It’s time to celebrate the start of spring the way any good nerd does: by gathering at a nightclub, grabbing a drink, and listening to the always educational, always entertaining lectures on tap! You know, that CLASSIC spring tradition?

(Okay, we’re making that tradition up, but give us another couple years and it will be a nationwide phenomena.)

Let’s all make this a thing by meeting at LIVE (102 S. First Street) on Thursday, April 11. Doors open at 6:30 pm, talks start at 7 pm and as always, there’s no cover charge!

Nathalie Catchings will kick things off with Science fact or science fiction? talking about DNA in pop culture and whether we should trust what TV and movies tell us about science (spoiler alert: kinda but not really).

Following in the footsteps of many NNA2 presenters, Nathalie has been doing science her whole career. She is an expert at taking DNA out of things (the weirder, the better) and pulling out useful information from it: from crime scenes, to wooly mammoths, to COVID samples (in the very early days of the pandemic). Recently relocated from California to Michigan, she is currently taking a well-earned break from work, while her family settles in. 

Next up is a trip to Nepal with Paul Buzzard to answer the question Can We Save the Snow Leopards?: How Climate Change, Construction, and Covid are threatening these great cats. Snow leopards are iconic species of the Himalayas and other Asian highlands, but they are facing increasing threats to their conservation. Paul will look at some of these threats specifically focusing on the Gaurishankar Conservation Area in Nepal

Paul got his PhD from Columbia University studying the behavioral ecology of monkeys in West Africa. His snow leopard work began with the China Exploration and Research Society, continued as Director of Conservation with the Detroit Zoo, and continues as a regenerative farmer at Detroit Flight Path Farm and as a Conservation Technician with the Washtenaw County Conservation District.

Katie Furman will close out the night with Mouse Mind Control: How Neuroscientists Use Lasers to Activate Brain Cells, and Solve Science Mysteries. What if she told us that she could flip a switch and change how we feel? That it could make us hungry, thirsty, or even sexually aroused? Well she can’t. But in neuroscience labs across the globe, researchers have developed a technique which allows them to do just that in their laboratory animals. Katie will tell you all about how this works and why it’s a pivotal tool in understanding how the brain works.

Katie is a PhD student in Neuroscience at the University of Michigan where she uses optogenetics and mouse behavior techniques to study the neural circuits involved in food-consumption decisions. In her free time, you can find her picking up an impossible amount of sci-fi/fantasy books from the library, or going on long walks with her chihuahua, Edison. And if you know of any job opportunities in science communication… you should totally hit her up.