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    Dear All: 

    Life Sciences Institute’s next Café Scientifique is scheduled at 6:00 pm on May 17, 2011.  Please see below and attached for information.

    “E-natomy – How digital anatomy has changed the way we teach and practice medicine.”

    Great advances in field of medical imaging have made it possible to look inside the human body with great precision and diagnose pathologies that could not be seen before without surgical exploration.  Learning the human anatomy through X-ray, ultrasound, CT and MRI images is allowing physicians of tomorrow to learn the necessary skills required to effectively utilize imaging modalities and interpret clinical pathologies.  How is radiology changing the way we learn anatomy and the way we practice medicine?

    Space is limited, please RSVP by May 13, 2011 to

    Date: Tuesday, May 17, 2011

    Time: 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm

    Location: Café Perugia, 2350 Health Sciences Mall, University of British Columbia

    Digital anatomy in teaching

    Dr. Claudia Krebs

    Department of Cellular and Physiological Sciences

    University of British Columbia

    Digital anatomy in practice

    Dr. Savvas Nicolaou

    Department of Radiology

    University of British Columbia

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    Dear Café Scientifiquers,
    Our next café will happen on April 19th, 7:30pm @ Railway Club (579 Dunsmuir Street). The speaker for the evening will be Andrea Gutierrez, a PhD student working at the UBC’s TRIUMF, one of the world’s leading subatomic physics laboratories. Andrea is involved with a project that is ranked as the #1 breakthrough in 2010 by Physics World (, so don’t miss out on her talk:

    Let’s trap antimatter! An overview of how it is done and its applications.

    Our world is made of matter: protons, neutrons and electrons. Each of these particles has a “twin” particle (antiprotons, antineutrons and antielectrons) that looks just like a mirror image of it, with the same mass but opposite charge. When matter gets close enough to antimatter, they both disappear in a puff of energy. To trap antimatter it is fundamental to keep it away from matter, which is what makes it a really challenging task. Last November, we were able to catch cold antihydrogen for the first time (antiatoms composed of an antiproton and an antielectron) at ALPHA (Antihydrogen Laser PHysics Apparatus). In this talk, we will discuss how to produce, trap and detect antihydrogen!

    We hope to see you there!

    – Your Café Sci Vancouver Organizers

    Dear Café Scientifiquers,

    Our next café will happen on March 29th, 7:30pm @ Railway Club (579 Dunsmuir Street). The speaker for the evening will be Mark MacLachlan, an Associate Professor from the Chemistry Department at UBC. His talk that evening will be:

    Biomimetic Materials … With a Twist!

    Natural materials that have evolved in plants and animals often display spectacular mechanical and optical properties. For example, spider silk is as strong as steel and tougher than Kevlar, which is used in bullet-proof vests.  Inspired by nature, chemists are now synthesizing materials that mimic the structures and properties of shells, bones, muscle, leaves, feathers, and other natural materials. In this talk, I will discuss our recent discovery of a new type of coloured glass that is a mimic of beetle shells. These new materials have intriguing optical properties that arise from their twisted internal structure, and they may be useful for emerging applications.

    Dear Café Scientifiquers,

     Our next café will happen on February 22nd, 7:30pm @ Railway Club (579 Dunsmuir Street). The speaker for the evening will be Dr. Eric Lagally, an Assistant Professor from the Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering at UBC. His talk that evening will be:

     Microfluidics: its uses in medicine, health, and manufacturing

    Microfluidics is the use of channels and chambers, as well as pumps and valves, to control fluids on the scale of the width of a human hair (or even smaller). There are many reasons one would want to do this: most notably, the physics at these minute scales changes dramatically from what we experience in our everyday life. These different behaviors can be used to make fluids do extraordinary things, like mix faster and react faster with other materials. This talk will highlight ongoing work in microfluidics and its use to rapidly detect disease, make new products, and discover new medicines of the future.

    To learn more about Eric’s work, check out his lab website at

    We hope to see you there!
    – Your Café Sci Vancouver Organizers
    *This month we will NOT meet in the usual room, we will be at the very front where the stage is!*


    As you may already know, there are other Café Scientifiques all over British Columbia and Vancouver. If you are interested in attending more Cafés, have a look at the links posted on the left menu!

