The human brain - what can quantitative MRI tell us? with Dr Mara Cercignani
Most people are familiar with the use of MRI in routine care: a machine that takes extremely detailed photos of our internal organs. Less is known about the use of MRI as a scientific technique that can measure brain structure and function. In this talk, Mara will explain the concept of quantitative MRI, provide some example applications and discuss the potential use of quantitative MRI in the study of the healthy and diseased brain.
Mara Cercignani has worked in the field of MRI for nearly 20 years. She has a background in electronic engineering, but her work has led her to develop a keen interest in biology and neuroscience. She currently works at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, where she heads the Clinical Imaging Sciences Centre.
As part of Brighton Science Festival, we present Cafe Sci Extra:
There is a lot of publicity for the new technology of gene editing (CRISPRs), a very precise method for making genetic changes in any organism. The use of gene editing has revitalised research in both crop and animal agriculture aimed at introducing planned genetic changes. Is gene editing different from previous GM technologies and what are the benefits and risks of these technologies in plant and animal breeding? The speaker will discuss some recent examples of applications and the issues of regulation and public acceptance.
Prof. Helen Sang grew up in Brighton. Her research career has taken her to Cambridge, Harvard and Edinburgh universities. She was then appointed as Principal Investigator at The Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh. Here, her main research focus has been the development of technologies for genetic modification of the chicken, which are applied in basic biomedical research, biotechnology and investigating the potential for developing disease resistance in production chickens. Her research has been supported by the BBSRC, MRC, Wellcome Trust and industry. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology and the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
Please note that this is a ticketed event. Book tickets here:
https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3626934 (also available on the door)
Free to students aged 14-19.
The cafe-bar will be open before the talk. Come early and join us for a drink and a chat.
Nematodes and their relationship with bacteria with Jacque Cilliers
Doors open 7:15pm, talk starts at 8:00pm.
Nematodes make up a significant fraction of all the known animal species on earth. They are found everywhere, even a kilometre below underground. Join me as I show you what they look like, how they multiply and how we can use them to our advantage. I’ll explain how they have developed co-evolutionary relationships with bacteria and why and what their bacterial partners get in return. We’ll look at how these same relationships exist in mice and, finally, in humans. Can humans really exist without bacteria?
Jacque Cilliers has worked in pharmaceutical, animal vaccine and agricultural research. He is interested in biology, the psychology of self-improvement and education and has travelled around the world once, worked as a wedding photographer, and now he would like to share some of this knowledge - at least just a little!
Inflated Heavens – a cosmic frenzy in expanding horizons with José Vieira
Doors open 7:15, talk starts at 8:00pm.
The Big Bang theory is one of the most iconic faces of modern science – and for good reason! While most science endeavours to shed light on the hidden workings of the world around us, the Big Bang theory is fascinating to so many precisely because it offers a glimpse of a distant world of eons long gone - in the process bringing us before that most ancient and alluring mystery which is the origin of the Cosmos. Even if it is unlikely that any major technological advances will stem directly from this theory, the fact remains that it has changed the way Humanity sees its place in the Universe and in history on a scale only comparable to Darwin’s theory of evolution.
One of the most crucial aspects of the Big Bang theory is that, in order to explain the relative homogeneity and isotropy of the Universe we see today, it requires extremely special initial conditions. Nowadays, the most widely accepted paradigm to explain these initial conditions is the theory of cosmic inflation which posits that there was a very early stage of dramatically accelerated expansion in cosmic history. Despite a number of attempts to probe this epoch, very little is known about the physical mechanisms behind this accelerated expansion. Join us to learn more about what we do know about inflation – and how we are trying to further this knowledge.
José Vieira is still* a PhD student at the University of Sussex. His research has mostly focused on the cosmology of the very early Universe.
* He has passed his viva and submitted his corrections, but he is still waiting to officially become a doctor. Regardless, he is a patient man and not at all overwhelmed by the anticipation.
LiDAR in the archaeology of Sussex with Vivienne Blackwood
7:30pm on Wednesday 13 June 2018 - talk starts at 8:00pm
LiDAR is Light Detection and Ranging. This technique has been used in our local wooded landscapes in two projects, The Secrets of the High Woods and The Weald Forest Ridge Project, to enable a better understanding of the ‘hidden’ archaeology and mostly unknown archaeology of these areas.
The talk will cover, very briefly, the basic principles of how LiDAR works and was used in these two Heritage Lottery Funded Landscape Projects. It will concentrate on the use of LiDAR to help discover and visualise many of the archaeological features which lie hidden in the wooded landscapes of the two areas. Put simply this is because the images created from the LiDAR survey can produce a variety of images that remove the woodland cover, and understorey, thus enabling the archaeologist to interrogate and interpret the resultant ‘lumps and bumps’ depicted in these images. Archaeological features often survive better in woodland that has been under continuous wooded cover for a long period of time, quite simply because, unlike downland and fieldscape areas, they have not been ploughed out.
