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Center for Policy Studies

Public Affairs Discussion Group

Learning from "Mad Cows"

Pierluigi Gambetti, MD - Director, National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center at Case Western Reserve University
Friday January 25, 2013
12:30-1:30 p.m.
Dampeer Room
Kelvin Smith Library
Case Western Reserve University

Dear Colleagues:

In 1985 cattle started stumbling around British fields, looking confused even for cattle, and then dying. This outbreak was called “mad cow disease,” and has had effects on both policy and science. The policy issues flow from the fact that the syndrome can be passed to humans who eat the wrong parts (brain or spinal tissue) of such cattle. It has led to measures such as countries banning imports of beef from other countries where the disease has been observed.

But it also has led to identification of a previously unknown and quite scary disease process. Moreover, it turns out that prion disease in animals has been around a long time, in the form of the sheep disease scrapie. And there were already rare examples of prion disease in humans, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.

Dr. Pierluigi Gambetti is at the cutting edge of both research and policy. As Director of the National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center, he leads the nation’s efforts in the fundamental public health task of tracking incidence of such diseases. But his work has also helped identify new variants and causal patterns. Join us as he reports on what has been learned over the past quarter century.

All best regards,
Joe White
Luxenberg Family Professor of Public Policy and Director, Center for Policy Studies

About Our Guest...

The primary focus of Dr. Pierluigi Gambetti's research is prion diseases. The main objective is the understanding of the fine changes leading to the disease. The approach is multidisciplinary. The research group he leads analyzes the human prion disease and they try to establish accurate anatomo-clinical correlations. Special attention is devoted to the understanding of correlations between pathological changes, such as spongiosis, and the distribution, amount and type of the abnormal prion protein present in the brain of affected individuals. For those studies his research group takes advantage of the National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center of the USA which is located at CWRU within their laboratories and provides an invaluable source of cases of prion disease. Dr. Gambetti's research group analyzes in vitro the chemicophysical characteristics of the prion protein and the mechanisms of conversion of the normal to the abnormal prion protein conformer. Finally, his research group uses transfected cells and transgenic animals to investigate in detail the various abnormalities of the prion protein metabolism related to the presence of mutations in the prion protein gene leading to disease.

Parking Possibilities

We regret that there is no convenient free parking, especially with the current construction on Bellflower. The closest lot is the Severance garage, which can be entered from East Boulevard. One can avoid going outside the garage by using an entry door to the library that is just northeast of the main parking lot entrance from East Boulevard. It leads to an elevator which goes to the library entrance. You can also go up the stairway or elevator labeled "Thwing Center," from which it is a short walk to the library. Another possibility is the parking lot of the Church of the Covenant on Euclid, which can be entered from the north side of Euclid Ave, opposite Cornell Road. Visitors would walk west on Euclid, past the Thwing Center, and then follow the walkway to the library entrance.

Friday Lunch Upcoming Topics and Speakers:

February 1: A (Really) New Middle East? Pete W. Moore, Associate Professor of Political Science

February 8: Casting and Counting Votes in Cuyahoga County. Steven H. Izen, Professor of Mathematics, and Kenneth F. Ledford, Associate Professor of History and Law

February 15: Israeli Politics. Dr. Guy Ben-Porat, Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and Administration, Ben Gurion University of the Negev

February 22: The Widening Party Gap in Electing Women to Congress. With Karen Beckwith, Flora Stone Mather Professor of Political Science

March 1: University Circle Update. Steven Litt, The Plain Dealer

March 8: Perspectives on Genetically-Modified Food. Chris Cullis, Professor and Chair, Department of Biology and Mary Holmes, co-founder of the North Union (Shaker Square) Farmers Market

March 15: Spring Break - No Discussion

March 22: Shale Gas: Opportunities and Challenges. David Zeng, Frank H. Neff Professor and Chair, Department of Civil Engineering

March 29: International Development Assistance in Public Health. Bill Goldman, retired foreign service officer with USAID

April 5: Military Ethics and Dehumanizing the Enemy. With Anthony Jack, Assistant Professor of Cognitive Science, Philosophy, and Psychology and Shannon French, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Inamori Professor of Ethics.
***Special Location: Inamori Center, Crawford Hall Room 9***

April 12: The New Cuyahoga County Government: Perspective from the Council. Julian Rogers, Councillor for District 10

April 19: Mass Murder for the Media: The Breivik Case in Norway. Mark Turner, Institute Professor and Professor of Cognitive Science
***Special Location: Inamori Center, Crawford Hall Room 9***

April 26: Advocacy for Children, Who Don't Vote. Doug Imig, Professor of Political Science, University of Memphis
January 21, 2013

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Upcoming Events

Lift Every Voice

Annual CWRU Martin Luther King, Jr. Convocation with Professor Lani Guinier, J.D., Bennett Boskey Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, Friday, January 25, 2013, 12:30 p.m., Amasa Stone Chapel, Case Western Reserve University, 10940 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44106. Sponsored by the Office of the President at Case Western Reserve University

In 1998, Lani Guinier became the first black woman to be appointed to a tenured professorship at Harvard Law School. Before joining the Harvard faculty, she was a tenured professor for 10 years at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. During the 1980s, she headed the voting rights project at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and served in the Civil Rights Division during the Carter administration as a special assistant to then-Assistant Attorney General Drew S. Days. Guinier came into public attention when she was nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1993 to lead the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice only to have her name withdrawn without a confirmation hearing—an experience she turned into a personal and political memoir, Lift Every Voice.

Guinier is the author of many books, articles and op-ed pieces on democratic theory, political representation, educational equity, and issues of race and gender. Her works include Becoming Gentlemen: Women, Law School and Institutional Change, in which she and her coauthors discuss how women were not graduating with top honors even though they came to law school with the same credentials as male graduates. Other titles include The Tyranny of the Majority, Who’s Qualified and The Miner’s Canary.

The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade

A Film Presentation of the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities, Monday February 11, 2013, 6 to 8 p.m., Wolstein Research Building Auditorium, Case Western Reserve University, 2103 Cornell Road, Cleveland, OH 44106. Free and Open to the Public.

January 2013








































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