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Upcoming Events


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Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Hidden no more: Decoding glycan messages with chemical biology to create new biomedical opportunities

Our cells are encapsulated by a layer of sugary molecules called glycans. These glycans can serve as molecular beacons for cells to facilitate communication with their environment. Studying glycans and decoding their messages can unlock new opportunities for the discovery of new biomarkers and new opportunities to treat disease. However, due to their unique characteristics, scientists have had limited tools to study glycans. We are harnessing the power of chemical biology to develop ciphering tools that can decode the language of glycans. These tools have led us to uncover with high precision how glycan messages are used to promote health or cause disease. This knowledge, in turn, is leading us to envision new ways to address human diseases.

» Mia Huang, Scripps Research

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Between Clean and Green: Lithium, Water, and Environmental Justice

Lithium is considered a critical material for the energy transition away from fossil fuels because it is a key ingredient in batteries for electric vehicles and renewable energy storage. Although lithium is present all over the globe, two of the largest and most controversial lithium resources are in Chile’s Atacama Desert and California’s Salton Sea region. This presentation discusses the role of mining in climate change mitigation, by examining how: (1) on the one hand, the reliance on brine evaporation as an extraction method for lithium mining has exacerbated drought conditions in the Atacama Desert; and (2) on the other, geothermal lithium development has been framed by tech entrepreneurs, developers, and regulators as a cleaner alternative method of lithium recovery at the Salton Sea. Despite the increasing demand for energy transition minerals to address climate change, ongoing concerns from Indigenous and fenceline communities about water use, air quality, waste streams, seismic activity, and cultural resources remain unresolved. This talk is based on community-engaged research in collaboration with environmental justice activists, Indigenous leaders, scientists, and policy practitioners in Chile and California.

» James J. A. Blair, Cal Poly Pomona

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

2024 Seymour Benzer/Sydney Brenner Lecture

Sensing and Action Across Time and Space

Natural, goal-directed behaviors typically involve sensing and action across both time and space. Organisms must react to stimuli in the 3D environment at each moment in time, as well as plan future behaviors to successfully complete the goal. Research in my lab is focused on understanding how the brain receives and reacts to sensory information for the purpose of goal-directed behavioral control. To study these phenomena, we examine the hunting behaviors of echolocating bats as a model of natural, 3D goal-directed behaviors.

» Melville Wohlgemuth, University of Arizona

Recent Events

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

From Artificial Intelligence to Artificial Life

In this talk, Dr. Kriegman will describe recent efforts to bring AI out of the digital realm of bits and pixels and into the material world as living machines of diverse size, shape, composition, and niche. While the resulting creatures are exceedingly simple by modern standards, he will argue that they open the way to understanding and realizing higher forms of intelligence.

» Sam Kriegman, Northwestern University 

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Planet Nine from Outer Space

For nearly 200 years astronomers have repeatedly claimed evidence for new planets beyond Neptune. All such claims have eventually been shown to be wrong. Until now? Eight years ago Konstantin Batygin and I showed new evidence that a giant planet is influencing the orbits of bodies in the distant Solar System. Since that time, the evidence has gotten progressively better, but the planet still has not been found. I’ll discuss the evidence for this new planet – Planet Nine – and talk about how we are trying to uncover this first new planet in our solar system in nearly 200 years.

» Mike Brown, Caltech

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

The Future of Artificial Intelligence

AI is all around us—recognizing our faces in photos, transcribing our speech, constructing our news feeds, navigating our driving routes, answering our search queries, and much more. But rapidly improving AI is poised to play a much bigger role in all of our lives. In this lecture, AI expert Melanie Mitchell will demystify how current-day AI works, how “intelligent” it really is, and what our expectations—and concerns—about its near-term and long-term prospects should be.

» Melanie Mitchell, Santa Fe Institute

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Achieving sustainable productivity in agriculture through beneficial microbial associations

The availability of nitrogen and phosphorus is a major limitation to crop productivity and this is currently addressed primarily through application of inorganic fertilisers to augment these limiting nutrients. Use of such fertilisers contributes the greatest cause of pollution from agriculture in high and middle-income countries, while access to inorganic fertilisers is extremely limited for farmers in low-income countries. In natural ecosystems many species of plants acquire nitrogen and phosphorus through associations with beneficial fungi and bacteria, but the use of these beneficial microbial associations is currently very limited in agriculture. Through a detailed understanding of how plants associate with beneficial microorganisms, we are attempting to broaden their use in agriculture to facilitate sustainable productivity, accessible to all of the world’s farmers.

