Wednesday, February 21, 2018

6th year of Science on Tap

Thanks to the continued support of UNM, Explora and the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History

 

 A time to eat, drink & talk about science!


on Central

Join us Thursday, March 1st at 5:30


2 Presentations from Explora's Science Communication Fellows

Soil fungi may benefit both plants and biocrusts in drylands
 
Dr. Eva Dettweiler-Robinson
Research Assistant Professor
Department of Biology, UNM
 Drylands, such as those across New Mexico, have plants and biological soil crusts (mosses, lichens, cyanobacteria, fungi, bacteria, etc.) living together. Plants and many components of biocrusts are photosynthetic, meaning they can use CO2 from the air to produce their bodies. Many biocrusts can also fix nitrogen from the air which is an important fertilizer. I am researching how fungi affect the rate of nitrogen transfer between biocrusts and plants and the overall effect on the performance of plants and biocrusts. Understanding these processes can help us understand what leads to erosion and windstorms, provide habitat for animals, and understand implications of climate change in drylands.

Albuquerque groundwater aquifer & its response to water resource management
 
Lucas Curry
Hydrologist
New Mexico Water Science Center
US Geological Survey


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

6th year of Science on Tap

Thanks to the continued support of UNM, Explora and the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History

 

 A time to eat, drink & talk about science!


on Central

Join us Thursday, February 1st at 5:30



Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Greg Mello
Executive Director 
Los Alamos Study Group
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was finalized and adopted by 122 states at a special United Nations negotiating Conference on July 7, 2017. The Treaty opened for signature on September 20, 2017; by week's end there were 54 signatory states. On October 6 it was announced that the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize would go to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which, in an unprecedented partnership with the diplomatic community, led the successful campaign for the Treaty. The Prize was awarded in Oslo on December 10, 2017.
    But what is this Treaty? How and why did it arise? What is its historical significance? How could a small group of people succeed when so many others had failed? How do its signatories and proponents expect the Treaty to help prevent nuclear war and foster disarmament? Will it apply to the United States and the other nuclear weapon states who do not sign it?
How will it affect US alliances in Europe and the Western Pacific? How will it affect the New Mexico laboratories? What is the status of the Treaty today? And what can we do now to bring the Treaty into force and apply it here in the US and in New Mexico?
    Greg Mello will address these questions and any others you may have.
    Greg, with Trish Williams-Mello, his wife and co-worker, were active participants and presenters at (and between) the several fact-finding and negotiating fora that led to this Treaty over the 2014-2017 period. 




Greg Mello, Executive Director, is a co-founder of the Los Alamos Study Group and has led its varied activities since 1992, including policy research, environmental analysis, congressional education and lobbying, community organizing, litigation (FOIA, civil rights, NEPA), advertising, and the nuts and bolts of funding and running a small nonprofit. From time to time he has served as a consulting analyst, writer, and spokesperson for other nuclear policy organizations. Greg was educated as a systems engineer with a broad scientific background (Harvey Mudd College, 1971, with distinction) and as a regional planner with emphases in environmental planning and regional economics (Harvard, 1975, with distinction, HUD Fellow in Urban Studies). During the early 1980s Greg was a high school science and math teacher, then a hazardous waste inspector and statewide hazardous materials incident commander, and in the late 1980s a supervising hydrogeologist, for the New Mexico Environment Department. In 1984 Greg led the first regulatory enforcement at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). In the early 1990s Greg was a consulting hydrologist in parallel with the early Study Group, with cleanup projects in New Mexico and California. In 2002, Greg was a Visiting Research Fellow at Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security. Greg’s research, analysis, and opinions have been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Issues in Science and Technology, in the New Mexico press, and elsewhere. He has been interviewed thousands of times by U.S. and international news media (print, radio, and television). Greg’s research has been the source or impetus of many of these media articles and programs. In addition to speaking at hundreds of public meetings and events in New Mexico, Greg has been a guest speaker at several international disarmament events here and abroad. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

6th year of Science on Tap

Thanks to the continued support of UNM, Explora and the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History

 

 A time to eat, drink & talk about science!


on Central

Join us Thursday, November 2nd at 5:30


Dr TerBeek has had to postpone his talk until sometime next Spring.
Our own Sarah Pratt from Explora is putting together some Chemistry Demos - see you in a few hours!

