Dr. Kathryn Dye Opens SPARC with Speech on Ebola Research


Logo for Sparc Festival
Picture courtesy of Mount St. Mary’s University

Mount professor Dr. Kathryn Dye presented her research on the Ebola virus during a speech as the honored faculty speaker of the university’s annual Scholarship, Performance, Art, Research and Creativity (SPARC) festival on Apr. 21.

Entitled “Virus Factory Shutdown: Investigating Ebola Virus Reproduction,” Dye’s presentation focused on her study of the virus and the role that Unfolded Protein Response (UPR) plays in animal cells infected with the disease. Dye acknowledged that her research might contribute to a cure for Ebola.

“I’m very curious,” Dye said. “This kind of research might not be a cure, but it could help us find one. Understanding how it works is your best chance to finding a cure.”

Dye’s studies sought to answer to main questions: does Ebola virus activate UPR, and does successful Ebola virus reproduction require UPR?

The research was conducted with the assistance of the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Diseases in Frederick. The organization allowed Dye the opportunity to work with the Ebola virus directly.

Dye also praised the work of her students, saying that “they connected more to research than in the past, participating in the effort to alleviate suffering in the world.” She stressed the importance of basic science research in finding cures and developing vaccines.

Over 20,000 cases of Ebola have been confirmed worldwide in the past year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Dye’s talk was a part of SPARC’s opening ceremony in Knott Auditorium, which also featured a speech from President Simon Newman and performance from the Mount’s Lab Band. The three-day event was organized by Dr. Frederick Portier and carried out with the support of several members of the faculty and administration.

Newman praised SPARC for highlighting the talents of students across all disciplines, saying that “students take what they’ve learned in the classrooms and apply it to real world problems.”

The Lab Band performed after Newman’s address using unusual instruments, including a sewing machine and hair dryer.

On Thursday, the closing ceremony for the festival was held in the same location. Several organizations and clubs presented, including the Mount Music Society, Environmental Club, ENACTUS and Women In Science among others.

Portier, who decided to move the closing ceremony into Knott Auditorium under the threat of rain, praised the “dedication and professionalism” of physical plant staff, CIT and dining services in helping to accommodate the changes..

“I would like to thank the large number of faculty, students, staff and administrators that contributed to the success of SPARC,” he said. “I am very grateful.”

Rebecca Schisler

News Editor for The Mountain Echo

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