» Prof. Giles E. D. Oldroyd FRS, FRSB

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Exploring hazardous asteroids with the OSIRIS Spacecraft

The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft mission characterized and collected a sample from asteroid (101955) Bennu. After the OSIRIS-REx Sample Return Capsule is released to Earth's surface in 2023, the spacecraft will divert into a new orbit that encounters asteroid (99942) Apophis in 2029, enabling a second mission with the same unique capabilities: OSIRIS–Apophis Explorer (APEX). On April 13, 2029, the 340-m-diameter Apophis flies within ~32,000 km of Earth's surface, less than 1/10th the lunar distance. Apophis will be the largest object to approach Earth this closely in recorded history. APEX will distantly observe Apophis during its Earth encounter and capture its evolution in real-time, revealing the consequences of an asteroid undergoing tidal disturbance by a major planet. The spacecraft's instrument suite will subsequently provide high-resolution data of a "stony" asteroid—advancing knowledge of these objects and their connection to meteorites.  

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

A Genetic Mechanism Underlying a Form of Autism/Intellectual Disability and Insight Into a Potential Treatment

Towards understanding developmental mechanisms that cause neurodevelopmental disorders we study the effect of mutating a gene (Tbr1) that can cause autism and intellectual disability. We have identified several steps in development that are disrupted in Tbr1 mutants including specifying the fate of cortical layer 6 neurons and promoting the synaptic connections of these neurons. We found that the latter defect can be partially corrected with Lithium chloride.

» John Rubenstein, University of California, San Francisco

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Flourishing Together: Rethinking Well-Being (and Technology) in the Loneliness Epidemic

In an era marked by rapid technological advancements and an escalating loneliness epidemic, how can we build deeper connections to foster more happiness and well-being? In this talk, Dr. Zhao will advocate for a multi-level approach to well-being by examining the importance of cognition, connection, community, and culture. Focusing on cognition and connection, she will discuss recent studies illustrating the surprising power of seemingly simple words and actions in creating meaningful connections and inclusive conversations. Next, she will propose novel approaches to leverage technology for deeper human connection and build supportive communities that promote collective well-being. Drawing on her academic research and personal entrepreneurial journey, she aims to provide fresh perspectives and actionable insights for navigating the complexities of the loneliness epidemic in a hyperconnected society.

» Xuan Zhao, Stanford University

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Good, Good, Good Vibrations: How Some Bees Use Floral Sonication During Buzz Pollination of Flowers

Certain female bees, like bumblebees and carpenter bees, turn their bodies into living tuning forks to harvest pollen. Shivering their flight muscles, while they bite into a floral anther, sends intense vibrations into the hollow anthers of tomato and similar flowers. Thousands of pollen grains are almost instantly ejected in the form of a pollen cloud that exits the anther pores. Most of this pollen lands on the female bee. She grooms it onto her hind legs and carries it back to the nest as a protein rich food for the developing larval brood. You can thank these bees for bringing us delicious tomatoes, blueberries, cranberries, eggplant, peppers and kiwi fruit.

» Steve Buchmann, The University of Arizona

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Illuminating the Night: Unraveling the Enigmatic Effects of Artificial Light on Our World

Join us for an exploration of the intriguing ramifications of artificial light at night on species, habitats, ecosystems, and human health. This lecture will delve into the far-reaching consequences of our illuminated nightscape, shedding light on how it affects the behavior, physiology, and ecological interactions of diverse organisms, from nocturnal wildlife to plants and their pollinators. Discover how understanding and mitigating light pollution can safeguard both the natural world and our own well-being.

» Travis Longcore, University of California, Los Angeles

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

The Future of (Decarbonized) Transportation and What It Means for the Economy, Society and Environment

Transportation is about to be transformed by the three revolutions of electrification, automation and sharing. Professor Sperling will address California’s leadership and failures in creating a more sustainable transportation system, building on his 16 years with the California Air Resources Board.

