AHA Science Classes Welcome Pioneer in the Study of Fetal Physiology

December 2013 

On December 3rd the Science Department welcomed distinguished guest lecturer Dr. Frederick C. Battaglia to the AP Chemistry, AP Biology, Honors Organic Chemistry, and Anatomy and Physiology classes. Dr. Battaglia is a pioneer in the study of fetal physiology and one of the world's leading specialists and educators in perinatal medicine. He received his BA from Cornell University, his MD from Yale University, resident training from Johns Hopkins, and a fellowship from Cambridge University. His proactive leadership and ground-breaking research at the University of Colorado School of Medicine contributed toward the success of its Pediatric Scientist Development Program. Dr. Battaglia has won numerous awards for his contributions to medicine, including the Apgar Award of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Howland Award of the American Pediatric Society, the Ronald McDonald House Charities Medical Award of Excellence, and election to the Institute of Medicine, among many others.

During his class visits, Dr. Battaglia discussed his contributions to perinatal medicine and clinical research. His presentation, entitled "Bats, Bears, and Babies", introduced students to the significance of allometry, in which scientists look broadly across different species to relate their sizes and shapes to the anatomy and physiology of humans. Nutrient uptake, metabolic rates, growth curves, organ development, and gestational periods were compared within and among species characterizing the trends observed in fetuses, newborns, and adults. Of particular interest to the students was Dr. Battaglia’s assertion that the single greatest predictor of a premature infant’s IQ and overall outcome was the educational achievement of the mother.  He challenged the girls to embark on careers in research, which he said would lead to many answers and even more questions. He is pictured with AHA Science Department Chairperson Mrs. Nancy Brizzolara.

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