Whether your New Years Resolution is to learn more, to laugh more, or even to drink more, Nerd Nite is HERE for you! We’re kicking 2024 off right with another Nerd Nite THURSDAY, January 11 at LIVE at 102. S. First St!! Doors open at 6:30 pm, talks start at 7 pm and as always, there’s no cover charge!

Nerd Nite: where politics and gaming intersect! We’ll start things off with Changing the World and Why ‘Island’ is the Best Card in Magic the Gathering with State Senator Jeff Irwin (MI-15). Sen. Irwin will share his experience and knowledge of the local politics that impact us, his policy priorities, and why “Island” is the best card in Magic the Gathering.

Sen. Irwin was raised in Sault Ste. Marie, but his family made Washtenaw County their home. He lives in Ann Arbor with his wife, Kathryn, and their two children, Sylvia and Mackinac. Prior to being elected to the State Senate in 2018, he served 11 years on the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners and 6 years in the Michigan House of Representatives.

From there, we’ll switch gears to Unraveling the unknown… about Chlamydia. Chlamydia is the highest reported sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the United States and is caused by bacteria, Chlamydia trachomatis. Since chlamydial infections often show no symptoms, they frequently go untreated, and existing treatment options not only target Chlamydia, but also attack ‘essential bacteria’, contributing to antibiotic resistance. Scientists need to understand how the bacteria causes the disease and how it goes undetected. However, the major bottleneck in understanding chlamydial biology is that the function of genes in the chlamydial genome or genetic material, remains a mystery. Srishti Baid will share how her University of Kansas study worked to help unravel this mystery.

Srishti is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Michigan. Her current research focuses on blood clotting mechanisms and protein transport inside the cell. She got her Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Kansas, where she studied factors important for disease-causing ability in Chlamydia. In her free time, Srishti is involved in different science communication endeavors and outreach efforts, and enjoys traveling and trying new things.

Tired of sitting out the conversations about OpenAI and ChatGPT? Learn something meaningful to contribute with The Machines are Learning; Why aren’t we?: A short look into how AI and ML are shaping our lives. The past year has been an absolute cyclone of artificial intelligence news. Frank Murphy will look at the many ways that machine learning already weaves through our daily life. Then, he’ll review the latest advancements in the field and touch on some possible individual and societal impacts. He’ll conclude with a few proposals for how we could shape these coming changes.

Frank escaped the Land of Forever Hot (Florida) to study at Michigan Tech and considers himself a Michigan convert. One of his teeth is backwards, but he otherwise is a relatively modern person. He works for an ML startup and resides in Ann Arbor with his wife Emily, who he definitely did not bribe to get a speaker slot for his talk.