Upcoming Events

Urban water fingerprinting to inform the state of the environment and public health

Tue16
Oct

18:15

Urban water fingerprinting to inform the state of the environment and public health

Dr. Barbara Kasprzyk-Hordern, University of Bath
18:15, Tuesday 16 October 2018

A new approach in public health epidemiology utilizing urban water fingerprinting with hyphenated mass spectrometry techniques has been recently pioneered to provide near real-time measurements of public health. Urban water fingerprinting provides anonymised but comprehensive and objective information on the health status of a population and surrounding environment in real time as urban water (sewerage system and receiving aqueous environment) pools the endo- and exogenous biomarkers of that population.
This cutting-edge approach of extracting epidemiological information from urban water emerged from Wastewater-Based Epidemiology (WBE). WBE was developed in a strong cross-sectoral and transdisciplinary collaborative ethos within SCORE (www.score-cost.eu) and SEWPROF teams (www.sewprofitn.eu), and although still in its infancy, WBE is currently used to report on community-wide illicit drug use trends and feeds into the Europe-wide evidence based early warning system by European Agency for Drugs and Drug Addiction (http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/wastewater-analysis).
This talk will introduce the concept and its rapid advances. It will focus on pharmacologically active compounds in urban water and their stereochemistry in the context of environmental risk assessment. It will also explore new avenues in the utilization of urban water fingerprinting in the assessment of population health and health risk prediction.

Mental images and memory processes as therapeutic targets for cocaine use disorder.

Tue23
Oct

18:15

Mental images and memory processes as therapeutic targets for cocaine use disorder.

Dr. John Marsden, King's College London
18:15, Tuesday 23 October 2018

Addiction is caused by exposure and physical and mental adaptation. Addiction is treatable; but some disorders have proved resistant to medications and psychological therapies. Focusing on cocaine use disorder (CUD), John Marsden will outline learning processes that underpin and maintain CUD and describe the rationale, procedures, preliminary evidence and implications of a novel cognitive therapy.

Smart Materials

Tue13
Nov

18:15

Smart Materials

Dr. Anna Ploszajski, University College London
18:15, Tuesday 13 November 2018

Smart materials allow solid objects to sense, adapt, morph and respond to their environment. Properties like shape and colour become transient upon changes like temperature, light levels, moisture, pressure or magnetism. Many examples of smart materials exist today, but their widespread adoption has been limited. In this talk, award-winning materials engineer Dr Anna Ploszajski will explore why these remarkable materials have proven so difficult to handle, and where we might expect to see them impact our lives in the future.

Mindreading and interpersonal attraction

Tue20
Nov

18:15

Mindreading and interpersonal attraction

Dr. Peter Mitchell, Nottingham University
18:15, Tuesday 20 November 2018

Most humans are good at mindreading, meaning that they are adept in interpreting signals in other's behavior to infer the cause of that behavior. The behavior in question has a proximal cause (an inner state, such as something the person is thinking), which in turn is related with a distal cause (an event in the world that triggered them to think of something in particular). The research I will present will demonstrate that people are surprisingly skilled at inferring the distal cause of others' behavior, suggesting by implication that they can infer others' inner states. Some people are easier to "read" than others. Recent evidence suggests that people who are easy to read also tend to be perceived as being likeable or interpersonally attractive.

Age-related changes in synaptic transmission during cognitive decline.

Tue27
Nov

18:15

Age-related changes in synaptic transmission during cognitive decline.

Dr. Stephen Brickley, Imperial College London
18:15, Tuesday 27 November 2018

Cognitive decline is considered an inevitable consequence of ageing with human brain-imaging studies suggesting that functional changes in connectivity underlies this decline. My laboratory is exploring the hypothesis that cognitive decline is caused by changes in the number and/or the strength of synaptic connections. I will briefly describe the longitudinal behavioural strategies we use to monitor changes in cognitive performance. I will then introduce the automated two-photon imaging and 3D tomography techniques we have developed to trace neuronal connections. Finally, I will discuss the feasibility of combining mGRASP (mammalian GFP reconstitution across synaptic partners) with optogenetics to reveal age-related differences in the synaptic weighting of defined neuronal projections. The aim of this work is to better understand the changes taking place in the brain that could explain the inevitable cognitive decline that is associated with ageing.

