Man with Round Lake roots to return home to present at Bioscience Conference
WORTHINGTON -- The upcoming Regional Bioscience Conference will represent a homecoming of sorts for Lance Baumgard.
Baumgard, an associate professor at Iowa State University, grew up in Round Lake and attended what was then Worthington Community College for two years. He will be speaking on food safety during the opening day of the conference, which is scheduled for March 29-30 at the Biotechnology Advancement Center.
Baumgard is excited to return to southwest Minnesota and speak at the annual conference, which is being hosted for the eighth time.
"I'm always excited to be back in the Worthington area," Baumgard said via email earlier this week. "I still have lots of friends and family living in and around Worthington and it gives me an opportunity to see old friends. I'm very proud to be from Round Lake, and I feel that growing up in rural community provided me and others a lot of advantages. It's an honor to speak at the conference.
Baumgard is scheduled to share a program on food safety with William J. Davis, CEO of Pacific Vet Group USA.
"My presentation won't specifically be on food safety, at least in the traditional sense of the phrase," Baumgard explained. "My lecture will concentrate on the effects of dietary fat, especially fat of animal origin, on human disease. The two diseases I'll focus on are heart disease and cancer. I will present data that challenges the dogma that animal-derived food products are unhealthy. Furthermore, I'll try and expose some of the irrational reasons for why the average person wrongly affiliates animal food products with unwholesomeness."
Glenn Thuringer, manager of Worthington Regional Economic Development Corp., which coordinates the yearly conference, said Baumgard comes via a local recommendation.
"Last summer, Keith Wilson gave me a post-it note that's been lying on my desk ever since," Thuringer said. "That's where some of our best people come from -- recommendations from local people."
Baumgard himself could be considered local. He is a graduate of Sioux Valley-Round Lake-Brewster High School, and after attending WCC completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Minnesota. He went on to earn a master's in animal science at the U of M, and then got a doctorate in animal science (with a minor in biochemistry) at Cornell University.
In 2001, Baumgard joined the faculty at the University of Arizona and had a dual appointment in the departments of Animal Sciences and Human Nutrition. He joined the faculty of Iowa State University in 2009 and holds the endowed Jacobson Professorship of Nutritional Physiology.
"Iowa State University is the Harvard of Agricultural schools and I'm very proud to be affiliated with it," Baumgard said.
While he's pleased to be employed at ISU, Baumgard also remains proud of the education he got at home.
"I very much enjoyed attending Worthington Community College and my studies there allowed for my future academic successes," he said. "I especially enjoyed my courses taught by Norm Becker and Arlo Mogck."
Baumgard and Davies are scheduled to speak from 10:45 to noon on the opening day of the conference. Following lunch, Cheryl Matter of BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota will describe Worthington's new Biotechnology Advancement Facility; next will be the session "Launching a New Business: Navigating the Minefield," featuring three presenters.
Sessions for day two of the conference include "Regenerative Therapies" and "Innovative Strategies for Food and Fuel Replacements," along with -- as has become customary -- project displays by the Worthington Middle School Science Club.
The general public is invited to the conference. To confirm attendance register online at www.wgtn.net, or call WREDC at 372-5515 or the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce at 372-2919.
A complete schedule for the conference can be found at http://www.wgtn.net/biosciences/conference/index.htm.
Daily Globe Managing Editor
Ryan McGaughey may be reached at 376-7320.