HMNS Weekly Happenings

Lecture – More than Genes: Predators, Parasites and Partners of the Human Body by Rob Dunn

2006 Frank Collins Leishmaniasis is transmitted by the bite of infected female phlebotomine sandflies, injecting the infective stage (i.e., promastigotes) from their proboscis during blood meals.  Promastigotes that reach the puncture wound are phagocytized by macrophages ,and other types of mononuclear phagocytic cells, and inside these cells, transform into the tissue stage of the parasite (i.e., amastigotes), which multiply by simple division and proceed to infect other mononuclear phagocytic cells.  Parasite, host, and other factors affect whether the infection becomes symptomatic and whether cutaneous or visceral leishmaniasis results.  Sandflies become infected by ingesting infected cells during blood meals.  In sandflies, amastigotes transform into promastigotes, develop in the gut, (in the hindgut for leishmanial organisms in the Viannia subgenus; in the midgut for organisms in the Leishmania subgenus), and migrate to the proboscis. See PHIL 3400 for a diagram of this cycle.

2006
Frank Collins

A great deal of recent research has suggested that many modern health problems relate to recent changes in our gut microbes. As we have started to look at skin and the environment of our homes, it looks as though the changes in what we are exposed to and covered in externally may be equally as great.

 

We evolved in a wilderness of parasites, mutualists, and pathogens, but we no longer see ourselves as being part of nature and the broader community of life. In the name of progress and clean living, we scrub much of nature off our bodies; however, a host of species still cling to us and always will. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Join biologist and author Robert Dunn as we explore the influence these wild species have on our well-being and the world.

 

Dr. Robert Dunn is a biologist with the Department of Biology at North Carolina State University. His lab studies the species around us in our everyday lives, species we tend to think of us as well known. Most of those species are not well known and so there are many things to discover in your backyard, in your bedroom, or even on your roommate. Book signings of “The Wild Life of Our Bodies” and “Every Living Thing” following lecture.

 

This program is sponsored by The Leakey Foundation.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016 at 6:30pm

Tickets $18, Members $12

 

BTS – Mummies of the World: The Exhibition

shrunken-heads

 

Mummies of the World: The Exhibition presents a collection of mummies from Europe, South America and ancient Egypt-some 4,500 years old.

 

Go behind-the-scenes and learn about mummies and mummification through state-of-the-art multimedia, interactive stations and 3D animation, highlighting advances in the scientific methods used to study mummies, including computed tomography (CT), ancient DNA analysis and radiocarbon dating, all of which allows us to know who these mummified individuals were, where they came from and where they lived.

 

Among the mummies on display are the Vac Mummies, an entire mummified family from Hungary believed to have died from tuberculosis; the Burns Collection, a group of medical mummies used to teach anatomy in the early 19th century; an Egyptian priest named Nes-Hor who suffered from arthritis and a broken left hip; Egyptian animal mummies including a falcon, fish, dog and baby crocodile, many of which were deliberately preserved to accompany royals for eternity; and MUMAB, the first replication of Egyptian mummification done on a body in 2,800 years.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016 at 6:00pm

Members $22, Tickets $39

 

Take Two: Pocahontas

pocahontas

81 min. – Animation/Adventure/Drama
An English soldier and the daughter of an Algonquin chief share a romance when English colonists invade seventeenth-century Virginia.
 
 

 

Lecture – Applying Forensics to Archaeology by Andrew Shortland

egypt3

 

As an Egyptologist trained in geological sciences, Dr. Andrew Shortland became interested in applying scientific analysis to the identification and interpretation of material culture from the ancient and historical worlds. Today Shortland uses the latest technology to answer questions about valuable or historically important objects. Typically these involve queries about provenance, date, identification of past restoration or conservation—and even the detection of deliberate fakes and forgeries.

 

Using examples from his cases, Professor Shortland will describe a wide variety of different analytical techniques in his work including SEM-EDS, microprobe, XSRF, LA-ICPMS and optical microscopy.

 

Dr. Andrew Shortland is professor of archaeological science at Cranfield University in UK. He is Deputy Director of Cranfield Forensic Institute, where he runs a group that specializes in the application of scientific techniques to archaeological and forensic problems.

