GCU talks desert plants, virtual reality at conference
GCU News Bureau
Faculty and students from Grand Canyon University‘s College of Science, Engineering and Technology spoke about desert plants, virtual reality, artificial intelligence and more at the American Scientific Affiliation national conference July 26-30 in Wenham, Mass.
The annual meeting featured distinguished guest speakers such as Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, noted for his landmark leadership of the Human Genome Project, as well as noteworthy scientists, theologians, business delegates and students from various countries.
The conference highlighted the theme “Bioethics and Biotechnology” and included the following CSET contributions:
— Dr. Daisy Savarirajan presented a poster on “Microbiology Through the Lens of the Bible: Antimicrobial Products From Sonoran Desert Plants.” She also was an early career track speaker on “Don’t Leave Undergrad Without It: Wisdom for Thriving in Science” that concluded with a speed mentoring session for undergraduate students.
— With GCU-ASA being declared the largest chapter in the nation, Savarirajan and Zachary Merhavy were invited to participate in the “Local Chapters Seminar” and share their experiences
about successful initiation and sustenance of local chapters.
— Dr. Ramesh Velupillaimani presented his research work in collaboration with Arizona State University on “God’s Solar Cells: Light-Harvesting Role of β-carotene in the Photosystem I of Eukaryotic Chlamydomonas Reinhardtii Cells.” His students, Merhavy and Cheney Huls, presented their undergraduate research work on the “Antibacterial Activity of Selected Plants From Southwest USA.”
— Dr. Isac Artzi, Associate Professor & Computer Science Program Lead, offered an oral presentation on “Interacting with the Bible Using Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality.” This initiative is innovative on multiple fronts: (a) it engages undergraduate students in advanced cross-disciplinary research; (b) it offers an opportunity for harmonious collaboration among science, faith and history; and (c) it enables interaction with the text and characters in their biblical context.
The American Scientific Affiliation is a community of Christians who are scientists, engineers and scholars in related fields such as history of science, philosophy of science and science education.