Sunday, September 15, 2019

Fall 2019 September Science Cafe lineup announced -- Welcome to our 11th year

Welcome to everyone as the Rochester Science Cafe begins its 11th year! We are excited to announce our Fall 2019 lineup as we continue on with Rochester's premier free monthly science talk series. 
As always, talks will be the fourth Tuesday of the month at 7pm, upstairs in the Community Room at the Pittsford Plaza Barnes and Noble, 3349 Monroe Ave.  All talks are free, and coffee and cookies are provided.

This Fall, our lineup will be

September 24
“Health around the clock: human circadian rhythm in health and disease”
Dr. Brian J. Altmann, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Genetics
University of Rochester Medical Center

Circadian rhythms in mammals are 24-hour cycles that govern gene regulation and cellular metabolism. While many cancers have altered or disrupted circadian rhythms, there is little understanding of the implications of this disruption on cancer cell metabolism, tumor cell growth, and prognosis. We have previously shown that the MYC oncogene, commonly overexpressed in many human cancers, disrupts circadian rhythm and metabolic oscillations, which may provide a growth advantage to the cancer cell.

Our research focuses on identifying the intersections between circadian rhythm, cancer cell physiology, and metabolism. We utilize diverse cell line models of cancer and mouse MYC-driven lung cancer to focus on amplified MYC, the extended MYC family of related proteins, and nutrient input and metabolic stress signaling in circadian rhythm control. Better understanding of how tumors and metabolic input modulate the clock and the circadian metabolic cycle could aid in developing novel treatment strategies to time increased efficacy and reduced toxicity.

October 22
“Bacterial seashells: How to build your environment using bacteria” Dr. Anne Meyer, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Biology
University of Rochester

November 26 
 “Perception as controlled hallucination”
Dr. Edmund Lalor, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Neuroscience
University of Rochester

Saturday, March 23, 2019

March Science Cafe (3/26): Dr. Lea Michel (RIT): "Prevention, Protection, and Diagnosis: One protein’s role in multiple diseases"

Our next Science Cafe talk will be this coming Tuesday, March 26. As always, 7pm at the Pittsford Plaza Barnes and Noble, upstairs in the community room. For this month, our topic is:

Dr. Lea Michel
Associate Professor, School of Chemistry and Materials Science
Chair of Women in Science & Director of Rochester Project SEED

Prevention, Protection, and Diagnosis: One protein’s role in multiple diseases
The Michel research group has focused on the Peptidoglycan associated lipoprotein (Pal) protein from two pathogenic bacteria: nontypeable Haemophilus influenza (NTHi) and Escherichia coli (E. coli). NTHi causes ear infections and other respiratory illnesses, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The Michel group aims to use the NTHi Pal protein in a vaccine to protect against these diseases. E. coli can be found in the human gut, where they act as a “good bacteria,” helping to maintain gut health. However, E. coli can also cause serious illnesses, including sepsis, which is extreme inflammation caused by a serious infection. In this research realm, the Michel group studies the role of Pal in sepsis and aims to prove that Pal is a useful biomarker for early detection and diagnosis of E. coli sepsis.

There will be two more talks in our Spring series as well:

April 23: Dr. Ernest Fokoue (RIT):

To Bayes or not to Bayes? That’s no longer the question!
A light on the ubiquitous power of the Bayesian paradigm in Data Science.

This conversation will unapologetically make a series of bold claims seeking to make the case that the Bayesian Paradigm just might be the single most fundamental building block of statistical machine learning and data science. A tour of some foundational concepts in statistics and machine learning will serve as the fulcrum for anchoring all the claims, but concrete examples of the power of the Bayesian thought in modern data science will also be provided.

