for herself.

Pretty good way to spend the day at the Roads Scholar Academy.