» Daniel Sperling, NAE member, University of California, Davis

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Intercepting and decoding bacterial communication: a microbial canary in the coal mine

Biochemical signals from bacteria have long been used to inform of the presence of an infection. New technology for detection along with artificial intelligence now allows us to use this information to rapidly diagnosis accurate treatment to combat the rise of antimicrobial resistant pathogens. When integrating bacteria as part of the platform, we create ‘living sensors’ that push technological boundaries of sensitivity, cost and portability to monitor toxins in the environment.

» Regina Ragan, University of California, Irvine

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Regulation of romantic love

Love feelings may be less or more intense than desired, such as in long-term relationships and during heartbreak. Therefore, it might be advantageous to regulate love feelings. Love regulation entails increasing or decreasing the intensity of current feelings of romantic love using behavioral or cognitive strategies. Some people think that love regulation is undesirable, difficult, or even impossible. Nevertheless, self-report and electrophysiological data from several studies have revealed that love up-regulation can be used to increase love feelings for long-term partners and that love down-regulation can be used to decrease love feelings for an ex-partner. In short, love up-regulation could reduce the incidence of break-ups and divorces due to declining love feelings and love down-regulation could reduce heartbreak.

» Sandra Langeslag, University of Missouri, St. Louis

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

How genes determine our quality of sleep

Sleep deprivation has consistently been shown to have negative impacts on the health, wellbeing, and memory consolidation of organisms. Recent studies reveal that the overexpression of Bmal1 in skeletal muscle reduces homeostatic sleep responses to acute sleep loss. In this study, we examine the molecular mechanisms by which Bmal1 in the skeletal muscle is modulated by the sleep homeostatic response, and if Bmal1 muscle overexpression mice are protected against the cognitive impacts of sleep deprivation. We found that while sleep deprivation significantly decreased BMAL1 protein levels, it did not have a significant effect on BDNF and PGC-1α levels. We examined memory via two behavioral tests — the Novel Object Recognition Test, which measures recognition memory, and the Novel Location Recognition test, which measures spatial memory. In the Novel Object Recognition test, we found that 6 hours of sleep deprivation was unable to disrupt novel object recognition in either Bmal1 muscle overexpression mice or wild-type littermates. However, we found that 12 hours of sleep restriction immediately after memory acquisition disrupted novel object recognition during the testing phase in wild types, but significantly improved novel objection recognition in Bmal1 muscle overexpression mice. These results suggest that skeletal muscle Bmal1 confers resistance to recognition memory deficits caused by sleep deprivation, but not spatial memory deficits.

» Ketema Paul, University of California, Los Angeles

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

2023 Seymour Benzer/Sydney Brenner Lecture: All kinds of families: Lessons on social behavior from the cold blooded

The families that most of us imagine are based on our own experiences as mammals. It is time to widen our view, as natural selection has made a beautiful diversity of family structures from single-parent moms or dads in amphibians to fluid partnerships among fishes and the evolution of monogamy in reptiles. In each case, studying the social behavior and neurobiology of these cold-blooded animals has revealed not only how the brain promotes different kinds of social behaviors, but also highlights what is shared across species, including mammals. You will walk away learning you have more in common with a frog than you previously thought possible.

» Lauren O’Connell, New York Stem Cell Foundation, Stanford University

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

In conjunction with the 2023 Ryan Initiative for Macular Research Conference: Uncovering the unseen using artificial intelligence in ophthalmology

This lecture will focus on the recent advances made in artificial intelligence, specifically deep learning and how the translation of that technology stands to revolutionize both vision science research and the practice of ophthalmology forever. We have specifically been focused on the application of AI techniques to quantify and understand ophthalmic diseases and understand how the eye can be used as a window to the rest of the human body.

» Aaron Y Lee, MD MSCI, Associate Professor in Ophthalmology, C. Dan and Irene Hunter Endowed Professorship University of Washington

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Engaging the Public in Science Through Digital Games

Digital games immerse players in simulated systems, driven by conflict. These systems might be virtual cells, electric fields, or inland watersheds in which they conduct investigations. Plague Inc., the epidemiology strategy game with over 160 million downloads, demonstrates the market potential of science fiction games. Can similar games be made to improve public understanding in science? What makes such games effective? Can science games help support research? This talk reviews a decade of research building games for improving public understanding in science, with an eye toward what it can teach us about science, media, and perhaps the modern research university itself.