Molecules in space: our astrochemical origins

Tue04
Dec

18:15

Molecules in space: our astrochemical origins

Dr. Catherine Walsh, University of Leeds
18:15, Tuesday 4 December 2018

Molecules are found everywhere in space: in cold and dense clouds in the interstellar medium of galaxies, in planet-forming disks around young stars, and in the atmospheres of hot gas-giant exoplanets. The field of astrochemistry brings together astronomers, physicists, and chemists working on observations, theory, and experiments to increase our understanding of the chemistry that occurs under the extreme conditions in space, and to exploit the information contained within observations that can reveal the chemical, physical, and dynamical properties of astrophysical environments. In this talk I will describe how the origin of complexity seen in our Solar System and that has been exposed in the molecular inventory of comets, has its heritage in the exotic chemistry that happens in the coldest and most quiescent region in space, the interstellar medium. Along the way, I will present results from state-of-the-art space missions and telescopes that are uncovering our astrochemical origins.

Past Talks

Nature’s secret lubricants: From dinosaurs’ knee joints to artificial hip replacements.

Tue10
Oct

18:15

Nature’s secret lubricants: From dinosaurs’ knee joints to artificial hip replacements.

Dr Wuge Briscoe
18:15, Tuesday 10 October 2017

The remarkable ease with which some biological tissue surfaces glide over each other (e.g.in eye blinking and knee joints) has long puzzled and humbled us. The subject of friction and lubrication is as important and relevant today (e.g.in healthcare and industrial applications), as it was in antiquity (e.g. when ancient Egyptians transported stone statues). However, our fundamental understanding of the enigmatic mechanism for biolubrication remains limited.We have critically examined different biolubrication mechanisms, and proposed a hydration lubrication mechanism that points to the fluidity of water molecules as the key to unlock nature’s secret in lubrication.

The secret science of superheroes.

Tue17
Oct

18:15

The secret science of superheroes.

Mark Lorch
18:15, Tuesday 17 October 2017

Ever wondered what a superhero eats for breakfast? Do they need a special diet to feed their superpowers? The odd metabolisms of superheroes must mean they have strange dietary needs, from the high calorie diets to fuel flaming bodies and super speeds, to not so obvious requirements for vitamins and minerals. The Secret Science of Superheroes looks at the underpinning chemistry, physics and biology needed for their superpowers. Take a look at synthesising elements on demand, genetic evolution and what superhero suits could be made of. These topics introduce a wide range of scientific concepts, from protein chemistry to particle physics for a general scientifically interested audience.

Field Sports and Bedroom Sports the Answer.

Tue24
Oct

18:15

Field Sports and Bedroom Sports the Answer.

Jan Knight
18:15, Tuesday 24 October 2017

The talk will cover applications of the bioluminescent protein Pholasin® (derived from the rock boring mollusc Pholas dactylus) to the measurement of reactive oxygen species produced by activated leucocytes. We relate this activation in elite athletes to different states of fatigue, infection, inflammation, stress, anxiety and over training and when measuring leucocytes from urine identify very early sexually transmitted infections.

Careers Night.

Tue31
Oct

18:15

Careers Night.


18:15, Tuesday 31 October 2017

Various guest speakers, an informal evening before reading week. (Emily Weal – Patent Solicitor, Tom Macdonald - Fellow, Emily Gascoigne – Civil Servant, Dr. Fred Parrett - Chairman. - SCI London Group ).

Making replacement body parts in the lab.

Tue14
Nov

18:15

Making replacement body parts in the lab.