Dark Matter: Origins, Evidence and Why you Should Care

Russell TerBeek, Ph.D.
Physicist
Raytheon Albuquerque
As we look out into the night sky, it is tempting to think that the universe as we see it, as vast and magnificent as it is, could not possibly be any stranger.  But, back in the 1970s, physicists and astronomers began to suspect that all we could see couldn’t possibly be all there was.  In order to explain the behavior of galaxies, and even clusters of galaxies, some kind of stuff that clumped together and yet didn’t emit light – “dark matter” – needed to be thrown into the picture.  In fact, in order to fit the observational data, about four-fifths of all the matter in the universe would need to be “dark.”  For tonight’s talk, I’ll discuss the history of dark matter in astronomy, the ongoing search to find it on both astronomical and microscopic scales, some of the theories of what could make up this mysterious form of matter, and the experimental evidence so far.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

6th year of Science on Tap

Thanks to the continued support of UNM, Explora and the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History

 

 A time to eat, drink & talk about science!


on Central

Join us Thursday, October 5th at 5:30

Caution: It may be a little shocking!

David Gibson
Museum Educator
National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Our program will be on Electricity and the body: inside and out. Explore a few of the ways electricity affects the human body. Discover the "Skin Effect", Static, and controlling another person with your body's electricity.



David Gibson is the Museum Educator at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and history. He works to make science fun, engaging and memorable for all ages

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

6th year of Science on Tap

Thanks to the continued support of UNM, Explora and the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History

 

 A time to eat, drink & talk about science!


on Central

Join us Thursday, September 7 at 5:30

Raman spectroscopy: A 90-year story of the intersection of science and technology

 
 
University of New Mexico
Professor
Chemical and Biological Engineering
Director
Center for Biomedical Engineering
 
A surgeon needs to determine the boundary between normal and diseased tissue. An art restorer needs to figure out what kinds of coatings were applied to an 18th century masterpiece over the last few centuries. A security officer needs to figure out if a powder contains explosives. A Food and Drug Administration inspector needs to determine if every tablet in a blister pack of imported pharmaceuticals was correctly manufactured. What do these situations have in common? They are all currently addressed using Raman spectroscopy. Early 2018 will mark the 90-year anniversary of the discovery of the Raman effect. The effect, named after its co-discoverer C.V. Raman, occurs when light passes through a transparent material and a very tiny fraction of the light changes color. The scientific community quickly recognized this result as a profound discovery, and Raman received a Nobel Prize only two years later. However, it’s taken 90 years of research and development for the technological impact of the discovery to begin to be fully realized. I will briefly discuss the Raman effect and Raman spectroscopy, and then describe the decades long path of discovery and technology development that has enabled the current widespread use of this method. The trajectory of Raman spectroscopy from its origin in fundamental science to applications in diverse fields spanning from medicine to art is a compelling story that illustrates how interactions between different areas of science and engineering can lead to technologies with broad societal impact.
 
 
 
 
 
Andrew P. Shreve is Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering and Director of the Center for Biomedical Engineering at UNM. His research interests include development of biosensors, optical instrumentation, and spectroscopy or modeling of energy and charge transfer in biological, nanomaterial and chemical systems. Amongst other topics, he has co-authored many scientific papers in the area of Raman spectroscopy, including experimental and theoretical studies of crystalline materials, carbon nanotubes, and proteins.




Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Our 5th year of Science on Tap continues!

Thanks to the continued support of UNM, Explora and the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History

 

 A time to eat, drink & talk about science!


on Central is our new home 

Join us Thursday, May 4 at 5:30!

 

 Testable You: Bioengineering approaches to personalised medicine

 
The conventional approach to cell culture uses 2D surfaces to attach and grow cells on tissue culture polystyrene. These systems are used to examine the fundamental biological pathways of disease, evaluate the cytotoxicity of biomaterials, explore biochemical pathways and model wound healing (to name just a few). While these systems are central to much of our current research, it is well established that they fail to reproduce many of the cell-cell signalling and external cues experienced by cells in tissue (1) Research over the last 5-10 years has shown that cell behaviour in 2D varies significantly from that in 3D, with variations in cell shape, gene profile and migration behaviour to name a few. (2, 3) Critically have restricted lifespans making it difficult to undertake long-term studies (4). 
At the other end of the testing spectrum we have a wide range of animal models which are currently the gold standard for drug and medical devices evaluation. Increasingly it is becoming clear that many animal models do not correlate well with specific disease states. (3) While humanised mouse models are developing rapidly, (5), there is an increasing movement internationally towards replacing, reducing and refining animal testing including the EU Directive on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes (EU Directive 2010/63/EU).
It is clear that we need new approaches for cell culture that replicate the cell microenvironment, are easily manipulated to address specific research questions or target specific pathways. The systems need to be reproducible, scalable and critically validated against the gold standards. One of the most popular current approaches is the spheroid. Used to replicate tumour structures and a range of other tissues (4), part of their attraction in the flexibility they enable when created from stem cells. (6) The alternative to the spheroid is a scaffold based model. Based on tissue engineering knowledge, these systems use both synthetic and natural materials to create a 3D framework to support cell attachment and growth. Examples include tissue engineered skin models built around decellurised tissue or collagen-1 (7).  Interestingly it is only recently that any of these models have started to integrate inflammatory or infection pathways. (2, 8) This is particularly critical for toxicity testing and disease models where inflammatory cells play a critical role secreting proteases, cytokines, growth factors and other allogeneic substances. (2).
This talk will discuss the range of methods currently being used to develop personalised testing systems for Medical and Health Technologies.