» Kurt Squire, University of California, Irvine

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

The Impact of the COVID19 Pandemic on Mental Health

The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting restrictions placed upon society have had a profound impact on mental health. The pandemic has affected people’s mental health and wellbeing in different ways and at different points in time as the pandemic has progressed around 10% of the population experienced persistent distress, with women, 18-30 years olds, people with pre-existing mental or physical health problems, those living in deprived areas, and ethnic minority communities most affected. We are also starting to understand the impact on those who have suffered from COVID, are still suffering from long COVID, and the healthcare workers on the frontline during the peak. There are also considerations for those who are also grieving for loved ones and those in financial stress, as these intersect with the mental health impact of COVID. Young people have been impacted in a variety of ways, with loneliness and psychological distress high, but access to support and health services limited. The pandemic has exacerbated challenges that existed prior to the pandemic, and amplified them to a level we should all be concerned about. There have been increases of positive aspects of family support and mental health awareness, but these are overshadowed by the challenges we face. The impact of COVID-19 on mental health cannot be underestimated. It cannot be made light of; it has widened health inequalities. Looking back at what happened is arguably less important than reflecting on what we have learnt, what we need to do next, and what we still do not know.

» Lee Chambers, Essentialise Workplace Wellbeing

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Clearing the smoke: The chemistry of wildfire smoke in wine

The wine industry has been notably impacted by the increasing severity of wildfires due to changes in global climates! Wine grapes are vulnerable to wildfires in a way that does not impact other crops. Upon exposure to smoke from wildfires, wine grapes can often acquire ‘smoky’, ‘campfire’, ‘ashy’, or ‘rubbery’ flavor and aroma characteristics that are not desired by winemakers and consumers. It has been known that the presence of high concentrations of guaiacol, syringol, and cresols that get into the wine through the grape skins can be attributed to smoke exposure, but sensory studies show that mixtures of those compounds do not impart the flavor and aroma associated with smoke-exposed wine. Our studies reveal a new class of compounds, thiophenols, in combination with smoke phenols causing the aroma and flavor attributes of smoke-impacted wines. The new compounds give us new avenues of testing for potentially smoke impacted wines and new chemical targets for amelioration!

» Cole Cerrato, Oregon State University

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

From fruit flies to new treatment strategies for cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, a journey

New treatment strategies inevitably are inevitably founded upon decades of fundamental, curiosity-driven research and sometimes come from unexpected places. I will describe how our studies of cell migration in fruit flies have led us to an explanation for a previously mysterious human immunodeficiency and a novel cellular immunotherapy. I will also describe how these studies led us to a novel gene therapy for blindness and possibly other neurodegenerative diseases.

» Denise Montell, NAS Member, University of California, Santa Barbara

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Seymour Benzer/Sydney Brenner Lecture

Active Genetics Comes Alive: A Journey from Evo-Devo to CRISPR Gene Drives

In 2014 in an attempt to solve a basic research problem for my Ph.D. thesis project, I used CRISPR to develop a novel genetic element that bypassed the fundamental rules of traditional genetics. Such a genetic element could actively promote its propagation from a transgenic chromosome to its companion unaltered one. When this process occurs in the germline of an individual, the “Active” element can be inherited in a super-Mendelian fashion, promoting the preferential transmission of the element to the progeny, a process known as gene drive. Such selfish genetic entities offer a variety of potential applications including gene-drive strategies to disseminate payload genes that confer desired traits throughout insect populations for the purpose of controlling disease vectors or pest species, allelic drives biasing inheritance of preferred allelic variants, neutralizing genetic elements to delete and replace or to halt the spread of gene-drives, split-drives with the core constituent Cas9 endonuclease and guide RNA components inserted at separate genomic locations to accelerate the assembly of complex arrays of genetic traits, and inter-homolog based copying systems in somatic cells to develop tools for treating inherited or infectious diseases. Here, I summarize the substantial advances that have been made on all of these fronts since the generation of the very first CRISPR gene drive.

» Valentino Gantz, Senior Scientist at IconOVir Bio

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Why are monarch butterflies declining?

