#45 Nerd Nite – 1 December 2021 [SOLD OUT]

Nerd Nite Melbourne is so excited to be bringing you one more show in 2021! Jordyn Thomas talks about inflammation, Aaron Ginter discusses Australia’s least known endangered bird and Jack Dunston tells the story of the Yarra River. Come nerd out with us over a few beers and help us finish the Nerd Nite year with a big bang.

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

at Howler 7-11 Dawson Street, Brunswick

Doors 7pm

Tickets: $15 – SOLD OUT

*Presentation 1*

Inflammation causes everything!

by Jordyn Thomas (@JordynMThomas)

Description: Inflammation causes everything!!! Well, maybe not quite everything, although it might surprise you that it doesn’t just cause classic inflammatory diseases like asthma, eczema, autoimmune diseases, coeliac disease etc. etc. but also, cardiovascular disease! My talk will explain how exactly our immune system contributes to cardiovascular disease, what I’ve been doing to investigate it and what we could do in the future to target our own pesky immune systems.

Bio: Jordyn Thomas is a cardiovascular disease researcher at Monash University. Jordyn recently submitted her PhD thesis at La Trobe University, investigating how the immune protein interleukin-18 causes the kidney inflammation that leads to high blood pressure. Her postdoctoral work will focus on how inflammation contributes to peripheral artery disease. Jordyn is excited to share her enthusiasm for kidneys and cardiovascular disease with you and have a few beers/wines in the process.

*Presentation 2

Who you calling Plain? Protecting Australia’s least known endangered bird

by Aaron Grinter (@PhilosophyGrin)

Description: The Plains-wanderer is a little known Australian bird that stands around 15cm tall and constantly has a terrified expression on its face. With good reason too, as it is disastrously endangered with only around 600 birds left in the wild. Most of these birds reside in the Northern Plains Grasslands about 2 hours north of Melbourne, and it is our job to make sure we don’t lose them for good.

Bio: Aaron Grinter has a PhD in ecological philosophy and works for the Victorian Department of Environment (DELWP) leading threatened species programs. While he does work for the state government he doesn’t know Dan Andrews personally so please don’t ask if he can get you an autograph. This is Aaron’s second time speaking at Nerd Nite, so be prepared for all the gritty realism and off the cuff swearing that you expect from a veteran.

*Presentation 3

The upside down river, backwards” A living stream of consciousness

by Jack Dunstan (@dunstanet)

Description: Not as beautiful as Sydney’s Harbour, but infinitely more interesting, the story of the Yarra River has more twists and turns than Melbournians may realise. The Yarra is famous as it is infamous – where e coli and eels, swans and sewage, dolphins and dog doo, share all year round. While we enjoy the free electric BBQ’s on its banks in summer, many of us know little about its history, changing shape and socioeconomic influence, affluence and effluents. This talk will dredge up the past, covering topics like how poor water management in the 1880’s coined the name ‘Smellbourne’. In this reverse history of the river that flows upside down, we’ll soak up Jack’s litter trap mind as he shares what he’s learned living on and around the Yarra, Birrarung Marr, as a Melbournian.

Bio: In his geologically short time on earth, Jack Dunstan’s life and career has flowed through some aqueous experiences. As Sea Scout, winemaker, dishwasher, iceberger and canoer there’s always been a theme of fluids – his time nursing exposed him to some pretty loose flowing moments. He now finds himself riding the wave of developing online education, something we’re all doing without a paddle at the moment. When not making the bits of the internet that aren’t cats, he’s submerged in curious historical miscellany of the area around Melbourne, since and before settlement. Once his first Nerd Nite talk snowballed into a sellout Fringe Festival show, he gushed at the opportunity at another, and the chance of pooling all his water puns together for a thirsty audience.

