Dear Café Scientifiquers, our next café will happen on Tuesday, January 30th at 7:30pm in the back room of Yagger’s Downtown (433 W Pender).  Our speaker for the evening will be Dr. Andrew Tait, founder of Tait Labs, a Vancouver-based startup putting a modern spin on traditional natural medicines with scientific research.

Come find out more about his research journey and how the mandarin peel is being used in the treatment of a variety of gastrointestinal issues.

Dear Café Scientifiquers, our next café will happen on Tuesday, November 28th at 7:30pm in the back room of Yagger’s Downtown (433 W Pender).  Our speaker for the evening will be Dr. Lucas Brotz.

Jellyfish – friend, foe, or food?

Did you know that in addition to stinging swimmers, jellyfish also cause extensive damage to fisheries and coastal power plants? As threats such as overfishing, pollution, and climate change alter the marine environment, recent media reports are proclaiming that jellyfish are taking over the oceans. Should we hail to our new jellyfish overlords or do we need to examine the evidence behind these claims? Join Café Scientifique to learn everything you ever wanted to know about jellyfish, and find out if jelly burgers are coming soon to a menu near you.

Dr. Lucas Brotz is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Sea Around Us at UBC’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries. Lucas has been studying jellyfish for more than a decade, and has been called “Canada’s foremost jellyfish researcher” by CBC Nature of Things host Dr. David Suzuki. Lucas has participated in numerous international scientific collaborations, and his research has been featured in more than 100 media outlets including Nature News, The Washington Post, and The New York Times. He recently received the Michael A. Bigg award for highly significant student research as part of the Coastal Ocean Awards at the Vancouver Aquarium.

Dear Café Scientifiquers, our next café will happen on Halloween night Tuesday October 31st, 7:30pm in the back room at Yagger’s Downtown (433 W Pender). Our speaker for the evening will be Kaylee Byers.

Rat Detectives: Uncovering the disease ecology of our most despised bedfellow

Few animals are as appropriate to discuss on Halloween as the rat. Just mentioning these critters in conversation (and believe me, I have experience) illicits both exclamations of disgust and appreciation for their perseverance in spite of our control efforts. In the past year, pest control professionals have reported an increase in rat sightings, suggesting that rat populations in Vancouver are on the rise. But do we need to worry? Over the past 7 years, the Vancouver Rat Project has worked to understand the risks posed by rats to Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside residents. In this talk, I will discuss what we have learned about Vancouver’s rats and the diseases they carry, as well as how certain human interventions can have the paradoxical effect of increasing disease spread among rats.

June Café Scientifique

Posted by: | June 26, 2017 | Leave a Comment

Dear Café Scientifiquers, our next café will happen on Tuesday June 27th, 7:30pm at The Fairview Pub (898 W Broadway). The format for the night will be a panel discussion on the science behind food allergies.

The Science of Food Allergies

Did you know that some parents go to the emergency room parking lot to give peanut to their infant for the first time? This panel discussion will shed some light on hot topics in food allergy, especially the latest updates on preventing peanut allergy in infants and treating food allergy using oral or patch immunotherapy. We will also discuss interesting topics such as the role of oral food challenges as a diagnostic tool for food allergy, and anxiety in food allergy. This panel discussion is for anyone who is interested in food allergy, especially those without any prior knowledge of food allergy or those who are newly diagnosed with food allergy.


Dr. Edmond Chan, Pediatric Allergist
Dr. Lianne Soller, Post-doctoral Fellow
Ingrid Baerg, Research Nurse
Elaine Hsu, M.Sc. Student

Dear Café Scientifiquers, our next café will happen on Tuesday May 30th, 7:30pm in the back room at Yagger’s Downtown (433 W Pender). Our speaker for the evening will be Dr. Jerilynn Prior, a Professor of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the University of British Columbia, Founder and Scientific Director of the Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research (CeMCOR), Director of the BC Center of the Canadian Multicenter Osteoporosis Study (CaMOS), and a past President of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research. The title of her talk is:

Is Perimenopause Estrogen Deficiency?
Sorting engrained misinformation about women’s midlife reproductive transition

43 years old with teenagers a full-time executive director of a not for profit is not sleeping, she wakes soaked a couple of times a night, not every night but especially around the time her period comes. As it does frequently—it is heavy, even flooding. Her sexual interest is virtually gone and she feels dry when she tries.
Her family doctor offered her The Pill. When she took it she got very sore breasts, ankle swelling and high blood pressure. Her brain feels fuzzy, she’s getting migraines, gaining weight and just can’t cope. . . .
What’s going on? Does she need estrogen “replacement”? If yes, why when she’s still getting flow? Does The Pill work for other women? What do we know about the what, why, how long and how to help symptomatic perimenopausal women?

Dear Café Scientifiquers, our next café will happen on Tuesday April 25th, 7:30pm in the back room at Yagger’s Downtown (433 W Pender). Our speaker for the evening will be Dr. Sarah Burke, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy/ Department of Chemistry at UBC.  The title of her talk is:

No Small Feat: Seeing Atoms and Molecules

From solar cells to superconductivity, the properties of materials and the devices we make from them arise from the atomic scale structure of the atoms that make up the material, their electrons, and how they all interact. Seeing this takes a microscope, but not like the one you may have had as a kid or used in a university lab, which are limited to seeing objects on the scale of the wavelength of visible light: still thousands of times bigger than the size of an atom.  Scanning probe microscopes operate more like a nanoscale record player, scanning a very sharp tip over a surface and measuring interactions between the tip and surface to create atomically resolved images.  These techniques show us where atoms and electrons live at surfaces, on nanostructures, and in molecules.  I will describe how these techniques give us a powerful glimpse into a tiny world.

