Panelist biographies:

Photo Meenakshi Gigi DurhamMeenakshi Gigi Durham, associate professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, researches media and the politics of the body, with emphasis on gender, sexuality, race and youth cultures. She holds a joint appointment in the Department of Gender, Women's and Sexuality Studies. In 2008, Durham published "The Lolita Effect: The Media Sexualization of Young Girls and What We Can Do About It." The book provides strategies for empowering girls to make healthy decisions about their sexuality. Her research has received significant coverage in news outlets such as CNN, The New York Times, The Times of London, Frontline, People, “Dr. Phil,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch and, in addition to being reviewed in scholarly journals. Durham is writing a new book, tentatively titled "Technosex," about how bodies/sexualities are translated into the virtual environment through practices like sexting.


Photo Don GurnettDon Gurnett is the James A. Van Allen/Roy J. Carver Professor  in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Iowa, where he has been on the faculty since 1965.  He specializes in experimental space research and has participated in more than 30 NASA spacecraft projects, most notably the Voyager 1 and 2 flights to the outer planets, the Galileo mission to Jupiter, and the Cassini mission to Saturn.  He has taught a variety of courses in both physics and astronomy, and has supervised more than 50 graduate thesis projects. He has received numerous awards for research and teaching, including the Iowa Board of Regents Award for Faculty Excellence.  In 1998 he was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and in 2004 he was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has given many public presentations before the public and governmental organizations. His research — in particular, his sounds of space -- has received nationwide and worldwide news media coverage.


Photo Jerald SchnoorJerald Schnoor, Allen S. Henry Chair, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is interested in water quality and sustainability, phytoremediation (using plants to help clean the environment), and aspects of climate change including carbon modeling. He holds a joint appointment as Professor in Occupational and Environmental Health. He is also the Co-Director of the Center for Global & Regional Environmental Research. He has been a featured guest on Iowa Public Radio, Science Café in Philadelphia and the Iowa Environmental Focus. He has published editorials in Environmental Science and Technology of which he is the editor, as well as the Des Moines Register. He has appeared on TV news reports as well as local programs.  He has done extensive public speaking on climate change and water quality with environmental, civic and public interest groups. He has testified before legislative committees and has provided his expertise to National Research Council reports.


Photo Amy E.T. SparksAmy E.T. Sparks, director of the In Vitro Fertilization and Reproductive Testing Laboratories at UI Hospitals and Clinics, is a recognized leader in the field of clinical embryology. She holds an appointment in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.  Her research interests include in vitro fertilization, pre-implantation embryo culture, and gamete and embryo cryopreservation.  In 2007, Sparks was involved in efforts to educate Iowa state legislators and the public to the value of embryonic stem cell research at a time when the legislator was debating a bill to regulate Iowa scientists' use of cloning and stem cell technologies. Sparks has also presented stem cell information to the general public through the UI Carver College of Medicine's Mini Medical School lecture series, and she has been interviewed by local and national media on the UI's single embryo transfer policy.