Perspectives on Science is a monthly seminar series for science teachers. The seminar typically focuses on recent developments in the guest scientist’s area of expertise, with particular emphasis on those aspects that are of greatest interest and significance to science teachers.  Each POS meeting begins with refreshments at 4:30 p.m., followed by the scientist’s formal seminar presentation beginning at 5:00 p.m. We start out in the Fermanian Business Center (southeast part of campus) and move to Cunningham Dining Room (Nicholson Commons building) for dinner.

2014 - 2015 Schedule

H._Smith.jpgOctober 21, 2014:  Dr. Hamilton Smith​, M.D.​​ (​Scientific Director of Synthetic Biology and Bioenergy​ and Distinguished Professor, ​J​.​ Craig Venter Institute​, La Jolla, CA)

Nobel Laureate in medicine (with D. Nathans and W. Arber) for discovering the first TypeII restriction enzyme (HindII) and determining the sequence of its cleavage site


Seminar Title:  "Synthetic ​B​iology for ​G​enetic ​E​ngineering in the 21st C​entury."

rohwer.jpgNovember 18, 2014:  Dr. Forest Ro​hwer​ (​​Professor of ​Cell and Molecular​ ​​Biology​, ​​​San Diego State University)

Webpage: and

Seminar Title:  "Our Phage World: Why are the ​M​ost ​A​bundant and ​Diverse ​L​ife ​F​orms on the ​P​lanet ​I​gnored?" 

Somerville_Richard.jpgDecember 9, 2014:  Dr. Richard Somerville (Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Research Professor, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA)

Webpage: ​and

Seminar Title:  "What Should You Believe About Climate Change, and Why?" 

Sander_Maike.jpgJanuary 20, 2015:  Dr. ​Maike Sander, MD​ (Director, Pediatric Diabetes Research Center​,​ Professor ​of Pediatrics and Cellular and Molecular Medicine​, Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine)

Webpage:  ​​

Seminar Title:  "Using Stem Cells to Model and Treat Diabetes."

Ray_Anandasankar-1.jpgFebruary 10, 2015:  Dr. Anandasankar Ray ​(​Associate Professor​, UC Riverside​ and ​Director​ of the​ Center for Disease Vector Research​)​


Seminar Title:  "Understanding the Olfactory Code in Mosquitoes."

Roberto_Marisa-cropped.jpgMarch 17, 2015:  Dr. Marisa Roberto (Associate Professor, Committee on the Neurobiology of Addictive Disorders, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA) 


Seminar Title:  "Alcohol and Drugs of Abuse: Neuronal Adaptations in the Brain." 

Chris_Lowe-1.jpgApril 21, 2015:  Dr. Chris Lowe (​Biology Professor and Director of the CSULB Shark Lab,  ​CSU Long Beach)

Webpage: and​

Seminar Title:  "Return of the Big Marine Predators to California Waters: A Sign of Hope."

Dr._Oshea_Clodagh_1.jpgMay 12, 2015:  Dr. Clodagh O'Shea (William Scandling Associate Professor, Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA)


Seminar Title:  "Exploiting Viruses to Understand and Treat Cancer."

Event Format and Time

Each POS meeting begins with refreshments at 4:30 p.m., followed by the scientist’s formal seminar presentation beginning at 5:00 p.m. The seminar typically focuses on recent developments in the scientist’s area of expertise, with particular emphasis on those aspects that are of greatest interest and significance to science teachers. The seminar is followed by a sit-down dinner, during which time teachers are able to dialog with each other informally in smaller groups about how the concepts of the seminar can be effectively incorporated into their classrooms. The last half hour of each session (7:00 to 7:30 p.m.) is set aside as a time for the teachers and the guest scientist to clarify and exchange ideas that might help facilitate more effective, enthusiastic student learning.

Event Location

POS events take place in the Fermanian Business Center and the Nicholson Commons building on the campus of Point Loma Nazarene University. Driving directions and a map of the PLNU campus will be sent to all those who register for the program.

Registration Details

The subscription fee for the POS program is $80 which covers ~1/3 of the annual cost of the POS program per teacher (see "Program Sponsors" link below).  Please use the "Registration/Payment" link below in order to sign up for this year's program.

Academic Credit

Point Loma Nazarene University offers one unit of graduate level, academic credit per year (at a subsidized rate of $75 per unit) to teachers who participate in both the seminar and dinner/discussions of at least seven of the eight POS events (this arrangement may be repeated up to a total of 6 units).  Those who meet the minimum attendance requirement receive a letter and form shortly after the final POS event of the year.   The form includes instructions and a deadline to abide by in order to receive academic credit.  Credit may only be applied for and received within 3 months of receiving the form. 

Teachers who are enrolled in PLNU graduate course BIO692 receive 2 units of credit for POS (1 unit in the Fall and 1 unit in the Spring), pay regular graduate level tuition and are required to fulfill other assignments relating to the POS presentations.  BIO692 students must also pay the $80 POS program subscription fee (see "Registration Details" above).  This fee helps subsidize the cost of meals and various other expenses related to running the POS program.

Program Sponsors

The Perspectives on Science Lecture/Dinner Series has received financial support over the years from several outside organizations and businesses, including:  the CA Science Project, SEASAND-the Science Education Association of San Diego, the Girard Foundation of La Jolla, George's at the Cove, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.   From the outset, the Point Loma Nazarene University Administration provided strong support for POS (~33% of annual operating expenses from 1998 through 2008).   When the financial crisis hit the nation in 2008, the University raised its support level to ~67%.  By 2012, though, the higher level of support could no longer be sustained and the POS program was facing cancellation.   It was at this point that several dozen teachers who were participants in POS began contributing gifts so that the program could continue.  We are grateful to all of these science educators, and especially to Steve Rodecker of Chula Vista High School, whose leadership in this fund raising effort helped save the day.  The future for POS looks bright! 

Need More Information?

Contact Michael McConnell at or LeAnne Elizondo at or 619-849-2205.