Poverty is Sexist

For a science professor, it is a lot of fun to write about nonscience topics occasionally, such as about squirrels or making life fair for women. And the reason that I’m doing so here is because it is a matter of life, as I will explain below. I do not need to write a lot, but rather I am glad to point out the excellent campaign entitled “Poverty is Sexist” that is underway through ONE (“join the fight against extreme poverty”), cf. https://www.one.org/us/

I have been a member of ONE for several years and love the chance to be active to encourage major thought- and action-leaders to take the plight of the poorest of the poor into consideration. Now, I am well aware that Mississippi is considered one of the poorest states in USA (this Wikipedia webpage, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_income, lists it dead last according to 2014 stats), yet it should be categorized as prosperous compared to the 25th poorest country in Africa (http://www.africanvault.com/poorest-countries-in-africa/ lists Chad’s 2014 per capita GDP at ~$1000 USD). And when it comes to extreme poverty, females from in utero to babies through childhood and into adulthood suffer more than males. Imagine actually enjoying school and not being able to attend (

130 million girls are out of school.

).

It is exciting that my University of Mississippi will have a ONE chapter and that I have been asked to be the faculty advisor. The university, that great institution which has been around for centuries and that has such potential, often unrealized, to be a force for good, can help with education, including pointing us to get outside ourselves and our own daily miseries and miniseries to see the needs of others–which may be more pressing than our own. I, motivated by my steadfast commitment to Christ and his concern for the poor, can work through ONE with others who are motivated by their religion or humanitarian concerns or logical mind or raw compassion or rebel instinct or their own experiences of suffering … to help end extreme poverty and preventable disease. https://www.one.org/us/about/ lists some of the organization’s major accomplishments, that I have been a part of, including “Helping secure at least $37.5 billion in funding for historic health initiatives, including the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.” That adds approximately an infinite amount of impact compared to my own modest attempts, recounted in my publications page (http://www.robertjdoerksen.com/?page_id=35), to research medications for malaria or hepatitis B or vaginal infections.

But, finally, think about all that is great about life: not merely surviving but thriving, not simply “not dead yet” but able to use our educated minds and having a hope. That’s what I want for myself, and why should limited access to education (at any level) and opportunity (e.g., read http://www.nature.com/news/inequality-quantified-mind-the-gender-gap-1.12550) be able selectively to hurt the chances of the females of the species to experience life to its fullest?

So, get ready for International Women’s Day 2017: https://act.one.org/sign/international-womens-day-2017/?source=homepage Take action and help to ameliorate injustices one step at a time!

 

Times Change

It has been an exciting summer of research. Times change. Research group members depart and new ones arrive. What a thrill it is to play a role in the advancement of the careers of such an excellent collection of researchers! Here is our end-of-summer group photo, and by next week the membership of the group will–all-too-soon–change again.

Doerksen Research Group Summer 2016

Doerksen Research Group Summer 2016: From Left, Zachary Cuny, Dr. Doerksen, Nick Walker, Emily Lewis, Dr. Pankaj Pandey

How can I contribute to the Global Goals?

Bloggers around the world are commenting on two key updates today (Sept 25, 2015): The Global Goals, described at http://www.globalgoals.org/ and elsewhere were officially adopted today by the United Nations. Regarding the Global Goals:

  • World Leaders have committed to 17 Global Goals to achieve 3 extraordinary things in the next 15 years. End extreme poverty. Fight inequality and injustice. Fix climate change. The Global Goals for sustainable development could get these things done. In all countries. For all people.

E.g. A video that explains about the 17 goals: https://youtu.be/xxYUw51xDc4 and a wonderful video on Home: https://youtu.be/7GjLa5kfDfA is also available from the globalgoals site.

It is remarkable and laudable that countries can agree to work together for these commendable aims.

Secondly, today is World Pharmacists Day http://www.fip.org/worldpharmacistsday

May all pharmacists (and pharmacy educators) do their part to make the world a better place for all! Our hard-fought victories in the research lab and in the classroom are actually contributing or preparing us to contribute substantively to the Global Goals.

