Nerd nite posterI was recently invited to give a talk at Nerd Nite East Bay! Before the show and during intermissions I hung out at a table with some fantastic folks and talked to attendees about parasites. Jennifer Janes brought over some parasitized fish loaned to us for the evening by the Ichthyology Department at the California Academy of Sciences. Bart Bernhardt and I talked to people about the samples, and it was awesome seeing people transform from disgusted to fascinated as they learned about the parasites.

Frankie and Clay from CellScope tabled with us as well, and brought their iPadScope. They let me use one of their scopes to view live Euhaplorchis californiensis cercariae. (Huge thanks to Alejandra Jaramillo for sending me E. californiensis-infected snails!) Folks really got a kick out of watching a brain-infecting parasite swim around! The CellScope guys also brought zebrafish eggs, and zoomed in on the fish’s heart. The CellScope images are really good, and you could see blood flowing through the fish’s heart. Really, really cool.

I also gave a ~20 minute talk and answered some questions about brain-infecting parasites. The YouTube video for the entire show is below, and is cued up to where my talk starts. The talk before mine was about picture books and the Caldecott Medal, and the talk after mine was about a proposal for a new way of treating snake bites. The snake bite talk was by Dr. Matthew Lewin, who allowed himself to be paralyzed so he could show that his proposed cure for paralyzing snake-bites was effective. He talks about the experience in his talk, and talks about how hard it has been to find money to follow up on this line of research. I’m pretty sure my mouth was agape the entire time Matthew was giving his talk. It was mind blowing. Both talks were super cool.

Huge thanks to Nerd Nite East Bay organizers Rick Karnesky and Rebecca Cohen for having me, to Kishore Hari for putting me in touch with the Nerd Nite folks, and to everyone who tabled with me.


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