We are tickled pink to welcome iconic immunologist Polly Matzinger to BUGSS. In this case any hyperbole seems woefully inadequate to describe her work or her life. She'll be talking about her Danger Model of the Immune System, which repudiates the self-non-self model illustrated by the antibody scene in Fantastic Voyage. (turn the sound way up, and practice your French with this very poor quality video)
In Dr. Matzinger's words:
"For more than half a century people who study the immune system have made the assumption that it functions by discriminating between self and non-self. The idea was that each person's immune system learns what "self" is early in life by labeling anything present at the time as "self". Anything arriving later than a few days after birth was labelled as "non-self" and attacked (i.e. viruses, bacteria, fungi, worms, transplanted organs etc). Over the years it has become clear that this assumption doesn't really work and a new model has emerged. The "danger" model suggests that the immune system doesn't really care about self vs non-self but is poised to respond against things that do damage. After all, you don't want to make immune responses to everything in the air you breathe, or the food you eat, or your fetuses, or the sperm that fertilize those fetuses. You want to attack things that do damage! The model was first proposed about 18 years ago, and evidence supporting it has been accumulating slowly ever since."
This is a rare opportunity to hear a superstar scientist talk about her work in terms accessible to the layperson yet engaging for the expert. This event is free (donations are welcome to keep our community lab running) and open to the public. You should come! Please RSVP Here
h/t Howard Young and Robin Winkler
In line (hopefully) with our efforts to develop a bio-reactor based on 3-D printed structures, we welcome Argus Sun, who is here in Baltimore for a couple of weeks on a teaching gig, and happened to wander into BUGSS, ready to generously share his hard-won knowledge, and set us straight on a few things. In his words
"Cell culture based on plates and petri dishes is a format that is very often seen. However many cells, whether we are talking about animal cells, bacteria or yeast naturally grow on three-dimensionally varied substrates. As a result, specialized chambers can be used for cell growth, several designs that vary the shape, method of mixing as well as nutrient addition and waste removal exist. Furthermore, bio-material scaffolds that allow tissue engineered cell growth are another inhabitant of bio-reactors. In addition, computational methods can be used to model fluid flow, chemistry and cell growth occurring in the reactor"
Argus Sun is a bioengineering graduate student at UCLA. He is interested in bio-reactors, computer simulation and embedded systems.
Synthetic biology offers scientists an unprecedented ability to manipulate living organisms. Beyond simply giving cells one or two new functions, scientists are now able to redesign and synthesize an organism’s entire genome. This has led both critics and advocates to claim that scientists are now able to “create life” in the lab.
In this 5-session “Build-a-Gene” class, we will learn and practice the techniques that synthetic biologists use to synthesize novel genes and genomes. We will design and synthesize one gene, a variant of the green fluorescent protein that will make our cells glow green. We will discuss how this technology is currently being used to re-design bacterial cells and create custom vaccines, and we will discuss how and by whom the use of this technology should be regulated. Join us as we learn to synthesize new genes from scratch!
The five sessions are designed to give a good survey of synthetic biology techniques while doing an interesting project. While we encourage you to take all five sessions, each session can stand on its own. You do not need to commit to all five sessions to enjoy the experience. There are no prerequisites!
In this session we will be checking to see whether we have successfully amplified the DNA parts that we need to express our emerald GFP gene, and we will be designing and assembling the coding sequence for the emerald GFP.
The remaining sessions will be on Saturdays, July 27, August 10, 17, 24 all at 9:00 AM to 1 PM
Instructor: Dr. Lisa Scheifele
Cost of 2nd session: Early registration $50/ free for members until July 26. Starting July 26, cost is $60/ $10 for members (this does not include eventbrite fees) Please register HERE
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