 

Tickets $18, Members $12

 

They Mite be Giants

The thought of small little animals running around our face cause most people to squirm a bit. As much as I do like the small animals like spiders and beetles, if I think I feel one crawling on my face I’ll very quickly try to brush it off. It’s not them, it’s me.

Now we are going to get into the stuff that makes me squirm. There’s a great skit from Kids in the Hall about the joke of saying – “Hey, there’s a spider on your back!

In the skit, it starts out as an author writing a book called Hey, There’s a Spider on Your Back, which consist of only that line. And every time anyone reads it they think there is a spider on their back. This makes it a best seller and leads to the audio book. But there really are arachnids on your face. Right Now! There are face mites. Like all arachnids they have 8 legs. Different species of mites live in your hair follicles (Demodex folliculorum) and in your sebaceous glands (Demodex brevis), where oil comes out. And at night, after you go to sleep, they come out, mate, and lay their eggs on your face. Are you squirming now? And the next thing you’re trying very hard not to think about is what happens when they poop? Well there you can rest a little easier. They don’t excrete waste the same way we do. They hold it in till they die and then it decays in their body.

You might be wondering why we study these things. Well first off we don’t know a whole lot about them. We think we know what they eat (dead skin and oils), but we’re not sure. More importantly they can help us learn about human migration patterns. D. brevis is Asian population is genetically distinct from its American cousin. But D. folliculorum is the same in both populations.

And that’s just what’s living on the outside of us. Inside we are a fully ecosystem of predators, prey, and parasites. And they’re important to our health. Come join us on November 9 for a lecture on More than Genes: Predators, Parasites and Partners of the Human Body by Dr. Robert Dunn sponsored by the Leakey Foundation. Dr. Dunn is a biologist with the Department of Biology at North Carolina State University.

HMNS Weekly Update

Lecture – Fabergé Symposium – The Wonder of Fabergé

Faberge-1

 

November 4, 2016 at 6.30pm

Get Tickets Here

More than doubling in size since the 2013 Houston Fabergé Symposium, the McFerrin Collection now totals nearly 600 objects and will be displayed in its entirety for a limited time. Recent acquisitions focus on rare Imperial pieces with fascinating stories. Join us at the Houston Museum of Natural Science as renowned Fabergé researchers discuss the genius of Fabergé and his place in history as related to the royalties of Europe.

 

Lecture – Family Talk – Secrets of Ancient Games

 lewis_chessmen_23Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

 

 

Suggested for ages 6-12 and adults.

Cosponsored by the Archaeological Institute of America Houston Society.

Tickets $5

People all over the ancient world played games. Dr. Irving Finkel of the British Museum has decoded several ancient games. He will share how these games were played 5,000 years ago. An ancient game tournament will follow the presentation. You can try your hand at Senet, the Royal Game of Ur, Parcheesi and Go and Chess with 12th century Lewis chessmen.

 

World Trekkers: Ireland

trekkers

 

 

Friday, November 11, 2016 – 6:30 PM

Enjoy a chidren’s event featuring live entertainment, face painting, a balloon artist, crafts, activities and more. Bring your family to HMNS and you can travel the globe with World Trekkers! The perfect family outing, these events highlight a diverse set of cultures from around the world through food, entertainment, arts and crafts and more. This November we’re heading off to Ireland. But no need to pack your bags – HMNS brings the world to you with World Trekkers!

 

Lecture – More than Genes: Predators, Parasites and Partners of the Human Body by Rob Dunn

2006 Frank Collins Leishmaniasis is transmitted by the bite of infected female phlebotomine sandflies, injecting the infective stage (i.e., promastigotes) from their proboscis during blood meals.  Promastigotes that reach the puncture wound are phagocytized by macrophages ,and other types of mononuclear phagocytic cells, and inside these cells, transform into the tissue stage of the parasite (i.e., amastigotes), which multiply by simple division and proceed to infect other mononuclear phagocytic cells.  Parasite, host, and other factors affect whether the infection becomes symptomatic and whether cutaneous or visceral leishmaniasis results.  Sandflies become infected by ingesting infected cells during blood meals.  In sandflies, amastigotes transform into promastigotes, develop in the gut, (in the hindgut for leishmanial organisms in the Viannia subgenus; in the midgut for organisms in the Leishmania subgenus), and migrate to the proboscis. See PHIL 3400 for a diagram of this cycle.