May 28: Dr. Andre Hudson (RIT):

Public Health Alert: Why should you care about antibiotic resistance.
Antibiotic resistance is one of the major public health challenges of the 21st century. The recent death of a United States citizen who became ill with an infection caused by Klebsiella pneumoniaethat was resistant to twenty-six antibiotics highlights this important issue. The rise in the number of multidrug-resistant bacteria such as; Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Vancomycin inter-mediate and resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa (multidrug resistant strains), multi-drug resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis among others has led to a significant increase in the morbidity and mortality of humans infected with pathogenic bacteria.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Science Cafe Spring lineup announced; First cafe in a week, 2/26

The Rochester Science Cafe is excited to announce our lineup for the remainder of the Spring series as we continue through our 10th year. Below is the lineup of the remaining talks.

Our net talk will be a week from today, Tuesday February 26, at 7pm at the Pittsford Plaza Barnes and Noble. As always, cookies, coffee and conversation upstairs in the community room.

We thank everyone for their patronage for this past decade, and look forward to a
few more!

February 26: Dr. Joel Kastner (RIT)
Professor, Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science and
Astrophysical Science and Technology Program
"Needles in a haystack: the search for (and study of) young stars near Earth"
Thousands of extrasolar planets ("exoplanets") have been discovered over the past two decades. Astronomers seeking to understand the astonishing variety of planetary masses and orbital separations that characterize these myriad exoplanet systems, as well as the earliest evolution of our own solar system, must carefully study exoplanet birthplaces: dusty, molecule-rich “protoplanetary” disks orbiting young stars. Here, I'll talk about recent advances in the study of protoplanetary disks using the recently commissioned Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) radio interferometer as well as the latest generation of adaptive optics (AO) cameras on the world’s largest (8-meter-class) optical/infrared telescopes. My talk will focus on ALMA and AO studies of the nearest-known disks; these young neighbors afford opportunities to image disk structures and chemistry on solar system size scales. Also, I'll talk about finding the source of the air we breathe, from an astronomical perspective.

March 26: Dr. Lea Michel (RIT)
Assoc. Professor, School of Chemistry and Materals Science
Chair, Women in Science program
"Prevention, Protection, and Diagnosis: One protein’s role in multiple diseases"

April 23: Dr. Ernest Fokoue (RIT)
Assoc. Professor, School of Mathematical Sciences

May 28: Dr. Andre Hudson (RIT)
Professor and Head, Thomas H Gosnell School of Life Sciences
"Public Health Alert: Why should you care about antibiotic resistance"

Monday, September 24, 2018

On behalf of the Rochester Science Cafe organizers, we are happy to announce the Fall 2019 Science Cafe speaker lineup, as we mark our 10th year of operations. Back in September of 2009, little did we know how much of a fixture this would become for all of us, and hopefully how much we have been able to bring to all of you. In that spirit, here are our speakers and dates for Fall 2018/January 2019. As always, all talks will take place at the Pittsford Plaza Barnes and Noble, upstairs in the community room, on the fourth Tuesday of the month, 7pm. Cookies, coffee, conversation! We look forward to seeing everyone there!


September 25

“HIV/AIDS in 2018: Progress & Persisting Challenges”
Dr. Michael Keefer, M.D.

Professor in Medicine
School of Medicine and Dentistry
University of Rochester Medical Center

Dr. Keefer's Research page:

Bio: Dr. Keefer has over 18 years of experience in the preventive HIV vaccine field, having served as Director of the University of Rochester's NIH-supported HIV Vaccine Trials Unit (HVTU) since 1991. Working initially as a laboratory investigator he was the first to demonstrate T-cell mediated immune responses to a candidate HIV vaccine. Subsequently he focused his attention on the design and conduct of clinical trials. When the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) expanded to include international sites in 1999, he assumed the position of the HVTN's Associate Director of Scientific Administration. In that role his duties include leadership of scientific and administrative committees and visits to international sites. Dr Keefer is also PI of an NIH-funded Program Project entitled "HSV-1 amplicon vectors for HIV vaccine delivery", a collaboration with Drs. Dewhurst, Mosmann, Federoff and Bowers.


Upcoming Cafes:

October 23 
 ““What?” How Hearing Loss Affects Speech Perception”
Dr. Laurel Carney, Ph.D.

