Seminars and Workshops

BUGSS hosts an ever-changing array of seminars, Open Mic nights, open houses, and workshops. You can find these on the calendar to the right and use the links to our Eventbrite page to sign up. We also offer numerous courses where the public can engage directly with hands-on biotechnology activities.

Some of our past seminars and events include:





Writing workshop: “The poetry in Science”

In the earliest ages science was poetry, as in the latter poetry has become science.

— James Russell Lowell

Scientists are often portrayed as lacking the ability give a voice to their work that can be understood by the general public.

Science communication has become a critical skill in order to promote science awareness and conveys important topics for society that enhances further discussion.

Writing poetry is a means by which emotions are stimulated by lyrical words, and can also be a tool by which scientific concepts can be shared.

Please join us at Baltimore Underground Science Space on February 24th from 10:00- 2:00 PM where you can explore creating poetry based on science fact

This workshop is intended for both researchers new to the arts and to creative writers new to science.

Scientists are encouraged to bring samples of their work, including journal papers of interest, and abstracts

All participants will be introduced to a short background of poetry styles and engage in writing prompts, based on selected topics covering key scientific principles, theories, and current issues.

Editing, critiquing, and revision will be covered.

A final open reading will be scheduled to share your work!

Bio of your instructor: Dr Kathleen Gillespie has been a research microbiologist in industry from the Bio- pharmaceutical to Bio-defense. She recently received her doctoral degree in Marine Biotechnology and was a visiting professor in Molecular Biotechnology at Stockton University. She is currently an affiliate at the Institute of Marine and Environmental technology in Baltimore Inner harbor.



Using Super Computers to Model the Impact of Biofouling on a Ship’s Performance

Roughness is seen in the marine industry either through corrosion, deterioration of paint, marine growth or a combination of all three. On ship hulls, roughness occurring through paint deterioration or biofouling can impact the ships performance by increasing its frictional ag. This increase in frictional drag adds an additional burden to the total ownership of a ship. The objective of the presentation is to present an improved modeling approach for quantifying the impact of biofouling of underwater hulls. Our team is using super computers to compute the drag penalty associated with biofouling that will help developed cleaning strategies.

Our awesome speaker: Abel Vargas is a Computational Scientist at Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division. His research interests include Reynolds Averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) modeling biofouling on the resistance of surface ships. Vargas received a Doctor of Science degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from The George Washington University.

This community seminar is free but if you would like to donate to our non-profit in support of more events like this please go to Thank you! We appreciate your support!

Agar Art Workshops at BUGSS

(with chance to enter American Society of Microbiology’s (ASM) contest!)


Sat Feb 10th 2018 2-5pm tickets here

Sat Mar 17th 2018 2-5pm tickets here

Sat Apr 7th 2018 2-5pm tickets here 

BUGSS is extremely excited that we get to partner with American Society of Microbiology (ASM) to host Agar Art workshops in 2018! What is Agar Art you ask? It is a perfect marriage of biology and art that everyone and anyone can get into. Come to the BUGSS lab to learn about some special microbes that produce and array of beautiful and striking colors. You will be able to use the tools and guidance provided by BUGSS to create your very own living work of art on agar plates! You may have seen the incredible works of art on petri dishes being shared all over social media? If not just Google image search “Agar Art” and be inspired.

Perhaps your art work has what it takes to enter the national ASM contest and win!? Yes, of course it does! There are two contests this year you can enter: AGAR ART MAKER – for 13 years and up, and AGAR ART KIDS 12 years and under.

For full contest details (including Terms and Conditions you will need to read over before you submit your work) examples of previous winners. LINK:

Please arrive between 2-5pm and expect to spend around 45 mins or longer learning the techniques. Like any art project, you might want some practice first! We will have a drawling station to prep your ideas first, as well as a practice station to test your “painting” technique out before the real thing.

SIGN UP now to save your spot for this workshop! We have more workshops but we expect these to fill up quickly! Under 18 and want to give this a try? No problem but please have a parent or guardian with you and convince them to join in on the fun. This is for all ages and creativity!

Community Seminar! Open-source Oceanography: New tools for community-driven marine science and conservation with Dr. Andrew Thaler

 Fri. Feb 9th 2018 7-9pm FREE


The talk: As the price of scientific-grade equipment climbs and research budgets, particularly those attached to climate change and environmental projects, are slashed, low-cost, open-source tools are becoming increasingly important in both formal and informal research, as well as citizen science programs. These tools can facilitate community-driven responses to environmental concerns and fulfill key equipment needs in a funding limited era. Oceanography for Everyone develops low-cost, open-source oceanographic instruments for researchers, educators, and explorers to facilitate bottom-up, community-directed ocean science.

About our awesome speaker: Andrew Thaler is a deep-sea ecologist and conservation geneticist who works at the intersection of ecology, technology, and policy. He is the editor-in-chief of the marine science and conservation blog Southern Fried Science, and the co-founder of Oceanography for Everyone, which works to develop low-cost, open-source alternatives to essential (and often prohibitively expensive) oceanographic instruments and equipment. He is the Chief Ecologist of OpenROV, an underwater robot manufacturer.

This talk is FREE but we can always use your donations to keep our lab open! Thank you for supporting community science! 

Black Fungi Getting us to Space! Dr. Cordero
Fri. August 4th 2017 7-9pm free

Black fungi may help us get to Mars and live there…
You have likely heard of melanin before in terms of human skin. But did you know that fungi make melanins as well? Did you know that the properties of these unique chemicals have the potential to protect against harsh environments like the high temperatures and intense radiation JUST LIKE WE SEE IN SPACE AND ON MARS?! (and most sadly our own future conditions on Earth).
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Science Communication Workshop
Thurs June 8th 2017 6:30-9PM Free

BUGSS and Project Bridge is hosting a Science Communication Workshop on June 8th from 6:30 – 9pm. We have speakers to guide and mentor on how to tell the best “story” of your research as well as break-out sessions to work on your own research story and get feedback from our group!
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Sort Microplastics with Our Baltimore IGEM Team
Sat, June 3rd, 2017 1-4PM Free

Come meet our baltimore city highschool iGEM team and help us sort through microplastics collected from local beaches! A great chance to come check out our space, use microscopes to identify and sort local microplasitic pollution, get some free cookies, and support the work of our local highschool iGEM team (International Genetically Engineered Machines Competition).
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Cognitive Bias in the Forensic Sciences with Dr. Jeff Kukucka
Fri, May 19th, 2017 7-9PM Free

Over 2,000 cases of wrongful conviction have been discovered in the United States, and forensic science errors have been found in an alarming 24% of these cases. A growing body of research suggests that some such errors may be due to confirmation bias — i.e., the innate and unconscious tendency to interpret information in ways that validate one’s pre-existing beliefs. This talk will review (a) the psychology of cognitive bias, (b) the causes and effects of cognitive bias in the forensic sciences, and (c) ongoing reform efforts to address the problem.
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Antibiotics, Hormones, and Personal Care Products in the Chesapeake
Fri, May 12th 2017 7-9PM Free

Lee Blaney received his BS and MS in Environmental Engineering from Lehigh University. In 2011, he finished his PhD at the University of Texas at Austin and started as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical, Biochemical and Environmental Engineering at UMBC. Since that time, Lee has established a research program focused on (1) the occurrence, fate, transport, and toxicity of contaminants of emerging concern in natural and engineered systems and (2) resource recovery from agricultural waste. His projects are predominantly supported by the National Science Foundation programs in Environmental Engineering, Environmental Chemical Sciences, and Environmental Sustainability.
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