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President’s Lecture Series

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Dr. Mary J.C. Hendrix, president of Shepherd University, has created this lecture series as part of the Lifelong Learning Program. The lectures are free to the public with advanced registration as seating is limited.


Lectures will be virtual via YouTube. Email Karen Rice, to reserve a seat.

Nobel Prize Topics

January 25  |  6:30 p.m.

Shepherd University faculty and an alumnus will discuss the topics of the 2020 Nobel Prize winning awards

Dr. Zachary Grimes ’12,  Medicine or Physiology: Discovery of the Hepatitis C Virus

Dr. Grimes is an instructor and pathologist at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He completed his residency at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He was part of the research group at Mount Sinai Hospital that has completed one of the largest autopsy series on COVID-19 patients. He studied medicine at West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine and is a 2012 graduate of Shepherd University and a Joseph McMurran Scholar, Shepherd’s highest academic honor.

Dr. James Pate, Literature: Poetry

Dr. Pate is assistant professor of English at Shepherd University. He received his doctorate degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Pate attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and received his M.F.A. and his Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Arts in English from the University of Memphis. He was nominated for the Pushcart Prize by Spoon River Poetry Review and has been a fellow for the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts from 2015-2018. He has published numerous books, fiction and poetry.

Dr. Kathleen Reid, Economics: Improvements to Auction Theory

Dr. Reid is Professor of Economics, Chair of the Department of Economics and Finance, and Associate Dean of the College of Business. Professor Reid received her B.S. in Mathematics from the State University of New York at Plattsburg and her Ph.D. in Economics from the Pennsylvania State University. She has been a faculty member at Shepherd University since August 1983 teaching courses in Business Statistics, Quantitative Methods, Microeconomic Theory, Urban Economics and Public Finance. Her research interests are in the areas of economic literacy and applied microeconomic theory. As Associate Dean, Professor Reid guided the College of Business through a successful reaffirmation of accreditation with the college’s accrediting body, IACBE, during the 2019-2020 academic year.

Dr. Burton Lidgerding, Chemistry: Development of the CRISPR-Cas9 Method for Genome Editing

Dr. Lidgerding was awarded his Ph.D. from Oregon State University in 1976; his field of study was cell physiology and then held a post-doctoral position at the University of Kentucky. From 1978 – 1986 he worked for the U. S. Fish and Wildlife as cell physiologist/virologist at the U. S. Fish and Wildlife National Fish Health Research Laboratory in Kearneysville. From 1986 – 1991 Dr. Lidgerding was Chief of the Cell Culture and Hybridoma Section at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Ft. Detrick in Frederick, Maryland. In 1991 Dr. Lidgerding accepted a position as an Assistant Professor of Biology at Shepherd University teaching Cell Biology, Principles of Biological Research, Immunology, Virology and General Biology. From 1993 through 2009 Dr. Lidgerding was Dean of the School of Natural Science and Mathematics at Shepherd University. Dr. Lidgerding retired from Shepherd University in 2015.

Dr. Jason Best, Physics: Improved Understanding of the Universe including work on Black Holes

Dr. Jason Best is the assistant provost for distance education and strategic research initiatives, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics, and the Observatory director at Shepherd University. A member of the Shepherd University faculty since 1997, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in astronomy/astrophysics from Indiana University and a Ph.D. in astronomy and astrophysics from The Pennsylvania State University.

Dr. Best’s research publications and presentations are in fields as diverse as galactic evolution, the large-scale structure of the universe, virtual reality, and the evolution of Renaissance cosmology. In addition, he has been awarded many research grants from federal and state agencies, has been featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Research section and in West Virginia Science & Research’s Neuron journal and Scientist Spotlight Video Series, has served as a grant reviewer and research referee for numerous national and international journals and agencies, and has been an invited speaker at numerous state, national, and international science conferences and events.