1.   Alépée N. State-of-the-art of 3D cultures (organs-on-a-chip) in safety testing and pathophysiology. Altex. 2014.
2.   Carvalho MR, Lima D, Reis RL, Correlo VM, Oliveira JM. Evaluating Biomaterial- and Microfluidic-Based 3D Tumor Models. Trends Biotechnol. 2015;33(11):667-78.
3.   Hutmacher DW, Holzapfel BM, De-Juan-Pardo EM, Pereira BA, Ellem SJ, Loessner D, et al. Convergence of regenerative medicine and synthetic biology to develop standardized and validated models of human diseases with clinical relevance. Current Opinion in Biotechnology. 2015;35:127-32.
4.   Wrzesinski K, Magnone MC, Hansen LV, Kruse ME, Bergauer T, Bobadilla M, et al. HepG2/C3A 3D spheroids exhibit stable physiological functionality for at least 24 days after recovering from trypsinisation. Toxicol Res-Uk. 2013;2(3):163-72.
5.   Shultz LD, Brehm MA, Garcia-Martinez JV, Greiner DL. Humanized mice for immune system investigation: progress, promise and challenges. Nat Rev Immunol. 2012;12(11):786-98.
6.   Villasante A, Vunjak-Novakovic G. Tissue-engineered models of human tumors for cancer research. Expert Opinion on Drug Discovery. 2015;10(3):257-68.
7.   Linde N, Gutschalk CM, Hoffmann C, Yilmaz D, Mueller MM. Integrating Macrophages into Organotypic Co-Cultures: A 3D In Vitro Model to Study Tumor-Associated Macrophages. Plos One. 2012;7(7).
8.   Chau DYS, Johnson C, MacNeil S, Haycock JW, Ghaemmaghami AM. The development of a 3D immunocompetent model of human skin. Biofabrication. 2013;5(3).



Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Our 5th year of Science on Tap continues!

Thanks to the continued support of UNM, Explora and the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History

 

 A time to eat, drink & talk about science!


on Central is our new home 

Join us Thursday, April 6 at 5:30!


Infectious Diseases:
where's the line between public health and security?

 

Lisa Astuto-Gribble, PhD, MPH

Sandia National Laboratories



Bioscience research is changing rapidly. For example, improvements in sequencing have exceeded Moore's Law. In parallel with the scientific advances, there has been a growing concern about the threat of bioterrorism. A selective review of the changes in the science and in bioterrorism incidents will provide a background for considering the various controls to address bioterrorism that are being implemented in the US and internationally. Should the materials be controlled? Should the equipment be controlled? Should there be controls on the expertise that could contribute to biological weapons? There is not a consensus approach to assessing the risks or the appropriate measures to address those risks, or how to evaluate tradeoffs of possible impacts to science and public health.


Jennifer Gaudioso leads the International Biological and Chemical Threat Reduction (IBCTR) program at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, NM, USA.  This program enhances United States and international security by seeking innovative solutions for countering biological and chemical threats globally.  Specifically, IBCTR develops and applies systems-based approaches to reduce the risk of intentional or accidental release of dangerous biological and chemical agents globally. The program has organized many international conferences, trainings, and workshops to build local capacity to address these issues.  In the last five years, Jennifer and her team have visited facilities in more than 40 countries specifically to consult on biosecurity and chemical security issues. IBCTR is an OIE Collaborating Centre for Laboratory Biorisk Management. Jennifer has served on the National Academies' Committee on Education on Dual Use Issues in the Life Sciences and their Committee on “Anticipating Biosecurity Challenges of the Global Expansion of High Containment Biological Laboratories”. She has served as a member of three international teams to develop biosafety and biorisk management international standards. She has been named a principal-external collaborator with the Japanese National Institute for Infectious Disease. Jennifer is author of numerous journal articles, and book chapters, and has presented her research at national and international meetings. Gaudioso co-edited the book Laboratory Biorisk Management: Biosafety and Biosecurity. She also co-authored the Laboratory Biosecurity Handbook.  Jennifer has served on SNL’s Institutional Biosafety Committee, is an active member of the American Biological Safety Association, and is on the board of the Elizabeth R Griffin Research Foundation. She earned her Ph.D. in chemistry at Cornell University.