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Café Scientifique

Café Scientifique Manchester

Cafe Scientifique is a place where, for the price of a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, anyone can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology. Meetings take place in cafes, bars, restaurants and even theatres, but always outside a traditional academic context.

Cafe Scientifique is a forum for debating science issues, not a shop window for science. We are committed to promoting public engagement with science and to making science accountable.

When: 7.30pm on the last Thursday of every month

Where: The MadLab, 36-40 Edge Street, M4 1HN 

Date 23 May 2017
Title Cafe Scientifique Special - Thought X: Fictions and Hypotheticals with Comma Press
Speaker Dr Rob Appleby, Sarah Schofield and Claire Dean

Date: 23 May 2017

Time: 18:00-20:00

Place: Zochonis Building, Brunswick Street, Manchester, M13 9GB


Date 25 May 2017
Title Cafe Scientifique - The Dark River? The transformation of the River Irwell
Speaker Dr Keith White

Date: 25 May 2017

Time: 19:30-21:30

Place: MadLab, Manchester, M4 1HN

Speaker: Dr Keith White

Key Words: Wather ecosystem, Urban regeneration, Salford Quays

Cyril Bracegirdle coined the term ‘The Dark River’ in his 1973 book on the River Irwell. Back in 1970s the Irwell was indeed polluted – a legacy of the industrial revolution (‘where there’s muck there’s brass’) and the parallel rise in the population living around the river. The physical appearance of the Irwell in Salford and Manchester had also changed beyond all recognition as it was deepened and canalized to reduce flooding and allow the passage of larger boats. This ‘re-engineering’ of the lower Irwell culminated in the construction of Manchester docks in the late Nineteenth Century. We will examine how the river and the surrounding area have changed over the years, including the extent to which pollution now been reduced and what more needs to be done. In the early 1800s river was full of trout and salmon swam up the river to breed – could this happen again? Water matters – we will also look at how the improvements in water quality in the old Manchester Docks allowed their transformation into the vibrant and commercially successful Salford Quays.

The speaker

Dr Keith White is interested in understanding and managing the water quality and ecology of urban watercourses, including preventing the formation of potentially harmful ‘blooms’ of blue-green algae. Work with an industrial partner is examining the relationship between past and present water quality and the changes in the ecology of Salford Quays – a restored and redeveloped dock system near Media City, Greater Manchester. The work includes the development of a computer-based model to assist in the ecological management of the Quays. Other studies with a colleague in Geography are looking at how we can improve water quality of urban rivers and canals to assist in the economic regeneration of inner cities. He is also interested in the toxicity of metal pollutants to aquatic animals and plants and how such these toxins are accumulated and transferred through the food chain. This includes examining the impact of nanoparticles, in particular nanosilver. Nanosiliver is used as an antibacterial agent in consumer products such as socks and therefore enters waterways via the sewerage system. They have recently shown that nanosilver is accumulated by gazing and filter feeding animals and is passed along the food chain from algae to zooplankton such as the water flea.

Date 29 June 2017
Title Cafe Scientifique - Ocular biomaterials (TBC)
Speaker Dr Victoria Kearns

Date: 29 June 2017

Time: 19:30-21:30

Place: MadLab, Manchester, M4 1HN

Speaker: Dr Victoria Kearns

Key Words: Ocular biomaterials, Drug delivery, Cell therapy

The detail of this talk will be announced shortly.

The speaker

Dr Victoria Kearns is a Lecturer in Ocular Biomaterials at The University of Liverpool. She is interested in developing novel, biomaterial-based ocular drug delivery systems and models (in vitro and in silico) to test them. This work involved biomaterials, chemistry, engineering, imaging and computer modelling, supported by input from clinical and industrial collaborators.

She has expertise in the modification and characterisation of biomaterial substrates. Of particular interest is the optimisation of surfaces to be used to grow cells for engineering tissue. This involves using a range of techniques. She also has expertise in the isolation and expansion of primary ocular cells.

Date 27 July 2017
Title Cafe Scientifique - The role of hormones in health and disease (TBC)
Speaker Professor Kay Marshall

Date: 27 July 2017

Time: 19:30-21:30

Place: MadLab, Manchester, M4 1HN

Speaker: Professor Kay Marshall

Key Words: Hormones, Reproductive health, Therapy

The detail of this talk will be announced shortly.


The speaker

Kay Marshall is the Head of the School of Health Sciences at The University of Manchester. She is a registered pharmacist and Fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the Higher Education Academy. She also has an MBA. After completing her pre-registration training in industry and community pharmacy she returned to academia to study the effects of oestrogen on the uterus. She then became a teacher practitioner before taking up a full-time academic post. Since this time Professor Marshall has been a placements tutor and initiated and led several courses, including the MPharm. She was Head of the Bradford School of Pharmacy before coming to Manchester. She is an enthusiastic teacher and a keen proponent of new teaching methods that support the student learning experience.

Professor Marshall has two main strands to her bench research both focus on the role of hormones, systemic and local, in health and disease. Below the waistline, her work centres upon investigation of the role of local hormones in diseases and conditions associated with the female reproductive tract such as dysmenorrhoea, endometriosis and the detection and prevention of preterm labour. In addition to looking for new and effective therapies to manage these conditions, she is also involved with research into developing novel local drug delivery devices that will enable the safer use of medicines.

Above the neck, Professor Marshall is interested in the effect that the sex steroids have on cognition, for example, during pregnancy or when an individual is suffering from a mental illness such as schizophrenia.

In the pharmacy practice context, she is also involved in projects looking at medicines reconciliation, adherence and medicines management in chronic diseases in the UK and overseas.

Professor Marshall is the Deputy Chair of the Pharmacy Schools Council and is a keen supporter of the modernising pharmacy careers programme being led by Health Education England.

Date 28 September 2017
Title Cafe Scientifique - Myth and Science of Sleep
Speaker Professor Graham Law

28 September 2017 at 19:30pm, MadLab, Manchester, M4 1HN

By the age of three, you have slept for at least 10,000 hours which makes you an expert at sleeping. So why is it, with all this expertise, that so many people have difficulty with their sleep? Our society is slowly beginning to recognise the problems we all have with sleep and how this affects our lives, health and wellbeing.

Join sleep scientist Graham Law as he explores the myths that surround sleep: some myths that are informative and helpful, others that are incorrect, and some that are positively damaging and counterproductive.



The speaker


Professor Graham Law is a sleep scientist at the University of Lincoln with over 25 years of research experience, having published over 90 research papers on health and medicine. He has set up the Sound Asleep Laboratory, which is working towards methods to improve sleep in a way that will have a significant effect on sleep health and wellbeing. Graham was elected to the executive committee of the British Sleep Society and is a member of the UK Biobank Expert group on sleep.

Organisers: Bo YaoDeborah Talmi, Ayse Latif

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