Current Science Group Programme 2019/20

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21 November 2019
Forensics and Taphonomy
Presented by Clive Warsop, Division of Pathology, University of Edinburgh

5 December 2019 (History of Science Lecture)
Brewster's Kaleidoscopes: Some Novel and Celebratory Investigations with Hands-on Opportunities
Presented by Philip Bradfield, Formerly Lecturer in Physics and Computer Science at the Universities of Edinburgh and Wolverhampton

19 December 2019
Genome engineering and agriculture: current opportunities and challenges
Presented by Professor Helen Sang, Developmental Biology, The Roslin Institute and Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh

16 January 2020
Wave and Tidal Energy in Electrical Power Production
Presented by Beth Dickens, Director, Quoceant Ltd

20 February 2020
Carbon Capture and Storage
Presented by Allan Mathieson, CCS Team Leader, Senergy (Retired), U3A Member

19 March 2020
to be confirmed

16 April 2020
to be confirmed

21 May 2020
Artificial Intelligence: Past, Present and Future
Presented by Professor Michael Rovatsos, Professor of Artificial Intelligence, School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh. Also Member of Centre for Intelligent Systems and their Applications, Director of Bayes Centre and Liaison Director of Alan Turing Institute.

18 June 2020
Probing the Dark Side of the Universe with Weak Gravitational Lensing
Presented by Ben Giblin, Research Cosmologist at Royal Observatory, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Edinburgh

There are no group meetings in July and August.
Past Talks

19 September 2019
The benefits and limitations of employing alternative, non-rodent models to investigate the toxicity of nanomaterials
Presented by Dr Helinor Johnston, Associate Professor of Toxicology, School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Heriot Watt University
Nanomaterials (NMs) are defined as having at least one dimension that is 1-100 nm in diameter. At the nanoscale, novel properties emerge in materials, which has led to an increase in the incorporation of NMs in a diverse array of consumer products. Accordingly, NM exploitation has grown enormously over recent years and the use of NMs now spans diverse sectors (e.g. pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, textiles, food, electronics, automotive, construction, agriculture, and pigments/inks). In 2005 a Nanotechnology Consumer Product Inventory identified 54 products that had incorporated nanotechnology, and by 2014 this had increased to 1814 products. Despite the increased prevalence of NMs in the marketplace, there are still uncertainties surrounding their potential detrimental impact on human health. Toxicology testing has remained relatively unchanged for the last 50 years and has relied on the use of rodents. However, there is a need to reduce the reliance placed on rodent testing in nanotoxicology for ethical, financial and legislative reasons. Furthermore, there is evidence that rodent models do not always predict the human response and that there are problems with their reproducibility. Adoption of alternative, non-rodent models can allow a quicker, more ethical and often cheaper assessment of NM toxicity than using rodents. In vitro (cell based) models of varied complexity and zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos are being increasingly used to assess the toxicity of NMs, and the benefits and limitations of these models for assessing the response of different systems (e.g. immune system, intestine, skin, lungs) will be discussed.
The presentation from this lecture can be viewed at the link below

17 October 2019
Re-thinking health from the ground up, gut health, the human biome and our soils
Presented by Charlotte Maberly, FoodConnects
“…the food we eat is only as good as the soil from which it springs.” Lady Eve Balfour, 1940
For almost 100 years, dietary discourse in the UK has been dominated by anxious concern regarding the impact of food upon our body shape. We have experienced cyclical vilifications of fat, carbohydrates and sugar in the popular media, but conclusive or even coherent advice on healthy diets has remained elusive. Despite the volume of available information on diet and lifestyle, we are still experiencing unprecedented levels of obesity, heart disease, eating disorders and other dietary related illnesses.
In recent decades, it has been observed that we are perhaps approaching the task of healthy eating from an unhelpful perspective, and that the rise of ‘nutritionism’ (a reductionist, nutrient-focussed approach to diet) needs to be countered with a more holistic approach to food and eating.
Fascinating new research into the human biome supports this notion, and indicates that the bacterial communities in and on our bodies are also intrinsically linked with bacterial life in in our food and surrounding environment. This research looks far beyond nutritional values of individual foodstuffs to the potential significance of how we grow, prepare and eat our food.
In this session, we will explore the key points of understanding that this research has brought to light and how this may inspire significant changes in the way we consider health and diet.

The presentation from this lecture can be viewed at the link below