Science on Tap: Omar Harb, “Do Cats Make You Crazy?”

Science on Tap
Date: November 10, 2014
Time: 6:00 p.m.

National Mechanics
22 S. Third Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Event Type: Open to the Public
Fee: Free
RSVP Online: No Registration Required

The 2014 Ig Nobel prize in public health was recently awarded to researchers studying whether owning a cat is mentally hazardous to people. The source of this hazard is not the cat itself but what it can carry: an extremely contagious and ubiquitous parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. This successful parasite can infect almost any warm-blooded animal, hiding in the brain as a cyst. In most people it is thought that the dormant Toxoplasma brain cyst does nothing. However, research suggests that these dormant cysts may actually have neurological consequences. Before you run home and get rid of your cuddly kitten, we will objectively take a look at the research to try and understand if cats really make you crazy.

About the speaker

Omar Harb is Education and Scientific Outreach manager for the Eukaryotic Pathogen Databases, one of four National Bioinformatics Resource Centers. This center, based at the University of Pennsylvania, provides scientists worldwide working on parasitic diseases like toxoplasmosis and malaria with free and easy online access to big data such as genome sequences. Over the past six years, Harb has focused on running workshops for scientists, serving as an advisor for developing online research tools, and ensuring that big data are readily available for general scientific consumption. Harb has a PhD in microbiology and postdoctoral training in Toxoplasma and Plasmodium cell and molecular biology.

About Science on Tap

Science on Tap is a monthly science café in Philadelphia for anyone interested in getting together with other people to discuss a range of engaging science topics. It is held the second Monday of (most) every month.

Located at National Mechanics, a relaxed, convivial bar in Old City, Science on Tap features a brief, informal presentation by a scientist or other expert followed by lively conversation. The goal is to promote enthusiasm for science in a fun, spirited, and accessible way, while also meeting new people. Come join the conversation!

This month’s event is presented by the American Philosophical Society Museum.

Open to the public (age 21+ or accompanied by chaperone 25 years or older).

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