Declines in the abundance and diversity of insects pose a substantial threat to terrestrial ecosystems worldwide. Yet, identifying the causes of these declines has proved difficult, even for well-studied species like monarch butterflies, whose eastern North American population has decreased markedly over the last three decades. Three hypotheses have been proposed to explain the changes observed in the eastern monarch population: loss of milkweed host plants from increased herbicide use, mortality during autumn migration and/or early-winter resettlement and changes in breeding-season climate. We use a hierarchical modelling approach, combining data from >18,000 systematic surveys to evaluate support for each of these hypotheses over a 25-yr period. Between 2004 and 2018, breeding-season weather was nearly seven times more important than other factors in explaining variation in summer population size, which was positively associated with the size of the subsequent overwintering population. Although data limitations prevent definitive evaluation of the factors governing population size between 1994 and 2003 (the period of the steepest monarch decline coinciding with a widespread increase in herbicide use), breeding-season weather was similarly identified as an important driver of monarch population size. If observed changes in spring and summer climate continue, portions of the current breeding range may become inhospitable for monarchs. Our results highlight the increasingly important contribution of a changing climate to insect declines.

» Elise Zipkin, Michigan State University

Wednesday November 16, 2022

Understanding and addressing urban flood risk with simulation models

Flooding disasters in the U.S. are on the rise and concentrated in cities. The combined effects of hardened land surfaces, more intense storms, and reliance on aging and undersized infrastructure for protection has resulted in severe flooding that is disrupting millions of lives and causing tens of billions of dollars in losses every year. Here we present an innovative modeling framework that aims to inclusively understand and equitably address flooding alongside other urban challenges impacted by flood infrastructure design, maintenance and operation. Using the Los Angeles Metropolitan Region as a case study, where severe flooding that overwhelms infrastructure is possible from a major atmospheric river event, we present an application of the model to characterize the scale and inequity of flood exposure and to identify and understand flood vulnerabilities. This reveals flood risks that are vastly different from what has previously been mapped by FEMA, and disproportionate exposure by racial and ethnic groups in line with recent nationwide modeling. The scale and inequity of exposure calls for major investments in infrastructure here and across the U.S., which represent a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reset the social ecology of cities.  Hence, we will also showcase a vision for how the framework can be used to develop regional adaptation plans and pathways of infrastructure investment.

» Brett F. Sanders, University of California, Irvine

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Ancient Tsunami Deposits and the Lives they Save

A chance find made during underwater archaeological excavations nearly twenty years ago exposed the first preserved physical evidence for a tsunami event at the ancient Roman harbor of Caesarea Maritima, located in the Eastern Mediterranean along the Israeli coastline. Since then, efforts to further explore the extent and nature of these particular deposits, coupled with a series of tragic modern tsunami events, has resulted in an extensive body of research documenting multiple tsunami landfalls in the eastern Mediterranean over the past few thousand years. While not a daily occurrence, the evidence suggests that some of them were large enough and often enough to leave an indelible mark on both the physical and social landscapes of the region. During this presentation, examples from some of the most intriguing, and sometimes mystifying evidence put forward will be shared, including the most recent breakthroughs related to the Thera (Santorini) volcanic eruption and tsunamis that occurred in the Bronze Age. The identification of these ancient deposits has been central to the establishment of new disaster management policies and emergency response preparation in Israel, and also contributed to developing Hazard reduction programs in other parts of the Mediterranean.

» Beverly Goodman, University of Haifa

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Designing Catalysts that Use Green Electricity to Convert Carbon Dioxide into Useful Chemicals and Fuels

Green electricity generated from renewable energy is one of the fastest growing sources of electrical power around the world. In the United States, solar and wind energy make up over 10% of electricity generation comes from solar and wind energy, and this percentage is expected to increase in coming years. However, our increased reliance on intermittent energy sources raises a significant technological challenge: how do we store energy generated during peak production so that we can use it when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing? Existing storage solutions like pumped hydrostorage and battery technologies have been used to meet this challenge up until now, but a novel and promising alternative solution is to harness green electricity to convert carbon dioxide and water into useful chemicals and fuels—e.g. “solar fuels.” To generate these solar fuels efficiently with minimal waste energy, catalysts are needed to activate the reactants and lower the energy barriers to drive the reactions. This lecture will explore some of the fundamental scientific principles behind catalysis, and discuss some of the ways researchers around the world are approaching catalyst design for solar fuels generation from renewable electricity.

» Charles C. L. McCrory, University of Michigan

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

The Webb Telescope: Twenty Years in the Making but Worth the Wait!

