Ask AJ Roberts (December 4-8, 2017)


(Carson Weitnauer) #1

Hi friends,

We have the privilege of interacting with Anjeanette “AJ” Roberts, a molecular biologist and a research scholar at Reasons to Believe. She holds a BS in chemistry at the University of Tulsa, a PhD in molecular and cell biology from the University of Pennsylvania, and an MA in Christian apologetics from Biola University.

I got to know AJ when she visited RZIM’s headquarters this summer. We had a great time together. For me, the best part was when she graciously agreed to participate in RZIM Connect! :slight_smile:

EDIT: All Q&A with AJ has been split into their own topics. You can find them below.


A.J.'s official biography:
Molecular biologist Anjeanette “AJ” Roberts writes and speaks about the harmony between science and the Christian faith. As a research scholar at Reasons to Believe (RTB), AJ is committed to seeking truth in science and Scripture and to sharing the great news of grace, hope, forgiveness, new life, and truth found in Jesus Christ.

Coming from a mixed background of nominal Christianity and non-Christian influences, AJ became a Christ follower at age 12, when she attended a concert at a local church and learned that Jesus had really risen from the dead. It became clear to AJ that she desperately needed Christ as Savior and deeply desired him as Lord. Thus, she surrendered her life to Jesus.

Following an extensive career in research science and teaching, AJ joined RTB as a visiting scholar in 2015 and, in 2016, became a permanent member of the RTB scholar team. Today, AJ puts her passion for truth to work engaging in science-faith topics such as evolution and design, harmonizing science and Christianity, and a theological perspective on viruses.

AJ completed her BS in chemistry (graduating with honors) at the College of Engineering and Natural Sciences at the University of Tulsa in 1988 and her PhD in molecular and cell biology at the University of Pennsylvania in 1996. From 1997 to 2001, she conducted postdoctoral research in viral pathogenesis and “proof-of-concept” vaccine studies in Dr. John Rose’s lab at Yale University. She then spent two years in Samara, Russia, in Christian mission work and public health lecturing.

In 2003, AJ joined Dr. Kanata Subbarao’s lab at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). There she co-led a SARS research team until 2006. From 2006 to 2013, she served as an assistant professor of graduate education for the University of Virginia’s microbiology faculty and directed the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program in Microbiology, Immunology, and Infectious Diseases. From 2013 to 2015, she was a visiting fellow with the Rivendell Institute at Yale.

AJ has coauthored over 40 articles published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. She has also presented at numerous national and international scientific conferences and lectured at various institutions around the world. In 2005, she received the NIH Merit Award for her contribution to research in infectious diseases.

AJ has also participated in numerous Christian missions and apologetics work, such as Teen Missions (Haiti in 1983 and Poland in 1984), the Wesley Foundation (Tulsa) and Cru (UPenn) campus ministries, Operation Mobilization and International School Project outreach, and teaching trips to Europe. She has also facilitated Alpha Courses and led small-group Bible studies in local churches and among scientific colleagues. In 2015, AJ completed her studies for an MA in Christian apologetics at Biola University.

AJ lives in Southern California with her faithful beagle, Chaim.

(Kay Kalra) #2

3 posts were split to a new topic: Did God create SARS, Zika and Ebola for good but their function was distorted with the fall?

(Kay Kalra) #3

2 posts were split to a new topic: How do you go about witnessing with your fellow researchers?

(Kay Kalra) #4

3 posts were split to a new topic: What would be your response to someone who claims the long ages of people in Genesis proves the Bible contains legend?

(Kay Kalra) #5

4 posts were split to a new topic: Darwinism seems ridiculous to me. How is it that Christians with PHD’s in biology are at all sympathetic?

(Kay Kalra) #7

4 posts were split to a new topic: How powerful is the technology CRISPR? Is the genie out of the bottle?

(Kay Kalra) #14

A post was merged into an existing topic: How do you go about witnessing with your fellow researchers?

(Jolene Laughlin) #17

Thank you so much for this comment. I particularly love your quote of N.T. Wright and the statement that “It’s actually very important, I think, to be in prayer at the place where the world is in pain. It’s part of our Christian vocation.” Good food for thought.

^^ I read an article recently regarding a new way of “mosquito control” which involves infecting certain male mosquitos with the Wolbachia bacteria, which makes them sterile. This is supposed to reduce the mosquito population that carries most of the diseases that affect humans. Will this sort of genetic tinkering actually be beneficial in the long run? It might help eliminate human diseases, but will we eventually have similar problems with pollination like we do with honey bees? Is this another instance of man “playing God?”

And this has little to do with apologetics or theology, but the Wolbachia bacteria has been proven to have a symbiotic relationship with adult heartworms in dogs and cats. They have found that administering antibiotics to the infected animal kills the Wolbachia which causes the worms to diminish in size, makes them more susceptible to the immiticide treatment, and because they are smaller, less of a risk for inflamation and pulmonary embolism (or thrombolism). Since the mosquitos are the primary (only?) vector for heartworm larva, it seems likely that the Wolbachia is picked up as they develop in the mosquitos. Will introducing Wolbachia into mosquito populations that did not previously have it create any additional risk for heartworm infections? I just wonder how well these things have been thought out…

(Carson Weitnauer) #23