5 Minute Genius talks: from electric fat to hibernation in tropics

Four people affiliated with the University of Maine are among those delivering 5 Minute Genius presentations 7:30-9:30 p.m. March 20 at the Bangor Arts Exchange, 193 Exchange St.

After each five-minute presentation about cutting-edge science at the Maine Science Festival Showcase Event, audience members are invited to ask questions for an additional 5 minutes. Kate Dickerson, founder and director of the MSF, will moderate the free, public event.

UMaine-connected presenters and their topics include:

Magda Blaszkiewicz: Electric Fat
During her doctoral dissertation work, Blaszkiewicz and UMaine professor Kristy Townsend learned that adipose tissue undergoes peripheral neuropathy (dying back of the nerves) under certain pathophysiological conditions. Blaszkiewicz co-founded Neuright, Inc. a startup academic spin-off from UMaine focused on creating and commercializing a novel medical device for early, sensitive diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy.

Patrick Breeding: There’s more to lobster than seafood 
Breeding, a biotechnology entrepreneur, co-founded Dermarus, a skincare company using proteins found in lobsters as the key ingredient in products for people suffering from eczema. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biomedical engineering at UMaine.

Caitlin Howell: Beyond the printer: using paper technology to solve challenges in access to medical diagnostics
Howell, a professor in bioengineering at UMaine, researches nature-inspired surfaces and interfaces to control of biological systems. Her work can be applied to medicine to reduce clot formation or onset of infection; to industry, to mitigate clogging of pipes; and to the home, to create self-cleaning materials.

Danielle Levesque: What we can learn from hibernation in the tropics?
Levesque, an assistant professor at UMaine, examines the evolutionary and ecological physiology of mammals (and the occasional bird) in relation to climate. She earned her doctorate from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa after living in a tent in Madagascar for a few years. 

Other presenters are listed on the MSF website. 

A reception will be held after this Maine Technology Institute-sponsored event. 

To see prior 5 Minute Genius talks, check out the YouTube channel. The Maine Science Festival brings Maine science to the public March 18–22, and celebrates science, engineering, technology and innovation that happens daily in the state.