Our next café will happen on Tuesday, November 26th at 7:30pm in the back room at Yagger’s Downtown (433 W Pender). Our speaker for the evening will be Koby Michaels.

Building a Better World Through Science Communication

Science communication is in the spotlight in recent years as science realizes the power of well-communicated science. As science-focused issues like climate change become more central to everyday life, science communication is an increasingly important field of practice and study.

But science communication is still finding its footing in the modern world and has big questions to answer. What is the best way of communicating science? What’s the role of science communication in solving pressing global issues? Can science stories change attitudes and correct misconceptions?

Join Koby as he screens recent work. Learn the basic principles of science communication, explore a case study of science communication done right (and wrong), and try your hand at communicating science.

Koby Michaels is a science communicator, educator, and filmmaker. Despite his best efforts to become a scientist, The Ubyssey hooked Koby on storytelling, where he founded its science section. Koby has travelled across Canada and the Arctic, filming and editing stories about science, education, and Indigeneity for Canada’s leading STEM outreach organization, Actua. Koby teaches science communication to scientists and students through SciCATS, a Vancouver-based science communication collective. Koby has worked with WBUR, NPR, UBC, and the University of Alberta.

You can find Koby on Twitter and Instagram @kobymichaels, and at his website, kobymichaels.com.

Our next café will happen on Tuesday, October 29th at 7:30pm in the back room at Yagger’s Downtown (433 W Pender). Our speaker for the evening will be Dr. Leonard Foster from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UBC.

Breeding stronger bees by shortcutting nature

Dr. Leonard Foster’s laboratory at UBC has been involved in a Canada-wide project aimed at bringing modern molecular technologies to bear on the selective breeding of honey bees that are better able to resist disease and stress. They use molecular fingerprinting and genomics to identify stronger bees, enabling their selective breeding. This brings up several controversial topics, including whether these bees are “natural”, whether selectively bred bees could/should be patented and how far away direct genetic modification of honey bees will be. Dr. Foster will describe the state-of-the-art in bee genetics and where the future may lie here.

Dr. Leonard Foster is a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Foster comes from a family of beekeepers and got his introduction to academic bee research at Simon Fraser University while doing his Bachelor’s degree in biochemistry – at SFU he worked with Drs. Winston and Slessor on honey bee pheromones, particularly the components of queen mandibular pheromone. He then did a Ph.D in Toronto a post-doctoral studies in Denmark before starting his current position in 2005. The first independent operating grant that Dr. Foster secured was to study how bee pathogens were able to manipulate the protein machinery within bee cells. Since that time he has led three very large-scale projects that have investigated some of the molecular mechanisms behind disease resistance in bees. This effort has recently moved into trying to apply this knowledge by using the information they have learned to guide selective breeding for hygienic behavior in honey bees. He is very active in extension and frequently engages the public on various aspects of honey bee biology. He currently lives in Richmond and keeps bees himself.

Our next café will happen on Tuesday, September 3rd from 6:00-8:00pm at Mahoney & Sons  (601 Stamps Landing). **NOTE: THIS IS A SPECIAL EVENT SO PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF TIME AND VENUE** Our speaker for the evening will be Dr. Katie Gibbs from Evidence for Democracy.

Science and the Federal Election

Science doesn’t usually get a lot of attention during federal elections. Katie Gibbs from Evidence for Democracy will share the new #VoteScience campaign that aims to change that.

With a federal election quickly approaching in October, this is an important time to encourage all political candidates to support policies that strengthen science, evidence-informed decision-making and a culture of transparency and openness for Canada.

#VoteScience is a national, non-partisan campaign to mobilize Canadians that understand the value of science and innovation to advocate for science during the federal election, and empower Canadians with the tools they need to do so.

Come by the back of Mahony & Sons, 601 Stamps Landing from 6-8 PM to hear Katie speak, participate in group-based discussion and learn how you can engage with policymakers to promote evidence-based decision making in the Canadian government.

Katie Gibbs is a scientist, organizer and advocate for science and evidence-based policies. While completing her Ph.D. at the University of Ottawa in Biology, she was one of the lead organizers of the ‘Death of Evidence’—one of the largest science rallies in Canadian history. Katie co-founded Evidence for Democracy, Canada’s leading, national, non-partisan, and not-for-profit organization promoting science and the transparent use of evidence in government decision making. Her ongoing success in advocating for the restoration of public science in Canada has made Katie a go-to resource for national and international media outlets including Science, The Guardian and the Globe and Mail. Katie has also been involved in international efforts to increase evidence-based decision-making and advises science integrity movements in other countries and is a member of the Open Government Partnership Multi-stakeholder Forum.

Our next café will happen on Tuesday, August 27th at 7:30pm in the back room at Yagger’s Downtown (433 W Pender). Our speaker for the evening will be Dr. Georgina Butler from the Centre for Blood Research at UBC.

From tadpole tails to diagnosing disease – the evolution of protease research

Proteases are enzymes that cut other proteins. Humans have 560 different proteases – why so many? what are they doing? We know that too much protease activity can be detrimental in diseases such as cancer and arthritis, but failed efforts to stop cancer spread by blocking proteases has contributed to the realization that some cuts are essential. In the era of “big data”, at UBC we have developed new techniques (degradomics) to study proteases on a global scale to determine what they really do in health and disease. Hopefully this information will enable us to identify new drug targets as well as novel biomarkers to diagnose or monitor disease.

Dr. Butler completed her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry (with Studies in Italy) at the University of Kent at Canterbury, and her PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Leicester in the UK. She came to UBC as a Wellcome Trust Travelling Fellow in 1999 for 2 years. Still here, she is a Research Associate at the Centre for Blood Research and in Oral, Biological and Medical Sciences at UBC, where she studies novel roles of proteases in health and disease.

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

Targeting heat for disease treatment

Vahid is a nanotechnologist specializing in the design and development of functional platforms for disease detection and treatment. He holds a PhD in nano-biomaterials from the University of Toronto during which, he engineered nanoscale heat generators for precise destruction of different cancer types and antibiotic-resistant infections. He pursued this concept during postdoctoral studies under a nanoparticle-aided radiotherapy program for advanced prostate cancer at Grand River Cancer Centre, Waterloo. His research has been published in high profile scientific journals and featured in UofT News, “The Varsity” newspaper and NatureAsia.

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.

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