Long-term chairmen presents research on diabetes

Biomedical Sciences department chair Harold Laughlin emphasized the importance of exercise in order to combat the rise of Type 2 diabetes.

In front of an auditorium of around 80 people, Biomedical Sciences department chair Harold Laughlin honored biomedical science professor Frank Weaver Booth for his “lifelong devotion” to researching exercise and human health by providing insight on fiber and muscle and their connection to patients with diabetes.

The School of Medicine began the annual lectureship at 4 p.m. Aug. 25 in Acuff Auditorium after Booth’s trainees, colleagues and friends donated enough money in an endowment to provide an “indefinite” amount of years of lectures to MU.

Chris Hardin, professor and chairman of Nutritional Sciences, introduced Laughlin in place of Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin, who was in Jefferson City for the Sanctity of Life committee hearing.

Senior Danielle Meyer, who is a biology and psychology major, attended the lecture.

“I work in an angiogenesis lab, which is like blood vessels and how they grow, and I exercise at home,” Meyer said. “I’m not really used to seeing the two worlds collide very much, so this was interesting to provide that connection.”

Graduate student Rebecca Dirkes was required to attend the event.

“I don’t know in-depth about cardiovascular stuff,” Dirkes said. “So I thought it was really cool just because it’s something that I never thought about.”

Vice Chancellor of Graduate Studies Leona Rubin said Laughlin was effective in his long-term position as Chair of Biomedical Sciences for 23 years.

“He is a wonderful scientist, a wonderful colleague and a wonderful chair,” she said after the event. “He is the ideal person to do this.”

Laughlin said during his presentation that Booth’s papers have “dramatic effect around the world on how people perceive exercise.”

Laughlin showed audience members a photo of Booth running on a treadmill in his office to prove his dedication to human health.

In the hourlong lecture, Laughlin said that while most people think blood vessel growth occurs the same way, he and his colleagues realize that each blood vessel is different, which makes studying their role in physical health difficult.

“So much for my thoughts,” Laughlin said during the event regarding an incorrect research hypothesis. “Maybe that’s why I’m having a hard time getting my grants funded.”

Laughlin explained how the relationship of genes in patients with diabetes differs from those without the disease. He stressed the importance of exercise.

“When I was a kid, it was called adult onset diabetes and child onset diabetes,” Laughlin said during the event. “Now, children who in my opinion are inactive enough and overfed enough are developing Type 2 diabetes.”

Event organizer Rachael Nolting said she was surprised but pleased by the turnout, while her colleague expected the number of audience members.

“I am not as surprised by the turnout,” Hardin said after the event. “These two people have had major impacts on people’s careers: their trainees, students, colleagues.”

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