Tracing Ancestry with DNA - Lecture by Bruce A. Jackson, PhD
In honor of Black History Month, the Bay Path College Black Student Association will welcome acclaimed ancestry researcher Bruce A. Jackson, PhD, this Friday, Feb. 26, at 4 p.m. on the Longmeadow Campus. In his lecture, Tracing Ancestry with DNA: Methods, Myths and the Future, Dr. Jackson will discuss how DNA is used to reunite individuals with their ancestral roots.
Through his work at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Jackson, along with Bert Ely, PhD, of the University of South Carolina Department of Biological Sciences, have collaborated on the African-American Roots Project, a nonprofit effort to join African-Americans with their lineage in Africa. Jackson has visited West Africa to collect nearly 2,000 African DNA samples to assist African-Americans in discovering their genealogy. “To be tied to something is the most important component of our Americanism. We came from someplace else and used what we brought with us to build this great nation,” Jackson has said. “If African-Americans can link ourselves to our nations of origin, we will be more invested in the fate of Africa and could have a tremendous impact on its future.”
In addition to ancestral DNA, Jackson’s research at UMass Lowell focuses on the regulation of genes linked to the onset of prostate cancer. He is the co-founder of the Prostate Cancer Alliance, a national team of African-American scientists who are investigating a cure for prostate cancer. Jackson also serves as professor and coordinator of the Biotechnology and Forensic DNA Science Programs at Massachusetts Bay Community College (MBCC). During his tenure, the Biotechnology Program has become the pre-eminent undergraduate science program in the nation. The National Science Foundation Biotechnology Program uses the MBCC Biotechnology Program as its model undergraduate science program. Jackson is responsible for developing the first and only forensic DNA program in the world.
Zara Nizami ’11, president of the Black Student Association, hopes attendees will take a deeper look at their ancestral roots and their future paths. “Dr. Jackson is an inspiring person, and I believe my peers and others will walk away from his talk with awareness that where you are from is not an obstacle to stand in the way of your success,” said Nizami.
Open to all Bay Path College students, the Black Student Association offers a supportive environment for students of color and encourages unity through understanding and appreciation.
This event is free and open to the public. If you are a member of the media and plan to cover the event, contact Nicole Soucy in Communications & Marketing at Bay Path College at 413.565.1234 or firstname.lastname@example.org.