Nerd Nite SF #90: Scurvy, Neurogenesis, and Snakebites!Feelings of malaise? Lethargy? Whether it’s scurvy or just boredom, we have the cure for you! Have your mind blown with a tale of atomic testing and neuroscience, recoil at the scope of the snakebite epidemic, and add a slice of lemon to your beer for the convoluted saga of scurvy. All this plus the musical stylings of DJ Alpha Bravo, grilled cheese sammies, and awesome people like you.

Wednesday, 11/15/2017
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell Street @Van Ness
$8, all ages
Tickets here


“Nuclear Testing and Other Things That May or May Not Damage Your Brain” by Whitney Heavner

Prior to the 1960’s, scientists believed that the adult brain has no capacity for regeneration. A few classical experiments in 1965 changed everything. Yet, the Partnership for a Drug-Free America continues to link drugs, your brain, and fried eggs. Just how resilient is the human brain? Learn how above-ground nuclear arms testing helped us answer this question through carbon dating, and see how radioactive tracers in rodents show when a baby neuron has sealed its fate.

Whitney Heavner is a postdoctoral fellow in the Stanford biology department deciphering the genome’s blueprint for building the 100 billion neurons that make up your brain.


“The Snakebite Epidemic” by Dr. Matthew Lewin

Worldwide, there are more than 5 million snakebites each year, killing as many as 100,000 people. An additional 400,000 suffer snakebite-related disability and disfigurement. This year, the WHO listed snakebite as one of the most significant—and neglected—medical crises facing the globe. Dr. Lewin has identified sPLA2 inhibitors as a potential treatment for a broad spectrum of snake venoms. His group has demonstrated potency against 28 snake venom sPLA2s from six continents and has conducted pre-clinical studies showing excellent survival prospects, which were recently published in the peer-reviewed journal, Toxins.

An emergency physician, neuroscientist, expedition doctor, and California Academy of Sciences Fellow, Dr. Matthew Lewin co-founded Ophirex, Inc. (“Ophi” is Greek for “snake”) with Mr. Jerry Harrison (of the Talking Heads) to focus on developing field treatments for snakebite. Ophirex ( is committed to providing sustainably-priced antidotes so that treatment for any snakebite can begin anywhere, anytime, by anyone.


“Scurvy: Lost and Found. And Found. And… Found (Again)” by Laura Lanford

Do you think pirate talk was all “Avast, ye miserable scallywags!” and “Shiver me timbers!”? Likely you’d also hear mutters along the lines of “Ow, me teeth hurt!” and “Argh, me aching bones!” Life on the sea was more scurvy than it was swagger, in no small part because we kept losing the ubiquitous yet elusive cure for this dreaded vitamin deficiency. From the Cape of Good Hope to Cape Horn, from Greenland to Antarctica, come and hear tell of the convoluted tale of the Scourge of the Seas!

Laura Lanford is on loan from Nerd Nite Chicago. She talks a lot about a lot of things, mostly Extinction Level Events but sometimes medical esoterica as well.


With: Alpha Bravo, who’ll be spinning tunes specially selected to match the presenters’ themes. Follow the setlist on Twitter @djalphabravo.

Food: Delicious grilled cheese from the master of the sammie, Grilled Cheese Guy.