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January 16th, 2017

The front foot of a male diving beetle.

Dear Readers,

I once had a professor ask me to predict what developments I might see in neurobiology during my lifetime. This assignment set my imagination on fire as I considered how quickly technology and thought have progressed, even within my small stack of years as witness. I outlined ideas for an intracellular camera that could record videos of brain activity at a very high magnification. Perhaps I had Osmosis Jones on the brain, but I’ve now seen video of live brain cells firing away in an intact, awake animal, and it nearly brought me to tears.

As I wonder about the future of 2017, I am eager to see how CRISPR, a brilliant gene-editing technology, infiltrates research and expands possibilities. Perhaps it can be used to cure the Zika virus. Perhaps scientists can use it to study the microbiome. Needless to say, let’s give a HUGE shout out to basic science research for the discovery of this useful system. We’ve pinned a great article for you in our Recommended Reading that highlights more important science stories to follow this year. 

This month on
Academia Under Trump by Lillian Perez
Under the Lens: Mason Fidino by Elsa Anderson
Putting the Citizens in Citizen Science by Cathy Lantz
Lab Girl Review by Elsa Anderson - our new column of science lit and media reviews. Check it out.

Take care,

Recommended Reading

What does the new year have in store for science
Step 1: teach it to a toddler. Step 2: review and simplify.
A breakthrough in understanding eukaryotic evolution.
RIP Vera Rubin, discoverer of dark matter.
The key to capturing your students’ attention is in those first 10 minutes.
Northerly Island: Pokemon sanctuary and bird paradise.
Like Google but for grants.
Why babies should be eating peanut butter.
Keeping tabs on Tillerson: “Climate change is real, but…
The tranquil and toxic river you have to see to believe.

Under the Lens

Mason Fidino

"I realized that my passion was really with wildlife."

Read our interview with Mason on our website.
Who should we interview? Email us at

Podcast Picks

A must listen psychological thriller from Gimlet media! Tune in to find out why Heidi Bergman, a counselor for soldiers returning from war, has left her past and Homecoming behind. What, or who, is she hiding from? Binge-worthy.

Before Obama’s Farewell, Looking Back at his Speeches
Staying well informed can feel like a daunting task in today’s rapidly changing world. 1947: The Meet the Press Podcast takes a look back on Obama’s most memorable speeches. Reflect on this historic presidency as it comes to a close.
Episode 56: Getting Unstuck
New year, new you? As we begin 2017 many of us are reflecting and evaluating. In this episode host Shankar Vedantum delves into stories of people offering uncommon advice in the face of unrest. Listen in to be inspired.

Supplemental Figure


Shoutouts to...

Elsa Anderson, congratulations on your paper in Urban Forestry & Urban Greening!

Megan Garfinkel, you passed her prelim! Hold on tight, you’re about to kick it into the next gear.

Stephanie Chancellor, you just got back from Australia, collecting data on Octopolis. Is it really true that octopuses are environmental engineers? We need to hear more about this… please share pics!

Dr. Rachel Brunner, congratulations on your defense!

Dr. Joel Brown, you've retired and are livin' the good life as Professor Emeritus. We're glad you're not leaving us just yet...

It’s party time for our readers born in January- Leo Venegas, Mike Ricketts, Braulio Rodriguez, Suzanne Harrison, Stephanie O’Neil, and Steven Hughes. New year, new you!

Go on, brag a little. Send us your rockstar moments of the month at



1.17 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace Breakfast @ UIC Forum

1.23 The Reform of American Government: Limits and Challenges for President Trump's Administration @ SCE

1.23-27 Try It Free Week @ UIC Rec Center

1.25 UIC Chicago Bulls Outing @ United Center

1.26 LOL @UIC feat. Leslie Jones @ UIC Forum

2.1 2017 Black History Month Kick Off- A Conversation with Issa Rae @ SCE

2.2 Resume and Cover Letter Workshop @ SCEd

2.3 Leadership Development Workshop @ COMRB [*highly recommended*]

2.8 Campus Conversation: Can we imagine a more just future? @ SCE

2.9 Constructing, Administering, and Scoring Tests @ Daley Library

2.15 Enhancing our Capacity to Teach All Learners @ Daley Library


1.16 Free Admission Day! @ The Field Museum

1.18 Hidden Figures Movie Takeover @ AMC Block 37 - go see this!

        If Our Bodies Could Talk @ MATTER

1.19 Adler After Dark: Retrorocket @ Adler Planetarium

1.28-29 Devil Hack 1.00 @ Warren Township High School

             Free Admission Days @ The Field Museum *through February*

1.30 Environmental Industry Night @ Pint
2.3 Adler After Dark: Family Edition @ Adler Planetarium

2.7 Sexy Stems: Aphrodisiac Plants that Cause Love to Bloom @ The Radler

Share your event here and on our calendar.

Do some good.

This Saturday, January 21st, we are taking to the streets for the Women's March on Chicago. This is a homegrown event that we are proud to support. Politics aside, if you believe in equal rights, join us! Don't forget to register to help organizers plan for the crowd. Meet you at Jackson and LSD.

We’re back with a bang and a fresh 2017 planner. 

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The Science Café is made available through the Biology Graduate Students Association (BGSA) at the University of Illinois at Chicago. All copyrights to original content in the newsletter are owned by the individuals listed as authors.

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