Brown Bag Lunch Recaps

Kimberly Wasserman of LVEJO on “Killing a Midwest Generation”

The Talk: Killing a Midwest Generation In Plain English: How a Chicago non-profit from a low-income neighborhood got an asthma-inducing coal plant shut down The Speaker: Kimberly Wasserman of Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO) The Sponsor: Fossil Free MIT What it covered: When Kimberly Wasserman of the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO) took …

BICEP2 & Gravitational Waves 101: Recap of Panel Discussion ft. Alan Guth, John Kovac, Scott Hughes, & Max Tegmark

The Talk: The BICEP2 Results and What They Mean: The First Observation of Gravitational Waves from the Early Universe In Plain English: The guys who came up with gravitational wave theory explain the gravitational wave story that’s been blowing up everybody’s Facebook feed in terms undergrads can understand The Speakers: Alan Guth of MIT (the …

Do stem cell researchers ignore social inequalities? – Recap of talk by Dr. Ruha Benjamin

The Talk: People’s Science: Bodies & Rights on the Stem Cell Frontier In Plain English: Sociologist investigates the tensions between the stem cell research community and racial minorities and/or low-income communities The Speaker: Ruha Benjamin of Boston University The Sponsor: BU Discoveries Lecture Series What it covered: Dr. Ruha Benjamin, a sociologist who studies scientists …

Stem Cell Science Double Feature: Reprogramming Cardiac Fibroblasts – Recap of talk by Dr. Deepak Srivastava

The Talk: Cardiac Reprogramming: From Developmental Biology to Regeneration In Plain English: How to turn the heart-dwelling cells that build connective tissues into replacements for damaged heart muscle cells The Speaker: Dr. Deepak Srivastava, MD of UC-SF‘s Gladstone Institutes The Sponsor: MIT Biology Colloquium What it covered: Dr. Deepak Srivastava is a cardiologist who experiments …

Polymerase Pausing: It’s like propping open a molecular door – Recap of talk Dr. Karen Adelman

The Talk: Regulating signaling networks through pausing of RNA polymerase II In Plain English: Cells sometimes keep the RNA-builder enzyme “paused” at the first few base pairs in the gene, which leaves the gene somewhere between “on” and “off”. (It’s kind of like propping a door to avoid getting locked out, except more complicated.) The …

Investigating neural patterns in the younger siblings of autistic children – Recap of talk by Dr. Charles Nelson

The Talk: A Cognitive Neuroscience Approach to the Early Identification of Autism In Plain English: A scientist investigates the patterns of neural wiring in infants whose older siblings have autism The Speaker: Charles Nelson of Boston Children’s Hospital The Sponsor: Simons Center for the Social Brain at MIT What it covered: Dr. Charles “Chuck” Nelson …

How to find a planet that could hold life – Recap of talk by Dr. Sara Seager

The Talk: Exoplanets and the Real Search for Alien Life In Plain English: Astrophysicist on the Search for Planets that Could Harbor Earth-like Life The Speaker: Sara Seager of the MIT Physics Department The Sponsor: MIT Presidential Fellows/Sidney-Pacific Distinguished Lecture Series What it covered: Dr. Sara Seager is an astrophysicist and MacArthur Foundation Fellow who …

Neurodiversity & Disability Rights in the Autistic Civil Rights Movement- Recap of talk by Ari Ne’eman

The Talk: “Autism, Neurodiversity, and Disability Rights: Then and Now” In Plain English: Disability advocates are in the middle of an ongoing struggle to ensure civil rights for autistic individuals, and hardly anyone has seemed to notice. The Speaker: Ari Ne’eman, president of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network The Location: Harvard Law School Project on Disability …

Space of autonomy: between Twittersphere and urban spaces – Recap of a talk by Dr. Manuel Castells

The Talk: The Space of Autonomy: Cyberspace and Urban Space in Networked Movements In Plain English: One of the world’s most honored sociologists discusses the relationship between online social activism and grassroots protests in urban centers The Speaker: Manuel Castells of University of Catalonia (UOC)’s Internet Interdisciplinary Institute The Location: Harvard Graduate School of Design …

Viruses can shut down our anti-viral proteins – Recap of talk by Dr. Ileana Cristea

The Talk: Host Defense and Viral Immune Evasion: A Proteomics Perspective In Plain English: Human cells and viruses are locked in a protein-based arms race for global domination: Will the cell’s defensive proteins successfully recognize viral DNA and alert the immune system? Or will the virus counter with proteins that stop the defensive proteins in …