Evolution in action: Watching new species evolve in the lab

The Wet Lab is hosting a lecture by Justin Meyer, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Division of Biological Sciences at UCSD. The lecture will be held at the San Diego Central Library on Thursday, November 16th, from 6:30 – 7:30pm. evolution-1295256__340Many people might envision an evolutionary biologist as a bearded Victorian scientist who analyzes dusty fossils and museum collections. The field of evolutionary biology has modernized over the decades and now many researchers use technology to actually watch evolution in action. I will discuss compelling results from the new field of experimental evolution including one from my lab where we watched new species of microbes evolve in test tubes.


The American Gut Project: Crowdsourcing Human Microbiome Research

The Wet Lab is hosting a lecture by Embriette Hyde, PhD, Project Manager of the American Gut Project. The lecture will be held at the La Jolla Riford Library on Tuesday, November 7th, from 6:30 – 7:30pm.

The American Gut Project is the world’s largest crowdfunded citizen science research project, with the goal of creating a comprehensive map of the human microbiome-including the identification of all of the “bad” and “good” areas. This map can be used by researchers and clinicians as a springboard for further studies to determine how to move people from the bad to the good areas. Come hear about how American Gut data is being used to meet this goal!

Neuronal degeneration in glaucoma

The Wet Lab is hosting a lecture by Dorota Skowronska-Krawczyk, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at UCSD. The lecture will be held at the San Diego Central Library on Thursday, October 19th, from 6:30 – 7:30pm. 

Glaucoma is a blinding neurodegenerative disease, whose risk factors include elevated intraocular pressure (IOP), age, and genetics. Glaucoma is characterized by accelerated and progressive retinal ganglion cells (RGC) death. Despite decades of research, the mechanism of RGC death in glaucoma is still unknown. I will talk about our recent findings suggesting the role of cellular senescence and aging in the neuronal death. I will also discuss potential therapies that could be proposed based on our recent results.

The Role of Carbohydrates in Blood Vessel Development and Disease

The Wet Lab is hosting a lecture by UCSD Biomedical Sciences PhD student Daniel Sandoval. The lecture will be held at the La Jolla Riford Library on Tuesday, October 3rd, from 6:30 – 7:30pm.

Blood vessels are the cornerstone of many developmental and disease processes. They allow the transport of nutrients and waste from tissues, controlling inflammation. The surfaces of blood vessels are covered in a dense layer of carbohydrates, also called glycans. In this lecture we will learn about how important glycans are for regulating blood function, not only in disease but throughout human development.

I sleep, therefore I am

The Wet Lab is hosting a lecture by University of San Diego scientist Indrani Ganguly-Fitzgerald, PhD. The lecture will be held at the San Diego Central Library on Thursday, September 21st, from 6:30 – 7:30pm.

alarm-clock-1193291__340There is little argument that without sleep, we are functional basket cases. However, scientists are still hard at work at trying to dig at the mystery of why we NEED to sleep at all. In this lecture, we will attempt to shed light onto the function of sleep, by diving into the neuro-genetic investigations that reveal a surprising connection between sleep, waking experience, and aging brain health.

MicroRNAs: One biologist’s junk is another cell’s regulatory molecule

The Wet Lab is hosting a lecture by UCSD PhD student Julia Nussbacher. The lecture will be held at the La Jolla Riford Library on Tuesday, September 5th, from 6:30 – 7:30pm.

genetics-156404__340In the early days of exploring the human genome, scientists thought only the 2% of the genome that coded for proteins had any use. The rest was termed ‘junk’ DNA. We have since discovered that the remaining 98% performs regulatory functions that are critical for development and health. One type of regulatory element encodes tiny pieces of RNA that control thousands of proteins. Join Julia Nussbacher from UCSD to learn what high throughput sequencing and computational biology can tell us about these tiny molecules.

Shooting stars from Mars – solving the mystery with oxygen isotope forensics

The Wet Lab is hosting a lecture by scientist Robina Shaheen, PhD, from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UCSD. The lecture will be at the La Jolla Riford Library on Tuesday, August 1st, from 6:30pm – 7:30pm.


Dr. Robina Shaheen is using chemistry to investigate one of the biggest mysteries of nature- the origin and history of the Red Planet. Learn how oxygen triple isotope forensics can tell the story of two famous meteorites from Mars, “ALH84001”, once thought to carry relics of life, and “Black Beauty -NWA7034”, an oldest rock from Mars.


Parkin: The Difference Between Success and Heart Failure

The Wet Lab is hosting a lecture by UCSD Biomedical Sciences PhD student Sarah Shires on the connection between Parkinson’s and heart disease. The lecture will be at the La Jolla Riford Library on Tuesday, July 11th, from 6:30pm – 7:30pm.  human-heart-1700453_960_720

What do your brain and your heart have in common? One cause of both neurodegenerative disease and heart disease is the accumulation of “cellular trash”. Parkin is one of several proteins mutated in patients with Parkinson’s Disease. Parkin is important in taking out and recycling cellular trash. While Parkin is found at higher levels in patients with heart disease, we still don’t know if this is helpful or harmful. I study how changes in Parkin affect the heart, and hope to eventually target Parkin to treat heart disease.


The Iron Hypothesis: How algae growing around Antarctica can affect the climate in La Jolla

Jeff McQuaid from the J. Craig Venter Institute will give our next lecture at the La Jolla Riford library on Tuesday May 3rd, 2016 at 6pm.

The Iron Hypothesis How algae growing around Antarctica can affect the climate in La Jolla

Algae absorb more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than any other organism and play an important role in both the carbon cycle and climate dynamics.  This week’s lecture explains how some species of algae have evolved to develop an extraordinary mechanism to harvest iron from the ocean despite the low concentrations of iron found there, resulting in faster growth rates and possibly increased biological carbon sequestration.

After the lecture, there will be a Q+A session with the speaker to address any questions you may have.  Hope to see you there!


In defense of basic research: the case of cell division, Dr. Aaron Groen

Citizen Science - Spring 2016

Don’t miss our next lecture downtown at 6pm, Thursday 4/21 at the Central Library!  Cell division is a fundamental biological process underlying the growth and proliferation of all life on earth. Dr. Aaron Groen will use his research into the basic mechanisms of cytokinesis as an example for the enduring value and general interest of basic biological research.