During my sabbatical in the summer of 2016, our congregation hosted Sunday Faith and Science Jams after worship that featured members of our congregation giving talks about their calling to be both people of science and faith. I'm inviting some of these same folks to give us monthly video Jams beginning this month, which you will find linked on our website homepage mttaborslc.org
Our September Faith and Science Jam is by Dr. Bret Heale, a long time member of Mount Tabor. He's written a brief intro for himself below:
Bret Heale has roamed the fields of biological science from basic molecular biology, biochemistry, computational biology and now Healthcare informatics. Currently, he works to implement solutions that will transform precision health at Intermountain Healthcare. Bret's journey from scientific discovery to engineering social-technical solutions began with a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of California, Davis. The degree was in microbiology, an especially good field to gain an appreciation for the intricate cellular processes that drive life. Nothing on the planet is a diverse as microbes. Watch a non-room mapping, robot vacuum to get an appreciation for the power of stochastic processes! From getting a basis in microbiology, including virology and immunology, Bret went to the City of Hope Cancer Research Center in Duarte, California. Here Bret attained a PhD in Molecular Biology for work on small interfering RNAs. After leaving City of Hope, Bret kept his prenuptial promise to his wife Rebecca and they took positions in Edinburgh, Scotland. Bret was a post-doc in a lab at the Human Genetics Institute, focused on RNA editing proteins.The Heale's experienced a molecular miracle with the birth of their daughter while in Edinburgh and this spurred them to look for work in the USA (closer to new-grandparents in California). The University of Utah solved the two body problem with an appointment for Rebecca and a position as a Research Assistant Professor for Bret. It's in SLC where Bret's work becomes more obviously applied. He was drawn by the opportunity to work within the Gastoenterology department and investigate disease markers and therapeutic targets. After being in SLC, Bret and Rebecca had their son. Due to divine intervention, Bret was blessed with an opportunity to enjoy being a stay-at-home Dad for his son's first few months, and teach at Salt Lake Community college. At SLCC, Bret taught introductory biology to classes of healthcare professionals wishing to advance in the field of nursing. At this time Bret became a National Library of Medicine Post-doctoral Trainee in Medical Informatics.His thought was to apply his bioinformatic (branch of biology dealing with computing on biological data, for things like prediction or detection) skills to pharmacognomics (interactions between your genes and medications). However, as a wise thirty-something, he recognized the great gap between predictive models and application in real-world healthcare settings. It turns out that financial health of an organization providing healthcare is an important caveat to sustainable, high-level medical care (balanced by compassion and clear economic data - shift from being paid for care services to being paid to keep patients healthy and not needing care services). Don't ask me why he stuck with the theme of genetics - not exactly the least challenging area to try to achieve practical, reliable improvements in healthcare. But Bret persisted, achieved a Masters in Medical Informatics for his work on physician's pharmacogenomic information seeking behavior, and for his application of infobuttons to gene driven precision medicine. Bret joined the Health Level 7 Clinical Genomics working group to work on national/international standards in exchanging genetic healthcare data. And, Intermountain took him onto its team. He learns everyday to be thankful for the resourceful, capable, well-intentioned colleagues he works with. He will be bringing a syntactically and semantically interoperable message to his science jam. Something to ponder: Do both entropy and information always increase in the universe? What about knowledge?