Christmas morning brought a treat to astronomers as the successful launch of the Webb Telescope opened a new era of discovery. The mission went through a six-month period of deploying the sun shield, aligning the telescope segments, and checking the functionality of the science instruments. The data collected during commissioning gave hints at this telescope's power, and now with the first observing programs receiving data, we are just beginning to appreciate what this telescope and its cameras and spectrometers can do.

» Marcia J. Rieke, The University of Arizona

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Modelling genetics of human disease susceptibility - Online Zoom Event

As host genetics plays a significant role in pathogenic disease susceptibility, infection and treatment success, preclinical models that reflect human genetic variation are crucial for predicting disease course and developing precision therapies. Inbred mice have been only modestly successful in modelling widely divergent clinical outcomes in human disease, due to their limited genetic background. As an example, patterns have emerged regarding age, sex and comorbidities contributing to COVID-19 disease susceptibility, yet it is clear that as-yet unknown genetic factors also play a significant role, affecting variable disease course and treatment success that is not effectively modelled in single inbred mouse strains. To investigate why many people with COVID-19 remain asymptomatic, while others have severe, even lethal illness, we exploited interbred panels of mouse strains offering allelic diversity that mimics human genetic variation with the requisite statistical power and resolution for dissecting complex traits. These panels display a correspondingly wide range of COVID-19 responses. Continuing analysis is already uncovering intriguing pathways contributing to variable illness in mice and humans, yielding greater insight into the genetic architecture underlying COVID-19 disease risk and progression. Mouse diversity resources combined with gene editing offer exciting prospects for creating a future of predictive biology for individualized disease prevention and treatment.

» Nadia Rosenthal, PhD FMedSCi, The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor ME, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London

Thursday, July 7, 2022 - 7:30 PM PDT

Battery technology to enable the widespread adoption of EVs

Internal combustion engines revolutionized transportation and advanced civilization in ways that were unimaginable at the turn of the twentieth century. Currently, however, owing to depleting fossil fuels and impacts on the climate, there is an urgent need to electrify transportation. It is generally accepted that achieving the widespread adoption of EVs requires batteries with higher energy density and lower cost, use sustainable materials, and exhibit improved safety compared to state-of-the-art (SOA) Li-ion technology. Moreover, as the rate of EV adoption increases, there is further motivation and urgency to augment the electrical grid capacity, which also benefits from improved batteries though not necessary the same batteries used in EVs. A typical battery consists of three components: an anode (negatively charged electrode), cathode, (positively charged electrode), and an electrolyte that provides the transport of Li ions. It follows that increasing battery performance involves approaches to improve the performance of these three components. Historically, the fields of materials science, chemical engineering, and chemistry work in concert to develop electrodes that have higher Li ion capacities and electrolytes that provide sufficient transport of Li ions while minimizing unintended side reactions that cause degradation. Though tremendous progress has been made in achieving the performance and affordability of SOA Li ion, pushing the frontier of battery technology to accelerate the adoption of EVs requires breakthroughs in battery research. This seminar described how SOA Li ion technology works and the related challenges in the near future. Looking toward the future, this presentation also discussed advanced cell chemistries that beyond SOA Li ion technology.

» Jeff Sakamoto, University of Michigan

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

When the Last Campsite Fills: Allocation of Outdoor Recreation in an Age of Extreme Scarcity - Online Zoom Event

Surging outdoor recreation demand during the COVID-19 pandemic exposed cracks in the allocation infrastructure for outdoor recreation across the U.S. For avid or even occasional campers, who comprise two thirds of North American residents, scarcities in campsite supply were revealed which paled in comparison to demand. According to Recreation.gov, those trying to reserve a spot for a specific date in a popular federally-managed campground now have an approximate 0.3% chance of success. This lecture will explore the results of a recent study which used big data to understand the unintended inequities in outdoor recreation access resulting from the allocation strategies employed to manage increased demand, including a discussion of environmental justice and proposed solutions.