Vivienne Blackwood MA trained as a landscape archaeologist. Her work encompasses a range of projects. These include historical research; field surveying; and teaching woodland surveying techniques and report preparation. She was involved with two large scale landscape projects in which the use of LiDAR was a major component. The first project,[masked], was in the High Weald, stretching in a fairly narrow band from Tunbridge Wells to Horsham when the use of LiDAR for archaeological purposes was less well known. I worked closely with East Sussex County Council and interpreted the LiDAR images and spent much time in the field verifying those images and working with volunteers. More recently I worked with the South Downs National Park with volunteers using LiDAR images in the field on their project The Secrets of the High Woods.
Sussex has several towns (Bognor Regis, Littlehampton, Eastbourne) which claim to be the sunniest in the UK. There are 9400 solar installations in the BN postcode area.
In this talk, Will Cottrell of Brighton Energy Cooperative will discuss the part solar power can play in electricity generation in Sussex. How does BEC find suitable sites? How are installations constructed and maintained? How does solar output vary throughout the day and through the year? And how does BEC raise its funding?
Will Cottrell is chairman and co-founder of Brighton Energy Cooperative (brightonenergy.org.uk). Now with nearly 500 members and £1.7m of money raised, Brighton Energy Co-op is one of the largest owners of renewable energy in Brighton. Will Cottrell has driven BEC forward from its inception and oversees both new project development and fund-raising for BEC. As well as experience in the technical, financial, and marketing aspects of renewable energy, he's an outspoken critic of fracking, and a regular blogger on energy matters. In 2014 he was awarded Community Energy Fundraiser of the Year; in 2015 he also won the People’s Environmental Award’s prize for Energy.
Join us at 7:30 on Wednesday 11 April; the talk starts at 8:00pm.
The Science of Ultrafast Photonics with Prof Marco Peccianti
A pulse of light can be compressed in time down to scales where even electrons look still and electromagnetic waves appear to move in slow motion. Pulses of fairly ordinary energies, when constrained into such a brief existence, show intensities like that on the surface of a star. Light itself becomes so strong that is able to expel electrons from matter, inhibiting the natural bonding between atoms. This world is rich in frontier physics and new forms of radiation that can now be harnessed.
Marco Peccianti is professor of photonics at the University of Sussex (UK) and co-director of the Emergent Photonics Lab http://www.sussex.ac.uk/physics/epic/. He is editor for the Optical Society of America, chair and member of several scientific committees, and author of about 100 journal publications, 200 conference papers, book chapters and patents with several thousands of citations in literature. He is the recipient of multi-million research grants at the national and European level, and of several personal prizes and fellowships. His current research interests include the experimental investigation of terahertz physics and ultrafast nonlinear optics.
Wednesday 14 March, 7:30 for 8:00 start at the Latest Musicbar
Mysterious creation myths still influence our culture, but what does science say about the origins of the universe? Join astronomer Dr Francisco Diego for a fascinating talk on the relevance of science to modern culture. Come early or stay late to meet some young astronomers and take a look through Brighton Astro’s telescopes.
This talk is part of Brighton Science Festival http://www.brightonscience.com and is organised in conjunction with Brighton Astro https://www.meetup.com/Brighton-Astro. It is suitable for anyone from age 10 to 100 so please bring any young science enthusiasts with you.
For tickets, see below. Doors open 6:00pm, talk at 7:00pm.
• Important to know
Full details of the talk are here: http://www.brightonscience.com/events/think-universe-cafe-scientifique-brighton-astro/
This is a ticketed event. Tickets (£4 adults, £2 concessions) are available here: https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3224813
Venue: Sallis Benney theatre (see above).
Food Allergies: Facts and Fictions
Some would describe allergic disease as 'the epidemic of the 21st century'. It is estimated that by 2025 half of the entire EU population will have some type of allergy. Allergies, also known as allergic diseases, are a number of conditions caused by hypersensitivity of the immune system. Foods are a common cause of allergy symptoms. Everyone knows someone with a food allergy, and you may have one, but what exactly does it mean and why do they affect people differently?
Join Professor Tara Dean as she explores the important questions associated with food allergies and discover the recent advances in this commonly misunderstood area.
Professor Dean is a professor of Health Science and Pro Vice Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at University of Brighton. Professor Dean has spent nearly three decades researching different aspect of allergic diseases. Her research has spanned from developing a better understanding of the mechanisms which trigger an allergic reaction to establishing how common it is among the UK population, what are the risk factors and how can it be managed and prevented. She is a leading figure in this area globally and has published widely in leading medical and scientific journals and over the years has raised over £13M for her research. By drawing upon some of her most significant research, Professor Dean will offer key reflections on her research and career to date.
•Doors open 7:15, talk starts 8:00.
Prof. Fiona Mathews, University of Sussex
Artificial lighting at night is one of the most pervasive, yet under-recognised, forms of environmental pollution. Currently subject to almost no regulatory control, the amount of night lighting is increasing exponentially. Much of this increase is driven by the expansion of the road network, and therefore is accompanied by a second ‘Cinderella pollutant’, noise.
Fiona Mathews, Professor of Environmental Biology at the University of Sussex and Chair of the Mammal Society, will talk about her research group’s work and offer suggestions for reducing our ecological footprint.
7:30pm for 8:00pm start on Wednesday 13th December