Science Festival

First, choose your class period

Then take a look at our presentations below

Note, however, that enrollment ended on Nov 07, 2017.

Full Presentations

At the Leading Edge of Discovery: Finding New Ways to Treat Cancer

This presentation will cover education and training in the medical research field, the career paths available, and also an in-depth view of a career as an academic cancer researcher at a medical institution.


SpeakerAngelique Whitehurst, PhD

  • Education *Bachelors Degree (BA and BS) in Chemistry and Biochemistry from Virginia Tech. *PhD from UT-Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas (UTSW). *Professional Experience *Post-doctoral Fellowship at UTSW
    • Assistant Professor at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill *Associate Professor at UTSW in the Harold Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center *Research Specialty - Cancer Biology.
      • Understanding the molecular mechanisms that permit uncontrolled growth of tumor cells
      • Identifying new targets for future therapies *Other Significant Professional Activities
      • Director, of the Molecular and Cellular Training Graduate (PhD) training Program at UTSW.
      • Editorial Board of Molecular and Cellular Biology (research journal).

Associate Professor UT-Southwestern Medical Center

Automation and Driverless Cars

Dr. Poe will discuss how transportation engineers are using automation technology to design future cars and roads for the next generation of transportation.



  • Over 30 years experience in transportation engineering, including academic research and private consulting
  • Licensed professional engineer in Texas
  • Previously Adjunct Professor at University of Texas Arlington and Lecturer at Penn State University
  • Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University
  • M.E. and B.S. in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M University

Assistant Agency Director Texas A&M Transportation Institute

Biomedical Sciences - The science discoveries that drive the future of medicine.

A philosophical look at the modern approach to scientific thought and research discovery in biomedical sciences and career options in the life sciences.


SpeakerStuart Ravnik, Ph. D.

  • BS in Biology, and PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Washington in Seattle
  • Post-doctoral Fellowship in Genetics from Columbia University in New York
  • Faculty member in Cell Biology and Biochemistry at Texas Tech University in Lubbock
  • Moved to Dallas in 2002 to become Assistant Dean in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at UT Southwestern. Became Associate Dean in 2014.
  • Was Associate Director of the STARS (Science Teacher Access to Resources at Southwestern) Program from 2006 to 2016.
  • Expert in genetics, reproductive biochemistry, research ethics and bioethics, and college and graduate admissions

Associate Dean, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences UT Southwestern Medical Center

Digital Fabrication at the atomic scale

Digital information technology changed your world; digital fabrication at the atomic scale will change it again. I will explain how and why you should consider being an engineer.


SpeakerJohn Randall, Ph. D.

  • I am a card carrying Nano-Nerd with a PhD from the University of Houston, 33 years of Industrial experience making really small things, and 29 US patents
  • I have worked for MIT's Lincoln Laboratory (4 years), Texas Instruments (15 years with 2 years in Belgium), and Zyvex as CTO, VP, and Pres (15 years)
  • Zyvex Labs has a plot to rule the world with Atom by Atom Manufacturing and is working to heal the blind (Human Trials in 2017)
  • I am addicted to computer programming, robotics, and playing Alto Sax
  • I love my wife and kids

President Zyvex Labs

Discovery of a neuroprotective chemical

Dr. McKnight will describe efforts over the last 6-7 years towards the discovery of a chemical that is capable of protecting neurons from dying in animal models of a variety of neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease and amyotrophicic lateral sclerosis. These efforts have involved chemists, biologists and biochemists working within the Department of Biochemistry at UT Southwestern Medical Center.


SpeakerSteven McKnight, PhD

  • Received his bachelors degree in biology from UT Austin and his PhD in molecular biology from the University of Virginia
  • For many years he worked at the Carnegie Institution's Department of Embryology on the Homewood Campus of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore
  • He co-founded a biotechnology company in San Francisco with Drs. Robert Tjian and Dave Goeddel where he worked until 1995 when he returned to Texas to become Chairman of the Department of Biochemistry at UT Southwestern Medical Center
  • He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science.

Professor & Chairman, Department of Biochemistry UT Southwestern Medical Center

Emergency Room Medicine

Learn about the fast-paced field of Emergency Medicine from an ER doctor in your own neighborhood!


SpeakerMatt Bush, MD

Engineering Overview

General Discussion and Facts on Engineering; A Few Tips on Choosing a College; and What is Engineering School Like?


SpeakerLloyd Denman, P.E.

  • Highland Park High School, Class of 1983; National Merit Commendee, Varsity Football
  • Vanderbilt University, Class of 1987; Civil Engineering Degree, 2-year full academic scholarship; Fraternity member
  • Southern Methodist University, Class of 1991; Master of Business Administration
  • Licensed Professional Engineer in Texas and California

Assistant Director of Engineering City of Dallas

Geology - A Fun Way to Make a Living

Come hear from a geologist about how you can make a fun and rewarding living, take interesting trips, and use science every day.


SpeakerKennen Schmitz, M.S., MBA

  • BS and MS degrees in Geology from SMU and NIU
  • Worked as a Petroleum Geologist in Southern Louisiana
  • MBA from SMU
  • Worked for a large Wall Street firm managing oil and gas investments
  • Returned to Texas after experiencing first World Trade Center terrorist attack in 1993
  • Active member of PCBC

Geologist President, Winfield Operating Company

Honey money!!

Honey bee business. Bee removal. Pollination. Honey sales.


