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Senior Mondays

The First Monday of Each Month

The first Monday of every month, seniors 65 and better can enjoy the Science Center exhibits, a show in the Heikoff Giant Dome Theater and a lecture on the quietest day of the month for only $8! No coupons or additional discounts are accepted. The Fleet's doors will open at 10 a.m. on the first Monday each month to get Senior Monday started. Visitors are encouraged to enjoy the galleries and special senior discounts in Craveology and the North Star Science Store.

Sharp Minds Lecture Series for Adults

Join local scientists to learn about a variety of topics as they share their latest research in a friendly and exciting environment. Sharp Minds lectures begin at 10:30 a.m. on the first Monday of the month (except Labor Day) and are held in the Heikoff Giant Dome Theater.

The Sharp Minds lecture is free with purchase of the noon theater ticket. Tickets are required to attend the lecture and can be requested at the Ticket Counter. 


Date: November 5

Time: 10:30 a.m.

Noon Theater Show: Everest

Understanding Adaptations to Altitude

From Mount Everest to Machu Picchu One of the most striking examples of adaptation within our species occurred in populations that migrated to high altitude in Asia and South America thousands of years ago.  Our recent studies in Tibet and Peru provide evidence for both physiological and genetic adaptations in these populations and provide further insight into the variation observed in human responses to decreased oxygen availability inherent to many disease states (sleep apnea, cardiopulmonary and cardiovascular disease). 

Lecturer Bio:

Dr. Simonson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego.  She applies integrative physiological genomics approaches to understand systems-level responses to low oxygen (hypoxia) in highland populations.  Her research provides evidence for genetic adaptations to high altitude and identifies associations among adaptive genetic factors and physiological traits.  Aside from her research in the highlands of Tibet and Peru, her team studies natural variation in human responses to low oxygen and aims to understand the contributions of genetic and epigenetic factors to variation in hypoxia-related disease states (e.g., sleep apnea, altitude illness, and cardiopulmonary disease).  These and related interdisciplinary efforts are coordinated through the Center for Physiological Genomics of Low Oxygen she founded and co-directs at the University of California, San Diego.

Date: December 3

Time: 10:30 a.m.

Noon Theater Show: Lewis & Clark

Precision Medicine: Forging a Path to More Effective, Less Toxic, Personalized Treatments for Patients

Precision medicine seeks to identify the unique molecular characteristics of each patient and their disease.  The goal is to then treat the patient based on these personal and disease characteristics rather than with traditional, standard of care practices that are blanket therapies for anyone with this disease.  Advances in drug development for targeted therapies, "biomarkers” as predictive and diagnostic indicators, and the world of “omics” will be discussed in this presentation, with a few specific examples to highlight each of these. 

Lecturer Bio: 

Dr. Jessica Rusert is a senior postdoctoral researcher at the Sanford Burnham-Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) in Robert Wechsler-Reya’s lab.  She has also been a summer lecture at the University of California, San Diego for the Biological Sciences Department.  Her research at SBP focuses on creating patient derived xenograft models of pediatric brain cancers that are used for understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in initiation and maintenance of these cancers.  Furthermore, these models and patient samples, collected when brain tumors are removed in the operating room, are being used to identify new, potential therapies through multiple types of analyses for a more personalized approach to treatment of these cancers.  

Date: January 7, 2019

Time: 10:30 a.m.

Noon Theater Show: Mysteries of the Unseen World

So you’re telling me I have more than a trillion epigenomes?

Yes, I am. Gene, genome, epigenome… not long ago these terms were rare to encounter outside of a laboratory. However, these terms are becoming increasingly common in our society, and our understanding of the concepts they represent can influence decisions about healthcare, lifestyle, politics, and more. Join us as we discuss recent advances in our understanding of the human genome, and how it contributes to our health and well-being on a daily basis.


Dr. Gorkin is the Associate Director of Epigenomics at the University of California San Diego Center for Epigenomics. His research is focused on the “epigenome” -- a term which refers broadly to the collection of chemical modifications to the DNA and its associated proteins inside of our cells. Dr. Gorkin and the Center for Epigenomics use epigenomic concepts and technologies to study how our cells function during normal development, and how their function goes awry in a variety of diseases including cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.



Healthy Brain Aging: Using Neuroimaging to Understand How to Enhance Brain Health
Brain imaging has been frequently used to understand how the brain declines with age and how it is altered due to diseases of aging.  More recently, however, research has started to focus on brain characteristics of "successful agers" and to examine how the brain responds to interventions that aim to enhance quality of life among older adults. In this presentation, the state of the science regarding healthy brain aging will be reviewed and we will explore evidence for brain-enhancing interventions.

History Through Science
You may have heard of the history of science, but what about looking at history through science? Join us to learn about some of the important scientific discoveries in the field of chemistry, accidental and on purpose, that changed the course of history. Featuring Dr. Shane Haggard, Assistant Professor of analytica chemistry at San Diego City College. 

Materials for Space Environments: What will it take to colonize other planets
The idea of living on Mars or other planets has been a staple of science fiction since the 19th century. In the event that life on Earth becomes untenable, what would it be like to actually live there? Dr. Olivia A. Graeve will discuss the living conditions and other resources that could make the Red Planet a potential destination for pioneering colonists. Featuring Dr. Olivia A. Graeve, Professor for material science and engineering at the University of California, San Diego. 

The Secret Languages of Bees
Aside from being an important pollinator of our food crops, the common domestic honey bee is also notable because of the complex and fascinating way that colony members use dances to "talk" to one another. Come join us as we explore the different dances of bees and what they mean.

Healthy Aging and Neurodegeneration. A New Perspective
Throughout life, the brain is capable of changing and adapting. This ability is called plasticity, and it’s key to develop the circuits necessary for a healthy brain. Neurodegenerative disorders (like Alzheimer’s disease or stroke) decrease plasticity, but the normal process of aging takes a toll too. Join us to discover recent research that looks into why this happens in health and disease from the perspective of a specialized cell type in the brain, called astrocytes.

DNA—The Crime Fighting and Disease Fighting Tool of the Future
Ever since the elucidation of the DNA double helix in 1953, the interest in understanding and using DNA to improve human health, increase food production, fight crime and understand our anthropological roots has been a major driver of science and technology. The ability to alter the genetic code of organisms by simple editing or major rewriting is driving efforts to solve or alleviate problems from climate change to feeding the next 2 billion earth inhabitants, mitigating pollution and toxin concentration to storing all history’s data in a simple, inexpensive format.
Join us as we discuss the beauty of this magnificent molecule and how we may be able to exploit its amazing properties to solve society’s greatest challenges.