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IUP Science Inspires Program Hosting Internationally Recognized Biologist and IUP Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient

Posted on 2/21/2017 2:59:10 PM

Indiana University of Pennsylvania graduate John Kopchick, a world-renowned molecular endocrinologist in the field of human growth hormone, will be the keynote presenter for the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and IUP’s Sigma Xi Science Inspires Series on March 9, 2017.

John Kopchick will present at Science Inspires on March 9Kopchick is currently a Goll-Ohio Eminent Scholar and professor of molecular and cellular biology at Ohio University. He is an expert on growth hormone and is the inventor of Somavert, a drug that treats acromegaly, a disorder that causes excessive growth of organs and bones and leads to premature death.

Prior to his on-campus presentation, a documentary film featuring Kopchick discussing his research will be shown on March 2 at 6:30 p.m. in the Humanities and Social Sciences Building, Room 225.

The film documentary, “Secrets of a Long Life,” examines the question of why are residents of Quito, Ecuador, spared by cancer, diabetes, and other diseases, reviewing years of research in areas of the world known for the longevity of its people.

His March 9 lecture, “Growth Hormone, Mini-Mice, Football, Dirty Shirts, Wedding Rings and a New Drug,” will take place at 4:30 p.m. in the Eberly College of Business and Information Technology Auditorium on the first floor. It is free and open to the community.

His presentation will tell the story of a series of experimental results that led to the discovery of a novel compound: a Growth Hormone Receptor Antagonist.  It will include discussion of the trials and tribulations of taking a compound through the drug development process to final approval by the regulatory agencies for human use, and will stress the importance of intellectual property and serendipity.

A public reception in the Eberly atrium will follow the lecture.

Kopchick also will discuss research and career opportunities with IUP students at 2:00 p.m. March 9 in Walsh Hall, Room 104.

Kopchick, a native of Punxsutawney and Indiana, earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology from IUP in 1972 and 1975 respectively. He is a recipient of the university’s Distinguished Alumni Award and received an honorary doctorate of science degree from IUP during May 2008 commencement ceremonies. 

He earned a PhD in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and completed post-doctoral work at Roche Institute of Molecular Biology. Kopchick serves on the IUP College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Advancement Board.

His extraordinary contributions to science have been recognized with a number of prominent awards, including the Society for Endocrinology Transatlantic Medal, many honorary degrees, and election to the National Academy of Inventors Chartered Fellows.

At Ohio University, Kopchick is a lead investigator for the university’s Edison Biotechnology Institute, an interdisciplinary team of scientists working on new ways to diagnose and treat growth disorders, diabetes, obesity, auto-immune diseases, inflammation, aging, infectious diseases, and cancer.

Kopchick also participates in the Ohio University Collaborative on Aging, which brings together researchers, educators, service providers and students with aging-related interests. This interdisciplinary network focuses on improving the lives of older adults and optimizing quality of life across the lifespan, especially in underserved populations. 

The College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (NSM) Science Inspires Series is offered jointly with IUP’s Sigma Xi chapter, featuring talks by prominent researchers on topics interdisciplinary in nature, of interest to faculty and students from a variety of academic fields and to the general public.

Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, is an honor society of scientists and engineers that rewards excellence in scientific research and encourages a sense of companionship and cooperation among scientists in all fields.

Every semester, the series offers two talks by IUP College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics researchers and one external, renowned speaker.