Cell-to-cell Communication

Please join us Monday June 5 for an interesting discussion on cell-to-cell communication.  Our speaker for the night will be Dr. Karine Gousset, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at Fresno State.

Cell-to-cell communication is vital for multicellular organisms. In order for our body to function properly, you need cells to talk to each other and to share signals and material. Without cell-to-cell communication, processes such as the remodeling of tissues and organs, developmental differentiation, growth, cell division, and responses to stimuli couldn’t take place. Our research is focused on the study and characterization of tunneling nanotubes (TNTs), a type of long distance intercellular connections. These bridges between cells have been implicated in the spreading of viruses (e.g., HIV), misfolded protein aggregates that lead to neurodegenerative diseases (e.g., Prions and Amyloid β), and the chemoresistance of cancer. Our work focused on understanding the mechanism of formation of these tubular structures. It is important, since a better characterization of both the formation and the signaling pathways necessary to induce these tubular structures, may provide important insights, and eventually lead to the development of novel therapeutics, to improve neuroprotection against prion or other proteopathies as well as against the persistence of HIV-1 infection or the chemoresistance of cancer.

Who: Dr. Karine Gousset

When: June 5, 2017 at 7:00PM

Where: Santa Fe Basque, 3110 N. Maroa Ave., Fresno, CA


Brain Disorders? – A Discussion of Mental, Neurological and Substance Use Disorders.


Join us Monday, May 1, at 7:00PM for a discussion of brain disorders with two professors from Fresno State.  Dr. David Lent (Department of Biology) and Dr. Jennifer Isom Schmidtke (Department of Psychology) will be leading the discussion.

More than 50 million adults in the U.S. suffer from diagnosable brain dysfunction. Mental, neurological and substance use disorders are broad range of disorders that have complex origins integrating genetic, biological, psychological, behavioral, and social factors. These disorders share many common elements and should be grouped together. They all owe symptoms and impairment to some degree of brain dysfunction. A range of social determinants influences the risk of developing one of these disorders and significantly impact the outcome. Additionally, they all share a woefully inadequate response from health care systems worldwide.

The brain is a wonderful machine with more than 100 billion neurons and 1000 trillion connections. Its functional systems are very organized and there are specific, highly regulated, neural circuits involved in emotion, motivation, perception, learning, cognition and social behaviors. The brain is a highly plastic system and our experiences, behaviors, and learning result in its continual rewiring and changing expression of genes. Understanding how and why the circuitry in the brain malfunctions is not a trivial task.   In an effort to create an open dialogue on mental, neurological and substance use disorders we will discuss topics such as the socio-economic factors, stigma, behavioral elements, and the biological underpinnings of these complex brain circuit disorders.

When: May 1, 2017 at 7:00PM

Where: Santa Fe Basque, 3110 N. Maroa Ave., Fresno, CA


Antibody Immunotherapy – Does the science match the hype?

Please join us Monday, April 3, 2017, at 7:00PM for our next Cafe Sci presentation. Dr. Cory Brooks, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, will be discussing advances in the field of antibodies as disease therapy. This was the talk Dr. Brooks intended to give in February.

At the end of the 19th century German physician Paul Ehrlich dreamed of a “magic bullet” that would specifically destroy disease without harming the body. More recently, scientists have harnessed the incredible ability of the immune system to destroy disease, using monoclonal antibodies, proteins that bind and destroy disease. In 1986, the first monoclonal antibody was approved for human treatment, making Dr. Ehrlich’s dream a reality. With over 70 billion dollars in annual sales, 62 monoclonal antibodies on the market, and many hundreds in clinical trials for the treatment of everything from arthritis to cancer, we are on the cusp of a new era of antibody-based immunotherapy. This talk will explore what basic research can tell us about the promise and flaws of antibody therapy.

Who: Dr. Cory Brooks

When: April 3, 2017 at 7:00PM

Where: Santa Fe Basque, 3110 N. Maroa Ave., Fresno, CA

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