Dear Café Scientifiquers, our next café will happen on Tuesday March 28th, 7:30pm in the back room at Yagger’s Downtown (433 W Pender). Our speaker for the evening will be Dr. Holly Moeller, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution & Marine Biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  The title of her talk is:

Trade, Borrow, or Steal: How Life Exceeds its Metabolic Potential

Living organisms are fundamentally constrained by their metabolisms: The ways that they get and use energy affect where they can live, how they respond to changing environments, and how they interact with one another. We usually think of metabolisms as fixed, permanent features of each species, fundamentally set by the genes encoded in their DNA. But what if metabolisms could be changed, within an individual’s lifetime, by borrowing (or stealing!) from other species? My talk will describe examples of this “acquired metabolism,” exploring how organisms from microbes to humans to trees extend their metabolisms and transform their ecological roles and evolutionary paths.

Dear Café Scientifiquers, our next café will happen on Tuesday February 28th, 7:30pm in the back room at Yagger’s Downtown (433 W Pender). Our speaker for the evening will be Dr. Makoto Fujiwara, from the ALPHA-Canada group at TRIUMF. The title of his talk is:

What I talk about when I talk about the Universe

Our understanding of the Universe has progressed tremendously since the beginning of modern physics in the early 20th century. However, a recent revolution in cosmological observations, as well as latest results from particle physics experiments world-wide (including those the LHC at CERN) are causing significant agony to particle physicists. In this informal talk, I will first describe the current problems in our understanding of the Universe, including the so-called “fine-tuning” problem. I will then discuss some of the proposed solutions to the problems, including the controversial concepts of the Anthropic Principle and the Multiverse. This talk will likely end with an interactive discussion with the audience on what it means to do science when you cannot repeat the experiment.

Dear Café Scientifiquers, our next café will happen on Tuesday November 29th, 7:30pm in the back room at Yagger’s Downtown (433 W Pender). Our speaker for the evening will be Dr. Michèle Koppes, from the Department of Geography at UBC. The title of her talk is:

Can climate change move mountains?

Climate change is causing more than warmer oceans and erratic weather. It can also change the shape of the planet. Glaciers are a fundamental link between climate and the tectonic and surface processes that create topography. Mountain ranges worldwide have undergone large-scale modification due the erosive action of ice, yet the mechanisms that control the timing of this modification and the rate by which ice erodes remain poorly understood. We find a wide range of erosion rates from individual ice masses over varying timescales, suggesting that modern erosion rates exceed long-term averages by two to three orders of magnitude. We also see that glaciers in Patagonia erode 1000 times faster than they do in Antarctica today. These modern rates are likely due to the dynamic acceleration of these ice masses as air and ocean temperatures warmed and they retreated over the past few decades. The repercussions of this erosion add to the already complex effects of climate change in polar and high mountain regions. Shrinking and accelerating glaciers destabilize slopes upstream, increasing the risk of landslides, and deposit more sediment in downstream basins, potentially impacting fisheries, dams and access to clean freshwater in mountain communities. And the dramatic increase in modern erosion rates suggest that glaciers in the Canadian Arctic, one of the most rapidly warming regions in the world, are on the brink of a major shift that will see them speeding up and eroding faster as temperatures warm above 0ºC.

Michele Koppes is an Assistant Professor in Geography at UBC, a Canada Research Chair Tier II in Landscapes of Climate Change, a faculty affiliate at IRES and a Senior TED Fellow. Her passion is forensic geomorphology: the art of reading landscapes to decipher the forces that shaped them. Her particular expertise is in glaciers, and their impact in shaping mountains and polar regions at a variety of time scales, from last year to the last million years. Her research focus is two-fold: to determine the efficacy of glaciers as agents of erosion, and to determine the climatic and oceanic drivers of glaciations in high mountains and coastal settings. She has current field projects in high places all over the world, from BC to Patagonia, Alaska, the Himalayas, Greenland and Antarctica, where her team combines detailed field observations with numerical modeling of ice-ocean dynamics and glacier mass balance.


Dear Café Scientifiquers, we are pleased to announce that this month’s event will be a collaboration with the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG).  The café will be held on Tuesday October 18th, 7:30pm in the back room at Yagger’s Downtown, 433 W Pender.  Please note that this date is one week earlier than usual to coincide with the ASHG Annual Meeting.  Our speaker for the evening will be Dr. Ting Wu, from the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School. The title of her talk is:

At the intersection of Space and Genetics

Ting (C.-ting) Wu, Ph.D., is a Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School. She is also the Director of the Consortium for Space Genetics, the Director of the Personal Genetics Education ( Project, and a recipient of an NIH Director’s Pioneer Award. Her laboratory investigates how chromosome organization influences genome function, inventing and applying technologies for imaging the genome as well as studying how a very puzzling set of sequences, called ultraconserved elements (UCEs), have managed to resist change for a stunning 300 million years. These studies have led her group to consider the potential of their findings for protecting astronauts from the extreme conditions of long-term travel in space. The Wu laboratory also houses the Personal Genetics Education Project, which works to raise public awareness and discourse regarding personal genetics, aiming to make that awareness equal across all communities, regardless of socioeconomic, ethnic, educational, and religious influences.


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