UA Science Cafes

Discover the fascinating science happening all around us at a Science Café series this Spring 2015, brought to you by UA Science. A Science Café brings the community together with a UA scientist in a casual setting. You’ll learn about the latest research, get to know the people doing science, and have the opportunity to ask lots of questions. We have four separate series at different locations this fall, all with their own themes for fascinating science discussions. Come join the conversation!


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Downtown Science Café (Magpie’s Gourmet Pizza)
From the UA School of Mind, Brain and Behavior
The “Science of Sleep” will be the theme for the Downtown Science Café series this Spring 2015.  In our busy modern lives, we sometimes cut back on sleep, or find it hard to get to sleep or stay asleep.  Yet we read about one scientific study after another showing how important it is to get enough sleep – for our physical health, for our mental health, for our ability to learn and grow.  Researchers in the UA School of Mind, Brain, and Behavior in the College of Science are studying many aspects of sleep and learning more about how it affects us and how to make sure we sleep enough.  Join us for this fascinating exploration of the Science of Sleep!

Magpie’s Gourmet Pizza
605 N. 4th Ave., Tucson, AZ 85705
520-628-1661 ·

  • Tuesday, January 20, 6:00pm
    Presenter: Jamie Edgin
    Title:  To Sleep, Perchance To Learn – How Sleep Influences Developmental Disorders
    This Science Café talk will discuss sleep disruption—an under-recognized, but important factor that may influence cognitive outcomes in children with developmental disorders. Dr. Edgin will highlight several studies conducted in his lab that demonstrate links between sleep quality and skills like language and flexible-thinking in children with Down syndrome and autism spectrum disorders. Understanding the mechanisms underlying these associations might suggest relatively simple interventions for improving cognitive function, including new treatments that could be developed with emerging knowledge from the cognitive neuroscience of sleep. 
  • Tuesday, February 17, 6:00pm
    Presenter: David Sbarra
    Title:  Divorce, Lonely Days, and Restless Nights
    Dr. Sbarra will discuss the latest research linking psychological stress with disrupted sleep. Most people know that sleep is a quintessential health behavior that has positive effects on nearly every major system of our body. When we sleep better we feel better, and we’re better able to handle life’s many day-to-day stressors. What happens to our sleep when we face periods of more chronic stress?  Dr. Sbarra’s results from two studies of adults coping with recent, stressful marital separation will shed light on this question. He will discuss the implications of these findings as well as ways to promote better sleep during periods of relationship transition.
  • Tuesday, March 17, 6:00pm
    Presenter: Fiona Bailey
    Title:  When Guardians of the Airway Fail - Why Snoring is so Bad for your Health
    Dr. Bailey studies the muscles in the upper airway that regulate airway opening during sleep.  When those muscles aren’t working properly, they can cause snoring, obstructive sleep apnea, and hypertension.  She will discuss her research and remedies.
  • Tuesday, April 21, 6:00pm
    Presenter: Rebecca Gomez
    Title:  Why Young Children Need Sleep to Learn
    It seems as if sleep has taken the world by storm. Not a week goes by that a new finding is not reported in the media regarding the health or cognitive consequences of good and poor sleep. Dr. Gomez will discuss her research investigating the role of sleep in newly formed memories for infants, toddlers, and preschool children. Sleep is essential for learning and brain development, and in young children naps may be as important as learning time.
  • Tuesday, May 19, 6:00pm
    Presenter: Tricia Haynes
    Title:  Stress, Sleep, and our Daily Routine
    Dr. Haynes studies the ways in which stressful life events influence our sleep and daily routine. She is also interested in how changes in sleep and social rhythms influence our emotional and physical health.  Through her research, Dr. Haynes seeks to better understand how our biological clock responds to major changes in our daily routine and ways that we can create a consistent daily routine to foster emotional and physical health.


Borderlands Brewing Science Café  
The Science Café series at Borderlands Brewing, in downtown Tucson features Carson Scholars, graduate students who are selected by the UA Institute of the Environment. Their research focuses on environmentally related science and solutions. 

Borderlands Brewing Co.
119 E. Toole Ave. Tucson, AZ 85701
520-261-8773 ·

  • Thursday, Jan. 8, 6:00pm
    Presenter: Brunno Cerozi
    Title: A fish out of water: Is growing fish in the desert the key to sustainable food production
    Modern plant breeding, improved agronomy, and the development of inorganic fertilizers and modern pesticides have fueled crucial advances in food production.  These advances have practically eliminated the threat of global starvation in the last century. But the indiscriminate overuse of water and fertilizers in agriculture has led to several environmental concerns. Today, we face prospects of an emerging food crisis due to a rising world population that wants to eat more high-quality food and a climate system that is diminishing harvests in many areas. Learn how aquaponics, a closed-loop system that integrates aquaculture with agriculture and combines nutrient and water recycling, can be the key for the long-term future of food production.
  • Thursday, Feb. 12, 6:00pm
    Presenter: Niki vonHedemann
    Title: Can money grow on trees? Exploring Guatemala's forestry incentive programs
    Payments for ecosystem services programs are a rapidly growing conservation tool intended to increase environmental protection through financial valuation of ecosystems. In Latin America, many of these programs also aim to help alleviate rural poverty, although little is known about their success.  Learn about the impact that Guatemala’s forestry incentive programs have made on rural livelihoods and highland forest landscapes.
  • Thursday, March 12, 6:00pm
    Presenter: Gloria Jimenez
    Title: Taking the ocean's temperature:  A corals'-eye view of El Niño
    In the Southwest, we think El Niño and we think rain… but El Niño is truly a global phenomenon, with major and varied impacts on climate and human livelihoods around the world. This talk will go to the heart of El Niño, the Galápagos Islands, where we detect El Niño’s pulse in corals, piece together its history, and look towards its future. 
  • Thursday, April 9, 6:00pm
    Presenter: Sarah Kelly-Richards
    Title:  Growing dark leafy greens and resilience in Tucson's school gardens
    Across the country, there is growing enthusiasm for integrating gardens into public school education, yet how to best incorporate gardens remains debated. While it may be surprising to those unfamiliar with the Sonoran desert, school gardens throughout Tucson are flourishing. Carson scholar Sarah Kelly-Richards shares how gardens are being used as educational tools to meet curriculum needs, to include many different types of learners, and to help build community resilience. 

