UW Science Now - Robyn Emery, Trevor Harrison, Kali Esancy

Thursday, April 11, 2019 - 7:30pm to 9:00pm

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UW Engage Project, Ada’s Technical Books, and Town Hall Seattle present
UW Science Now
Robyn Emery, Trevor Harrison, Kali Esancy

UW Science Now is an annual tradition where Town Hall teams with UW Science Engage to bring local graduate students to the stage to present their latest cutting-edge research. We’re thrilled to partner with Ada’s Technical Books to feature illuminating talks in a casual setting where audiences can enjoy a drink and an evening of scientific breakthroughs!

Our genes make up who we are. They control everything from hair color to height, as well as our susceptibility to certain infections such as Tuberculosis (TB). TB remains a top fatally infectious disease worldwide despite millions of dollars spent on antibiotics to eliminate it. The main problem, says Robyn Emery, is that there is only one vaccine against TB, which is a hundred years old. Emery suggests that a solution to developing a stronger vaccine may lie within our own genes. She presents research on the genes involved in inflammation, exploring the ways they make a person more or less susceptible to TB. By better understanding our bodies’ reactions and susceptibility to TB, we can take major steps towards developing a more effective vaccine.

Humans live on and around coastal waters, interacting with them for recreational, commercial, and spiritual purposes. To understand the health of our waters, we must observe how they function—how tides, currents, and waves move nutrients and pollutants. Trevor Harrison introduces the microFloat, an inexpensive, underwater drifting sensor platform capable of taking measurements in energetic coastal waterways like Puget Sound. He discusses the difficulties of taking measurements in these environments, some other ways we make observations, and how the new data offered by microFloats will help improve our understanding of coastal water circulation.

How do our nervous systems tell the difference between a handshake and a hot stove, or an itchy mosquito bite and a painful bee sting? Kali Esancy explores how somatosensory neurons accomplish this task. Esancy shares research on somatosensory neurons—the cells of our nervous systems that detect environmental stimuli like temperature, touch, itch, and pain—highlighting the differences between two groups of neurons that relay itch and pain sensations.

Presented by UW Engage Project, Ada’s Technical Books, and Town Hall Seattle.


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