2006
Frank Collins

 

Tickets $18, Members $12

 

A great deal of recent research has suggested that many modern health problems relate to recent changes in our gut microbes. As we have started to look at skin and the environment of our homes, it looks as though the changes in what we are exposed to and covered in externally may be equally as great.

 

We evolved in a wilderness of parasites, mutualists, and pathogens, but we no longer see ourselves as being part of nature and the broader community of life. In the name of progress and clean living, we scrub much of nature off our bodies; however, a host of species still cling to us and always will. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Join biologist and author Robert Dunn as we explore the influence these wild species have on our well-being and the world.

 

Dr. Robert Dunn is a biologist with the Department of Biology at North Carolina State University. His lab studies the species around us in our everyday lives, species we tend to think of us as well known. Most of those species are not well known and so there are many things to discover in your backyard, in your bedroom, or even on your roommate. Book signings of “The Wild Life of Our Bodies” and “Every Living Thing” following lecture.

 

This program is sponsored by The Leakey Foundation.

Dead skin, sweat, and DUST MITES!!!

Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe
Creative Commons License photo credit: Banalities

I’m sure most of you have seen the commercial, I believe by Mattress Firm, where two men are replacing a woman’s mattress. They tell her that she should replace her mattress every 8 years because after that long, it doubles in weight from all of the dead skin, sweat, and dust mites. She them repeats, in a disgusted and frightened tone, DUST MITES?? That commercial drives me crazy because like any normal Entomologist I think, dead skin and sweat, eww gross!! I’m certainly not grossed out by the thought of dust mites.  They are, after all, decomposers that feed on things like dead skin cells. That might make you cringe, but they are basically little cleaning machines, like all decomposers. So I was wondering what would make people more upset about dust mites than they are about dead skin and sweat. SoI found out!

First a little bit about dust mites. The house dust mite is an arachnid, like all mites, that belongs to the order Acari. Acari also includes ticks. Mites are a very successful and diverse group of animals with about 42,000 species found all over the world. They can be parasites, predators, herbivores, detritivores, or decomposers. Unfortunately for them, many are considered to be pests on plants, animals, humans, and especially in the home, such as dust mites. House Dust mites (Dermatophagoides spp.) are very tiny, but visble without a microscope. The adults are typically about .4 millimeters in length. They are common in most households and feed off of organic debris, human skin cells and animal dander, which is what dust is mostly made up of, hence the name. For this reason, they are mostly found in places like beds, carpet, and other soft pieces of furniture.  They cause no harm to us and would go largely unnoticed if it weren’t for one thing. They are animals and when animals feed, they have to defecate.

The fecal matter of dust mites is highly allergenic due to some of the enzymes within it. Therein lies the problem. Many people have allergies ranging from annoying to severe and sometimes these allergies can induce asthma. Some of these chemicals are also present on partially digested pieces of dust. Most of these allergies can be treated with over-the-counter anti-histamines, but in more severe cases, a game plan may be needed. The idea, as with any pest, is to reduce harborage, or make it a less pleasant place to be. Wood or other hard floors are always a better choice than carpet because they are easier to clean thoroughly and dust mites cannot thrive in/on them. All soft furniture and bedding should be washed regularly. Ten minutes in a hot dryer is enough to kill all stages of dust mites because they are very sensitive to dessication, so the hot dry conditions in the dryer are lethal. Just like with any other pest, removal of clutter, dirt, and food sources usually does the trick. At least once a week, you should dust, vaccuum, wash all of the bedding and anything else washable. This will lead to a relatively mite-free home. If you do have asthma, there are certain mattresses and types of bedding that are actually mite proof!  If you don’t have allergies to dust mites, you can relax a little. Dust mites have been around for millions of years and are probably on most soft surfaces you come into contact with!  I’ve said before that people should just get used to the idea of tiny organisms crawling around and on us! Most people have microscopic mites living in their hair follicles that feed on dead cells and sebacious, or oil gland secretions. These are known as Demodex folliculorum or face mites. There are thousand of other organisms, but they keep us clean and healthy. Plus, they’re not nearly as gross as dead skin and sweat, eeew!

CW39 did a story on dust mites last night, and they interviewed me! Watch the video below.



Can’t see the video? Click here.