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Science in a Bar! SciBar aims to bring interesting, topical areas of science to the general public. Each event will consist of a short talk, followed by a Q&A. 

Past events:

T cell-driven immunotherapy and the future of medicine

In Michael Harris, PhD student at the Department of Medicine, will talk about his study on T cell activation.
T cells are key effectors and regulators of the immune response to infections and cancer. Recent decades have seen our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of T cell activation advance significantly. This knowledge is being used to engineer patient-specific immunotherapies and circumvent cancer’s immune-evasions mechanisms.

Speaker: Michael Harris.

Time: 7.00pm, 13 June 2017

Mathematical secrets behind elementary particles

The Standard Model of Particle Physics is a curious and complicated set of rules, which tells us what the known fundamental particles are, and how they behave. But here we will ask: Could there be some underlying mathematical system which explains why the Standard Model is the way it is? Join our free SciBar talk, given by Dr Cohl Furey from DAMTP.

Speaker: Dr Cohl Furey.

Time: 7.00pm, 09 May 2017

Understanding Parkinson's

We have two speakers eminent in their fields, Dr Roger Barker sees and manages patients with Parkinson’s Disease as well as running a large research clinic in which he sees any patients with Parkinson's Disease interested in research and new drug trials. He will talk about what is Parkinson's Disease, is it one disorder or several that look similar and what new therapies are emerging to treat it, such as stem cells? Our second speaker, Dr Nushan Gunawardana, is a neurology registrar at Addenbrooke's Hospital and will speak about what goes wrong in cells in Parkinson's Disease?

Speaker: Dr Nushan Gunawardana and Dr Roger Barker.
Time: 7.00pm, 11 April 2017

Introduction to the BBC micro:bit
In this SciBar, Jonathan Austin, from ARM, will introduce the BBC micro:bit, a programmable micro controller and IoT device that has been rolled out to all Year 7s across the UK. It’s now available for purchase to anyone.
After covering what the device is, how it works, we’ll open up a Q&A session about how it might be useful in the lab, either to automate experiments, log data, and generally make your life easier – with something wireless, flexible and easy to program there should be a lot of opportunities to use micro:bit in science!

Speaker: Jonathan Austin is a Staff Software Engineer at ARM.

Time: 7.00pm, 14 March 2017

Dynamics of Molecular Machines for Brain Cell Communication
This talk will be given by CBSA volunteer Dr James Krieger who will discuss his PhD work and plans for the future. 
Synapses, the junctions between brain cells, are believed to be the main players in information processing and storage. Within neurons, information is transmitted as electrical pulses, which need to be faithfully passed on to neighbouring cells. This is achieved through the use of a chemical neurotransmitter that is released from the pre-synaptic cell and diffuses across synapses to activate receptors on the post-synaptic cell, which in turn activate new electrical currents in that cell. Each cell has to process information from thousands of synapses and still obtain information from each one, requiring a great deal of fine-tuning of each synaptic response. This depends on a number of factors including the number and properties of the receptors as well as the morphology of the synapse. The receptor properties are controlled at a number of levels including the intrinsic mechanism of the receptors themselves, which can be modified by assembly with other proteins. I will discuss my work into the mechanism of one type of receptor, which binds the major excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate. As with any molecular machine, this requires a detailed understanding of protein structure and dynamics and I will discuss various approaches for obtaining this information.

Speaker: Dr James Krieger (from the Laboratory of Molecular Biology)

Time: 7.00pm, 14 December 2016

Talks on Diabetes : World Diabetes Day
Type 1 diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in children and there is a rapid increase in the number affected each year. The treatment usually requires the injection of insulin several times a day to replace what the pancreas cannot produce itself. In this SciBar, Dr Frank Waldron-Lynch will discuss how his research is aiming to develop innovative treatments that could eradicate the need for regular injections or pumps.

Our second speaker, Dr Nita Forouhi, manages a programme of research that aims to understand the association between diet and the risk of diabetes, obesity and related disorders. Dietary factors can either elevate or reduce the risk of developing diabetes. Dr Forouhi will speak about improved methods to assess diet, and how objectively measured nutritional biomarkers can help.

Book on eventbrite: https://cambridgescibar.eventbrite.co.uk/

Speakers: Dr Frank Waldron-Lynch (Cambridge Institute for Medical Research) and Dr Nita Forouhi (MRC-Epidemiology).

