Nerd Nite v.30

2017 is flying by! It’s our last standard Nerd Nite of the year, and we have a doozy for you. Let’s end this year with beer and science in our brains!

Where: The Fox Cabaret

When: Wednesday November 22nd; Doors @ 7

Tickets: Eventbrite


1. Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing

Dr. Bill Gibson

Tonight he’ll be talking about the DNA testing you can get on yourself, without having trouble your poor, overworked family doc! Ever wanted to know if you are a carrier of Bloom syndrome, or what evil lurks in your gut microbiome, a.k.a. your poop? This talk will tell you how to find out. Because it’s sort of personalized medicine, or personalized sort-of medicine, individual results may vary.

Bio: Dr. William Gibson did not write Neuromancer, Johnny Mnemonic or The Peripheral. (Maybe try the Vancouver Writer’s Fest?) Anyway, our Nerd Nite guest did discover a whole genetic disease, and made sure the PhD student got top billing to boot! Check out “Cohen-Gibson syndrome” at Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man. Usually he works at the Provincial Medical Genetics Program and tries to solve other genetic and epigenetic diseases, including overgrowth, diabetes, lupus and brain aneurysms. Occasionally he messes up Canadian history in podcast format.

2. WTF is Science Illustration

Jen Burgess

Science and art have been fundamentally linked throughout history, but these days, artists and scientists seem to have retreated into separate camps. What happened? Science and art still need each other, and science illustrators are here to bridge the gap. Yet many people aren’t aware this career path, or this professional service, exists. What kind of training do science illustrators receive (or need to pursue)? How can illustrations help make modern science more accessible? When is an illustration preferable to a photograph? How can a scientist find an illustrator? What’s the process like of working together? Let’s answer some of these questions and navigate some familiar themes as we explore how science and art can relearn to coexist in the modern era.

Jen Burgess is a freelance scientific illustrator based in Vancouver. She has a unique confluence of background and skill sets that suit her incredibly niche career choice, including but not limited to: a BSc in geography from the University of Victoria (with upper-level biology electives), formal training in fine art techniques from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, and training as a California naturalist at University of California Santa Cruz. All this lead up to her pursuit of a graduate certificate in science illustration at California State University Monterey Bay in 2015. She threw herself into this program wholeheartedly and has been freelancing at home in Vancouver ever since. Not-so-coincidentally, on November 24 Jen will be having an art opening at Creative Coworkers from 5-8pm; more details in the talk.

(Twitter: @jenburgessart)

3.  “Genetic Counselling”

Kennedy Borle

This talk is to spread awareness about the field of genetic counselling, which not so coincidentally falls within Genetic Counselling Awareness Week! When you think of “genetic counselling” maybe your brain feels overwhelmed because those words together seem like an oxymoron. Maybe you immediately think of Gattaca and are weary and a little bit excited, or maybe you’re just outright confused because you’ve never heard of genetic counselling. We will be talking about what genetic counselling is, clearing up misconceptions about genetics and genetic counselling, discussing situations where genetic counsellors are important, and spreading awareness about the wonderful and ever expanding field.

Bio: Kennedy Borle, Stephanie Chieffo, Vanessa Di Gioacchino, Cara Inglese, Jill Madden, and Eugene Wong are the 2018 graduating class of UBC’s Masters of Genetic Counselling Program. In addition to being the six best friends that anyone could ever have, they are hard working graduate students with a passion for genetics and making a difference in the lives of patients and their families.

Photos by: Stephanie Chan

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