Monday, November 26, 2012

See you next Thursday, December 6th for another
Science on Tap

Bring a friend or friends, make a night of it!
Colossal Failures in High-Tech Projects, And What We Can (or Should) Learn From Them

John H. Stichman, PhD

For centuries, and especially today, we have relied on complex systems designed by expert engineers.  With each passing year we come to rely more and more on such highly complex systems, such that not a day goes by without our way of life depending on them.  Yet, sometimes these systems fail in colossal, visible, and often tragic ways.  Think of the Space Shuttle, innovative bridges, the Chernobyl reactor, and others.  We will take a post-mortem tour of examples from both ancient and recent history and see what they have to tell us and what engineers and policy makers need to learn from them.

The speaker has presented this material to many graduating engineering students around the country, to practicing engineers, and to people in varied occupations.  The message to them has been that they not only must think in terms of “best practices,” but moreover should consider that they have an ethical imperative to take positive steps to avoid failures of the systems they create.

“Experience is what allows one to recognize a mistake when you make it again.”

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

See you next Thursday, November 1st for another Science on Tap

Bring a friend or friends, make a night of it!

Water Resources in the Middle Rio Grande: A Storm is Brewing but It Doesn’t Look Like Rain
Bruce Thomson
Professor of Civil Engineering
Director, Water Resources Program
University of New Mexico
There is a lot of water that flows through the middle reach of the Rio Grande or is present in underlying aquifers. Unfortunately, all of it is appropriated and in fact permits to divert water exceed the actual wet water available. This talk will summarize how much water is present and how it is used. The discussion will then turn to some of the principal hydrologic and regulatory issues that constrain its use. Finally, we will talk about five of the biggest water challenges facing the region: 1) resolution of Native American water rights, 2) permits granted to pump ground water without owning water rights, 3) increased demand for future population growth, 4) water needs for endangered species, and 5) impacts of climate change on water resources
Civic Importance:
Increasing demand for water and likely future decreases in supply will force New Mexicans to make some very tough choices regarding allocation of water for economic, agricultural, social, cultural, environmental and quality-of-life uses. This presentation will discuss the factors associated with managing water so that the necessary community discussion can be based on knowledge of the resource and the consequences of future decisions.
Bruce Thomson grew up in California, went to graduate school in Texas (Rice University), then split the difference and settled in Albuquerque.  He is a Professor of Civil Engineering and Director of the Water Resources Program at UNM.  His research and teaching interests range across 15 orders of magnitude in size, from the chemistry of inorganic constituents (sizes less than 1 nanometer) to water resources of the state of New Mexico and the southwest (greater than 1,000 kilometers).

Monday, October 1, 2012

Another Science on Tap

Thursday October 4, 2012
Cosmo Tapas
5:30 pm
See you there!!!

Friday, September 14, 2012

How to Mend a Broken Heart:
Bioengineering Advances in Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease

Dr. Heather Canavan
Associate Professor
Center for Biomedical Engineering
University of New Mexico
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States and most developed nations. It is estimated that more than 780,000 Americans have their first coronary at-tack each year. Currently, treatment of cardiovascular disease costs the US over $100B per year, including health care services, medications, and lost productivity. What makes the heart so special, why does it break, and what can be done to fix it? In this discussion, we’ll talk about the bioengineering approach to cardiovas-cular tissue repair, including a discussion of the heart’s original design function, the failures that commonly lead to heart malfunction, as well as the material requirements necessary to repair it. The presentation includes a number of graphic images and video of cardiovascular repair, although fair warning will be given so that no one is put off their tapas! In addition, the speaker will bring a variety of cardiovascular implants (e.g., stents, pacemakers, etc.) for a hands-on demonstration of the material properties of each.

Heather Canavan is an associate professor in the Dept. of Chemical and Nuclear Engineering and the Center for Biomedical Engineering at the University of New Mexico. She received her PhD in Physical Chemistry from George Washington University in 2002, after which she held a postdoctoral fellowship in the Chemical and Bioengineering Departments at the University of Washington under the guidance of Profs. David Castner and Buddy Ratner. The focus of Heather’s research is novel use of surface science techniques in Biomedical Engineering, including the plasma polymerization of biomaterials as novel cell culture substrates for biosensor and tissue engineering applications. She publishes in journals such as Langmuir, Plasma Processes and Polymers, and Biomaterials.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Science on Tap - August Edition - Web Album Created with Flash Slideshow Software

See you tomorrow at 5:30 pm for the October version of Science on Tap
A Womb with a View:
Mammals that Grow up in a Pouch
Rob Miller, PhD • UNM Department of Biology
Cosmo Tapas
4200 Central Ave SE

Friday, August 31, 2012

Science on Tap • September

A Womb with a View
Mammals that Grow up in a Pouch

Rob Miller, PhD • UNM Department of Biology

Thursday, September 6, 2012
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Cosmo Tapas Restaurant
4200 Central Ave SE
More about Rob Miller

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Introducing - Amber McBride

On August 2nd, Science on Tap presents, Amber McBride!

The event begins at 5:30 at Cosmo Tapas.  Don't know where it is?  Click here to be taken to the restaurant's address and contact information.

