Upcoming Events

Mon 9/25

Image - DeRisi and Quake

Chan Zuckerberg Biohub and the End of Human Disease

Date: Mon, September 25, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Curing the world's diseases

Joseph DeRisi, Co-President, Chan Zuckerberg Biohub; Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics, UC San Francisco
Stephen Quake, Co-President, Chan Zuckerberg Biohub; Professor of Bioengineering and Applied Physics, Stanford

The Chan Zuckerberg Biohub has an audacious vision: to "enable doctors to cure, prevent or manage all diseases during our children’s lifetime.” This vision may sound outlandish at first. However, when one considers how far medicine has come in the past 100 years, this vision doesn’t seem so far-fetched. Co-presidents Joe DeRisi and Steve Quake will share insights into their quest to end disease, from advancing basic science and expanding humankind’s understanding of fundamental truth to building new technologies that can radically accelerate the pace of scientific discovery.

Wed 9/27

Image - Conservation

Technologies and Progress for Environmental Protection, Sustainability and Conservation

Date: Wed, September 27, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Harnessing technology in forest and wildlife conservation efforts

Rhett Butler, Founder and CEO, Mongabay
Topher White, Founder and CEO, Rainforest Connection
Crystal Davis, Director, Global Forest Watch
Barb Page, Bay Area Conservation and Ocean Conservationist

There is an accelerating effort among scientists, forest and wildlife managers as well as technologists and interest groups from NASA, Google and the Jane Goodall Institute to harness new technologies. These technologies, which range from satellite sensors, drones, camera traps and DNA detectors, can be used to improve and maintain forest and wildlife conservation; fight and expose illegal, unsustainable practices; and prevent the use of dangerous fuels and chemicals. Our panel will discuss what is new and what is working in this area. They will also discuss what 21st century technology might soon be available to protect and create healthy and safe environments in the Bay Area and throughout the world.

Thu 9/28

Image - Hacking of American Mind

The Hacking of the American Mind

Date: Thu, September 28, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
The conflation of pleasure and happiness

Dr. Robert H. Lustig, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Endocrinology, University of California, San Francisco; Director, UCSF Weight Assessment for Teen and Child Health (WATCH) Program

What is the difference between pleasure and happiness? These two positive emotions are often confused with each other, yet they couldn’t be more different. Pleasure is short-lived, visceral, usually experience alone, achievable with substances. Happiness, by contrast, is often the opposite—long-lived, ethereal, often experienced in social groups and cannot be achieved through substances. Pleasure is taking while happiness is giving. Pleasure relies on dopamine while happiness relies on serotonin. These too emotions involve two different neurotransmitters, regulatory systems and pathways in the brain.

But why should we care? Dopamine downregulates its own receptor: You get a hit, a rush—and then the receptors go down. Next time, you need more and more. Anything that generates pleasure can lead to addiction. Conversely, serotonin does not downregulate its own receptor, so you cannot overdose on too much happiness. There is one thing that does downregulate serotonin though: dopamine. The more pleasure we seek, the less happy we become.

In the last 45 years—in order to sell us their junk—Wall Street, Madison Avenue, Las Vegas and Silicon Valley have conflated pleasure with happiness so that we don’t know the difference anymore. Congress and the Supreme Court have codified corporate behavior, leaving us addicted and depressed. In the process, society has become fat, sick, stupid and broke. The only way to reverse this is by understanding the science of these two ostensibly “positive” emotions—how they interact and how to modulate them. Otherwise, those who abdicate happiness for pleasure will end up with neither.

Lustig is a neuroendocrinologist with basic and clinical training relative to hypothalamic development, anatomy and function. Prior to coming to San Francisco, he worked at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. A native of Brooklyn, Lustig graduated from MIT and received his M.D. from Cornell University Medical College. He has been a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the University of Tennessee, Memphis. More information can be found here.