Dr. Praveen Sethupathy explores “Stardust and Wonder” at SEARCH Symposium – Asbury University
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Dr. Praveen Sethupathy explores “Stardust and Wonder” at SEARCH Symposium

Lecture followed up with student research presentations

April 11, 2022

Dr. Sethupathy

For its highly anticipated SEARCH week, Asbury invited distinguished biomedical scientist Dr. Praveen Sethupathy as the keynote speaker of the event where he discussed “Stardust and Wonder.”

Dr. Sethupathy presented three lessons from science: humankind’s similarities, dependencies, and connections to other creatures and three spiritually inspiring examples of genomics that “add surprising and unexpected color to human life.”

The esteemed Cornell University professor earned recognition in 2011 by Genome Technology as one of the nation’s top 25 young rising investigators in genomics. He authored more than 95 peer-reviewed publications in scientific journals and has served as a reviewer for over 35 different journals. He currently serves as a Professor of Biomedical Sciences and the Director of the Center for Vertebrate Genomics at Cornell.

Preceding the symposium’s keynote lecture and presentations, Dr. Sethupathy shared in Chapel on “Building Trust in the Arena.” He briefly touched on his call out of Hinduism and into Christianity, along with three reflections and motivations to equip students to build trust between the secular and faith-based communities.

“I do believe, over time, we can demonstrate an ability to elevate the conversation and stay focused on our calling to heal,” said Dr. Sethupathy. “Whether it be through science and faith, or any other kind of brokenness around us.”

During his keynote presentation on Thursday night in Jameson Hall for SEARCH Symposium, he shared some scientific lessons that inspired the title of the lecture. One is that human beings are made of the fundamental elements of stars which creates a spiritual, copacetic unity between humankind and the rest of God’s creation.

Another point from Dr. Sethupathy was the notion that science only expresses an explanation for one dimension of reality — the how. This limitation of science fails to tell us the why, or the purpose of reality and creation.

“Scientists suggest that our material or physical place in the universe shows that we are not significant,” he said. “If science is the sole arbiter of truth, then I might be tempted to agree with them.”

Science, to Dr. Sethupathy, has only part of the answer. His lecture concluded with scriptural inclusions and references that showed humans as divinely created and composed of both “earth” and “heaven,” or stardust and wonder.

Student Showcase

Following the keynote lecture was the Asbury student showcase, in which students shared their creative and imaginative project research. Students featured in the SEARCH Student Showcase included works from Madeleine Albertson ‘23, Eva Albritton ‘23, Samantha Aquino ‘24, Caroline Bailey ‘22, Hayden Bartels ‘22, Rebekah Bogle ‘24, Nehemiah Buchholz ’22, Samantha Chumley ’24, Jared Cook ’22, Jedidiah Hutt ’22, Emma Ingalls ’23, Anna Lauren Jacobs ’22, Samuel Jeffers ’24, Kayle Kickertz ’22, Lindsay Lee ’22, Sean Malone ’22, Bethany Marcum ’22, Emma Neely ’24, Rebecca Piche ’22, Sophia Riley ’22, Sebastian John Rojas ’22, Lily Romeo ’23, Olivia Ruckriegel ’22, Shelby Scrivner ’22, Abigail Secen ’23, Tollison Sneed ‘22, Sommer Toadvine ’22, Harley Wagoner ’23, Annie Wilder ’23, Brianna (Barr) Wilson ’22 and Noah Wright ’22.

“I’ve been really impressed with the faculty and students that I’ve had the privilege to talk to,” said Dr. Sethupathy during the lecture. “It’s clear to me, through SEARCH and other mechanisms that there’s something special going on here, and I’m really pleased to be a small part of it.”