Amber McBride1,2,3
The University of New Mexico: Nanoscience and Microsystems Graduate Program, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, The University of New Mexico Cancer Center, Albuquerque, NM 87131

Title: A novel inhalable and magnetically directed therapy for lung cancer

About the Speaker. A Kansas native, Amber received undergraduate degrees in Biology from Kansas State University (Go Wildcats!), Political Science from The University of Kansas (Rock Chalk Jayhawk!), and a Master's in Nanoscience and Microsystems in 2010. At K-State, Amber's research involved using human umbilical cord stem cells as a delivery vehicle to carry PLGA-PEG nanoparticles engineered with a therapeutic anti-cancer drug. After moving to Albuquerque, she worked in industry optimizing a lung cancer detection assay, and as a research technician for UNM's Human Tissue Repository. Currently, she's researching magnetic nanoparticles for lung cancer, advised by Dr. Pavan Muttil in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at UNM.  When not studying, she enjoy living in the mountains, backpacking and riding her horse.

Purpose. To formulate and characterize novel magnetically responsive inhalable microparticles for precise delivery of chemotherapeutic agents to lung tumor regions. A proof-of-concept cylindrical glass tube was used to mimic the conducting airways of humans. In conjunction with an external permanent magnet, magnetically responsive nano-in-microparticles were directed and retained in a site-specific region inside the tube.

Methods. A suspension of lactose (DMV-Fonterra Respitose) and Fe3O4 superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs)(Chemicell, Berlin, Germany) were spray dried (Büchi Mini Spray Dryer B-290) in an aqueous suspension. The hydrodynamic and aerodynamic size and particle characteristics of the nano-in-microparticle dry powders were determined by laser diffraction, cascade impaction and scanning and transmission electron microscopy (SEM, TEM). Inductively coupled plasma (ICP) quantified the amount of Fe loading in the microparticle. A cylindrical borosilicate glass tube (two-centimeter diameter by 25-centimeter length) was designed to mimic the conducting airways of the human respiratory tract. Two different formulations were administered: the aforementioned nano-in-microparticle dry powder formulation, and a nebulized liquid suspension. Both contained a fluorescent dye as a surrogate for an anti-cancer therapeutic. The highest magnetic grade commercially available neodymium permanent magnet (grade 52, D B < 0.58 T) was placed on the external vertical axis of the tube to achieve targeting of the magnetically responsive nano-in-microparticle dry powders to a specific region of the tube.
Results.  The average hydrodynamic particle diameter (1.6 μm) and MMAD (3.27 μm) is within the 1-5 μm range required for deep lung delivery, with a geometric standard deviation of ± 1.69 μm. SEM images show spherical particles having rough surface morphology due to incorporation of SPIONs (mean size 50 nm). TEM images show uniformly dispersed SPIONs throughout the lactose matrix for individual microparticles. Proof-of-concept tracheal tube studies showed significant spatial deposition of the nano-in-microparticle dry powders in regions experiencing a strong magnetic flux (Fig. 1A). This correlates the amount of drug delivery vehicle that could be deposited to a specified location using our delivery method and aerosolized dry powders.  Quantitative fluorescence analysis showed increased deposition of aerosolized dry powders (mean = 430, SE = 101) near the magnet based on greater fluorescence intensity, compared to the aerosolized liquid formulation (mean = 211.0) (Fig. 1B).

Civic Importance.  Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality worldwide, with 1.4 million people dying from the disease each year, as of 2008 (1). Despite advances in surgery and treatment, the 5-year survival rate from 2001 – 2007 was 15% and has remained largely unchanged for decades (2). These statistics are due, in part, to a conventional drug delivery system that neither adequately delivers nor maintains sufficient drug concentration near solid lung tumors (3), leading to adverse effects in healthy tissues. There is a clear and unmet medical need in the field of cancer therapy to selectively deliver chemotherapeutics to lung tumors and minimize side effects observed in healthy tissues as well as to achieve effective therapy. This novel site-directed delivery system could minimize side effects of traditional chemotherapy observed in healthy tissues and has great potential for inhalation therapy in the future. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Pleased to meet you!

SCIENCE ON TAP is a new type of seminar series!  
A time to eat, drink, & talk about science!

This event will be held at 5:30 at Cosmo Tapas Restaurant every first Thursday of the month August - November and February - May. Cosmo Tapas Restaurant is located at 4200 Central Avenue SE. The program begins with a 30-minute presentation by a featured speaker, followed by a 30 minutes discussion session for attendees to ask questions.

The UNM Nanoscience and Microsystems (NSMS) and the Chemical and Nuclear Engineering (ChNE) departments have partnered with and Cosmos Tapas Restaurant in Nob Hill and the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History to present this innovative lecture series. The goals of “Science on Tap” are to bring science to the public, to increase public awareness and pride in the research accomplishmentsof area scientists, and to provide area science enthusiasts a fun and unique venue for meeting and interacting with one another. 

Invited speakers will lead discussions about wide-ranging topics such as nanotechnology, environmental science, biomedicine, and technological breakthroughs. Cosmos Tapas will also offer Marble beer drink specials as well as unique tapas to compliment lecture topics.

The schedule for speakers is;

August 2nd - Amber McBride
September 6th - Dr Ashwani Rajput
October 4th - Dr Heather Canavan
November 1st - Dr Bruce Thomson

You can contact any of the organizers by emailing  You can also contact any of the specific event organizers directly for more information.  The contact information is as follows;
National Museum of Nuclear Science & History - - (505) 245-2137

Cosmo Tapas Restaurant - - (505) 232-0535

Nanoscience and Microsystems @ UNM - - (505) 277-6824
Chemical and Nuclear Engineering @ UNM - - (505) 277-2225