Fighting Super Bug Infection with Nanotherapeutics and Nanovaccines

The Wet Lab is hosting an antibiotic-resistant bacteria lecture at the San Diego Central Library on Thursday, May 18 from 6:30pm – 7:30pm.  Prof. Liangfang Zhang, from UCSD, Department of Nanoengineering and Moores Cancer Center UCSD will discuss the current technologies and strategies for fighting “super bug” bacteria which have evolved to resist all known antibiotics.

Figure: pathogenic bacteria and toxin nanosponge

The threat of antibiotics-resistant bacterial infections poses great challenges to the public health and demands bold and innovative approaches for disease treatment and prevention. The development of new antimicrobial drugs has failed to keep pace with the rise of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria. To address the waning effectiveness of classical antibiotics treatments, anti-virulence therapies and vaccines are becoming compelling strategies against antimicrobial resistance. At this lecture I’ll discuss a toxin-absorbing nanoparticle platform (also called “toxin nanosponge”) as a new virulence factor-based therapeutic candidate against invasive bacterial infections. The toxin nanosponge technique also reduces the selective pressure for further antibiotic resistance because no antibiotics are involved in the treatment.

This event is part of the San Diego Wetlab’s citizen science lecture series held every first Tuesday at 6:30pm at the La Jolla Library and every third Thursday at 6:30pm at the Downtown Library.   Please check the San Diego library system events page for location details and changes in the upcoming schedule.

Developing Drugs to Stop Cancer in its Tracks

The Wet Lab is hosting a cancer drug development lecture at the La Jolla Library on Tuesday, May 2nd, from 6:30pm – 7:30pm.  Bryn Taylor, graduate student in the medical sciences program at UCSD, will explain how scientists design drugs that precisely target carcinogenic proteins and cells.

Figure: target cancer protein in cell wall, Bryn Taylor, UCSD

Using mathematical models, we predict new drug binding sites on a protein that controls cancer cell migration. These new binding sites are revealed by comparing the dynamic motions of the inactive and active state of the protein. The goal is to develop a drug that will “lock” the protein into the inactive state, rendering the protein non-functional and stopping the spread of cancer in the patient’s body.

This event is part of the San Diego Wetlab’s citizen science lecture series held every first Tuesday at 6:30pm at the La Jolla Library and every third Thursday at 6:30pm at the Downtown Library.   Please check the San Diego library system events page for location details and changes in the upcoming schedule.

Exploring Colors in Nature

The Wet Lab is hosting a plant biochemistry workshop at the La Jolla Riford Library on Saturday April 1st from 3pm – 5pm.

Discover the colorful and complex world of plant pigments. In this hands-on workshop you will analyze the molecules that give plants their vibrant colors using chromatography, a fundamental and widely used scientific technique. Participants can bring leaves or flowers to analyze or use some of the ones we have picked out.  Recommended for ages 8-14. Limited to 20 participants.  Please register on the La Jolla Library events page.

This event is part of the San Diego Wet Lab’s science workshop series.  Science workshops are usually held every 1st Saturday and 3rd Saturday at 3pm at the La Jolla Library.   Please check the La Jolla library events page for location details and changes in the upcoming schedule.

Environmental DNA: Searching for a signal

The Wet Lab is hosting an ecology lecture at the San Diego Central Library on Thursday, April 20 from 6:30pm – 7:30pm.  Kristen Harper, PhD from the University of Stirling will discuss how environmental DNA can be used to detect invasive species and ecological patterns.

crayfish

Environmental DNA (eDNA) is a powerful tool for detecting species using DNA deposited in the environment. It has been used in oceans, lakes and rivers to detect rare and invasive species. Most studies have focused on fish and amphibians, but what about crustaceans? The American signal crayfish is highly invasive in Scotland. Faster detection can mean better control, or even prevention. eDNA may be the key to saving Scotland’s lochs and rivers from this unwanted invader.

This event is part of the San Diego Wetlab’s citizen science lecture series held every first Tuesday at 6:30pm at the La Jolla Library and every third Thursday at 6:30pm at the Downtown Library.   Please check the San Diego library system events page for location details and changes in the upcoming schedule.

Use of the Olfactory System to Understand Neurological Disease

The Wet Lab is hosting a neuroscience lecture at the La Jolla Riford Library on Tuesday, April 4th from 630pm – 730pm.  Samantha Jones, a graduate student in UCSD’s biomedical sciences program will discuss how mutations in genes associated with RNA degradation pathways can cause neurological disease.

