What happens when art and science collide?

It's personal! It's exciting! It's epic!

You've arrived at the right place to retrace an entire year's worth of dance, videos, songs, lectures, research and more as JMU explores some of the most complex scientific and uniquely personal issues of our time. Explore it all and find out how freshmen made their way into the life of JMU and all of campus danced its way to an understanding of genetics.

There's even more! Watch all the videos. Go exploring.


Looking forward to the dance: "It's going to be epic!"

JMU freshmen experienced a connection between science and the arts in a unique waySenior orientation peer advisor Jeff Alexander said, "It's going to be epic!" when he talked about how James Madison University freshmen would experience a connection between science and the arts in a unique way … Read More

Freshmen do the DNA Dance on the Quad

DNA makes a great metaphor for college lifeEarlier in the summer student orientation leaders, in conjunction with members of the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, created dance moves that represent differences in people attributed to DNA such as hair color or height. The "DNA Dance" culminated in the students creating a "DNA strand" that stretched the length of the Quad, a visual, working, breathing representation of what the freshmen were reading. " … Read More

Exploring the meaning of the dance

DNA makes a great metaphor for college lifeCarol Hurney, director of the Center for Faculty Innovation and associate professor of biology, says DNA makes a great metaphor for college life. "Everybody's DNA has two strands, but in order for information to get into the DNA or for you to get anything out of the DNA you have to open it up. In college, if you stay closed up and stay within yourself and you don't explore, you are sort of the most useless DNA molecule on this campus, because in order for you to reach your full potential you have to open yourself up." … Read More

Freshmen React: What was it like?

Connecting art and scienceNeon orange, blue, yellow and red shirts crowded the Quad, Aug. 26, 2010, as the freshman class, split into two groups of 2,000, joined members of the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange for "The DNA Dance." Onlookers watched from the Forbes Center, buildings on the Quad and Main Street. … Read More

Genome Scientist, Valley Native Blends Arts and Sciences

Francis Collins at JMUScientists' growing understanding of human genetics is leading to a revolution of how doctors prevent, diagnose and treat illness, the chief of the National Institutes of Health said at an event meant to highlight JMU's yearlong emphasis on the connection between arts and science. "This is a very exciting moment," said Francis Collins, who in addition to being the NIH director is also known for his ground breaking work in mapping the entire human genome. … Read More

Art Imitates Life: The Dance of DNA, Decoding and Doctoring

JMU hosts the director of the National Institutes of Health and former director of the Human Genome Project, Dr. Francis CollinsJames Madison University hosts the director of the National Institutes of Health and former director of the Human Genome Project, Dr. Francis Collins. Collins lectured as part of a year long series at the university of integrated arts and sciences events focusing on the study of the genome. … Read More
Listen to the complete lecture.

Getting personal: Genetics studies hit home

JMU students researching real-world problems in biotechnology labAt a biotechnology lab at JMU, Carly Starke ('14), is researching turkeys, specifically a vaccine to treat Bordetella avium, or a form of avian whooping cough. It has nothing to do with her dad's multiple sclerosis, but the research and lab skills she is learning may one day help scientists treat MS and other diseases. Starke's academic path is a source of strength for her parents, both of whom have faced medical challenges. … Read More

When science and dance combine

Liz Lerman Dance Residency at JMUFreshmen in the School of Theatre and Dance's Associate Dance Ensemble used their bodies to interpret the complex process known as cellular respiration, the process by which the body's cells harvest energy from food. … Read More

ChromoZone: Depicting the double-helix of life

JMU students' ChromoZone ExhibitLook closely at Ali Hammond's double-helix model in the center of the Smith House exhibit area. Connecting each strand is a photo, a close-up of various parts of the human face. Together, they form Hammond's message that DNA — the building block of life — exhibits itself outwardly in how we look and behave. … Read More

Scientific snapshots: exploring the implications

JMU students' ChromoZone ExhibitFor the past semester, the students in Corinne Diop's advanced color photography class have studied the basics of genetics and the subject's accompanying ethical dilemmas. It's one of numerous ways the university has brought together the arts and science this year during the "Dance of Art and Science." … Read More

Looking closely: Images by artists and scientists

JMU students' microscopy photosAssistant Professor of Biology Alex Bannigan has given her microscopy students a unique assignment. Take photos of found objects under the microscope, post the results and enter favorite images into a competition. Popular vote will decide the winning image. "The results have been surprisingly beautiful and artistic," says Bannigan. Would you guess that the above photo is an air bubble in Newman Lake pond water? … Read More

The source: A guide to the entire year's investigation

The Dance of Art and ScienceJMU's year-long series of integrated arts and sciences events focusing on the study of the genome began with PREFACE, a new program designed to introduce incoming first-year students to JMU's academic culture, classes, and expectations, using The DNA Age as a tool. Read More

Read the story in Madison

Read more in the 2011 Spring-Summer edition of Madison magazineFrom the Quad to the stage to the lab, campus ponders scientific literacy in new ways. Scientists, dancers, poets, visual artists interpret biological processes and explore ethical issues, all for a deeper understanding of the complexities of genetics. Read More

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