Nerd Nite #44 Nerd Nite Melbourne #44 – [14 July 2021] (SOLD OUT)

Wednesday 14 July

at Howler 7-11 Dawson Street, Brunswick

Doors 7pm

Tickets: $15 (online) [SOLD OUT]

NerdNite Melbourne continues to demonstrate its superb grasp of both event planning and forecasting epidemiological trends by flanking yet another lockdown period with its third show of 2021. Our three speakers are representing the top minds in all of Melbourne, maybe the whole world, and promise to deliver the ultimate midweek wisdom bites. Jessica van Zuylekom will recount her superhero origin story, wherein the bite of a radioactive mouse imparts her with superhuman abilities, probably. David Mesa Saldarriaga will elaborate on good product design principles in familiar situations, such as bulletproofing floating dredges for the benefit of Columbian gold miners. Then, Georgia Atkin-Smith dispels the commonly held belief that curing cancer is as easy as rubbing amethyst crystals on your skin and adhering to a gluten-free paleo diet.      

*Presentation 1

Why haven’t we cured cancer yet? 

by Georgia Atkin-Smith (@SomeBlondeSci)

What do onions and cancer have in common?.. Layers upon layers of tear-jerking complexity. With my background in cell biology and genetics, I am going to peel back the layers one by one, providing an insight into the complex task of developing ‘the cure for cancer’. I’ll share some of the history of genetics which has changed modern medicine, ambitious goals for the future, and introduce you to the amazing world of cell death research. The ultimate goal of anti-cancer drugs is to kill the cancer so, get ready to hear about the wacky and wonderful ways that we can kill these bastard cells.

Georgia Atkin-Smith, also known as Some Blonde Scientist, is a Cell Biologist at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research and La Trobe University. She has a PhD in Biochemistry, lectured undergrad and postgrad Genetics, and is continuing a post-doctorate understanding how cells die in models of disease. Her research uses a variety of high-resolution imaging approaches to monitor the impact that diseases such as viral infections and cancer have on the health of our cells. Nerd Nite contains both of Georgia’s favourite hobbies, public speaking and (responsible) drinking.

*Presentation 2

The Bumpy Road to Innovation

by David Mesa Saldarriaga

We all want products that not only look great but work flawlessly. So, when something is not easy to use or breaks without any apparent reason, it drives us to drink. Why do some brands make better, more innovative products? In this talk, I will show you what it takes to create new, innovative products. To demonstrate, I’ll take you on a journey to the mountains and jungles of Colombia to show you two projects. The first, a product that helped improve the working conditions of gold miners inside bulletproof rooms on floating dredges. The second, an enormous flexible container to deliver cement in mountainous regions. While it may be half a world away, the lessons learned from these projects are just as applicable here as there are anywhere — the basis for good, innovative products is empathy.

David Mesa is a product design engineer who has worked on many innovative product design projects. As a designer, he has helped many companies solve problems through design. David currently teaches innovation and prototyping at Swinburne University of Technology. His research explores the process of identifying applications for new scientific discoveries and transforming those ideas into products that can reach the market. He loves soccer (as most Latinos do), building stuff and a good conversation with friends over a drink or two.

*Presentation 3

Nuclear Medicine: Will I glow in the dark? 

by Jessica van Zuylekom

From the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to the nuclear power plant disasters of Chernobyl and Fukushima, nuclear radiation has been the Big Bad for the last century. An invisible danger that can invoke the dreaded C word: Cancer. But what if radiation isn’t quite as bad as it seems… what if radiation can be used to cure cancer? What if I told you we could inject, ingest and breathe in radiation safely? Let me show you the world of nuclear medicine where we use radiation to find, treat and cure disease. You’ll hear about my research in the pre-clinical space where we trial new radioactive tracers to find rare cancers and test radionuclide therapies to help patients resistant to other treatments. I might even be able to tell you just exactly what happens to a person who’s been bitten by a radioactive mouse… Jessica Van Zuylekom is a Nuclear Medicine Technologist (don’t worry, she’ll explain on the night) and Research Assistant at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne. This means she works both clinically with radioactive human patients, and undertakes research with much smaller radioactive non-human patients (who perhaps might get a little nippy at times). Her research revolves around cancer imaging and using radioactive tracers to find and treat cancer and, hopefully, help the world move towards personalised medicine. She loves anything radiation (yes, she watched Chernobyl, and yes, she loved it) but also has other nerdy hobbies like board games, reading sci-fi/fantasy and ballet. She hopes Nerd Nite will help her show some people that radiation isn’t always the villain.