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First Draft

“Science on Tap” Gives Research a Buzz

By Sala Levin ’10

Science on Tap

Illustration by Matt Laumann

Illustration by Matt Laumann

Now on the menu at local performance venue and restaurant MilkBoy ArtHouse: science, with a side of bar snacks.

Since February, the monthly “Science on Tap” series—a joint offering from the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center’s Artist Partner Program and the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences—has made scientific research as digestible as a pint of beer to scientists and lay audiences alike by having researchers present their work in an informal, non-academic setting.

“It’s a good way for faculty members to practice communicating science to a lay audience—to connect to the community,” says Kan Cao, associate professor of cell biology and molecular genetics, who presented recently with the goal of conveying that her work is “actually useful for everyday life, for general health.”

Cao’s work on a cure for the rare genetic disease Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (known as progeria), in which children age prematurely, turned up an unexpected finding—that the chemical methylene blue has an anti-aging effect on skin. Cao presented on “the progression from bench to application”—including her pending patent on a cosmetic skin care product that uses the chemical.

The hour-long talks, typically attended by as many as 100 people, represent a melding of disciplines on different ends of the academic spectrum, says Megan Pagado Wells, associate director of the Artist Partner Program.

MilkBoy ArtHouse, a collaboration between Philadelphia entertainment company MilkBoy and The Clarice, often hosts more artistic endeavors. “It’s really great to be able to support the work of colleagues across campus—not just in the arts—by providing space for them at arts venues like MilkBoy ArtHouse.”

The next installment of Science on Tap will be held at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow, featuring "The Silence of the Frogs: Emerging Infectious Disease & Amphibian Extinctions" by biology Professor Karen Lips. Doors open at 5:30. Register here.



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