Prairie Dogs & the Native Habitat; Human Bone & Heart Valves Grown In A Laboratory?

Why Is It Important For Prairie Dogs To Be Restored To Their Native Habitat?

“Bison and prairie dogs co-existed for thousands of years and the ecological role of these large herbivores, like bison and cattle with prairie dogs, is such that they actually CAN have a mutual relationship. What I realized is they’re [prairie dogs] among the most important, but yet among the most hated animals. So I figured they had one of the biggest challenges to overcome in conservation. They parallel the story of the wolf.” – Dr. Ana Davidson

Biologist Ana Desiree Davidson, Ph.D. shares insights about the ecology of New Mexico’s grasslands and the importance of reestablishing this keystone species.


Can human bone and heart valves be grown in the laboratory?

“Stem cells are great cells; everybody has them. They are basically cells that haven’t committed to what they want to be when they grow up. The body has the ability to repair itself. We want to leverage that and trick the body into regrowing bone at a time and place where it wouldn’t naturally do it. If you have a source of stem cells, you can direct them to become any type of tissue you want. I can direct them to help form bone, and I can direct them to become a heart valve.” — Dr Elizabeth Dirk

Dr. Elizabeth Dirk, Ph.D explains how medicine is being reinvented through research into self-renewing stem cells that act as a repair system for the human body.


Viewer Question of the Month

“We’ve designed the course to prepare students for a career in engineering using a race car as a focus. We are preparing students for hands-on experience, teaching soft skills, communications and writing. Students dictate the pace and have to lay out the complete project.” – Dr. John Russell

In this month’s Viewer Question, John Russell, Ph. D. and his students answer the question, “How does building a race car help UNM engineering students achieve their career goals?”

Original Airdate: Thursday, August 16 at 7pm on New Mexico PBS 5.1

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