New location! Nerd Nite is now at one of the coolest places in all of Oakland, The UPTOWN Nightclub!


Join Nerd Nite East Bay in Uptown Oakland with our new hosts The UPTOWN Nightclub on Monday Feb 24 for Your Brain On FontsAnimal Toxin Evolution, and Cross-Species Viruses! Third talk announcement coming soon!


Fortune Favors the (Britannic) Bold: How Different Fonts Interact With The Human Brain

I just read you, and this is crazy, a weird font choice, better recall maybe? Learn how a change from familiar fonts breaks your brain out of automatic System 1 cognition and activates a brain state that evolved only in humans. Examine the data that demonstrates how everyday reality makes brains a bit flabby, and see how novelty tunes up tired neurons. Finally, consider how the tragedy of Comic Sans may yet turn into a uniquely human triumph.

Connor Diemand-Yauman researches improvements in learning outcomes and lectures at Stanford University Business School. He received Princeton’s Pyne Prize and is the Cofounder of Philanthropy University (, which trains and funds local social impact organizations in under-resourced communities. In his spare time, Connor enjoys boxing, cycling, teaching inmates and eating massive salads.

Their Chemical Romance: How Animals Create, Escape and Steal the Most Potent Poisons on Earth

Why don’t poisonous animals poison themselves? Learn how poisonous frogs evolved genetic resistance to their own toxins, and why you should never, ever touch a Phyllobates terribilis. See the clever ways that insects deal with man made poisons, watch how animals co-opt toxins from the environment for their own uses, and see how humans use animal toxins to create otherwise unobtainable pharmaceuticals and beetles defend themselves with exploding butts.

Rebecca Tarvin studies the evolution of animals that acquire chemical defenses as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology and and Assistant Curator of Herpetology at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at UC Berkeley. As a young girl she was known to collect garbage bags full of frogs, and to fill kiddie pools with frogs so she could learn how to swim like them.

How Viruses Jump Species and then (Literally) Go Viral

Once publicly obscure, Ebola, Zika, and now coronaviruses have become household names and public enemy number one. Bats are implicated as the host reservoir for highly pathogenic coronaviruses, Ebola virus and many other deadly pathogens. What key genetic changes occurred when these viruses jumped species and transmitted between humans? Using the SARS outbreak as an example, I will discuss modifications made to the surface protein of the virus necessary for efficient binding to human cells. Then, discuss how identification of host receptor, or the first protein the virus must engage in order to infect a cell, explains the host range, tissue tropism, transmission routes and pathogenicity. Insight into virus-host receptor interaction not only sheds light on certain aspects of human pathology caused by these viruses, but can also provide new strategies for therapeutic intervention.

Oscar Negrete’s work as a virologist and principal member of the technical staff at Sandia National Laboratory, has kept him focused on emerging viruses and molecular viral-host interaction. His research uses a broad spectrum of cellular, molecular biology, functional genomics, and nanoscience techniques to understand virus replication. He is currently working on a multi-year study to develop antiviral countermeasures that can be tailored to emerging virus strains and rapidly deployed.


Music from DJ Rubberband Girl, amazing drinks from The UPTOWN, eats available for purchase from Grilled Cheese Guy, and info from the great Oakland Public Library!


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