Our next café will happen on Tuesday, June 25th at 7:30pm in the back room at Yagger’s Downtown (433 W Pender). Our speaker for the evening will be Dr. Lars Martin.

From alpha to omega – particles and how we detect them

Ever since the discovery of the electron in the late 19th century, physicists have used detectors to measure and identify particles. While today’s detector systems – like ATLAS at the Large Hadron Collider – are complex (and expensive) systems that detect obscure particles, the underlying principles of these detectors are relatively straightforward. The goal of this talk is to give attendees a basic understanding of what these machines actually do.

Lars Martin works as a detector physicist at TRIUMF, most recently supporting the ALPHA-g antimatter gravity experiment at CERN.

Our next café will happen on Tuesday, May 28th at 7:30pm in the back room at Yagger’s Downtown (433 W Pender). Our speaker for the evening will be Dr. Catherine Johnson from the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences at UBC.

Getting to the heart of Mars with InSight

Catherine Johnson is a professor of geophysics in the Dept of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences at UBC Vancouver, and a senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute, Tucson.  She is a Co-Investigator on the InSight mission to Mars, the OSIRIS-REx mission to asteroid Bennu and was previously a Participating Scientist on the MESSENGER mission to Mercury.

Our next café will happen on Tuesday, March 26th at 7:30pm in the back room at Yagger’s Downtown (433 W Pender). Our speaker for the evening will be Dr. Love-Ese Chile, founder of Grey to Green Sustainable Solutions.

Shifting the plastic landscape: Bio-plastics, circular economy and sustainable material management

Growing public and scientific opinion are driving businesses and policy-makers to change the way plastics circulate through our communities. Moving away from a linear supply chain that allows a multitude of plastic to seep out into the environment, this talk will discuss new ideas and technology being implemented to move plastics into a circular supply loop.

Dr. Love-Ese Chile is a sustainable plastic researcher based in Vancouver, BC. Arriving from New Zealand, Ese completed her doctoral thesis on biodegradable plastics at the University of British Columbia in 2017. During her studies, Ese became a vocal supporter of sustainability, green chemistry and community-driven science. In 2018, Dr. Chile started a research consulting company, Grey to Green Sustainable Solutions, that works with local businesses, not-for-profit groups and policy-makers to increase understanding of the sustainable plastic supply chain and develop new technologies that will allow plastics to transition into a circular economy.

Dear Café Scientifiquers, our next café will happen on Tuesday, November 27th at 7:30pm in the back room at Yagger’s Downtown (433 W Pender). Our speaker for the evening will be Dr. Eva Oberle, Assistant Professor with the Human Early Learning Partnership in the School of Population and Public Health at UBC. Her topic will be:

Why should we teach social and emotional learning in schools?

In the present talk, Dr. Oberle discusses research supporting the importance of teaching social and emotional learning (SEL) in schools. She argues that time spent on SEL does not take away time from academic learning; instead, research has shown that it facilitates and promotes academic success. Students’ social-emotional development and wellbeing are discussed at several levels within the school (classroom, school wide climate) and the role of teachers’ own social-emotional wellbeing in schools is discussed.

Dr. Oberle is an Assistant Professor with the Human Early Learning Partnership in the School of Population and Public Health at UBC. Previously, she completed graduate studies in psychology at the University of Heidelberg, earned a PhD in Educational Psychology from UBC, and conducted research as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Illinois at Chicago and at CASEL.

Her main research interests are factors linked to positive child development, and how to promote mental health and wellbeing in the school context. Her main focus is on social and emotional learning in schools, risk and resilience, and positive youth development. Her research investigates the role of peer relationships, relationships with adults (e.g., family members, teachers, mentors) and school-level factors (e.g., classroom climate) in achieving positive, healthy, and successful child outcomes. She conducts quantitative research with population-based data, intervention evaluations, and large-scale cross sectional and longitudinal studies. In her research, Dr. Oberle takes a whole-child approach, understanding child development within the ecological contexts in which children grow (i.e., home, school, neighborhood, society).

Dear Café Scientifiquers, our next café will happen on Tuesday, October 30th at 7:30pm in the back room at Yagger’s Downtown (433 W Pender). Our speaker for the evening will be Dr. Vikramaditya G. Yadav from the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at UBC. His topic will be:

Solving some of Canada’s grandest challenges with synthetic biology

A warming climate, unrepressed mining and logging, contamination of our water resources, the uncertain price and tight supply of crude oil and the growing threat of epidemics are having a profound, negative impact on the well-being of Canadians. There is an urgent need to develop and implement sustainable manufacturing technologies that can not only meet our material and energy needs, but also sustain our quality of life. Romantic and unbelievable as it sounds, Nature posses all the answer to our challenges, and the coming decades in science and engineering will be typified by our attempts to mimic or recruit biology to address our needs. This talk will present a vivid snapshot of current and emerging research towards this goal and highlight some cutting-edge technologies under development at the University of British Columbia.

When he joined the University of Waterloo as an undergraduate student in chemical engineering, Dr. Vikramaditya G. Yadav coveted a career in Alberta’s burgeoning petrochemical sector. He even interned at Imperial Oil during his first summer break from university. Then, one fine evening during second year, he stumbled upon a copy of Juan Enríquez’s As the Future Catches You in the library and became instantly captivated with biological engineering. His journey over the past few years has taken him to Sanofi Pasteur, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, and finally, the University of British Columbia, where he now leads a wonderful group of researchers working on wide-ranging topics at the interface of biology, chemistry, engineering, medicine and economics.