    CIHR Café Scientifique is hosting an event in Vancouver (Feb 1st) and Surrey (Mar 15th) . Click on the hyperlink to see the posters. The topic is Homebirth Understood: Tales and Truths.


    Here is the abstract for Dr. Ramer’s presentation. See you next week!

    Peril atop the porcelain throne: the problem of blood pressure control after spinal cord injury

    “It is … autonomic functions that we take for granted when we have them and that dominate our lives when we lose them.”

    Kim Anderson, PhD: Spinal cord injury researcher (and a quadriplegic)    

    We can appreciate that spinal cord injury (SCI) disrupts communication between the brain and parts of the body below the injury, and the most obvious consequence of this disconnect between brain and body is paralysis. In reality, of course, the ramifications of damage to the spinal cord extend far beyond the inability to move voluntarily. In addition to motor circuitry, SCI also affects the autonomic nervous system, the nerves that govern internal organs. A host of dysfunctions ensue. SCI alters cardiovascular function, respiration, gastrointestinal, lower urinary tract, sexual function and temperature regulation: in short, everything we normally take for granted suddenly becomes a problem.

    A recent survey of individuals with SCI has identified recovery of autonomic functions as a high priority for improving quality of life. For the majority of individuals, regaining sexual function, bladder function, bowel function, and cardiovascular control were top priorities – rated as more important than recovering walking movement. Despite these findings, the great majority of SCI research continues to focus on “curing paralysis”.

    In this conversation, we will discuss autonomic dysfunction after SCI, and research that addresses these issues. We will focus to some extent on the cardiovascular complications of SCI, which are debilitating, chronic, and life-threatening, and the related phenomenon of “boosting” in wheelchair athletics. Finally, I hope the larger discussion might consider what and who drives the direction of biomedical research, including the role of the media, and to what extent researchers can or do consider the needs of the “consumer”.

    Dear Café Scientifiquers,

    Our next café will happen on Tuesday Jan 25th at 7:30pm @ The Railway Club (579 Dunsmuir St). We will be hosting Leanne Ramer and – continuing from last week’s health-related theme – her talk is titled “Peril atop the porcelain throne: the problem of blood pressure control after spinal cord injury.”

    For more info on Leanne’s research, check out her lab website:

    We hope to see you there!

    – Your Café Scientifique Organizers

    Hi all,

    Here is the handout from Dr. Ho’s presentation (click on hyperlink below).

    Handout (PDF file)

    Happy Holidays!!!!

    Café Scientifique

    Dear Café Scientifiquers,

    Our next café will happen next Tuesday Dec 14th at 7:30pm @ The Railway Club (579 Dunsmuir St). The speaker for that evening will be Dr. Kendall Ho (MD FRCPC, Associate Professor in Department of Emergency Medicine, and Director of eHealth Strategy Office) and his talk will be:

    eHealth: what is it, and why is it important to all of us?

    Modern information technologies – computers, smart phones, portable computing devices – are all around us in our everyday lives. It is therefore not surprising that these technologies are also being applied in our health system and actively used in multifaceted ways by many people – an area commonly referred to as eHealth. Examples include looking for health information on line, checking out test results, and seeking health professionals’ advice. This dialogue will highlight some of the best sites available for individuals and patients to access for wellness, and illness prevention and optimal management. Trends in eHealth will also be highlighted, followed by a discussion together as to the opportunities and challenges in its implementation and integration into our health system.

    For more info on Kendall’s work, check out this recent article on UBC Reports:
    Yet another use for the iPhone – treating patients

    We hope to see you next Tuesday!

    – Your Café Scientifique Organizers

    Dear Café Scientifiquers,

    Our next café will happen next Tuesday, November 23, 7:30pm at the Railway Club (579 Dunsmuir Street). The speaker that evening will be Dr. Kevin Allen, an expert on food microbiology.

    Here is the abstract of the talk, and a couple of related links:

    Food safety – How safe is our food?

    Over the past decade there has been increasing media attention associated with recurring food safety issues in Canada. Recalls of deli meats, cheese, and produce have become common-place in media headlines and leave consumers uncertain as to the risks associated with their food. This begs a question – how safe is our food? Are they safer today than they were in yester-years? To address this, an historical perspective of food safety will be presented with the intent of examining how food safety issues have changed and how today’s food supply has created new risks with foods previously assumed risk-free.

    Article in UBC Reports

    Research homepage

    We hope to see you next Tuesday!

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