The J. Mark Sower Distinguished Lecture Series in the College of Science at Virginia Tech enables the college to host a series of lectures designed to be a forum to exchange new and innovative ideas in scientific fields. Generously supported by J. Mark Sowers, this series provides opportunities for the university community and general public to interact with and learn from eminent scholars and industry experts with experience in academia, science, business, government, and medicine, among other fields. 

All talks are free and open to the public.

2017 Speakers

“An artful look into genes and memory”

J. David Sweatt, Ph. D.

Chairman and Professor, Department of Pharmacology

Allan D. Bass Chair of Pharmacology

Vanderbilt University


All our creativity, emotions, perceptions, memories and beliefs arise from the coordinated action of the nerve cells that make up our central nervous system. Dr. J. David Sweatt’s research and paintings deal with contemporary scientific study of nervous system function, a discipline known as neurobiology. The work overall concerns behavioral perception, anatomical structures, individual neurons, cellular organelles, enzymes, and finally submolecular space. Whether one is analyzing the structures of the individual component molecules or the perceptual processing of the behaving animal, each layer is as complex as every other. Sweatt use paintings inspired by his research that is ongoing in his laboratory, which studies mechanisms of memory formation and the molecular basis of memory disorders. The particular series of paintings he will discuss on Sept. 26, along with his scientific findings, were published in his book, Epigenetic Regulation in the Nervous System. The paintings correspond to individual chapters in the book, and are an artistic interpretation of the scientific content of that chapter.


September 26th, 2017               7:30 PM


Holtzman Alumni Hall, Holtzman Alumni Center at the Inn at Virginia Tech

For more information:

Contact Katie Lafon,
Director of Alumni Relations for the College of Science


Watch past talks with the Sowers series

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Naomi Halas of Rice University, Feb. 23, 2017

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David Reitze of LIGO Project, Feb. 1, 2017