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Showing blog posts tagged with SciCafe

Daniela

SciCafe: Forgetting Fear with Daniela Schiller

Q&As

Fear can take many forms, from minor phobias to life-altering conditions such as PTSD. Now, new research is shedding light on how these so-called fear memories could be changed. At the final SciCafe of the season on Wednesday, June 6,neuroscientist Daniela Schiller will discuss her work on the neural mechanisms of emotional control and potential ways to modify or “erase” fear memories. Schiller recently answered a few questions about how memories are created and lost.

How did you first become interested in studying emotional memories?

It wasn’t an explicit decision. I started with philosophy and psychology, and I was interested in the brain and the mind. And the combination is the neural basis of behavior, and within behavior, emotion is fascinating because it’s the least willful process we have. We think emotions just happen to us, but they don’t just pop out of the blue. It’s interesting to look at the mechanism and see that it’s a very distinct process in the brain that you can observe and counteract and modulate.

Tags: Brain, Q&A, SciCafe

Nina j

The Evolution of Skin

Q&As

Skin is the body’s largest organ, and one with a complex cultural and evolutionary past. At the upcoming SciCafe on Wednesday, May 2, biological anthropologist Nina Jablonski will discuss how human skin evolved, particularly as an adaptation to ultraviolet radiation. She recently answered a few questions about skin and its role in our lives.

When did you decide to study the history of human skin?

Nina Jablonski: By accident. About 23 years ago, a colleague asked me to give a lecture to his class about skin because he was going to be out of town for a conference. I obliged. In preparing for the lecture, I realized just how little had been written about the evolution and meaning of human skin.

Tags: Human Evolution, Q&A, SciCafe

Chris Filardi

From Beaks to Genes: Chris Filardi on Island Birds and Biology

Q&As

Chris Filardi is the director of Pacific Programs at the Museum’sCenter for Biodiversity and Conservation. He has spent his career studying island birds and their unique ecologies, from working with indigenous communities to conserve island ecosystems to tracking the foraging behavior of Palm Cockatoos. At the upcoming SciCafe on Wednesday, April 4, Filardi will talk about how the genomic revolution and increased access to islands have changed how these systems are studied. He recently answered a few questions about the role islands play in understanding speciation, or how new species arise.

Tags: Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, Q&A, SciCafe

southern copperhead_250

Using Snake Venom Protein to Fight Cancer

Q&As

While “snake oil” is shorthand for false cure, snake venom may have real healing power. At March 7’s SciCafe, From Poison to Panacea: Using Snake Venom to Combat Cancer, University of Southern California biochemistry professor Frank Markland will share his research on a protein found in snake venom and how it’s being used to combat cancer in the lab. Below, Markland answers a few questions about his research.

How are you using snake venom in cancer research?

Frank Markland: We injected contortrostatin, a protein found in southern copperhead snake venom, directly into the mammary glands of mice where human breast cancer cells had been injected two weeks earlier. Not only did the injection of this protein inhibit the growth of the tumor—it also slowed angiogenesis, the growth of blood vessels into the tumor that supply it with nutrients and allow the tumor to grow and spread. The protein also impaired the spread of the tumor to the lungs, one site where breast cancer spreads effectively.

Tags: Q&A, SciCafe

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