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Executive Q & A

Molecular biologist David G. Skalnik will become associate dean for research and graduate education at the IUPUI School of Science in January. Since 1991, Skalnick has been a researcher at the Indiana University School of Medicine, leading a team of three in the study of epigenetics—factors that influence whether certain genes are turned on or turned off.

IBJ: You’ve made your research career in epigenetics. Give us a brief explanation of what that field is.

A: It’s the branch of science that refers not so much to the DNA sequence in our cells, but to the way in which our cells package that DNA or express that DNA in normal development. Most of the cells in our body have the same DNA sequence, but a neuron in the brain and a cell in the liver are doing very different things. In cancer, for example, it’s just as common that there are epigenetic defects [as genetic defects]. That’s been particularly interesting for the pharmaceutical industry because those are potentially reversible defects.

IBJ: Speaking of the pharmaceutical industry, it was hoping for a wave of breakthroughs after the sequencing of the human genome 10 years ago. Is a lack of understanding of epigenetics one reason the reality of DNA sequencing has not lived up to the promise?

A: It is true that there was a big hype up. We didn’t know for sure what was going to come out of it. We now know at the genetic level hundreds of diseases. But it’s been a harder problem to fix these problems once we understand those diseases. And the same can be said for epigenetics.

IBJ: As you begin to oversee graduate education and research at the School of Science, do you have a name-recognition issue to get over in attracting students to come to the school?

A: Clearly, the School of Science has increased its research footprint in recent years. Historically, the school has been focused on the teaching mission; 85 percent of its budget is derived from tuition. I think that the school is expanding, both in terms of faculty and laboratory, and there is a great opportunity to recruit in top-flight researchers.

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  1. I had read earlier this spring that Noodles & Co was going to open in the Fishers Marketplace (which is SR 37 and 131st St, not 141st St, just FYI). Any word on that? Also, do you happen to know what is being built in Carmel at Pennsylvania and Old Meridian? May just be an office building but I'm not sure.

  2. I'm sorry, but you are flat out wrong. There are few tracks in the world with the history of IMS and probably NO OTHER as widely known and recognized. I don't care what you think about the stat of Indy Car racing, these are pretty hard things to dispute.

  3. Also wondering if there is an update on the Brockway Pub-Danny Boy restaurant/taproom that was planned for the village as well?

  4. Why does the majority get to trample on the rights of the minority? You do realize that banning gay marriage does not rid the world of gay people, right? They are still going to be around and they are still going to continue to exist. The best way to get it all out of the spotlight? LEGALIZE IT! If gay marriage is legal, they will get to stop trying to push for it and you will get to stop seeing it all over the news. Why do Christians get to decide what is moral?? Why do you get to push your religion on others? How would legalizing gay marriage expose their lifestyle to your children? By the way, their lifestyle is going to continue whether gay marriage is legalized or not. It's been legal in Canada for quite a while now and they seem to be doing just fine. What about actual rules handed down by God? What about not working on Sundays? What about obeying your parents? What about adultery? These are in the 10 Commandments, the most important of God's rules. Yet they are all perfectly legal. What about divorce? Only God is allowed to dissolve a marriage so why don't you work hard to get divorce banned? Why do you get to pick and choose the parts of the Bible you care about?

  5. Look at the bright side. With the new Lowe's call center, that means 1000 jobs at $10 bucks an hour. IMS has to be drooling over all that disposable income. If those employees can save all their extra money after bills, in five years they can go to the race LIVE. Can you say attendance boost?

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