Bench Talk Live

KAS Presents Bench Talk Live

KAS is collaborating with Bench Talk: The Week in Science, a weekly radio show & podcast produced by KAS members, to bring you a live monthly online program.

Thursday, January 21, 7pm EST

Diabetes Research: Then and Now

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Centenary of the Discovery of Insulin
Dr. Iuliana Popescu, University of Kentucky

Cardiac metabolism in health and disease
Dr. Bradford Hill, University of Louisville Diabetes and Obesity Center

Dr.Hill will discuss how the use of nutrients by the heart can dictate cardiac responses to stress.   He will begin by discussing why studying metabolism is important and highlight some of the major questions in the field.  In the latter half of the talk,  he will present data that highlight new strategies to track metabolism in the heart, which could lend insight into how cardiac remodeling occurs under physiological contexts such as exercise and in pathological contexts such as chronic hypertension.

Friday, September 11, 7pm EDT Watch the Recording here

Science Solving Mysteries in Archaeology

Archaeology and Science in Kentucky
Karen Stevens, University of KentuckyKaren Stevens

For the majority of the human past, our ancestors did not leave behind a written record. We will never be able to meet these people of the past, so how do we learn about them? Archaeology, which is the study of the human past, allows us to access the lifeways and experiences of those people through the study of their material culture and landscapes. One way we learn about people through the things they left behind is by adapting scientific techniques and methods to the holistic study of what it is to be human. Here in Kentucky, we borrow from many different fields of study including biology, botany, physics, chemistry, and soil science. In this talk, I will give some examples of how observations using remote sensing, microscopy, chemical analysis, and other scientific data collection and analysis techniques tell us about the people that have lived here in the Commonwealth for over 12,000 years.

"Exploring the technical heritage of the Irish Late Bronze Age socketed axe"
Terry Runner, Kentucky Science Center

In studying the past, archaeologists often tackle the how and why surrounding objects people left behind. These objects allow us to create a narrative of past culture and society that help us understand the birth, life and death of people in the past. Over the last few decades, the use of experiment in archaeological research has gained popularity as a means to test hypotheses surrounding human material culture. In my 2018 Master’s thesis, I used an experimental method to understand a phenomenon occurring inside Irish Late Bronze Age socketed axes. This feature, commonly known as a ‘halfting rib’ may indicate a step in the casting process that is today little understood. With nearly two centuries of archaeological evidence surrounding socketed axes, I reconstructed the socketed axe casting techniques in Ireland to get a better sense of how Bronze Age casters made these tools, and how this rib played a roll in that process.

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Monday July 13, 7pm EDT   Watch the recording (program starts 1 minute 30 seconds in)

Perception & Communication for a Pandemic

How do we use visual and other cues when we communicate with each other? How do we adjust to new norms of communicating through a screens or from behind a mask?  Join us for an engaging discussion about the neuroscience & psychology of perception & communication with our speakers this month.

Naomi Charalambakis, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB)
What You See is What You Get

Our eyes are an important feature of the visual system. They connect to our brains and, in milliseconds, translate the objects and people we see into things we recognize. How exactly does the brain do this so quickly, and is it affected when our environment changes? As we continue to navigate these interesting times—wearing masks and having virtual meetings—is it possible these interactions affect the wiring of our nervous system? When our sight is impaired, the lack of visual information from mouth movements can impact other senses such as hearing, but how does this work? To answer these questions, we will explore the neuroscience behind how visual information is transmitted and examine the area and characteristics of the brain regions specifically responsible for recognizing faces. Naomi recently earned her PhD at the University of Louisville.
Listen to Naomi's presentation on the Bench Talk podcast


Andy Mienaltowski, Western Kentucky University
The Eyes Have It – Anticipating Difficulty in Facial Emotion Cue Perception

See the Slide show here
Interpreting body cues, especially facial cues, is important to understanding the emotions that others experience. Today's environment poses some interesting challenges for us as we navigate social interaction wearing masks or as we interact with one another as perceptually smaller beings on screens. Visual emotion cues from the lower half of the face are hidden, potentially reducing our ability to anticipate others' emotional status. Older interaction partners may also cope with unique challenges given age-normative changes in facial scanning patterns and in facial cue confusion. The role that facial cues play in emotion recognition across adulthood will be discussed, as well as the impact that blocking these cues may have on social interaction.


Tuesday June 2 Watch the Recording

Healthy at Home: New Visions for the Spaces We Live in

Seyed Allameh, Northern Kentucky University futuristic home, from Picture from:
Digital Homes: Manufacturing Futuristic Structures 

See the Slide show here
Imagine your dream home has the shape, functionality, and orientation dictated only by your imagination. Freeing creativity and innovation from the constraints of today’s crude construction technology is the promise of tomorrow’s digital construction technology.  Step-by-step, digital printing is evolving into a complete set of tools to build homes by robots that will mix and match materials, and perform processing, deposition, positioning, and timing to create works of art. These unique and beautiful structures will be functional in providing comfort, saving energy, reducing waste, recyclability, and sustainability. The know-how, tools, and feasibility of such revolutionary home building technology will be discussed along its implications for building structures on Moon and Mars. (Photo credit

Zeel Maheshwari, Northern Kentucky University
“Green Home” - Home of the Future

See the Slide show here
Today, the trend is to make everything smarter-our homes, offices and even our cars. But a growing number of architects and scientists are recognizing that creating homes must involve more than mere gadgetry. It must be environmentally sustainable that uses energy, water and building materials efficiently. In recent times, the term “green home” has created a buzz among homeowners. One aspect of converting a regular home to “green” home is by employing renewable energy (typically solar panels) to electrify homes. Using green energy can raise a home’s value while reducing its cost of ownership. Additionally, it is a great way to contribute towards a better future for the community and ultimately to all life on Earth. Green home makes a positive contribution to the environment or at least has a minimal negative impact. The home of the future is not just smarter, its greener!

Are you interested in presenting your research for Bench Talk Live? Let us know! We're looking for undergraduate, graduate, or professional scientists to share their work with a general audience!