Annual Women’s Health Forum and Research Showcase
Dr. Hannah M. Cates will present “Using the Central Dogma to Study Addiction” as the keynote address of the seventh annual Austin College Women’s Health Forum and Student Research Showcase on Thursday, December 3 at 4:30 p.m. Her presentation will be open to the Austin College community via Zoom. Others interested in the presentation should contact Dr. Lance Barton, professor of biology and coordinator of the forum, for possible admission to the limited event. This forum is made possible through a grant from the Discovery Foundation.
Dr. Cates is an assistant professor of biology at Adelphi University in New York, where she studies the epigenetic role of long non-coding RNA in the development and expression of substance use disorders.
Cates grew up in Texas and is a 2011 graduate of Austin College, with her majors in biology and Spanish. At Austin College, she performed research on second messenger cascades involved in cellular response to lithium, a common treatment for bipolar disorder. She then attended graduate school in New York City at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, where she received the Hausfeld Award for the Outstanding Graduate Student in Neuroscience. Her thesis work focused on the transcriptional and epigenetic regulation of addictive behaviors in mice. She earned her Ph.D. in neuroscience in 2016 and completed postdoctoral research in two labs. Her postdoctoral work focused on understanding the noncoding regions of the genome and how they are expressed in the brain.
The forum began seven years ago as an opportunity to showcase the work Barton’s students were doing in course-based research in the fall and to engage the community in discussions of topics relevant to women’s cancer and health, which Barton quickly points out affects everyone.
“Over the years the session has steadily increased in scope and scale from only five or six posters that first year to include presenters from biology, psychology, public health, chemistry, and leadership studies represented by almost 80 posters throughout the years,” Barton said. “In 2019, we hosted a very successful event that included not only research but also community engagement through education and outreach tables. Obviously a pandemic puts a damper on large in-person events, but we wanted to keep the energy and enthusiasm moving forward with a virtual event that includes a special speaker from New York, something that might not be possible to accomplish if we were still in person.”
Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, Austin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with more than 50 percent of students identifying as persons of color. The residential student body of approximately 1,300 students and more than 100 expert faculty members allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. Related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA), Austin College cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. The College, founded in 1849, is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.