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Meeting Summaries – 2016-2017

NSIS is pleased to provide you with a brochure of the 2016-2017 Public Lecture series.
The 2017-2018 lectures are also listed below.

October 3, 2016

Time: 7:30pm
Location: Museum of Natural History, Halifax
Speaker: Dr. Jock Murray
Department of Emergency Medicine, Dalhousie University
Title: Changing Knowledge About Multiple Sclerosis over Two Centuries: From Leeches to the Human Genome


Once MS was named and framed by Jean Martin Charcot in 1868, physicians could recognize their patients, even if their therapies had little benefit. The science of the disease advanced and in 1993 the first drug was found to change the outcome of the disease. Since then many new drugs have been developed, raising the issues of balancing benefit with risk, but the most important advances have been in the underlying understanding of the disease.

November 14, 2016 Please note the location of this lecture.

Time: 7:30pm
Location: Agricultural Campus of Dalhousie University, Cox Institute, Room 257, 50 Pictou Road, Truro
Speaker: Dr. Stephanie MacQuarrie
Department of Chemistry. Cape Breton University
Title: Reaping Unsown Rewards from Biochar

Imagine a way to provide farmers, forestry and agricultural companies, and local business with low cost, greener energy in rural areas while improving their carbon foot print. In Cape Breton we are all too well aware of the impact utilization and over implementation of fossil fuels have on our community and environment. Fuel from biomass should become a significant part our energy supply. MacQuarrie’s research program investigates higher value use of biochar providing incentive for moving towards a more sustainable model for energy production.

December 5, 2016

Time: 7:30pm
Location: Museum of Natural History, Halifax
Speaker: Dr. John Archibald
Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Dalhousie University
Canadian Institute for Advanced Research
Title: Molecular Clocks: Using DNA to Infer Evolution

Please note the change in venue for this NSIS Public Lecture
January 9, 2017

Time: 7:30pm
Location: Mount Saint Vincent University, Evaristus Hall, Room 103, 166 Bedford Hwy, Halifax, NS
Speaker: Dr. Hilary Moors-Murphy
Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Bedford Institute of Oceanography
Title: Listening in on the Deep: The Story that Whale Sounds can Tell

While more than twenty different species of whales, dolphins and porpoise occur off Nova Scotia, relatively little is known about when, where and how whales use most of our waters. Passive acoustic monitoring (listening) for underwater sounds offers an effective way to study and monitor marine mammal occurrence. This talk will eavesdrop on whales off NS – the sounds they make, an overview of current technologies used to record their calls will be provided, and results from Dr. Moors-Murphy’s ongoing acoustic work will be discussed.

February 6, 2017

Time: 7:30pm
Location: Museum of Natural History, Halifax
Speaker: Dr. Graham Dellaire
Departments of Pathology, Biochemistry, & Molecular Biology, Dalhousie University
Title: How to Edit a Genome

Mistakes in our DNA underlie the development of genetic diseases and a variety of cancers. These mistakes are called gene mutations, and occur when DNA damage is not correctly repaired. Some are inherited, such as Cystic Fibrosis and hereditary breast cancer. Others cannot be passed on to our children but accumulate during our lifetime, and contribute to aging and diseases such as cancer. Dr. Dallaire will discuss recent advances in the use of CRISPR/Cas9 technology to fight cancer and cure genetic diseases.

March 6, 2017

Time: 7:30pm
Location: Museum of Natural History, Halifax
Speaker: Dr. Danielle Cox
Department of Mathematics, Mount Saint Vincent University
Title: That’s Math?!

Whether we realize it or not, we encounter mathematics every day! From fractals to Facebook, and everything in between we will explore a variety of mathematical concepts though hands-on activities and look at their connections to the world around us, and recent mathematical research.

April 3, 2017

Time: 7:30pm
Location: Museum of Natural History, Halifax
Speaker: Dr. Shashi Gujar
Departments of Pathology Microbiology & Immunology, Dalhousie University
Quality and System Performance, IWK Health Centre
Title: Cancer Immunotherapy: Using Viruses to Treat Cancers

When we think about viruses, we think about infections and diseases. However, not all viruses are harmful. Some can kill cancers, and most importantly, awaken our own immune system to fight cancers. These virus-based cancer therapies represent one of the most promising cancer treatment options. Dr. Gujar studies this phenomenon and will explain how viruses are being used in clinics to treat cancers, and elucidate how these therapies could promote long-term cancer-free health.

May 1, 2017 (SPECIAL EVENT – presented at the NSIS Annual General Meeting & Banquet)

Time: 7:30pm
Location: To be determined
Speaker: Tara Imlay
PhD Candidate, Department of Biology, Dalhousie University
Title: Where Have all the Swallows Gone?

Over the past 40 years, Breeding Bird Surveys have documented severe and widespread declines among species of aerial insectivores (birds that feed in flight on flying insects). The cause of this decline is unknown, but two likely drivers include changes in the availability of aerial insects during the breeding season, and/or changes in conditions on the wintering grounds and migration routes. Imlay’s research focuses on understanding how these potential drivers have impacted four species of swallows that breed in the Maritimes.