Dear Café Scientifiquers, our next café will happen on Tuesday, September 25th at 7:30pm in the back room at Yagger’s Downtown (433 W Pender). Our speaker for the evening will be Dr. Suzanne Vercauteren the Director of BC Children’s Hospital BioBank. Her topic will be:

Giving patients, the public, and health-care providers a voice in pediatric biobanking

Dr. Vercauteren is a hematopathologist and associate head of the department of pathology and laboratory medicine at BC Children’s Hospital. She obtained her MD and PhD at the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands and did her residency in hematological pathology at the University of British Columbia. Since 2013 Suzanne has been the director of the BC Children’s Hospital BioBank, the first institutional pediatric biobank in Canada to allow for a standardized approach of patients and sample collections and ensuring high quality samples and data and reduce consent burden for patients. “My research includes ethical issues as well as public engagement and education in biobanking. I believe that a systematic approach for the collection of patient specimens and data is allowing groundbreaking research that can quickly be translated into improved diagnosis and clinical care in many areas of research.” She has published several papers regarding pediatric biobanking and consenting and is a member of the Canadian Tissue Repository Network Management Committee. She received several grants to study public perception on (pediatric) biobanking topics.

Dear Café Scientifiquers, our next café will happen on Tuesday, August 28th at 7:30pm in the back room at Yagger’s Downtown (433 W Pender). Our speaker for the evening will be Dr. Katie Marshall from the Department of Zoology at UBC. Her topic will be:

Getting the message: what is gene expression and why does it matter?

Many of us think that DNA is like a light switch; you have a particular sequence of base pairs or a particular chromosome, and these directly cause a large change in biological functioning. But the truth is that any given gene can be up or downregulated through a dizzying array of biochemical “dimmer switches” that finely control how much that particular gene is expressed. Understanding how this works is key to answering questions like “How does a sequence of base pairs in DNA become a whole organism?” and “Why is it that every cell has the same DNA sequence but different function?”. We’ll chat about the advances in computing needed to answer these questions, the importance of gene expression in disease, and how this science can help us understand social issues better too.

Dear Café Scientifiquers, our next café will happen on Tuesday, July 31st at 7:30pm in the back room at Yagger’s Downtown (433 W Pender). Our speaker for the evening will be Dr. Nienke van Houten from the Faculty of Health Sciences at SFU. Her topic will be:

Test Tubes to Teaching: How Anti-Vaxxers and a Global Financial Crisis Shaped my Career

Part research talk, and part memoir, Dr. van Houten will describe her career progression from vaccine design scientist to education researcher. From early childhood, Dr. van Houten developed an unrelenting interest in human biology and infectious diseases and made it her goal to become a scientist. Her passion for vaccines came about, in part, due to the publicity surrounding the infamous retracted paper in The Lancet that erroneously connected measles vaccination with autism. Her Ph.D. and postdoctoral research focused on how vaccines work, and she engineered anti-viral vaccines to produce focused antibody responses. However, her plan of working in the pharmaceutical industry was sidelined by the financial crash of 2008, and she was offered a full time teaching faculty position. This created an opportunity to study how students think critically about science and apply those findings to train students to recognize bad science such as that promoted by anti-vaxxers and other garbage “science” that pervades our society.

Dear Café Scientifiquers, our next café will happen on Tuesday, May 29th at 7:30pm in the back room at Yagger’s Downtown (433 W Pender). Our speaker for the evening will be Dr. Michelle Tseng, Assistant Professor in the Zoology department at UBC.  Her topic will be:

Insects in the city: shrinking beetles and disappearing bees. How bugs help us learn about the ecological effects of urbanization and climate change

Living in the city, we don’t always see the good bugs amongst the pesky ones. In this presentation, I’ll take you on a trip down insect lane and share with you the incredible diversity of insects that have lived in Vancouver over the last 100 years. Many of these bugs have been collected and preserved in museums and these collections provide us with a historical snapshot of insect communities from the past. My students and I have made some remarkable discoveries using museum insect collections, and these findings help us understand how these fascinating creatures are changing in response to warming climates and increased development.

Michelle Tseng is a professor of insect ecology at the UBC Biodiversity Research Centre. She and her students study the impacts of habitat and climate change on plankton and insects. Her group’s work has been featured in national and international media, and on CBC’s Quirks and Quarks. Michelle is also the zoologist on the award-winning CBC kids show Scout and the Gumboot Kids.


Dear Café Scientifiquers, our next café will happen on Tuesday, April 24th at 7:30pm in the back room at Yagger’s Downtown (433 W Pender). Our speaker for the evening will be Dr. James McCormack, Professor from the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Services at UBC.

James received his undergraduate pharmacy degree at the University of British Columbia in 1982 and received his doctorate in pharmacy (Pharm.D.) in 1986 from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina.  He has had extensive experience, both locally and internationally, talking to health professionals and consumers about the rational use of medication, and has presented over 500 seminars on drug therapy over the last 30 years.  He focuses on shared decision-making using evidence based information and rational therapeutic principles. He is also the co-host of one of the world’s top medical podcasts – the Best Science (BS) Medicine podcast.

Medical Myths You Need to Learn About Before It’s Too Late

What if much of what you thought about medications was wrong? In this talk you’ll learn that the following are myths:

1)  You should finish the full course of an antibiotic prescription – THE TRUTH – for most infections you should stop after you have had no symptoms for 2-3 days

2)  Most people benefit from blood pressure/diabetes treatment – THE TRUTH – less then 30% benefit over a lifetime of treatment

3)  The recommended doses of medications are what you should be on – THE TRUTH – you should likely start with a 1/4 or an 1/8th of the recommended dose for most medications

4)  And much, much, more

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