Dr. Nicholas Evans
18:15, Tuesday 14 November 2017

Sometimes we may get so ill or injured that tissues and organs need replacing completely. Surgeons may try and do this by transplanting tissue from one person to another, but often there simply aren’t enough replacement organs to go round. Scientists, like me, are trying to find out ways to grow replacement body parts in the lab or to stimulate the body to make its own replacement tissue. Come and find out how we’re trying to do this by using stem cells, drugs and biomaterials. Nick is an Associate Professor in Bioengineering at the University of Southampton. He completed a PhD at King's College London and then he worked as an MRC postdoctoral fellow at Imperial College researching embryonic stem cells. He now leads a research team at Southampton working on of stem cells and regenerative medicine, particularly bone and skin. He also hosts a science podcast called TheScienceShed with his friend Steve Lee (https://soundcloud.com/the-science-shed). When not doing science, he likes to play bass guitar and goes mountain biking in the dark. Also he plays piano badly, likes live music and enjoys a pint or two of real ale. www.evanslab.co.uk; @theevanslab

Visit to the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology.

Tue21
Nov

18:15

Visit to the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology.


18:15, Tuesday 21 November 2017

Join the CPS for their annual away day; this time hosted at the mysterious, magical and mummified Petrie museum! The Petrie museum houses one of the greatest collections of Egyptian and Sudanese archaeology in the world.It promises to host an evening you will never forget, housing around 80,000 objects. Whether you prefer to take in the fashion of the Taekhan or bead net dresses, or be awed by Akhenaten and the rays of the sun god Aten you won’t be disappointed. You’ll go potty for pottery when you see the beautiful objects from Meroë or the creepy skeletons inside the pot burials! A half an hour talk will be followed by a wine reception, giving you a chance to have a closer look at the artefacts!

Chemistry and Global Challenges.

Tue28
Nov

18:15

Chemistry and Global Challenges.

Prof. Richard Catlow FRS
18:15, Tuesday 28 November 2017

In his illustrious career, amongst other things Richard Catlow’s research has developed and applied computer models to solid state and materials chemistry — areas of chemistry that investigate the synthesis, structure and properties of materials in the solid phase. By combining his powerful computational methods with experiments, Richard has made considerable contributions to areas as diverse as catalysis and mineralogy. His approach has also advanced our understanding of how defects — missing or extra atoms — in the structure of solids can result in non-stoichiometric compounds. Such compounds have special electrical or chemical properties since their contributing elements are present in slightly different proportions to those predicted by chemical formula. Richard’s work has offered insight into mechanisms of industrial catalysts, especially involving microporous materials and metal oxides. In structural chemistry and mineralogy. Simulation

methods are now routinely used to predict the structures of complex solids and silicates, respectively, thanks to Richard’s demonstrations of their power. The combination of this research and his position as the Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society put Richard in an ideal position to talk to the CPS about chemistry and the global challenges facing the world today.

New Directions for Catalysts: Advanced Biofuels to Self-Healing Planes

Tue02
Oct

18:15

New Directions for Catalysts: Advanced Biofuels to Self-Healing Planes

Prof. Duncan Wass, University of Bristol.
18:15, Tuesday 2 October 2018

Catalysts are the technology at the heart of the majority of industrial chemical processes, their ability to selectively and efficiently convert simple chemical building blocks into more advanced materials being crucial in these processes. This lecture will present two new directions for catalysts from my research group. Firstly, the discovery of catalysts for the upgrading of simple alcohols such as (bio) methanol and ethanol into drop-in replacements for liquid fuels such as petrol will be described. We have extended this technology to be tolerant to real fermentation broths, using alcohols drinks such as beer as a model feedstock. Secondly, we have been working on the development of self-healing carbon fibre reinforced composite materials of the type widely used in aerospace applications. Again, catalysts are the technology at the heart of achieving new materials that can repair themselves with almost full recovery of mechanical properties.

Molecules of Murder

Tue09
Oct

18:15

Molecules of Murder

Dr. John Emsley, Science Writer.
18:15, Tuesday 9 October 2018

This talk is about the nefarious molecules with which murderers and assassins have carried out their crimes, hoping always to escape detection. Yet many such deadly molecules have long been known, and many were once widely used by doctors to treat diseases. Murders committed with them posed problems for those who would bring the murderers to justice, and chemists were to provide essential evidence. More recently, secret agents assumed that newer deadly poisons could not be detected, like that used to kill Georgi Markov in London in 1978, Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006, and Alexander Perepilichny in Weybridge in 2014. It was then up to forensic teams in the UK to discover what they had used.