Time: 7.00pm, 08 November 2016

From Pixels to Cats and Dogs: Vision in Humans and Computers
In the past 4 years, computers have suddenly become as good as humans at recognizing objects in natural images. As a visual neuroscientist, I will discuss how the “deep neural networks” behind Facebook and Google’s image recognition capabilities work, and how they can give new insights into the human brain.

Speaker: Dr Kate Storrs is a research associate at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit.

Time: 7.00pm, 13 September 2016

Genomics: One cell at a time
Whole-genome DNA and RNA sequencing has traditionally been carried out on samples that are mixtures of hundreds or thousands of cells. New technologies have emerged over the past five years or so that allow us to sequence the content of individual cells in a massively parallel way. 

Come along to this SciBar, with Dr Sarah Teichmann from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, to find out how this new technology called “single cell genomics” works and what it has allowed us to discover.

Note the change of venue for this SciBar. This SciBar will be at the YHA on Tenison Road.

About the speaker: Dr Sarah Teichmann is a research group leader at EMBL-EBI and senior group leader at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. She is also a Principal Research Associate in the Dept Physics, Cavendish Laboratory, and a fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. 

Time: 7.00pm, 14 June 2016

The many deaths of junk DNA: some thoughts on genome science and how to talk about it

The last year has seen considerable controversy over the usefulness of DNA that does not code for proteins. In this talk, I will discuss what we mean by the term junk DNA, explain the basics of genome structure and explore why it is so difficult to agree on which parts of the genome are functional. I will also use the recent controversy as a starting point to consider how communicating science to the press can affect our ability to do good science.

About the speaker: John Davey is a computational biologist working on the enomes on Heliconius butterflies. After four years working with Mark Blaxter in Edinburgh on next generation sequencing, he is now studying how butterfly genomes vary with Chris Jiggins in Cambridge, and how genome structure may affect how new species evolve.

Time: 7.00pm

How do gliders stay in the air? The physics of flying without motors

About the speaker: Robert Theil is a Gliding Instructor at the Cambridge Gliding Center.

Time: 7.00pm

Why do we even exist? Hopefully the LHC can tell us.....

The Large Hadron Collider has received a lot of coverage in the press recently as the analysts there seek to answer some of the open questions in high energy physics. As one of those analysts, Sam will talk us through the current state of particle physics and more specifically his research on antimatter and show how it can explain how we came to exist in the universe. He will also cover current hot topics such as the Higgs Boson.

About the speaker: Sam Gregson is a PhD student in the High Energy Particle Physics Group at the Cavendish Laboratory Cambridge University and at the Large Hadron Collider.

Venue: The Cambridge Brew House (http://thecambridgebrewhouse.com/
Time: 7.00pm

Victory over our genes? Epigenetics: what it is, and what it's not

The relatively youthful science of epigenetics is generating a lot of interest and controversy,
including being touted as "perhaps the most important [discovery] in the science of heredity since the gene."
With the media reporting that epigenetics shows that "everything you've been told about evolution is wrong",
why not come along and judge for yourself what all the fuss is about?

About the speaker: Lizzie Radford was born in the Solomon Islands and had something of a  nomadic childhood in the Maldives, Tanzania, Kenya and Japan, making a decade spent living in Cambridge a personal record. Having completed a PhD in epigenetic inheritance, she is currently finishing her medical training while still dabbling at the lab bench at the weekends. When not at the bench or bedside she can be found cycling, swimming, or fiddling about with textiles and jewellery.

Venue: The Alexandra Arms, Cambridge
Time: 7.00pm

Are You Sure You Remember that? The Neuroscience of False Memories

How do you know whether your memories are real, or only a figment of your imagination? False memories are surprisingly common in all of us. This talk will take the audience through a journey on how memories are formed, and how the nature of memories can lead onto the creation of false recollections. Real life implications such as how research on false memories have impacted eyewitness testimonials will also be discussed.

About the speaker: Marie Buda is currently finishing her PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience from the University of Cambridge. She is part of the Simons Memory Lab and researches the neuroscience behind when we make decisions as to whether our memories were real or only imagined.

Venue: The Emperor Pub, Cambridge
Time: 7.00pm