Tumamoc Lecture Series
The Tumamoc Hill Lecture Series provides speakers on topics that relate to the science, history, archeology, and educational mission of Tumamoc Hill. Not everyone knows Tumamoc Hill even though it rises just west of downtown. South of “A” Mountain (Sentinel Peak).

Lectures are held in the library of the old Desert Laboratory, roughly half-way up the Hill. You can’t drive up Tumamoc Hill, but you can walk up and there is a shuttle provided for the lectures. Please make a reservation for the lecture series so they can prepare for the right number of people, just send an email to or call 520-629-9455.

Off West Anklam Rd., just west of North Silverbell Rd.

  • Tuesday, February  10, 6:00pm
    Presenter: Melanie Culver, Assistant Professor, Wildlife and Fisheries science, University of Arizona
    Title: Genetic Connectivity for Southwestern Puma Populations
    What effect does the man-made environment have on the breeding and survival of the puma populations in our area? My recent research concentrates on the impacts of roads, highways, freeways and other features of the built environment on pumas.
  • Tuesday, March 10, 6:00pm
    Presenter: Matt Goode, Research Scientist, Wildlife Conservation and Management, University of Arizona School of Natural Resources & Environment
    Title: Living with Rattlesnakes: Reconciliation through Science and Education
    Tucsonans frequently encounter several species of rattlesnakes, but people fear them and know little about them. In fact, rattlesnakes are common in and around Tucson, persisting in semi-natural habitat fragments and sharing spaces with humans in the built environment. We are working to learn more about the behavior and ecology of rattlesnakes living among people. Amazing stuff!
  • Tuesday, April 7, 6:00pm
    Presenter: Jonathan Horst , Restoration Biologist, Tucson Audubon Society
    Title: At Home with Birds in Our Urban Desert: Reconciliation Ecology of Cavity-nesters
    Cavity-nesting bird species are retreating to the edges of Tucson’s urban/suburban environment. Tucson Bird Count data show that. There just are not enough nesting cavities. In a series of experiments,  the Tucson Audubon Society is trying to find out how we humans can best build up the number of nest cavities in our neighborhoods and welcome these birds back into the places in which we live.

SaddleBrooke Lecture Series

Please note, this series begins at 6:30 pm, unlike the other (3) venues
 “The Science of Speech, Language & Hearing” is the theme for the  College of Science Lectures Series at Saddlebrook, this Spring 2015.  The University of Arizona is a leader in the health sciences including research on language, hearing and speech. Please join us as we explore how the brain processes language, how to better understand age-related hearing loss and how your voice changes with age.   

SaddleBrooke ·
Desert View Performing Arts Center
39900 Clubhouse Drive, Oro Valley, AZ

  • Wednesday, February 4, 6:30 to 7:30 pm
    Presenter: Stephen Wilson, PhD
    Title: Language in the Brain
    Speaking and understanding our native language comes so naturally to most of us that we usually take it for granted. But languages are actually extraordinarily complicated, with intricate grammatical systems that organize sounds into words and words into sentences, and mental dictionaries containing tens of thousands of words. How does the human brain perform the remarkable feat of producing and comprehending language in real time? I will discuss how researchers are addressing this question with techniques ranging from functional neuroimaging to investigations of patients with acquired language impairments, and I will describe what we know, and what we don't know, about language in the brain.
  • Thursday, March 19, 6:30 to 7:30 pm
    Presenter: Nicole Marrone, PhD, CCC-A
    Title: Current Research in Hearing, Listening and Learning
    Dr. Nicole Marrone will explore approaching hearing wellness as a public health priority. She will describe collaborations between researchers and clinicians at the University of Arizona to advance hearing science. This research aims to better understand age-related hearing loss, address health disparities, and improve quality of life. Dr. Marrone holds the James S. and Dyan Pignatelli/Unisource Clinical Chair in Audiologic Rehabilitation for Adults and is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences.
  • Wednesday, April 1, 6:30 to 7:30 pm
    Presenter: Jenny Hoit, PhD, CCC-SLP and Robin Samlan, PhD, CCC-SLP
    Title: Vocal Fitness: Keeping Your Voice in Shape
    Does your voice sound the same as it did when you were in your 20s? Most likely not; most likely your voice sounds older. During this interactive lecture, we will describe why the voice changes with age and what you can do to keep your voice strong and clear.

For More Information

Erin Deely
UA Science Outreach