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"Gnashing, Gnawing, and Grinding: The Science of Teeth" - An Interview with Tesla Monson of UC Berkeley

by Shoshana Harlem, Terra Linda High School

Dr. Tesla Monson studies mammals, especially their skulls and teeth. She is a researcher at UC Berkeley and has a BA in cultural anthropology, an MA in biological anthropology, and PhD in Integrative Biology. 

1. What made you want to study mammals?
Growing up in Washington State, I was always really interested in biological life, and particularly animals and plants. When I first learned about Paleolithic cave art in my undergraduate anthropology class, which is some of the oldest and most beautiful art, dated to more than 30,000 years ago, I became fascinated with the seemingly timeless question, "What makes us human?", "What makes me, me?, "What makes humans unique from other animals?" And "What makes non-human animals different from each other?" Because these questions are focused on trying to place humans within the context of evolution and life on this planet, and because humans are mammals, I have been …
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"Wild Worms and Mineral Mosaics" - An Interview with Jennifer Runyan of the Lawrence Hall of Science

by Shoshana Harlem, Terra Linda High School

Jennifer Runyan is a Science Communication Fellow and works for the Ocean Exploration Trust. She received BS in Marine Biology and an Environmental Studies degree. She explores the organisms and nutrients in the ocean and has went to many places such as the Gulf of California.

1. What made you want to study hypothermal vent communities?

I applied for a Science Communication Fellowship to be able to learn new ways to communicate science and thought exploring the deep sea and hypothermal vents would be a great way to go.

2.  What are the best parts of your job?

Working with people from diverse backgrounds and responsibilities on the ship, from video engineers, Remotely Operated Vehicle pilots, to the scientists.

3. What are the worst parts of your job?

The late night watch shifts can be a bit challenging for me to stay up for!

4. What organisms and nutrients do you find deep down in the ocean?

We have found many organisms from various types of …

"The Fountain of Youth" - An Interview with Chong He of the Buck Institute, Novato

by Shoshana Harlem, Terra Linda High School

Dr. Chong He works at the Buck Institute in Novato. She received a PhD in Chemistry at Peking University. She studies the lifespan of worms and yeasts and solutions in how to improve their lifespan. One of her most recent discoveries was that ibuprofen can help yeasts and worms live a longer life.

1.       What made you want to study diseases and medicine? My parents are medical doctors. My mom specializes in internal medicine and my dad is a surgeon. Growing up in a medical doctor environment, I became very interested in how the human body works. And that's why I decided to study medicine and aging.

2.       What are the best parts of your job?
The best part of my job is that I can get to find answers to questions that no one else in the world knows how to solve. I get to be the first one in the world who can make discoveries to prove my hypothesis. This makes me feel very special.
3.       What are the worst parts of your job?
There are mor…

January - March 2018 at Marin Science Seminar

Marin Science Seminar starts up again January 17th. Join us this semester for Wild Worms, Exoplanets, The Fountain of Youth and more. Join us and learn! :) 


17: "Wild Worms and Mineral Mosaics: A glimpse into hydrothermal vent communities" with Jennifer Runyan of the Lawrence Hall of Science

24: "Exoplanets" with Warren Wiscombe of NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center

31: "The Fountain of Youth: Is it a Myth?" with Chong He of the Buck Institute


28: "Gnashing, Gnawing, and Grinding: The Science of Teeth" with Tesla Monson of UC Berkeley


7: "The Marin Wildlife Picture Index Project" with Lisette Arellano of One Tam and Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy

28: "Name that Bloodsucker!" with Eric Engh of Marin-Sonoma Mosquito Vector

Flooded by Science and Sea Water: China Camp Sea Level Rise

Local Science for Teens & Community this Wed. 11/8 at Marin Science Seminar:

Flooded by Science and Seawater:  King Tides and What they Can Tell us about Sea Level Rise at China Camp State Park
with Sarah Ferner of SF Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve - a program of NOAA and SFSU Wednesday, November 8th, 2017 7:30 - 8:30 pm Terra Linda High School, 320 Nova Albion, San Rafael - ROOM 207
The tidal marshes at China Camp State Park play a key role in helping scientists understand how marshes respond to sea level rise and how we can continue to protect them. In this talk, we will hear about what scientists have learned so far and how they are learning more through research right here in Marin. 
Sarah Ferner develops, leads, and teaches education programs for NOAA’s National Estuarine Research Reserve System in San Francisco Bay. As the Reserve’s first Education Coordinator, her job tasks are diverse - ranging from w…

"When Parasites Kill" - An Interview With Stephanie Rasmussen, M.S.

By Rachael Metzger, Marin Science Seminar Intern 
Stephanie Rasmussen holds aBachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and a Master’s degree in Biology from Dominican University of California and is coming to Marin Science Seminar Wednesday, October 18th, 2017 to speak about her research on malaria in Uganda.
Stephanie Rasmussen first became interested in biology as a high school student, but it was not until her freshman year of college that she learned what research was and thus realized her passion. Research sparked her fascination with lab work, which allowed her to test biological theories in a lab. Rasmussen decided to study biochemistry because she wanted to "have a deeper understanding of why different reactions happen inside cells to make them work correctly,” as well as to “help scientists, doctors, and other health professionals understand how and why different diseases make people sick.”
As a sophomore in college, Rasmussen worked in her graduate student advisor’s malaria la…

"Cyborgs! The Not-so-distant Future of Human-Machine Integration" Interview with Dr. Nuria Vendrell-Llopis

By Rachael Metzger - Marin Science Seminar Intern 
Dr. Nuria Vendrell-Llopis, a Postsdoctoral Fellow at UC Berkeley's Brain-Machine Interface Systems Laboratory with a Master in Telecommunications Engineering specializing in Electronics from the Universitat Politecnica de Valencia, Spain, and a PhD in Biomedical Science, specializing in Cognitive and Molecular Neuroscience from KU Leuven, Belgium, spoke to Marin Science Seminar about her work with cyborgs.

How did you first become interested in Telecommunications Engineering and Biomedical Science?

“I was a kid when my brother got the first computer in the house and I was amazed by it. I wanted to understand how it worked. At that moment in time I thought computers were (or soon would be) way smarter than humans. With time I focused more of my attention in electronics and signal processing so I started my Telecommunications degree in college. Believe it or not, back then I hated anything that had to do with biology. Computers were …