School of Science and Engineering

The Harrington STEM Lectures

The School of Science and Engineering hosts this series of lectures on major topics of current scientific interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). These lectures, each designed for a general scientific audience, are given by recognized scholars from around the country. The public is cordially invited to these lectures at no charge. 

John Harrington was the founding dean of the SUNY New Paltz School of Science & Engineering. This lecture series honors his years of dedication to science, education and collaboration across the STEM disciplines.

All lectures take place in Science Hall, Room 181, unless otherwise indicated. Lectures are recorded and videos are posted on our past lectures page, usually within 24 hrs. 

Fall Harrington STEM Lecture Series
Science Hall Room 181
Reception 4:30 p.m. | Lecture 5 p.m. 

Tuesday, October 24, 2023
"The Appalachians and How They Got That Way: One Billion Years of Earth History Beneath our Feet"
Maureen Long, Ph.D.
Bruce D. Alexander ’65 Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences
Yale University
The geology of eastern North America records a fascinating history of fundamental plate tectonic processes, including subduction, volcanism, mountain building, erosion, the accretion of various geologic terranes, and continental rifting and breakup. This history is reflected in the bedrock geology that we see at the surface; however, the deep structure of the crust and uppermost mantle beneath our feet also holds clues to the processes that have affected eastern North America over the past billion years. While the deep Earth is not directly accessible to us, it can be studied using seismic waves from distant earthquakes that sample the rocks beneath our feet. In this talk, I will introduce the methods that seismologists use to image the crust and upper mantle and will discuss what we have learned about the deep structure beneath the present-day Appalachian Mountains as well as how it informs our views of plate tectonic history and processes. 

Tuesday, November 14
"Immunology or Molecular Biology? Insights Into Cytosolic DNA Sensing"
Brianne Barker, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Chair, Biology Department
Drew University
Cytosolic DNA sensors including cGAS, IFI16, and AIM2 have been shown to be key innate immune mediators of antiviral responses. The ability of these proteins to bind genomic or mitochondrial DNA from damaged cells as well as pathogen DNA raises questions about these proteins in cellular homeostasis as well as innate immunity. In this talk, data relating to the regulation of innate immune DNA sensors and the roles of these sensors in diverse cellular processes will be described.