Biology professor Dr. Giridhar R. Akkaraju speaks about DNA and cancer in the Last Lecture Series.

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TCU seniors heard from a beloved biology professor Thursday as the annual Last Lecture Series got underway.

Dr. Giridhar R. Akkaraju, an associate professor in the biology department, was one of four professors chosen to speak for the lecture series out of more than 60 nominees.

“Professor Akkaraju is a very charismatic person,” said junior biology and chemistry double major Eric Reid. “He really challenges his students to question everything — what we understand about our universe and how things work in it.”

In his speech, Akkaraju talked about over three decades’ work and research in DNA. Akkaraju said research shows that DNA has the ability to regenerate damaged tissues of human organs, and the replacement will allow a person to live healthy for over 122 years.

Akkaraju explained how once this experience begins, the regeneration’s benefit will extend up to three generations. He discussed how death is currently the only way to control how many people are on Earth.

“The speech was incredible,” said junior biology major Juliana Baker.

Baker said for her, the speech was about learning, getting informed, and being caring. More importantly, it was about the work that can impact humankind on a larger scale.     

For the Last Lecture Series, TCU senior class members, professors and faculty nominate professors who made an impact on students during their college careers.

“Organizing [the] lecture series also gives students the opportunity hear those professors speak about something that is near and dear to their hearts,” said Charles Dunning, director of the senior year experience.

Akkaraju said he was honored to have been chosen to speak at the Last Lecture Series.

“I love to teach,” said Akkaraju. “The fact that students appreciate what I do means the most to me. I think it’s a great honor.”

Here’s the lineup for the remainder of the lecture series (all lectures will be held at 6 p.m. in the BLUU Ballroom):

  • Feb. 11 — Dr. Bob Akin, marketing
  • March 3 — Dr. Paul Schrodt, communication
  • April 14 — Dr. Dianna McFarland, psychology