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

Dear Café Scientifiquers, our next café will happen on Tuesday, March 27th at 7:30pm in the back room at Yagger’s Downtown (433 W Pender). Our speaker for the evening will be Dr. David Shiffman, Liber Ero Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Simon Fraser University, where he studies the sustainability of shark fisheries. David is an award-winning science communicator with bylines in the Washington Post, Slate, and Gizmodo, and has been interviewed for over 200 media outlets including National Public Radio and the New York Times.

Everything I Needed to Know in Life I Learned from a Shark

Sharks are some of the most fascinating and misunderstood animals on the planet. Come learn from SFU marine conservation biologist Dr. David Shiffman about lessons learned from a life obsessed with sharks.

Dear Café Scientifiquers, our next café will happen on Tuesday, February 27th at 7:30pm in the back room at Yagger’s Downtown (433 W Pender). Our speaker for the evening will be Dr. Robert Tarzwell, from the Department of Psychiatry at UBC.

Functional Brain Imaging in Psychiatric Disorders – Current Uses and Future Directions

Functional brain imaging seeks to detect and map specific activity happening within the brain, such as changes in blood flow, metabolic activity, or neurotransmitter levels within the whole brain or specific areas of interest. Currently, functional imaging has a role in the diagnosis of dementia, and localizing the focus of seizures. Emerging roles with good evidence include traumatic brain injury. On the wild frontier, Robert’s work includes the use of deep learning models to analyze large datasets of brain images in the hunt for biomarkers of psychiatric disorders.

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.

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