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Patrick House at The Interval: Modern Brain Parasites as Clues to Ancient Illness

The Interval at Long Now

Tuesday, April 21, 2015 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM (PDT)

Patrick House at The Interval: Modern Brain Parasites...

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Event Details

The Long Now Foundation welcomes
Patrick House
Neuroscientist and geneticist at Stanford University

Modern Brain Parasites as Clues to Ancient Illness

The Interval at Long Now: check-in begins at 6:30; talk will start at 7:30 
Join us afterwards for drinks and conversation with our speaker

Patrick House is a neuroscienctist at Stanford whose research focuses on
the "obligate, intracellular, parasitic protozoan" called Toxoplasma gondii.

Patrick House at The Interval, April 21 02015

Join us as Patrick House discusses his ongoing research into one of the most successful and insidious parasites on the planet. Based on his work at Stanford in neuroscience and the history of schizophrenia, this story includes orphanages in 01950’s France; DNA of cat & human mummies in ancient Egypt; and the brains of mice & Russian cat ladies.

Toxoplasma gondii is a tiny single-celled parasite which relies on cats to survive and reproduce. With no way to travel on its own, it spends its life trying to move from one feline to the next. The parasite infects the brain of rodent hosts and reverses their natural fear of cats into an attraction. All to get the tiny creature where it needs to be: inside a cat's stomach.

Patrick House at The Interval, April 21 02015

But Toxoplasma also lies dormant in over two billion people. Scientists are still trying to understand what it does in the brains of both mice and men. But there are clues that it may be changing human behaviors. Growing evidence links the parasite to mental illnesses like schizophrenia, suggesting that in addition to changing mouse brains, it might have similar effects us.

In his talk at The Interval, House will discuss his research into how "toxo" (and toxoplasmosis, the disease it causes) changes the behavior of both mice and people. And he'll look at what it suggests for understanding modern mental illness.

We hope you can join us for a night of mice and cats, mind control and schizophrenia, and what new research tells us about the history of mental illness.

Patrick House at The Interval, April 21 02015

Patrick House earned his Ph.D in neuroscience at Stanford and is now a postdoc in Stanford's Department of Genetics.

His scientific work on Toxoplasma gondii has been featured in National Geographic, The Atlantic and The New York Times and cited by Carl Zimmer He also writes on diverse and compelling topics for Slate.com and The New Yorker, amongst other publications.


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When & Where


The Interval at Long Now
Fort Mason Center
2 Marina Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94123

Tuesday, April 21, 2015 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM (PDT)


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The Interval at Long Now

The Interval at Long Now is a bar, cafe and event venue located in historic Fort Mason Center on San Francisco's north shore within view of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. We serve delicious beverages in a room full of mechanical wonders and thousands of books.

We are open daily 10AM to midnight. Events are typically on Tuesday nights a few times a month. Tickets usually go on sale 2 weeks prior to the event. Talks sell out quickly due to our limited capacity.

Long Now members can purchase tickets before the general public.

The Interval is home to The Long Now Foundation which is dedicated to long-term thinking through projects including building a 10,000-year Clock, the monthly Seminars About Long-term Thinking (SALT), The Rosetta Project, PanLex, and Revive & Restore.

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Patrick House at The Interval: Modern Brain Parasites as Clues to Ancient Illness
Things to do in San Francisco, CA Seminar Science & Tech

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