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Dance Your Ph.D.
MRIC 2013/14

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Dance Your Ph.D.

"Dance Your Ph.D."

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 | 12:30-1:30 p.m. 
Whitewater Room, Idaho Commons

Belle Baggs, Department of Movement Science
Lee Fortunato, Department of Biological Sciences


Belle Baggs and Lee Fortunato will examine the connection between Biology and Dance through an interdisciplinary project called “Dance Your Ph.D.”  Doctoral students from Dr. Fortunato’s Professional Development class have been paired up with Dance Composition II students to develop choreography that demonstrates biology research ranging from neuroscience to plant phylogenetics. This project is based upon John Bohannon’s idea; now a national contest sponsored by Science Magazine and the American Association for the Advancement of Science ( AAAS).
Elizabeth A. (Lee) Fortunato (Ph.D. 1994, UC San Diego) is a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and the WWAMI Medical Program. Dr. Fortunato has worked in the field of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) pathogenesis since 1995.  She is well versed in host/pathogen interaction studies, including interactions with the cell cycle machinery, DNA repair machinery and with the cellular DNA itself.  Her work focuses on elucidating the mechanism behind the development of CNS defects in the congenitally infected infant. Dr. Fortunato has been continuously funded since starting at the University of Idaho in 2000, initially by The March of Dimes and subsequently by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where she has received major funding for her work continuously since 2002. Dr. Fortunato is currently a standing member of the NIH NIAID Virology B study section.  In her “spare” time, she spends time on her “other” passion, dance.  She has been training since the age of four and still takes technique class almost every week and performs with the UI Center for Dance whenever her schedule allows. 
Belle Baggs
is a clinical assistant professor of dance in the Department of Movement Sciences. She is a dancer, choreographer, teacher, and advocate for the arts. She received her Master of Fine Arts in Modern Dance from University of Utah through an awarded University Teaching Assistantship. She also received her Certificate of Laban Movement Analysis from the Integrated Movement Studies program under the directorship of Peggy Hackney. Her professional career has been dedicated to performance and the building of community and social change through innovative choreography. Her research is based in somatic practices integrated in contemporary modern dance techniques, dance pedagogy methodologies, creative process inquiry, performance improvisation and interdisciplinary collaborations. She is a founding member of the BASK art collective, group of artists engaging in extended community projects considering social projections and sources of empowerment for women in the Arts.

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