Stress Expert Coming to Baylor for Beall-Russell Lecture

Oct. 1, 2008

by Lillyan Baker, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

Dr. Robert Sapolsky, professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University and a well-known stress expert, will deliver Baylor University's annual Beall-Russell lecture in the humanities on "Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers: Stress, Disease and Coping" at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 9, in room 510 of the Cashion Academic Building in Baylor's Hankamer School of Business on the Baylor campus.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will discuss Sapolsky's field work in baboon colonies for more than 25 years. Sapolsky studied the role of stress in baboons and has advanced the knowledge of stress relating to human neurological disorders. He has researched how various human social hierarchies can make a person more or less vulnerable to the damaging effects of stress.

"The committee is excited about bringing Dr. Sapolksy to campus," said Dr. Kimberly Kellison, associate professor of history at Baylor and a co-chair of the Beall-Russell lectures with Dr. Alden Smith. "He is a dynamic speaker whose various research interests--ranging from biology and neurology to psychology and nature writing--allow him to explore the human condition critically, analytically, and empirically."

In addition to teaching at Stanford, Sapolsky is a scientist, author, biologist and neurologist. He is a research associate with the institute of primate research at the National Museum of Kenya and a MacArthur "Genius" Fellow. His books include The Trouble with Testosterone, Monkeyluv and Other Essays on our Lives as Animals and A Primate's Memoir, which won the 2001 Bay Area Book Reviewers Award for nonfiction. His articles on current scientific issues have been published in Discover and The New Yorker.

Sapolsky travels around the world discussing various scientific topics, including stress and stress-related diseases, the biology of our individuality, the biology of religious belief, the biology of memory, schizophrenia, depression, aggression and Alzheimer's disease. He recently was featured in a Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) documentary Killer Stress: A National Geographic Special Exposes Danger of Too Much Stress, which aired Wednesday, Sept. 24.

In 1982, the Beall-Russell lecture series was founded after a gift from Virgina Beall Ball of Muncie, Ind. in admiration of her mother, Mrs. John A. Beall, and Lily Russell, former dean of women at Baylor, both Baylor alumnae of the class of 1910.

The Beall-Russell lecture series provides an opportunity for the Baylor community to experience and hear accomplished humanities scholars. Past lecturers have included poet Maya Angelou, journalist Bill Moyers, Nobel Prize winner for Literature Czeslaw Milosz and best-selling trilogy author Taylor Branch.

For more information, please visit the Beall-Russell lecture web site at or call Dr. Kimberly Kellison at (254) 710-6302.

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