The Winter 2016 Lectures

FREE public one-hour lectures followed by a question period

TORONTO:Sundays at 2 pm (doors open at 1:15) Macleod Auditorium, Medical Sciences Building, University of Toronto 1 King’s College Circle (Nearest Subway is Queen’s Park Station) Parking on campus, pay/display; limited disabled parking available. MISSISSAUGA:Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m. at Noel Ryan Auditorium, Ground Floor, Mississauga Central Library, 301 Burnhamthorpe Road W. Parking under the library is free after 6 p.m. Enter via the ramp accessed from the southbound lane on Duke of York Boulevard between City Centre Drive and Burnhamthorpe Road.
We thank the University of Toronto and the Mississauga Central Library for their support.
Jan
17
Sun
2016
Lou Gehrig’s Disease: New Insights into its Molecular Basis @ Toronto
Jan 17 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

strong_w150Dr. Michael Strong, Dean of the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and Distinguished University Professor at Western University

Rather than being a single disease entity, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease) is now considered to be a syndrome in which the death of motor neurons occurs through a wide range of pathological processes. However, there is now emerging a consensus view that alterations in RNA metabolism play a critical role and perhaps the final common pathway uniting these pathological processes. In this lecture, we will review the evidence that, for the majority of cases, that ALS is a disorder of RNA metabolism.

In partnership with the Gairdner Foundation
WEBCAST

Jan
24
Sun
2016
The Dishes, The Desert, and The Dawn of the Universe @ Toronto
Jan 24 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

Gaensler_w150Prof Bryan Gaensler, Director of the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Toronto, and Canadian Science Director for the Square Kilometre Array

Some of the biggest questions about our Universe are as yet unsolved. How did the first stars form? What is the mysterious “dark energy” that is pushing the Universe apart? And are there other planets out there like our own, perhaps harbouring life? To answer these and other key questions, astronomers are about to build the biggest telescope ever conceived, the Square Kilometre Array. Prof Gaensler will describe this enormous international project, the results it promises to deliver, and the major role being played by Canadian scientists and engineers in this exciting endeavour.

In partnership with the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Toronto Centre

Photo credit – Daniel Boud, University of Sydney

WEBCAST

For more information on this topic:
Square Kilometer Array – Canadian website

Jan
31
Sun
2016
The Mathematics of Infectious Diseases @ Toronto
Jan 31 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

heffermanJane Heffernan, PhD, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, York University

Mathematical models can be used to describe the spread of infectious diseases and how infections affect your immune system. We will discuss diseases such as influenza, measles, pertussis, and HIV.

WEBCAST

Feb
4
Thu
2016
Good Things Come in Small Packages: Rapid Detection of Avian Flu @ Mississauga
Feb 4 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm

neeth_w150Suresh Neethirajan,
Professional Engineer with the Province of Ontario, Assistant Professor in the Biological Engineering program of the University of Guelph, Director of the BioNano Laboratory

The risk of a major biological incident in farmed animals, such as the emergence of a novel infectious agent and/or a global pandemic, is on the rise due to globalization and ecological pressures. Anticipating when and where an incident may occur can enable a timely and well-informed response. The 4th revolution in agriculture has begun, bringing novel technologies such as Internet of Things, SMART and Precision Agriculture and mobile ‘apps’ for disease surveillance. I will discuss nanosensor biotechnologies for innovative detection and advanced diagnostics for farmed animal health management.

WEBCAST

Feb
7
Sun
2016
2100: A Climate Odyssey: Computing Earth’s Future Climate @ Toronto
Feb 7 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

Poisson_w150Chris Fletcher, Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Management at the University of Waterloo

Human activities are changing Earth’s climate, making it imperative to determine the impact on climate if we continue to use fossil fuels. I will explore computer models of the climate system which allow us to gaze into the future by making projections of how Earth’s climate could evolve over the coming century.

WEBCAST

Feb
8
Mon
2016
Foundation Lecture: Chris Eliasmith @ Toronto / Ryerson
Feb 8 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm

brainmodel_smUnderstanding How the Brain Works by Building One.
Dr. Chris Eliasmith, University of Waterloo
2015 NSERC John C. Polanyi Award

Hosted by Ryerson University.

Large-scale brain models have become a mainstay of “big science”. Currently, Canada has the largest functional brain model known as “Spaun”. This brain model produces behaviour comparable to people and animals. Researchers use Spaun to understand normal brain function, disorders, the effects of drugs and how to build smarter artificial agents.

WEBCAST available online.

Feb
14
Sun
2016
From Web-based Personal Ads to Sex Under Silk Sheets: Courtship and Communication in Black Widows @ Toronto
Feb 14 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

Poisson_w150Catherine Scott, PhD Student, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto Scarborough

Darwin wrote, “who indeed could suspect that [spiders] should be susceptible of the finer feelings? Yet such is the fact.” The private lives of spiders are filled with fine scents, sounds, and silk. This discussion of the sophisticated sexual communication system of the black widow spiders is the perfect way to celebrate both Valentine’s day and Darwin’s theory of sexual selection.

WEBCAST

Catherine’s blog: spiderbytes.org, @Cataranea on twitter

 

Feb
21
Sun
2016
Seven Tools to Transform Data into Stories @ Toronto
Feb 21 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

hidalgo_w150Cesar Hidalgo, Associate Professor at MIT, Director of Macro Connections at MIT Media Lab

Making sense of data requires the development of tools that can transform data into narratives. In this presentation I show various examples of tools that we have created at The MIT Media Lab that facilitate the ability of people to construct visual narratives from large datasets. These data visualization engines include (i) the Observatory of Economic Complexity (atlas.media.mit.edu), a comprehensive effort to visualize international trade data; (ii) DataViva (dataviva.info), a tool visualizing data for the entire formal sector economy of Brazil; (iii) Pantheon (pantheon.media.mit.edu), a tool focused on human collective memory centered on data from globally famous biographies; (iv) Immersion (immersion.media.mit.edu), a tool that focuses the interface of email on people to reveal your personal story of professional and personal interactions; (v) Place Pulse and StreetScore (pulse.media.mit.edu & streetscore.media.mit.edu), which are tools exploring the physical evolution of cities, and (vi) DataUSA, a tool that visualizes public data for the entire United States. I conclude by demoing a prototype of (vii) DIVE, a data visualization and integration tool that helps automate the creation of data driven narratives.

In partnership with the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences

WEBCAST

Feb
28
Sun
2016
State of the Nation: Canada’s Science & Technology Innovation System @ Toronto
Feb 28 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

knox_w150Mr. Ken Knox,
Chair of the Science, Technology, and Innovation Council (STIC), CEO of Knox-Vannest Inc

The Science, Technology and Innovation Council (STIC) is an independent body that advises the Government of Canada on science, technology and innovation. With STIC’s latest “State of the Nation” report, I will explore how Canada’s performance compares to the rest of the world in science & technology innovation.

WEBCAST Online

For further reading, visit the STIC website and download the “2014 State of the Nation” report.

Mar
3
Thu
2016
The Gut-Brain Axis: Connecting Microbiota and Depression @ Mississauga
Mar 3 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm

BercikPremysl Bercik, Associate Professor in the Division of Gastroenterology and member of the Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute at McMaster University

The evidence is growing that intestinal microbiota influences the brain chemistry and behaviour of the host. I will discuss the data obtained in animal experiments, as well as recent evidence from a clinical trial, which suggest that probiotic bacteria may be beneficial in treatment of depression.

WEBCAST Online

Mar
6
Sun
2016
Let’s Talk Science @ Toronto
Mar 6 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

LTS program 2016