Holiday Bazaar NightLife

On December 8th 2016,

The SURPAS Teaching and Outreach committee with Katharine Grabek, Elena Sorokin, Chris DeBoever, Genevieve Wojcik, and Kaitlyn Spees (all members of the Bustamante Lab)  volunteered at Nightlife @ Cal Academy for the theme of Holiday Bazaar.

Dr. Grabek, from the Stanford Department of Genetics, introduced visitors to topic of hibernation. Museum attendees learned about the extreme physiological changes that mammals must undergo to hibernate successfully.They were encouraged to touch a (fake) hibernating squirrel and had fun playing a game in which they matched mammals with their lowest record body temperatures. Finally, they learned about how scientists aim to solve human biomedical problems by studying animals that hibernate.

BiteLife Nightlife

On November 19, 2016

SURPAS Teaching & Outreach committee with members Lorraine Ling, Saumyaa Saumyaa, Reza Taghavi , Fatima Pardo Avila , and Lisl Esherick volunteered at Nightlife @ Cal Academy for BiteLife Night.

Dr. Ling, from Department of Genetics, created a demo that explored coral reef physiology and coral bleaching. Corals have stinging tentacles to capture prey but that's not their main source of food/ energy. Corals get up to 90% of their energy from small dinoflagellate algae. The algae take energy from sunlight to perform photosynthesis to make sugars. These sugars are then transferred to the host coral.


The demo crew led an activity in which museum visitors played a game to choose among closed containers of various stuff and find the major energy source for reef building corals. Brine shrimp and dinoflagellate algae were viewed under a microscope. Lastly the demo crew emphasized how climate change connected with loss of symbiotic algae and led to coral bleaching.

Yoga Nightlife

On October 20, 2016

SURPAS Teaching & Outreach committee with members Nicholas Karayannis, Tiffany Asp, Daniel Bissell, Heather Poupore-King, Valerie Wai Yee Jackson, Marissa Heirich, Brandon MacIsaac, Corinne Cooley volunteered at Nightlife @ Cal Academy for Yoga Night.

Dr. Karayannis from Department of Anesthesiology and colleagues from Systems Neuroscience and Pain Lab designed a demo on the Science of Rehabilitation: Therapeutic Approaches to Pain and Movement.  The demo explored the science of how exercise can help the brain and body grow stronger.

The demo crew assisted museum visitors (1) to perform a series of key functional movement tests that analyzed their physical performance, (2) to engage in a guided movement practice in Yoga and Tai Chi, and (3) demystified common misconceptions about exercise.

Forest Nightlife

On September 22, 2016,

SURPAS Teaching & Outreach committee with members Maureece Jacqueline Levin, Perrine Hamel, Johannes Weickenmeier, XinXin Du, and Jenn Kong volunteered at Nightlife @ Cal Academy for Forests Night

Dr. Levin, from the Stanford Archaeology Center, created a demo that explored the ethnobotany and archaeobotany of agroforests in the Pacific Islands. The demo crew introduced museum attendees some of the tropical trees that people in this region have used for food and fuel for thousands of years. Visitors also learned how archaeologists study human exploitation of forests in the past and a special VIP stopped by for a group photo.

Family Science Picnic

On Saturday, July 31st 2016

The teaching and outreach committee hosted a science picnic for postdocs and their families. Everyone got to enjoy a picnic lunch while meeting and mingling with other postdoc families on the Dean’s Lawn.  The kids of postdocs also got to complete some fun science experiments -- including extracting DNA from strawberries, changing the color (i.e. pH) of cabbage juice and creating Oobleck, a non-Newtonian fluid!

Encino Man NightLife

On May 26 2016,

The SURPAS Teaching and Outreach committee with Rosi Fegal, Katharine Grabek, Saumyaa Saumyaa, Rupa Lalchandani, and Lori Ling volunteered at Nightlife @ Cal Academy for the theme of 90’s Night.


Dr. Fregal and Dr. Grabek, from the Stanford Department of Genetics, created a demo about Ötzi the iceman and ancient DNA, and they related it to the ‘90’s movie “Encino Man”. The demo crew let attendees try on special gear that must be worn to extract ancient DNA, tested their knowledge about the location of the DNA-yielding petrous bone, and explained how genomes get sequenced on high-throughput sequencing chips. For extra fun, visitors were able to give themselves “iceman” tattoos.

Cal Academy Matrix Demo

On May 26, 2016

SURPAS Teaching & Outreach committee with postdocs Lorraine Ling, Saumyaa Saumyaa, Fatima Pardo Avila, João Rodrigues, Nicholas Corsepius and Frédéric Poitevin volunteered at Nightlife @ Cal Academy for the theme of 1990’s Movies.

Dr. Rodrigues and Dr. Pardo Avila, from Department of Structural Biology, chose the movie Matrix as a way to introduce the visitors into the use of virtual reality to explore the structure of biomolecules. The virtual reality set allowed for a level of interaction like no other, since the visitors could touch and even walk into the biomolecules.

The demo gave the visitors a chance to understand the atomic structure of biomolecules such as hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a basic component of blood responsible for the transport of oxygen.  In the demo, the visitors could compare between structures of hemoglobin with and without oxygen, which allowed them to understand how this protein can perform its function.