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Van Wylen to deliver Mellby Lecture

By Catherine Monson '12
April 17, 2012

Professor of Biology Dave Van Wylen '80 will talk about a dualistic understanding of the human heart Thursday in the spring Mellby Lecture, titled "Murmurings of the Heart."

The lecture will be streamed live and archived online.

"Like the physiological heart, a nobly functioning metaphorical heart sustains a meaningful and purposeful life," says Van Wylen. "In my talk, I will use the physiologic heart to suggest some basic life lessons."

Van Wylen has been active in the St. Olaf community — on campus and abroad — since joining the St. Olaf faculty 1994. He teaches Human Anatomy and Physiology, one of the most popular courses for students interested in health professions. He has also developed an investigative research experience for 25 St. Olaf students on myocardial preconditioning, a phenomenon in which the heart's self-protection mechanism provides it with needed oxygen.

In addition, Van Wylen has led two semester-long study-abroad programs (Term in Asia and Term in the Middle East) and six Interim programs to Peru. In 2014 he will lead the Environmental Sciences in Australia program. He also served as design team leader for Regents Hall of Natural and Mathematical Sciences, a LEED Platinum facility that opened in 2008.

This year marks the 29th annual Mellby Lecture Series, an event that invites a nominated current faculty member to talk about an area of professional scholarship.

Contact David Gonnerman at 507-786-3315 or