He has served on the national Council on Undergraduate Research’s Task Force on Integrating Research into the Curriculum and on the National Advisory Committee for the PRAXIS Earth and Space Sciences Examination, as president of the West Virginia Academy of Science, as a member of the Shepherd University Board of Governors, and as president of the university Faculty Senate. He was a member of the 2015-16 American Council on Education Fellows Class, focusing his fellowship project on research efforts at primarily undergraduate institutions. He was recently appointed to the Higher Learning Commission’s Peer Review Corps, and currently serves on the Shepherd University Foundation as both a board member and member of the Executive Committee, chairs the university Institutional Review Board and the university Research Policies Management Group, and serves as Shepherd’s accreditation liaison officer.

As part of a multiyear National Science Foundation-funded grant beginning in 2015, Dr. Best established the Shepherd hub of the Pulsar Search Collaboratory, an initiative designed to remotely teach high-school students across the nation to conduct research on data obtained by the Green Bank Telescope.


Historians on the Frontlines

February 15  |  6:30 p.m.

Jamie Dettmer

History has always been an argument about the past. History is not just a timeline of events, a straightforward set of facts. Even with the best will in the world, historians disagree as they try to reconstruct what happened in the past. But historians in parts of Europe now feel they are coming under unprecedented political pressure aimed at  intimidating, even silencing them…and not only in semi-authoritarian states. Why are some governments and political activists trying to get historians to subordinate their scholarly integrity to national or factional interest? Jamie Dettmer offers some snapshots in the battle over history.

Jamie Dettmer is a reporter and broadcaster covering Europe, the Middle East, and global affairs for Voice of America. Previously he was a foreign correspondent for Newsweek/Daily Beast in the Middle East and Europe. In recent years he has been variously based out of Rome, Moscow, Kyiv, London, Libya, Lebanon, and Turkey. He has had extended assignments on the frontlines—in Syria, Libya, Iraq, Lebanon, and Ukraine. He has reported on Europe’s migration influx, the rise and fall of the Islamic State jihadist group, Brexit, the emergence of political populism in Europe among other things.

After graduating from Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge, where he gained a B.A. and M.A. in history and English literature, Jamie began his career with the weekly Tribune newspaper and then joined Britain’s Sunday Telegraph newspaper to report on the House of Commons and Margaret Thatcher’s government. He went on to become a foreign correspondent for The Times of London and was variously the paper’s correspondent in Ireland, the U.S., and the Persian Gulf.

He has worked on the staff or as a contracted correspondent for more than a dozen newspapers, including the Scotsman, New York Sun, Irish Sunday Tribune, Irish Independent, Glasgow Herald, and the Canberra Times. His dispatches have appeared in dozens of other papers worldwide, including the Guardian. And he has headed news bureaus in Washington, D.C., Moscow, Belfast, and Kuwait. He has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, France 24, ABC, and the BBC. He was an associate producer for the BBC’s award-winning series The Spying


Precision Medicine Improves the Diagnosis and Treatment of Cancer

March 23  |  6:30 p.m.

Michael L. Nickerson, Ph.D.

The lecture about Precision Medicine seeks to increase public education about genetics, genomics, and sequencing to improve the diagnosis and treatment of disease including cancer. Participants will be informed about disease-associated genes and mutations, healthy and tumor genome characteristics, and how sequencing provides the basis for highly accurate disease diagnosis. Improved treatment of cancer using tumor genome sequencing demonstrates the advantage of matching therapeutic choice to patient-specific mutations. Recent clinical trials and FDA approvals will be reviewed, including Dr. Nickerson’s trials currently enrolling patients diagnosed with bladder cancer at the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Nickerson performed genetic analysis of patients and families diagnosed with cancer for more than 20 years as a scientist at the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health. He discovered several cancer associated genes, including the Birt-Hogg-Dube gene altered in patients diagnosed with Birt-Hogg-Dube Syndrome and kidney cancer, BRCA gene mutations in patients with bladder cancer, and TET2 gene mutations in patients with prostate cancer. Precision Medicine Consulting provides seminars to universities, medical centers, and communities, and assists patients and families with medical genetics options and outcomes.


For more information or to register, contact Karen Rice, director of Lifelong Learning, at or 304-876-5135.

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