In June we explore “destruction”. The loss of memory in Alzheimer’s disease and its research, the destruction of aboriginal art in the Dampier Archipelago, and the final conquest of the independent peoples of Italy by Rome at the beginning of the first century BC. This event will be held on Tuesday, 3 June 2014.

Our friends at Mr Wow’s Emporium will be hosting us again with cold beers, amazing cocktails and hot modern African food.  Be there and be square!

Nerd Nite – Destruction
Tuesday, 3 June
at Mr Wow’s Emporium
97b Smith Street, Fitzroy
Doors 7pm/$5

Back to the lectures at hand:

*Presentation 1
Behind the scenes of Alzheimer’s Research
by Ben Seyer

Description: Since it’s discovery over 100 years ago, Alzheimer’s Disease has been the subject of intense research. Despite this there are currently no effective drugs on the market to cure the disease and many have failed in clinical trials. Why is this the case despite such a huge amount of time being poured into study of the disease? The problem is two-fold, firstly the pathology underlying Alzheimer’s disease is poorly understood making targeted drug therapies difficult to develop. Secondly, at a more general level, development of cognitive enhancers faces it’s own unique set of challenges compared to standard drug design. Come hear Ben discuss these difficulties and where the field is progressing towards!

Bio: During a Bachelor’s degree in science Ben discovered a passion for neuroscience with a particular interest in memory and learning. This led him to his current project, a  PhD at Monash University investigating the development of a drug to treat cognitive decline with a particular focus on Alzheimer’s disease. He also has a strong interest in the promotion of public science literacy, an especially important issue as current technology and medical knowledge advances.

*Presentation 2
Inventing Italy: Conquest and survival
by Dr Fiona Tweedie

Description: Most people are familiar with maps that show the Roman Empire spreading across Europe (apart from that tiny village of indomitable Gauls!). Fewer people realise that Italy itself was once made up of independent communities and that, even as Rome began conquering an empire overseas, it didn’t have full control of the Italian peninsula. Learn about some of the fascinating non-Roman people of Italy and their struggles against the Mediterranean superpower. Were they simply swallowed up or did local culture and identity survive? We’ll explore this question and also consider how later authors have approached the invention of Italy.

Bio: Dr Fiona Tweedie received her PhD in Ancient History from the University of Sydney in 2009, where she taught both Ancient History and Latin. She now works as a Research Community Coordinator at the University of Melbourne, where she combines her loves of research and technology. Fiona is also the organiser of GovHack Melbourne and one of the Open Knowledge Foundation’s local ambassadors. Ask her what the Romans thought about open government!

*Presentation 3
by Dr Jose Antonio Gonzalez Zarandona
The Destruction of the Largest Art Gallery in the World 

Description: Murujuga (Western Australia) is a tiny island that is part of the Dampier Archipelago. Since the 1960s a number of mining companies and similar industries have established in this remote corner of Western Australia, destroying the landscape. Murujuga is also known for being the largest archaeological site in the world because it contains up to one million engravings. The meanings behind these images are not always clear and many archaeologists have been working for the last twenty to know more about the Indigenous culture that produce such cluster of art. Although some agreements have been reached between the affected parties, the reality is that we are still far off from looking at Murujuga as the largest art gallery in the world.

Bio: Antonio Gonzalez was born in Mexico, where he studied Communication Sciences and worked in a variety of jobs until he migrated to Melbourne in 2007. Since then, he has completed a Master in Cinema Management and a PhD in Art History. He has worked for the National Gallery of Victoria as a Multimedia Designer and as a tutor and lecturer at the University of Melbourne. He has also worked as a curator and is currently working to publish his second book: The Destruction of the Largest Art Gallery in the World.