Placentas and health: Explore the connection at Portland Science Pub

Placentas are organs important to nourishing developing fetuses and the only temporary organ a human body makes. 

They also serve as models in research for predicting who will get certain diseases, such as diabetes, later in life. 

To learn more about the connections between placentas and health, check out “Baby’s First Wombmate: The Placenta’s Role in Long-term Health” July 6 at McMenamins Mission Theater.

Presented by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, the event will run from 7 to 9 p.m. 

Speaker will be Jessica Herbert, a doctoral candidate at Portland State University and an OMSI science communication fellow

For more information, go to the event’s Facebook page

Susannah L. Bodman
Twitter: @Sciwhat
Facebook: Sciwhat.Science

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Sip and gaze at stars during OMSI event at vineyard

The moon (top arrow) and possibly Venus and Jupiter (bottom two arrows, not necessarily in that order) are shown in a photo from Oregon during the period of Venus-Jupiter conjunction in 2012. Susannah L. Bodman | Science In Portland

Do stars sparkle more when paired with wines? Are they best observed with a bit of bubbly or a pinot?

You can explore these questions when the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry partners with Anne Amie Vineyards July 22, 2017, for “Planets and Pinot,” a stargazing event.

OMSI will have several of their most powerful mobile telescopes set up at the winery for guests to gaze through, and Anne Amie will pour some of its wines. Woodfired pizzas also will be available for purchase from Dough on the Go.

Anne Amie is located in Carlton, and event admission is free.

For more information, see the event’s Facebook page.

Susannah L. Bodman
Twitter: @Sciwhat
Facebook: Sciwhat.Science

Editor’s note: No, the Science In Portland blog is not entirely dead. Jim and I are still around but often occupied elsewhere. If you know of an upcoming event or would like to help with writing for the blog, let us know. It’s an all-volunteer show, so no fat paychecks or royalties for any of us.

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Brain talks explore human brain-device interfaces and how birds learn to sing

Brains, brains, brains!

Two upcoming Portland-area talks will be all about the gray matter — connecting human ones to computers (and related ethics) and how those of birds work to help them sing.

Brain-computer interface science has the potential to help people but also raise ethical questions. Freeimages.com

The first of the two talks will look at brain-computer interface research and how BCI devices can help people to control computers, wheelchairs and brain stimulators, as well as record brain activity. The devices also raise ethical concerns, ranging from what brain data should be considered private to what stigmas might arise regarding people who use them.

The BCI talk will begin at 5:45 p.m. May 8 at Lucky Labrador Pub, 915 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd., Portland. Speaker will be Dr. Eran Klein from Oregon Health and Science University’s neurology department.

For more information, see the event page on OHSU’s Brain Institute website.

An Anna’s hummingbird visits a feeder for a sweet sip in Oregon. Susannah L. Bodman | Science in Portland

The second talk will delve into new research about birds that sing, their songs and how they learn to sing. Claudio Mello, a neuroscientist and OHSU associate professor, will cover the three bird groups that sing: songbirds, parrots and hummingbirds. He’ll also discuss how song learning in birds is similar to the way in which humans acquire speech.

Mello’s talk will begin at 7 p.m. May 9 in Chapman Elementary School, 1445 N.W. 26th Ave., Portland.

For more information about the bird talk, go to the event page on the Aububon Society of Portland’s website.

Susannah L. Bodman
Twitter: @Sciwhat
Facebook: Sciwhat.Science

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Get to know your brain and what music and pleasure do to it at May Science on Tap talks

Your belly craves beer, but your mind craves knowledge — of the scientific persuasion. Where, or where, can you feed both in Portland?

At the May (2017) editions of Science on Tap, the ongoing science lecture series presented by Via Productions at area theater venues.

First up on May 2 is a dive into the melodic: “Every Brain Needs Music: The Neuroscience of Composition, Interpretation and Performance.”

Learn about the origins of music, how practicing music might enhance brain development and limit the effects of aging and injury, and what happens to our brains when we create music.

The talk, presented by Oregon Health and Science University neuroscientist Larry Sherman, will begin at 7 p.m. in Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 N.E. Alberta St. Doors will open at 6 p.m. Cost is $8 to $13.

Later, on May 22, check out “The Neuroscience of Pleasure and Love.”