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Intellectual disability (ID), formerly called “mental retardation,” is estimated to affect ~2% of the world’s population and have a considerable socio-economic impact, yet its underlying cause is often unknown. My work focuses on one form of intellectual disability and how it is caused by mutations in a gene (UPF3B) important for proper RNA decay. I hope to understand the effect of UPF3B depletion on the nervous system by using the olfactory system (our smell center) as a model of neurogenesis.

This event is part of the San Diego Wetlab’s citizen science lecture series held every first Tuesday at 6:30pm at the La Jolla Library and every third Thursday at 6:30pm at the Downtown Library.   Please check the San Diego library system events page for location details and changes in the upcoming schedule.

Strawberry DNA Extraction

The Wet Lab is hosting a DNA extraction workshop at the La Jolla Riford Library on Saturday March 25th from 3pm – 5pm.

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DNA extraction is the first step involved in learning about the genetic composition of living things and it is surprisingly simple if you know what to do!  In this workshop we will demonstrate how to extract the DNA from a tasty strawberry. If you’d like to attend, please RSVP on the library events webpage.  Recommended ages 8 – 13.

This event is part of the San Diego Wet Lab’s science workshop series.  Science workshops are usually held every 1st Saturday and 3rd Saturday at 3pm at the La Jolla Library.   Please check the La Jolla library events page for location details and changes in the upcoming schedule.

The Role of Chance in US Presidential Elections

The San Diego Wet Lab is hosting a political science lecture on Tuesday March 7th from 630pm – 730pm at the La Jolla Riford Library.  David Forney, MIT PhD, from the San Diego Wet Lab will discuss the policies and mechanisms responsible for the difference between the popular vote and the electoral vote, as well as how the electoral college amplifies noise from the polls.

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Electoral vote margins in US presidential elections tend to vary widely from popular vote margins.  The 2016 election however, appears as an outlier compared to all other elections from past 100 years. To understand the factors driving this variance, historical data from the National Archives was used to quantify the effects of three policies on the observed variance between the electoral and popular vote. Results indicate that these policies and the various mechanisms that derive from them explain 96% of the variance.  Random noise contributing to narrow state victories has the largest effect, resulting in about 37% of the observed variance in electoral vote – enough to swing victory from one candidate to another.  Furthermore I find a gap growing between left and right that may lead to more discrepancies between popular vote and electoral vote in the future.

This event is part of the San Diego Wetlab’s citizen science lecture series held every first Tuesday at 6:30pm at the La Jolla Library and every third Thursday at 6:30pm at the Downtown Library.   Please check the San Diego library system events page for location details and changes in the upcoming schedule.

*Cancelled* Muscle Dystrophy: Hope for Tomorrow *Cancelled*

The following lecture is cancelled, it will be re-scheduled for later this year.   Instead, please check out the replacement lecture for Tuesday March 7

The San Diego Wet Lab is hosting a lecture on Muscular Dystrophy on Tuesday March 7th from 630pm – 730pm at the La Jolla Riford Library.  Constanza Cortez, PhD from UCSD and Stanford Consortion for Regenerative Medicine will review the disease and discuss recent advances in treatments.

muscular-dystrophy

Muscular dystrophy is a group of diseases that cause progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass. Recent advances in basic research have revealed new therapeutic targets that are now in promising human trials. In this talk, I will present the our current understanding of the mechanisms of muscle dystrophy, and discuss some of the novel compounds for the treatment of these debilitating disorders.

This event is part of the San Diego Wetlab’s citizen science lecture series held every first Tuesday at 6:30pm at the La Jolla Library and every third Thursday at 6:30pm at the Downtown Library.   Please check the San Diego library system events page for location details and changes in the upcoming schedule.

Sleep and Temperature: Partners in Crime

The San Diego Wet Lab is hosting a lecture on healthy sleep on Thursday March 16th from 630pm – 730pm at the San Diego Central Library.  Ruggero Scorcioni, PhD and founder of Polar Sleep will discuss how temperature can influence how well you sleep.

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We spend a third of our lives asleep. Why do some people try to reduce sleep to a waste of time, but for others it is the unreachable promised land? Let’s explore why we sleep, and why temperature is important to a good night of rest.

This event is part of the San Diego Wetlab’s citizen science lecture series held every first Tuesday at 6:30pm at the La Jolla Library and every third Thursday at 6:30pm at the Downtown Library.   Please check the San Diego library system events page for location details and changes in the upcoming schedule.