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President's column.

"To Build A Cathedral Takes Many Stones"--Anonymous

The 66th Annual Meeting of the Mississippi Academy of Sciences (MAS) was a huge success, due in large part to the very generous and efficient work of so many of you. Let me start by thanking all of you for attending the meeting and for working at the many tasks (both obvious and less visible) which make a meeting run smoothly! First I should like to recognize and thank the University of Southern Mississippi for sponsoring this year's meeting. We are deeply indebted to Don Cotten and to Steve Doblin for their support of the Academy both this year and in years past. Next, I should like to mention and personally thank a few of the people who have given me so much help during my year as your president. My thanks go to Bill Lushbaugh, John Boyle, and Rob Rockhold for giving me great advice, helping me with the nuts and bolts of running the Academy, keeping us solvent, and writing what has to be the best and also most amusing job descriptions for the various committee chairs that have ever been put on paper! Specia l thanks to Ken Curry for doing such a great job as editor of the Journal of the Mississippi Academy of Sciences and to Ann Curry for doing beautiful photography and art work for the journal. And my thanks go to Bob Bateman who has already raised the support and made arrangements for us to have next year's meeting in Hattiesburg. We understand that he will be king of the shuttle bus detail... Very special thanks go to Cynthia Huff who answered every e-mail message, took the minutes for the meetings, and steadily and efficiently arranged a multitude of details including preparing hundreds of registration packets and staffing the registration desk.

Thanks go to: a) Hamed Benghuzzi and Clifford Ochs for serving on the board of directors, b) Sarah McGuire for chairing the Awards and Resolutions Committee, c) Maria Begonia and Ibrahim Farah for running the Membership Drive, d) Betsy Sullivan for running the Mississippi Junior Academy of Sciences (MJAS), e) Steve Case and Joan Messer for serving as our link to AAAS/NAAS and the American Junior Academy of Sciences (AJAS), f) Gordon Cannon for running the annual elections and Bill Lushbaugh for taking charge of nominations, g) John Boyle and Ken Curry for being in charge of the abstracts and the program, h) Marcy Petrini for her fabulous job as coordinator of the exhibits, i) Marie Danforth for her excellent job of publicizing the meeting and Rob Rockhold for being in charge of local arrangements, j) Deanna Buckley and Jeff Stafford for organizing and setting up 70 plus easels and poster boards....no mean feat believe me...., and k) Julia and Tom Lytle for finding the wayward (lost) easels and poster boards f or us. Last but by no means least let me thank all of the division chairs and vice chairs and all the others who helped to make this year and this meeting such a great success. We are all truly grateful to you and only my incipient old age and failing memory prevents me from thanking each of you personally. Trust me each of you has laid a stone which collectively has and continues to build the edifice which we call the Mississippi Academy of Sciences. Thank you!

This year's meeting was held in Biloxi where over 600 members participated in the symposia, exhibits, and paper and poster presentations. Special presentations/symposia were offered in the following areas: a) Structure Visualization in Biochemistry Education: Seeing is Believing (Robert Bateman), b) Protection of Human Subjects: The Expanding Roles of the Institutional Review Board (Reid Jones, Georgene Clark, and Jane Weare), and c) Mississippi Center for Supercomputing Research (MCSR) User Advisory Group Meeting (David Roach, and Germana Peggion). And of course, the highlight of the meeting was the Dodgen Lecture. This year's presentation was entitled "Vaccine Controversies: Past and Present" and was given by Dr. Stephanie Cave of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Dr. Cave is a physician, practicing in Baton Rouge where she treats over 1500 autistic children. Autism and autistic spectrum disease is an exponentially growing pathology among American and foreign children. Dr. Cave and her associate Dr. Amy Holmes recogn ized that American children receive high levels of ethylmercury in a number of vaccines leading to the neurologic symptoms of autism spectrum disorder. This led them to develop both a protocol for removing the metal from autistic children and a schedule for safely vaccinating children. Dr. Cave has testified in a Congressional hearing on mercury in vaccines (July 2000) and has recently published a book entitled What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Children's Vaccinations. Those of us who were privileged to hear Dr. Cave's lecture will not forget the compelling picture she offered us of children with serious language and behavioral disabilities, live red measles virus in their guts, and blood mercury levels that were many times higher than the EPA safe limit (for a brief review see the short paper by Dr. Cave in this journal). Dr. Cave's presentation was insightful, provocative, and of profound importance to every parent, educator, and healthcare giver. As a clinical chemist/biochemist and great-aunt to an autistic spectrum child, I can only add three words to what Dr. Cave said: "Primum Non Nocere" First do no harm! I am extremely grateful to Dr. Cave for having shared with us her cutting edge work on autism spectrum disorder.