The speaker again will be OHSU’s Sherman, who will cover the brain chemistry of love, pleasure and addiction; how the brain sorts out pleasure from discomfort; and how neurochemistry around the things and people we love can impact our behavior.

This talk also will begin at 7 p.m. with doors opening at 6 p.m. Venue will be Artists Repertory Theater, 1516 S.W. Alder St. Cost is $8 to $10.

At both events, beer, wine and various food items will be available for purchase.

Susannah L. Bodman
Twitter: @Sciwhat
Facebook: Sciwhat.Science

 

 

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Science entrepreneurship, science march on tap April 22 in Portland

This is just a quick post to give readers a heads-up about two events happening in Portland on April 22, 2017.

First up is the second annual Oregon Science Startup Forum, presented by the American Chemical Society’s Portland Section. The forum provides a one-day crash course in science entrepreneurship.

Little Eppendorf tube dude looks excited for science. Susannanh L. Bodman | Science In Portland

OSSF will run from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Collaborative Life Sciences Building, which is part of Oregon Health and Science University’s waterfront campus. Cost is $30 student/post-doc/unemployed or $55 general admission.

More details are available on the OSSF website.

Nearby at Tom McCall Waterfront Park will be the Portland version of the March for Science events being held in Washington, D.C., and several hundred other cities worldwide. The events also coincide with Earth Day.

March for Science PDX will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. A march route and more information about the local event’s mission and values is available online.

Other cities in Oregon holding science-related march events or rallies include Salem, Corvallis and Eugene.

Susannah L. Bodman
Twitter: @Sciwhat
Facebook: Sciwhat.Science

 

 

 

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Dreams, morality and touch: OHSU’s 2017 ‘Brain Awareness’ lectures delve into them all

Morality, responses to touch and dreams — what do these things have in common? The brain.

To learn more about what current neuroscience has to say about each of these brain phenomena check out the upcoming “Brain Awareness” lecture series presented by Oregon Health and Science University’s Brain Institute.

This year’s (2017) series will begin March 20 with “The Criminal Brain,” in which Dr. Octavio Choi will explain research that suggests certain brain regions influence moral reasoning, possibly affecting why some people live lawfully while others fall into cycles of criminality. Choi also will explore the implications of this research on assumptions about punishment of criminal behavior. Choi is a director at Oregon State Hospital and a psychiatry professor at OHSU.

Gain insights about the inner workings of your brain in the upcoming “Brain Awarness” lectures.  Freeimages.com

Then on March 27, David Linden will delve into “Touch: The Science of Hand, Heart and Mind,” explaining how our touch receptors work, often in complex and counterintuitive ways, and how they influence our social interactions and health. Linden is a neuroscience professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Finally, on April 4, Robert Stickgold will present “Sleep, Memory and Dreams: Putting It All Together,” exploring what our brain does while we sleep and what the scientific reasons may be for why we dream. Stickgold is a psychiatry professor at Harvard Medical School.

All lectures will run from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in Portland’s Newmark Theatre. Ticket prices range from $17 to $50 and can be purchased online.

For more information on the lecture series and other neuroscience-related activities and events, go to the OHSU Brain Institute website.

Susannah L. Bodman
Twitter: @Sciwhat
Facebook: Sciwhat.Science

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Science on Tap talk explores the neuroscience of love and pleasure

Love, infatuation, commitment and addiction — the brain chemistry involved in these four experiences may have more in common than you think.

How does neurochemistry affect your behavior around the people and things you love? Find out at the March 2017 Science on Tap talk. Freeimages.com

To learn more about that chemistry and what neuroscientists know regarding how the brain sorts pleasure from discomfort, check out the March 18 Science on Tap event, featuring Oregon Health and Science University neuroscientist Larry Sherman.

Sherman’s talk, “The Neuroscience of Pleasure,” will outline how neurochemical changes in the brain can affect our behavior, including who, what and how we love.

The event will begin at 7 p.m. in Alberta Rose Theater. Doors will open at 6 p.m. Cost is $15 general admission or $10 for students with ID.

For tickets and more information, go to the event page on Via Productions’ website. Via produces the Science on Tap series.

Susannah L. Bodman
Twitter: @Sciwhat
Facebook: Sciwhat.Science

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