Date: Monday, February 5

Time: 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p. m.

Location: Holiday Inn, Bozeman

As a graduate student, Blake Wiedenheft studied the viruses that thrive in the boiling acid environments of Yellowstone National Park, a line of research that helped uncover an adaptive immune response in bacteria fighting off viruses. Findings related to this research have led rapidly to new technologies for “surgically” repairing defective genes that can cause genetic diseases. Participants in this Side Trip will hear fascinating stories about this and related research efforts, and gain an understanding of how and why this new technique works and what it may mean for our future.

Presenter: Blake Wiedenheft

WiedenheftBlake Wiedenheft is an assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at MSU, and recent winner of a Presidential Early Career Award. He earned a PhD from MSU in 2006 and then moved to Berkeley, California, where he served as a Howard Hughes Fellow of the Life Science Research Foundation at UC-Berkeley. His research focuses on understanding the mechanisms that viruses use to manipulate their hosts and the counter defense systems that microbes employ to defend themselves from infection.

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Kathryn Earley 2When my husband and I were looking for our place to retire, one of the places we visited was Bozeman.  While we were here we went to the library, where I happened to pick up a Wonderlust brochure.  Here was university-quality instruction by experts in a huge number of subjects.  No homework, no exams, no papers, just a chance to learn new things or review things we’d already studied.  It was also an opportunity to meet people with a wide variety of interests.  I was hooked! Over the past several years, I’ve come to feel strongly about supporting this valuable community resource for lifelong learning, and fortunately there’s a community of dedicated volunteers who feel the same way.

This past year was our first as Friends of MSU Wonderlust, whose mission is to support and promote MSU Wonderlust.  We’ve contributed funds to getting a new projector at Hope Lutheran Church, where many of our classes are held, and to Gallatin Community Radio, which broadcasts many of our Friday Forums.  We’re also sponsors of and taking part in Active Aging Week and the Prime Age 50+ Expo.

In January Friends will sponsor the MSU Wonderlust reception.  Join us at the Country Bookshelf on January 9, 5 pm – 7 pm, where you can meet instructors and other people interested in learning.  

Kathryn Earley, President of Friends of Wonderlust