GMOs and Transgenic Organisms – Threat or Opportunity?

Join us on Monday, April 2, for a panel discussion of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).  GMO crops have increased globally from 4 acres in 1996 to over 400 acres in 2016, but this rapid increase has slowed considerably in the last two years.  Part of this slowing trend is saturation (more than 90% of the soy and cotton grown in the US is genetically engineered), part is legislation (many countries strictly limit transgenic organisms)  Until recently, it required expensive research infrastructure and expertise to genetically modify organisms.  But in 2015 a new technique, CRISPR, emerged that can make genetic modification child’s play.  Monsanto obtained the first license to use CRISPR to modify crops in 2016.  How will CRISPR change how we make and use GMOs?  Will CRISPR spark a renewed increase in GMOs?  What are the ecological and health implications of GMOs and CRISPR?   Bring your questions to our panel experts.


  • Dr. Alejandro Calderón-Urrea (Plant Developmental Biologist; Dept. Biology; California State University Fresno)
  • Dr. John Constable (Plant Physiologist; Dept. Biology; California State University Fresno)
  • Dr. Jorge M. González (Entomologist; Dept. Plant Sciences; California State University Fresno)
  • Dr. Chris Meyer (Biochemist; Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics; California State University Fresno)
  • Dr. Tricia Van Laar (Microbiologist; Dept. Biology; California State University Fresno)

Where: Santa Fe Basque3110 N. Maroa Ave., Fresno, CA

When: April 2, 2018, at 7:00 PM (Arrive early for dinner!)image


Divided to Death: A Psychological Account of the American Political Rift

Please join us Monday March 5, 2018, at 7 pm for a seminar presented by Dr. Spee Kosloff, an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Fresno State. Dr. Kosloff will examine motivational factors at the heart of the ever-expanding political rift in contemporary American society. At the center of this discussion is a common denominator that creates uncanny degrees of anxiety and division: the fear mortality. Research on terror management theory suggests that unconscious concerns with death motivate individuals to cling to their ideologies – much as children cling to security blankets. At times of major existential insecurity, entire societies can thus be rendered intensely politically polarized. The psychological instability created by 9/11 set in motion a sequence of events beginning with unified national identity, and followed by divisive political chaos that persists today. Dr. Kosloff will review historical and laboratory evidence relevant to these phenomena, and examine whether realistic conscious acknowledgement of death anxiety may ameliorate aversive trends in our socio-political landscape.

Who: Dr. Spee Kosloff

When: Monday, March 5, 2018 at 7 pm

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


Too hot ta trot: What breaks when animals get too hot?

Please join us Monday, February 5, 2018 for our next installment of Cafe Scientifique.

Why do animals die when they get too hot?  Despite the fact that high temperatures kill all living things, the traits most responsible for loss of function at high temperature are a mystery.   That said, scientists have lots of ideas.   Dr. Rory Telemeco, a new assistant professor of biology at Fresno State, will tell us about the leading ideas for why high temperatures hurt animals, and the research that he and other scientists are doing to test these ideas.   He will also take you behind the scenes of the ‘gentleman’s debate’ currently raging over these ideas within the scientific community.  As environments warm because of habitat alteration and climate change, the species that are winners and losers could largely be determined by how well they tolerate higher temperatures.  Only by knowing the traits first affected by high temperatures, can we predict the consequences of new environmental temperatures on species.

Who: Dr. Rory Telemeco

When: Monday, February 5, 2018, 7:00PM

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