100K New Research Students Here at University of Mississippi!

Welcome to two new undergraduate research students, who will arrive at University of Mississippi on Monday, July 20, 2015: Ennia Ferreira, rising senior student in Chemical Engineering at Western Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESO) in Guadalajara, Mexico (http://www.iteso.mx/), and Estefanía Aburto, senior student in Pharmacobiological Chemistry at Universidad La Salle in Mexico City, Mexico (http://www.lasalle.mx/). They are both members of a group about 10+ students coming to University of Mississippi as summer research scholars a part of the Comexus (www.comexus.org.mx) Summer Research Internship program, which itself is part of the 100K Strong Americas (www.100kstrongamericas.org) program designed to help 100K students from the Americas have a research and educational experience in USA. It is essential to give as many students as possible a chance to experience research and see if that can help entice them to a career in Science/Technology, so this is a great program.

Tree Squirrel

Life is complex. Sometimes to appreciate it, you have to pause, look outside your office window and notice the wild aspects of it around you! After 11 years with this view, in fact the view is not the same and currently there are some particularly charming tenants on that there branch!

Can you see the squirrel? Can you see the tree?

Can you see the Grove? Can you see the squirrel? Can you see the tree?

IMG_0469

Grove/Squirrel/Tree Zoomd!

Research Group Lunch

The essence of camaraderie in the science research group…the group meal, in this case at Ajax on the Square in Oxford! Yes, this is our research group as of June 2015, though Veena Gadepalli and Caleb Ezell were not able to be there. The Urban Dictionary (I do not recommend it) has an interesting definition of “camaraderie” but I prefer a more heartfelt one, that we are comrades in our efforts to fight human disease and increase scientific knowledge!

Research Group Lunch June 2015: From left: Dr. Kuldeep Roy, Pankaj Pandey, Shuneize Slater, Manal Nael, Cameron Lee, Valerie Huang, Ngoc Nguyen, Dr. Robert Doerksen

Research Group Lunch June 2015: From left: Dr. Kuldeep Roy, Pankaj Pandey, Shuneize Slater, Manal Nael, Cameron Lee, Valerie Huang, Ngoc Nguyen, Dr. Robert Doerksen

Welcome to my research group to Ngoc Nguyen, a rising senior student at University of Mississippi who is part of the NIH COBRE CORE-NPN Summer Undergraduate Research Program for 2015.

http://www.olemiss.edu/cobre/SUMMER%20UNDERGRADUATE.html

Neuroscience Minor

I have recently been added as a faculty member for University of Mississippi’s Neuroscience Minor. It has been my privilege to do research in the area of neuroscience (it is about drugs potentially applicable to a wide variety of neurological diseases), to supervise students who are in the Neuroscience Minor (such as Honors student Caleb Ezell) and to teach courses that are part of the Neuroscience Minor (such as MEDC 416: Intro to the Principles of Med Chem I).

Here is the official description of the program:

http://catalog.olemiss.edu/liberal-arts/neurosci-min

Here is a University of Mississippi news release about the first University of Mississippi Neuroscience Research Showcase:

http://news.olemiss.edu/students-present-range-studies-neuroscience-research-showcase/#.VWrA0EaZp2x

UMMC Annual Neuroscience Research Day

A great time at University of Mississippi Medical Center on Friday, May 30, 2015 to explore possible neuroscience research collaborations! Here is Dr. Kuldeep Roy’s poster, “Utilizing multiple GPCR templates for modeling of cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors in their active states,” KK Roy; P Pandey; RJ Doerksen. Funding acknowledgement: University of Mississippi’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) Center of Research Excellence in Natural Products Neuroscience (CORE-NPN) Phase II. “CORE-NPN: Rational Design of Novel Natural Product-Derived Cannabinoid Ligands.” P20GM104932.

Dr. Kuldeep Roy poster.

Dr. Kuldeep K. Roy presents some of his research.