Boston & Cambridge Biology Talks: May 19th through 25th

Every week, I compile a list of biology-related talks at the universities and museums around the Boston Metro Area. A pdf of this week’s complete list can be found here. (PDF includes links to event details.) This week’s highlights include: Talk Title that Could Most Easily Be a Band Name/Album Name Combo: “Hellstrip Gardening: Paradise …

7 Reasons Why an Autism Advocacy Organization Would Oppose the Combating Autism Act

BREAKING NEWS: The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN) just issued an official statement in opposition to the renewal of the Combating Autism Act. If any of you are wondering, “Why would an autistic advocacy organization oppose a bill that allocates funds toward autism research?” here’s a quick breakdown of the most frequently-cited reasons (in no particular …

Why scientists aren’t necessarily the best science-explainers

Earlier today, I stumbled across this review of Susannah Cahalan’s Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness, that was written by a neuroscience grad student. I liked the piece, but it got me thinking…. Cahalan was a healthy 24-year-old, working at The New York Post, who suddenly “went mad” and would have almost certainly died, …

Boston & Cambridge Biology Talks: May 12th through 19th

Every week, I compile a list of biology-related talks at the universities and museums around the Boston Metro Area. A pdf of this week’s complete list can be found here. (PDF includes links to event details.) This week’s highlights include: Visiting famous person of the week: This Saturday Harvard Natural History Museum is showing a …

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 …

Why a science journalist is like a seed crystal (and other thoughts)

When I think about what it means to be a science journalist, I think about chocolate. I’m not kidding. One night when I went to a talk about the science of food, and one of the presenters, a Harvard professor/master chef, started telling us about the difference between good and bad chocolate. “If you take …

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 …