SpeakerMichael Leidner

Owner - South Texas Apiaries LLC

Middle and High Scool Science Teacher - Orange Grove ISD Biology, AP Biology, 6th & 7th grade

Mud Engineer - Halliburton

Bs. Range and Wildlife Management - Texas A&M University Kingsville

M.Ed. Education Adminsitration - University of Texas at Arlington

Owner South Texas Apiaries LLC

Neuroimaging and the Treatment of Stroke

This session will introduce students to the educational and training pathways and day to day practice of a medical doctor specializing in the treatment of stroke.


SpeakerLee Pride, M.D.

  • High School: McCallie School Chattanooga, TN 1981
  • B.S. Biology University of the South Sewanee, TN 1985
  • M.D. University of Alabama School of Medicine Birmingham, AL 1989
  • Training:Internship: Internal Medicine 1989-1990
  • University of North Carolina Residency: Neurology 1990-1993
  • University of Texas Southwestern Dallas Residency: Radiology 1993-1997
  • University of Texas Southwestern Dallas Fellowship: Neuroradiology 1997-1999
  • Faculty University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center 1999-Present

Neurointerventional Surgeon Professor of Radiology and Neurosurgery, UT Southwestern Medical Center

New Advances in Surgery using the da Vinci Robotic System

New advances in robotic technology have allowed surgeons to perform, and patients to undergo difficult procedures in a minimally invasive way. Students will have an opportunity for a hands on experience with the da Vinci Surgical Robot.


SpeakerRichard Salter, MD

  • Attended Abilene Christian University, graduated 1983
  • Attended Texas Tech University Medical School, graduated 1988
  • Internship and Residency at University of Kentucky, completed 1992
  • Specialized practice in Ob-Gyn in Dallas for 18 years, started Advanced Ob-Gyn Associaites in 2008
  • Main interest is in minimally invasive and advanced gynecologic surgery, utilizing the da Vinci surgical robotic system.

MD, Ob-Gyn Advanced Ob-Gyn Associates

Re-Designing the Nervous System

This talk will discuss new technologies being developed at UT Dallas to redesign and reorganize the human nervous system to treat neurological injury and disease.


SpeakerRobert Rennaker, Ph.D.

06/1988-06/19993 United States Marine Corps in 1988-1993; Deployed to Liberia, Desert Shield/Storm, and Yugoslavia. Awarded three meritorious masses, the Navy Good Conduct Medal, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal 01/1998-06/2002 Whitaker Ph.D. Fellow Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 1997-2002 Arizona State University: BSE, MS, Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering 08/2002-05/2009 Assistant Professor, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering & Center for Biomedical Engineering, University of Oklahoma 04/2009-Present Owner/CEO Vulintus, LLC 06/2009-08/2009 Associate Professor, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering & Center for Biomedical Engineering, University of Oklahoma 08/2009-2014 Associate Professor, Neuroscience, Brain and Behavioral Sciences, University of Texas at Dallas 08/2009-2014 Associate Professor, Electrical Engineering, Erik Johnson School of Engineering, University of Texas at Dallas 05/2012-Present Director of the Texas Biomedical Device Center, University of Texas at Dallas 06/2013-Present Department Head, Biomedical Engineering 08/2014-Present Associate Professor, Electrical Engineering, Erik Johnson School of Engineering, University of Texas at Dallas 09/2014-Present Full Professor, Bioengineering, Erik Johnson School of Engineering, University of Texas at Dallas 09/2014-Present CEO Optokinetix

Executive Director of the Texas Biomedical Device Center, Head of Bioengineering, TI Distinguished Chair in Bioengineering UT Dallas

The Science of Performance Nutrition - On the field, in the classroom!

Discover the nutritional science behind human performance whether it's demonstrated in running faster on the court or scoring higher on the test.


SpeakerMeridan Zerner

  • BS in broadcast journalism from Syracuse University
  • MS Nutritional Science from Oklahoma University
  • 28 years in fitness, nutrition and wellness
  • dietitian for Cooper Clinic, Cooper Fitness Center, Cooper Corporate Solutions, etc. for >16 years
  • Writer, media spokesperson, instructor, lecturer and marathoner!

Sports Dietitian MS, RDN, CSSD, LD Cooper Clinic

To Heal the Blind with World's Smallest Bioretinal Implant

The presentation will explore how Nanotechnology allowed us to make the worlds smallest bioretinal implant that will restore eyesight of blind individuals. It will also explore the growing world of Nanotechnology and Microtechnology at Zyvex.


SpeakerRahul Saini

  • Director of Micro and Biosystems at Zyvex with a vision to cure disease with grain of rice size injectable implants. He is also head of mechanical design for Zyvex's nanotechnology initiative for atomically precise manufacturing.
  • Currently working on the smallest bioretinal implant in the world to restore eyesight for the blind. Besides inventing ridiculously miniature devices; most notably he has invented world's smallest electron scanning microcolumn to see at the nanometer scale.
  • Rahul's formal education includes degrees in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering from IIT and University of Florida. He is a Florida football fan, a true gator at heart, and loves college football.
  • Rahul likes to teach and has taught Microsystem courses to graduate students at University of Texas at Arlington.
  • His current exploit involves teaching his son how to play guitar and soccer.

Micro & Nano Systems Engineer Zyvex Laboratories

You can Make a Difference In a Child's Life: Pediatric Emergency Medicine

If you are energetic and love to help children, Pediatric Emergency Medicine is a career that combines critical care and primary health care in a high paced, exciting environment. Come hear what emergency medicine for children is all about and how you can make a difference in a child's life.


SpeakerPam Okada, MD

  • Undergraduate: University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
  • Medical School: Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA
  • Residency: Pediatrics: Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA
  • Fellowship: Pediatric Emergency Medicine: University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas, TX
  • Current Position: Professor of Pediatrics and Attending Physician in the Pediatric Emergency Department

Physician University of Texas Southwestern Medical School; Children's Medical Center