A Sip of Science
A Sip of Science features science-relevant discussions between community members and our experts. The series debuted in 2018 and was named "Best Way to Drink and Learn" in the Best of Phoenix 2020 listing by Phoenix New Times.
This fall, we are offering two sessions. Reservations are required. Space is limited and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.
Wednesday, Oct. 6 | 5:30-7 p.m.
The amazing human brain: What you should know.
Jeffrey Kordower, PhD, director, ASU-Banner Neurodegenerative Disease Research Center
Updated to a virtual event on Zoom.
Why do our brains degenerate and what can we do about it? As the U.S. workforce ages, scientists are in a race to understand where these diseases begin to stop or better manage it. The latest research suggests events that may predispose patients to neurodegenerative diseases include stress and failures in our cells and proteins. Many think cognitive decline of disease begins decades before diagnosis. Hear from an expert about the effect of targeted deep brain stimulation on Parkinson’s patients and learn more about stem cell and gene therapies on the horizon.
Tuesday, Sept. 7 | 6-7 p.m.
Tumor-attacking nanobots: Real or fiction?
Hao Yan, PhD, director, Biodesign Center for Molecular Design and Biomimetics
How will technologies revolutionize our future and our health? Some tiny tech is already being developed to help fight cancer. Hao Yan and his colleagues showed they could program nanobots to seek and destroy tumors. This nanotechnology is built from DNA that can self-fold into all sorts of shapes and sizes – and the DNA is biocompatible, which means it is not harmful to living tissue. This and other small helpers are on the horizon. How will these tiny tools effect our lives and the health of our loved ones?
Tuesday, April 6, 6-7 p.m.
Drowning in plastic: What are the alternatives to keeping people and the planet safe?
Tim Long, PhD, Director, Biodesign Center for Sustainable Macromolecular Materials and Manufacturing
Reuse, reduce, recycle is not good enough. Did you know there is a limit to how many times plastic can be recycled before it chemically breaks down? Now recycled plastics are an additive ingredient in new products, such as clothing, dog collars, playground equipment and rugs. But microplastics shed from these items, making environmental removal near impossible. Can greener chemistry help us rethink plastic? Hear about environmentally friendly alternatives on the rise and how they will save the world from drowning in plastic.
Tuesday, March 2, 6-7 p.m.
Viral overload: Do viruses impact cancer?
Grant McFadden, PhD, Director, Biodesign Center for Immunotherapy, Vaccines and Virotherapy
Infectious diseases, cancer and inflammation are closely intertwined. Infections can cause inflammation, but inflammation can easily by overdone to cause harm. And viruses that cause infection can interfere with healthy cell function. In fact, many viruses such as HPV, HIV and hepatitis C are linked to or prevalent in several types of cancer. But the science is advancing, and viruses can actually be harnessed to treat diseases — a virus that may one day save your life!
Tuesday, Feb. 2, 6-7 p.m.
Innovating in the midst of a pandemic: Time for a spit take
Joshua LaBaer, MD, PhD, Executive Director, Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University
CoV-2 reaches its victims by surfing on invisible saliva droplets that spray from our mouths when we talk, cough, laugh or sing. Face masks block thousands of infectious airborne droplets that are otherwise released into the air. Saliva is the place to find the lurking virus. Nationwide, COVID-19 saliva tests — preferred by many over the uncomfortable nasopharyngeal swab — were publicly offered first in Arizona. How was Biodesign uniquely positioned to develop and deploy technology to detect the virus? Learn more about homegrown, innovative actions that boosted Arizona’s fight against the pandemic.
Matthew Scotch, PhD, associate professor, Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering
Melting ice caps have the potential to change the landscape for humans, animals and infectious disease. Learn how warming temperatures threaten to change migration patterns and unlock new dangers of transmissible diseases.
Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020 – 5–7 p.m.
Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown, PhD, professor, Biodesign Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology
Why transplant healthy gut bacteria in children with autism? Not everyone hosts the healthy gut microbes which affect brain communication and neurological health. Hear about research using healthy intestinal bacteria to improve autism-related behaviors and relieve common GI problems associate with autism.
Tuesday, March 26, 2019 – 5–7 p.m.
Clues to curing Alzheimer’s
Neuroscientist Ramon Velazquez, PhD
Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019 – 5–7 p.m.
Life, art and miniature accelerators
Scientist Justin Flory, PhD
Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019 – 5–7 p.m.
To catch a cancer: When viruses are the culprit
Researcher and cancer physician
Karen Anderson, MD, PhD
Zombies are Real: Are Microbes Controlling My Mind?
Tuesday, May 8, 2018 – 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Psychologist, biologist and author Athena Aktipis delves into the mysterious topic of microbes and the possibility that microbial manipulation can affect humankind — from determining the foods we eat and crave to ways they could drive behavior.
Called the ‘Emperor of all Maladies’: Why are We Optimistic About Cancer?
Sunday, May 6, 2018 – 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Researcher and cancer physician Joshua LaBaer has invented a blood test for detecting cancer that is available in the U.S. He continues his quest to develop new, earlier and more precise detection of this challenging disease. His talk will cover what is cancer and why it is unique among all human diseases, what are the amazing advances made over the last decade – and share what’s on the horizon.
Why is Cybersecurity So Hard and What Can We Do About It?
Tuesday, March 6, 2018 – 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Stephanie Forrest is a computer scientist who looks at cybersecurity from a different angle. How can the principles of biology help us attack viruses and build immunity into our systems? Today, we see many cybersecurity problems on-line, ranging from data breaches to hacked email accounts to cyberespionage. But, we also see viruses, parasites, and bacteria in biology; bullies in social groups; and rogue nations in the international community. Stephanie’s talk will discuss current cybersecurity challenges, show why some common security advice is irrational, and describe how ideas from biology can provide help us design stronger cyber defenses.
The Brain Explained: Can I Change My Brain?
Sunday, March 4, 2018 – 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Neuroscientists Paul Coleman and Diego Mastroeni have handled thousands of human brains in their quest to alleviate suffering caused by Alzheimer’s, dementia and other brain-related illnesses as well as unlock other mysteries of the brain such as nature versus nurture, how to help children develop their brainpower and more.
Mo’ Plastics, Mo’ Problems: The Life of a Microplastic and Your Seafood
Sunday, February 11, 2018 – 2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Biologist Charlie Rolsky shares his passion for keeping the world’s oceans clean and seafood edible and helps guests understand the real threat of seafood becoming extinct in years to come.