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.

Previous Events

Efrem Lim

Tuesday, March 1 | 6-7 p.m.

Watching for what's next: Sequencing SARS-CoV-2 variants

Efrem Lim, PhD, assistant professor, Biodesign Center for Fundamental and Applied Microbiomics

Genomic sequencing is an important part of COVID-19 investigations to track SARS-CoV-2 evolution and determine the trajectory of the global pandemic. Efrem Lim's viral sequencing team plays a major role in SARS-CoV-2 tracking for communities throughout Arizona. Join us to learn about virus sequencing and how it is being used in the fight against COVID-19.

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Jeffrey Kordower

Wednesday, Oct. 6 | 6-7 p.m.

The amazing human brain: What you should know.

Jeffrey Kordower, PhD, director, ASU-Banner Neurodegenerative Disease Research Center

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. 

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Hao Yan

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?

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Tim Long

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.

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Grant McFadden

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!

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Matthew Scotch

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.

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Matthew Scotch

Tuesday, March 3, 2020 – 5–7 p.m.

How will polar ice melt impact the migration of infectious disease?

Matthew Scotch, PhD, associate professor, Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering

The Henry
4455 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85018

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.

Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown

Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020 – 5–7 p.m.

Linking autism and the microbiome

Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown, PhD, professor, Biodesign Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology

Blanco Tacos & Tequila
2502 E Camelback Rd. #122, Phoenix, AZ 85016

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.

Ramon Velazquez

Tuesday, March 26, 2019 – 5–7 p.m.

Clues to curing Alzheimer’s

Neuroscientist Ramon Velazquez, PhD

Seasons 52 Biltmore
2502 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016

Justin Flory

Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019 – 5–7 p.m.

Life, art and miniature accelerators

Scientist Justin Flory, PhD

DC Ranch Fleming’s
20753 N Pima Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85255

Karen Anderson

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

Vincent’s on Camelback
3930 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85018

Athena Aktipis

Zombies are Real: Are Microbes Controlling My Mind?

 Tuesday, May 8, 2018 – 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. 

MATCH Restaurant & Cocktails
1100 N. Central Ave., Phoenix

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.

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Joshua LaBaer

Called the ‘Emperor of all Maladies’: Why are We Optimistic About Cancer?

 Sunday, May 6, 2018 – 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. 

BLD Chandler
1920 W. Germann Road, Chandler

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.

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Stephanie Forrest

Why is Cybersecurity So Hard and What Can We Do About It?

 Tuesday, March 6, 2018 – 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. 

The Market by Jennifer’s
3606 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix

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.

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Paul Coleman and Diego Mastroeni

The Brain Explained: Can I Change My Brain? 

 Sunday, March 4, 2018 – 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. 

Tomaso’s Italian restaurant
3225 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix

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.

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Charlie Rolsky

Mo’ Plastics, Mo’ Problems: The Life of a Microplastic and Your Seafood

 Sunday, February 11, 2018 – 2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. 

Tavern Americana
20469 N. Hayden Rd., Scottsdale

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.

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