History of Science & Technology

Michigan Academician, Spring 2013 | Go to article overview

History of Science & Technology


An Overview of the History of the Scientific Study of Obesity Measures and Standards. Rose M. Lange, Saginaw Valley State University

The incidence of obesity in the U.S. is at epidemic levels (CDC, 2009). Currently, over 34 percent of US Adults have a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30 (CDC, 2007). This statistic equates to over 72 million obese Americans (CDC, 2007). Is the current Body Mass Index measure presenting a clear picture of obesity in the United States? This presentation provides an historical accounting of obesity measurements and standards with emphasis on the effects these measures have on society's perception of obesity, health, and wellbeing. Alternative measures of ideal body weight and lean body weight will be presented.

Comics, Community Murals and Software Development. Michael R. Mosher, Saginaw Valley State University

This paper examines how San Francisco throughout the 1990s was the site of an interlocked nexus of technology, publication and site-specific painted art. Like all aspects of the design field, the spread of personal computers affected the comic book industry and its aesthetics. In California, the comics medium influenced both the development of the graphic user interface on computer desktops, as well as the painting on neighborhood walls. Finally, the Web boom in the San Francisco Bay Area had a significant economic and sociological effect on its arts and artists.

From Philadelphia to Gleevec[TM]: the History of a Chromosome. Rosalyn M. Sweeting, Saginaw Valley State University

Philadelphia gave its name to the first specific chromosome abnormality associated with a type of human malignancy. It was from here, in 1960, that Peter Nowell and David Hungerford first reported that chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is associated with the presence of a small chromosome, subsequently known as the Philadelphia chromosome. In the early 1970s it was shown to be the product of a reciprocal translocation between chromosomes 9 and 22. Molecular studies revealed this involved the c-ABL gene on chromosome 9 and the BCR gene on chromosome 22, producing a fusion gene on the derivative chromosome 22 of the 5' region of BCR with the 3' region of the c-ABL gene. The presence of this fusion gene is used to diagnose CML, to monitor disease progression and the efficacy of drug treatment. The protein product of the fusion gene has elevated tyrosine kinase activity which has been directly linked to the development of CML. This led to the production of GleevecTM , a tyrosine kinase inhibitor, the first drug to directly turn off the signal of a protein known to cause a specific human malignancy. Treatment with GleevecTM has improved the overall survival of patients with CML.

Something More Than a Mere Vision: On the Origins of the Organization for Tropical Studies at the University of Michigan. Jonathan Hagood, Hope College

Since 1963, the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) has successfully operated field stations in Costa Rica to support research by faculty and students from its member colleges and universities. While both OTS as an institution and OTS alumni as individuals have a firm grasp of its institutional history, little is known about the unique role that biologists at the University of Michigan (UM) played in the formation of OTS. This study recovers the antecedents to and early history of OTS through an examination of the OTS Archives at UM's Bentley Historical Library. An analysis of these records reveals that UM's interest in a field research station in the American tropics preceded the formation of OTS by fifteen years, that Costa Rica was not the first serious candidate for a field station site, and that the commitment of OTS to interdisciplinary research had roots in UM's dedication to operating a station that would draw the interest of faculty from many departments. …

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