A review of the annual meeting would not be complete without mentioning the award recipients. The Academy traditionally recognizes outstanding accomplishments in three categories: a) service to the Academy, b) science teaching, and c) contributions to science. This year the Mississippi Academy of Sciences Dudley F. Peeler Award was given to Dr. Joan McCoy-Messer. She was recognized for her long term service to the Academy. Joan has served as a member of the MAS Board of Directors, was selected in 1996 as MAS Youth Activities Chair and Director of MJAS, and in 2000 as the national director of the American Junior Academy of Sciences. During her tenure as the MJAS director, she increased the number of students participating in the state junior academy (MJAS), and she increased the attendance of MJAS delegates at the national junior academy (AJAS) annual meeting. Additionally, Joan has published 6 articles, 40 abstracts, and had 10 funded grant proposals, many of which involved helping students in her biology cla sses at Jones County Junior College. Her accomplishments on behalf of Mississippi science students are unprecedented and will impact the students, MJAS, and MAS for years to come. The 2002 Mississippi Academy of Sciences Outstanding Secondary Science Teacher Award was presented to Ms Cynthia Kaye Cook. Cynthia is currently a teacher at Murrach High School where she is certified to teach ALL science disciplines. She has been the lead teacher at Murrach for the Base Pair program, a program funded through the Howard Hughes Medical Institute which pairs high school students with research scientists at the University Medical Center. She teaches the introductory course for the program, where her students not only gain an understanding of biotechnology and its applications, but also gain skills in working with electronic databases, and the tools of biomedical research. Cynthia is well-respected among her colleagues as a leader. She is a founding member of the Mississippi Association of Biology Educators and a contri butor to Mississippi Resource Guide: Cell and Molecular Biology- a resource book for teachers. Her efforts with students are tireless. A testament to her abilities as a teacher are the accomplishments of one student, who received a 1st place research award at the 21st meeting of the Southeastern Pharmacology Society in 2000-in competition with senior medical and graduate students. The Academy presented to Dr. Timothy J. Ward the Mississippi Academy of Sciences 2002 Outstanding Contributions to Science Award. Timothy teaches at Millsaps College and has made a major impact in furthering the cause of science in all three categories of the award. He has a national/international reputation in advances in chemical separations of pharmaceutical enantiomers, and has authored over 22 papers in national/international journals, half of which are co-authored with undergraduate students. He has given numerous invited lectures and workshops at national and international meetings. In 2001, he was selected as Chemist of the Year by the Mississippi Chapter of the American Chemical Society. He is active in education at all levels. He was selected for a HEAD WAE Award (Higher education appreciation day-working for academic excellence) in 2000. He has been involved in summer camps for K-8 and high school teachers, and has co-authored numerous science teaching modules. The Academy is happy to recognize Timothy for his impact in furthering science in the areas of research, teaching, and education. (1)

The past year has been an interesting one to say the least. We have been thrilled by the advent of new gene therapy for hemophilliacs, and saddened by the death of our friend and MAS board member, Dr. Johnnie Marie Whitfield (see the Memorial elsewhere in this journal). We extend our condolences to her family and friends. We watched in horror the events of September 11th, and applauded the courage and resolve of so many in the face of this disaster. At the state level, we saw budgets slashed and educators try to do more with less.... And I am reminded of the magnificent cathedral of my childhood (Lausanne, Switzerland) which was built one stone at a time, during a time of adversary, by people who believed in its value. Today I tell my students that I am proud to be an American, a Mississippian, and a member of the Mississippi Academy of Sciences because I believe in their value. I thank all the members of MAS for your generous support during the past year and I have been truly honored to serve as your preside nt. I look forward to serving the Academy in the future and assisting our President-elect (Dr. Robert Bateman) as he assumes the leadership role. I wish each of you the very best of years !--Margot

(1.) Excerpted from the report written by Dr. Sarah Lea McGuire.
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Author:Hall, Margot
Publication:Journal of the Mississippi Academy of Sciences
Article Type:Transcript
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2002
Words:1713
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