TACNY Jr. Cafe Scientifique
February 17 – The Earth History of Oxygen
Speaker: Zunli Lu, PhD, Associate Professor, Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Earth Sciences, Syracuse University
Overview: Oxygen is an essential gas for many life forms on Earth today, but it did not exist in the atmosphere during early episodes of Earth history. Geochemists invested great amount of effort to study how trace level of oxygen first appeared at about 2 billion years ago and then rose to its concentration of modern atmosphere. Even when the atmosphere was rich in oxygen, global oceans experienced catastrophic oxygen losses in the last 100 million years. Last but not least, on-going global climate change and nutrient pollution are leading to the expansion of marine dead-zones and more frequent hypoxia. This talk will explore the Earth history of oxygen, addressing causes and evidences for changes in oxygen levels.
Biography: Zunli has been with Syracuse University since 2011 after obtaining his PhD at University of Rochester and completing post-doctoral research at University of Oxford (England). He is interested in using chemical analyses and computer simulations to solve puzzles in the Earth system at different time scales. He is in charge of a clean lab and mass spectrometer to measure trace elements in water, rock and fossil samples. Climate change and oceanography are his main areas of teaching at SU.
March 17 – Digging Up the Past with Archaeology
Speaker: Andrea Zlotucha Kozub, MA, Project Director, Public Archaeology Facility, Binghamton University
Overview: Look around your house. What objects do you see? Are they tools? Toys? Decoration? Waste? Those objects are called “artifacts” in the social science of archaeology and they can be used to tell the story of your life. Archaeologists learn how people lived in the past by studying their artifacts. These artifacts are usually buried in the ground and are found by digging. Join us to hear how Andrea Zlotucha Kozub digs through the past at archaeological sites in our region and beyond. Then think about what a future archaeologist could learn about you, or your family, or kids in Syracuse by studying the artifacts you have in your own house!
Biography: Andrea Zlotucha Kozub is a Project Director at the Public Archaeology Facility (PAF) in Binghamton, specializing in the analysis of archaeological animal bones (also known as zooarchaeology or faunal analysis). PAF is a research center of Binghamton University focusing on the preservation of archaeological resources that may be damaged by development. Her earliest work as an archaeologist included volunteering at a Paleolithic site in England and at the site of a 19th century African American schoolhouse in Boston. After finishing her Master’s Degree in Anthropology from Binghamton University, Zlotucha Kozub had temporary positions as an archaeologist in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, adjunct faculty at Cazenovia College, and co-instructor of Binghamton University’s archaeological field school. In 2001, she joined PAF as a Project Director. This position has taken her to dig sites across New York that date from the Paleoindian period to the early 20th century, and afforded opportunities to publish research on topics including: 19th century healthcare; the archaeological “footprint” of pig pens on historic farms; and the lived experience of an Irish immigrant family working for Cornell University founder, Ezra Cornell. Her current research interests include 19th century meat butchering and evidence for prehistoric use/consumption of frogs. Zlotucha Kozub has presented these and other archaeological topics to school groups and adult organizations, and is the co-leader of PAF’s Community Archaeology Program (CAP) summer archaeology camp for teens. She also works as an architectural historian with Renaissance Studio of Syracuse, which dovetails her own work in historic preservation with interests she shares with her architect husband.
April 21 – The Superpower of STEM Cells
Speaker: Zhen Ma, PhD, Assistant Professor, Samuel and Carol Research Scholar, Department of Biomedical & Chemical Engineering, Syracuse Biomaterials Institute, Syracuse University
Overview: A cell is the minimal unit of life. Your life is made up of all kinds of different cells. Most of these cells have a very specific role. But there is one kind of cells, which can transform into other cells. We call them “Stem Cells”. Their superpower not only helps us understand how life begins, but also heals the injuries and fights the diseases.
Biography: Zhen Ma is an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical & Chemical Engineering at Syracuse University. His research focuses on engineering stem cells to study and treat human heart diseases. He obtained his PhD degree in Bioengineering at Clemson University, and spent four years at Bay Area as a postdoctoral fellow at University of California, Berkeley. He came to Syracuse University in the Fall of 2016, and established his “System Tissue Engineering and Morphogenesis (STEM) Lab” at Syracuse Biomaterials Institute.
May 19 – Engineering the Human Machine
Speaker: Douglas Yung, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering, Syracuse University
Overview: The human body is often viewed as a sophisticated machine. Brain is like a big circuit, heart and lungs are like a pump. With malfunctioning machines, one can easily take things apart, fix and replace the broken components. But how can we
diagnose and treat butterflies in stomach, brain freeze, water on the knee, Charley horse, and the like? Come join Dr. Yung to learn about ways to engineer our human machine!
Biography: Douglas Yung is an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering at Syracuse University. He pursued a pre-medical curriculum and received BSc in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics/Applied Science from UCLA, and PhD in Bioengineering from the California Institute of Technology. He was awarded the NASA Postdoctoral Fellowship and conducted research at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He is interested in deploying microorganisms as little yet powerful machines. He joined Syracuse in 2016 and acts as the program director for the bioengineering undergraduate program.
June 16 – Below the Surface: The Fisheries of Onondaga Lake
Speaker: Anne Burnham, MS, Biologist, Parsons Corporation
Overview: Ever wonder what might be swimming just beneath the surface of your local lakes and streams? Whether you are swimming in your local water bodies or recreating along the shores of Onondaga Lake, there is a whole world living just below the surface. Join us on June 16 to explore the aquatic life of Onondaga Lake, and learn about its amazing story of recovery.
Biography: Anne Burnham is a Biologist with Parsons, Corporation in Syracuse, NY. A Massachusetts native, she earned her B.S. in Biology and B.A in Environmental Studies at Saint Michael’s College in Burlington, Vermont in 2013. She then went on to complete her Masters of Science in Ecology from SUNY Environmental Science in the Fall of 2015. While at ESF, her research focused on the use of fish communities in the biomonitoring of freshwater streams throughout New York State. She joined Parsons Corporation in the spring of 2015, where she has helped to develop and implement the long-term monitoring plan for Onondaga Lake. She specializes in fisheries, helping to monitor the community dynamics and mercury cycling in the lake.