Professor Kara E. McCloskey will speak this week about cardiovascular stem cell engineering as part of the Modesto Area Partners in Science (MAPS) lecture series. The free talk will begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 30, in Sierra Hall 132 at Modesto Junior College’s West Campus. It’s open to anyone ages 12 and older.
McCloskey, a founding professor in the School of Engineering, uses stem cells to cultivate cardiac and vascular tissue aimed toward the creation of tissues that function just like those found in the body. In Friday’s presentation, she’ll cover the work of her research team and provide background on stem fundamentals, cell sourcing and various techniques for tissue engineering of cardiovascular materials.
“It’s exciting to share what our lab is doing and the practical applications of our research,” McCloskey said. “The field of regenerative medicine is still in its infancy, and opportunities for careers in this field will continue to grow.”
The purpose of the lecture series is to offer free science programs that allow the general public to interact with scientists and gain exposure to mind-expanding ideas.
For McCloskey, the mission is a little more personal — it’s an opportunity to show that tissue engineering is an emerging field with a need for scientists of both genders. According to a 2011 report by the U.S. Department of Commerce, women hold less than 25 percent of jobs available in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
“We still have a long way to go before high-quality cardiovascular tissue products hit the marketplace,” McCloskey said, adding that a diverse STEM workforce is crucial to innovation. “We need more minds in the field to make that happen, but the first step is to communicate that need.”