Marylou Ingram Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Departments of Biomedical Engineering, Neuroscience, and Electrical & Computer Engineering
University of Rochester

November 27
 “Alien Worlds and the Fate of the Earth” 
Dr. Adam Frank, Ph.D.
Professor of Physics and Astronomy
University of Rochester

January 22
 “Oceans and Climate Change: Greenhouse Gas Gusher to Gas Gobbler”
Dr. John Kessler, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Rochester

Monday, May 21, 2018

May Science Cafe: 5/22, 7pm -- Dr. Andrew Robinson (RIT) -- "Monsters on the Move: searching for gravitationally recoiling supermassive black holes in “nearby” galaxies"

Please join us tomorrow night, May 22, at 7pm for our final Science Cafe of our ninth year. As always, the talk will be at the Pittsford Plaza Barnes and Noble, upstairs in the community room. The talk will be:

Monsters on the Move: searching for gravitationally recoiling supermassive black holes in “nearby” galaxies

Dr. Andrew Robinson
School of Physics and Astronomy

We look forward to seeing everyone there!

Monday, April 23, 2018

April Science Cafe -- Dr. Christy Tyler (RIT) -- "Rethinking ecosystem restoration in a changing environment"

Please come join us tomorrow (April 24) as we will present our April Science cafe, 7pm as always at the Pittsford Plaza Barnes and Noble (3349 Monroe Ave) Upstairs in the community room. This month's talk will be:

Rethinking ecosystem restoration in a changing environment
Dr. Christy Tyler
Associate Professor, Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences
Director, Graduate Programs in Environmental Science
Rochester Institute of Technology

The functioning of natural ecosystems is controlled by complex interactions between living and non-living components of the ecosystem. These interactions can be very difficult to replicate when trying to restore, or create anew, an ecosystem on land previously used for another purpose. Contemporary ecosystem restoration is further complicated by our changing environment: the species of plants and animals in our region has changed, nutrients are more plentiful, the weather is more extreme, and the overall climate is changing. Successful projects thus require an understanding of legacy conditions, shifting environmental constraints, and a toolkit of restoration techniques that promote the development of a healthy ecosystem. In this talk, I’ll describe my experiences with wetland restoration and how our changing environment has forced us to rethink the process of restoration and our expectations of what’s possible.

For more on her work, check out the website for the Tyler Aquatic Ecology Lab.

On May 22, we will close the 2017-8 season with a talk by Dr. Andrew Robinson, Associate Head of RIT's School of Physics and Astronomy, and former Program director of the Astrophysical Sciences and Technology.

Monday, March 26, 2018

March Science Cafe: 3/27, 7pm: Dr. John Whelan (RIT) -- "The Science of Uncertainty"

Hello everyone, the Rochester Science Cafe's March talk will be tomorrow, Tuesday, March 27, 7pm, in our regular location in the Community Room upstairs at the Pittsford Plaza Barnes and Noble. Our speaker will be

Dr. John Whelan
Assistant Professor, School of Mathematical Sciences,
Center for Computational Relativity and Gravitation

The Science of Uncertainty

For most of the twentieth century, probability was considered to apply only to inherently random, ideally repeatable experiments. More recently, this classical "frequentist" formalism has been displaced by a more general "Bayesian" outlook that sees probabilities as a way to describe any incompleteness in our state of knowledge. I will discuss how this view of statistical inference, empowered by the ability of computers to calculate the relevant probabilities numerically, informs our interpretation of a range of information, from prenatal screening, to election forecasting, to observations of gravitational waves.

The talk: Tuesday, March 27 at 7pm
Location: Pittsford Plaza Barnes and Noble, 3349 Monroe Avenue, upstairs in the community room

For more on John's work, check out his website, or a story from RIT about the recent LIGO detections:
Upcoming Spring Cafes:

April 24: Dr. Christy Tyler (RIT): "Aquatic Ecosystem Ecology"

May 22: TBD