» Will Rice, PhD, Assistant Professor of Outdoor Recreation and Wildland Management, Parks, Tourism, & Recreation Management Program, Department of Society & Conservation, W.A. Franke College of Forestry & Conservation, University of Montana

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

The Curiosity to Explore and the Perseverance to Rove: A Decade of Discoveries on Mars

The exploration of Mars has taken us from ‘Follow the Water’ with the Spirit and Opportunity rovers, to ‘Follow the Carbon’ with the Curiosity rover. We now accept the challenge to ‘Follow the Life’ with the grand search for ancient life on Mars through the Perseverance rover mission and the Mars Sample Return program. This lecture explored the foundational discoveries and ongoing exploration of Mars with NASA’s Curiosity and Perseverance rovers.

» Amy Williams, University of Florida

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

On Odor Reproduction, and How to Test For It - Online Event

A reliable odor reproduction system (ORS) has a vast spectrum of potential applications: from e-commerce, games and video, via the food and cosmetics industry, to medical diagnosis. Such a system would enable an output device --- the whiffer --- to release an imitation of an odor read in by an input device --- the sniffer --- upon command. To realize this scheme, one must carry out deep and complex research, involving, e.g., computer science, mathematics, chemistry, brain science and human physiological experimentation. In the process, we expect a deep understanding of this least understood of our senses to emerge. I will discuss the feasibility of an ORS, including some of our recent encouraging work. I will also addressed the question (not unlike Turing’s 1950 question about AI) of how to test the validity of a candidate ORS, and will propose a novel testing method, which takes advantage of the availability of near-perfect reproduction methods for sight and sound.

» David Harel, Weizmann Institute of Science, President of the Israel Academy of Sciences

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Reflections on the Reading Brain and its Impediments in a Digital Culture - Online Zoom Event

This presentation will use research from cognitive neuroscience, literature, and education to illustrate how an understanding of the development of the reading brain sheds light on three key, societal issues: the development of literacy and its role in society; impediments to reading like dyslexia; and the impact of changes to deep reading in a digital culture for critical analysis, empathy and, potentially, democracy.

» Maryanne Wolf, University of California Los Angeles

Monday, April 11, 2022

Open Science and Learning in the Genome Age

In both political and scientific development the sense of malfunction that can lead to crisis is prerequisite to revolution (Kuhn, 1962). Since the 1950s we’ve understood DNA as the “molecule of life”, and we’ve learned how malfunctions (mutations) in its makeup are fundamental to health. A single DNA alteration might cause a disease that takes millions of lives or give rise to an agricultural trait that saves them. In this talk, we’ll touch upon two revolutions in the life sciences. The genome revolution incudes our surging abilities to read and purposely edit DNA. A parallel, but latent revolution is the development of open science and learning, which will redefine how scientists and the public work together in the genome age. Unlike past transformations of the scientific landscape, the life science boom is uniquely partnered with the modern conception of open science – a set of principles, technologies, and approaches for sharing knowledge. We will explore how open sharing and science education are critical to ensure that our new abilities to redefine life itself are grounded in equity and ethical context. Everyone has a genome, so everyone has the right and responsibility to understand it.

» Jason Williams, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Tainted Grapes, Tainted Lungs: Extreme Wildfire Impacts to Undocumented Latino/a and Indigenous Migrants

As climate change advances, communities across the United States are adapting to the increased threat of wildfires. Such disasters are expected to become more frequent and severe. In this lecture, Dr. Méndez explores why it is crucial to understand how these events amplify existing inequalities, and how to lessen the resulting harms, in particular for the most stigmatized populations, such as undocumented Latino/a and Indigenous migrants.

» Dr. Michael Mendez, assistant professor of environmental policy and planning at the University of California, Irvine and Visiting Scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Seymour Benzer/Sydney Brenner Lecture

The Science of Sleep and Stress: How they Affect Creativity, Emotion, and Memory

What's going on in your head while you sleep? The research of Notre Dame Professor Jessica Payne shows that the non-waking hours are incredibly valuable for your day-to-day life, especially for helping to commit information to memory and for problem solving. If you ever thought sleep was just downtime between one task and the next, think again. The fact is, your brain pulls an all-nighter when you hit the hay. Many regions of the brain - especially those involved in learning, memory, creativity, and emotion - are actually more active during sleep than when you're awake. These regions are working together while you sleep, helping you process and sort information you've taken in during the course of the day. Professor Payne's research has focused on what types of information are consolidated into memory, and has been instrumental in better understanding how the brain stores and reorganizes the information.

» Jessica Payne, University of Notre Dame

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