#38 Nerd Nite – 19 August 2019

We have another excellent 3-speaker lineup for you in August where speakers will be discussing plasma, diseases in a dish and how your kidneys work (and what happens when they don’t). Come join us at Howler in Brunswick, for $16 burger and pot deals whilst you are learning.

Monday, 19 August 2019
at Howler 7-11 Dawson Street, Brunswick
Doors 7pm
Tickets: $10 (online)/ $12 (door, if available)
*Online ticket sales open Thursday, 25 July 2019 at noon

*Presentation 1
Invisible Forces: The magic of Plasma and Thin Films
By Dr. Karyn Jarvis

Description: Plasma is a highly excited gas that makes up an astonishing 99% of the universe. Every time you see a neon sign, you’re seeing plasma. Plasma may be critical to the Las Vegas strip and cheap motel’s vacancy signs, but what else can we use it for? Plasma can be used for all sorts of things but in this presentation, we’ll focus on thin films. Thin films are so thin they’re measured in nanometres, which are one billionth of a meter. Thin films can be used to control how objects interact with water, light, bacteria and cells. In this talk, we’ll gain an appreciation of plasma and thin films and see how much they actually impact our lives day to day.

Bio: Karyn likes to think of herself as a surface modification and characterisation aficionado. After spending time working in both Adelaide and Sydney, Karyn moved to Melbourne in 2015 to join Swinburne University of Technology. The common thread across her scientific career has been surfaces and thin films, having worked across their applications in drug delivery, water treatment, solar cell and biological systems. Karyn’s current role is a research engineer at the Australian National Fabrication Facility Biointerface Engineering Hub which provides state of the art micro and nano fabrication facilities for academic and industry users. She tweets @dr_karynJ.

*Presentation 2
Disease in a Dish: Using Stem Cells to Understand Brain Diseases
by Sam Barton

Description: Diseases of the brain are tricky. We can take images of the brain when patients start exhibiting symptoms but that’s often long after the actual onset of the disease. You can’t biopsy the brain, like you can other organs, either. So until recently, it was almost impossible to know what was really going on inside a diseased brain. But, thanks to stem cells, now we can! We can take skin cells from patients with diseases like Alzheimer’s disease or motor neuron disease, make stem cells and then convert them into brain cells in a dish; effectively making a “disease in a dish”. Understanding what is going wrong allows us to figure out ways to fix it. For a glimpse into the future of neuroscience, join Sam as she takes you on a journey of stem cell biology!

Bio: Dr. Sam Barton is a post-doctoral researcher working at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health. She always found the brain to be way too complicated and vowed never to become a neuroscientist yet she has found herself spending her days and weeks and years growing lots of different cell types from the brain to try and understand why they stop working in diseases like motor neuron disease. Sam completed her PhD at the Hudson Institute of Medical Research before moving overseas to work at the University of Edinburgh for a couple of years. She was looking forward to moving home to watch the Melbourne Demons win the 2019 premiership… at least it’s given her more time to spend in the lab! She tweets @samkbarton7

*Presentation 3
by Danny Ussher

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