Jeanne Calment of France (1875-1997), who died at age 122 (and 164 days), holds the record of the longest confirmed human lifespan. Will you live longer than that?
“Why do we live as long as we do (evolutionary question), why do we age (mechanisms question) and why do we die (closure question)?” asks biodemography expert James R. Carey, a UC Davis distinguished professor of entomology.
He'll speak on “Are There Upper Limits to Human Lifespan?” and engage the public at his Science Café presentation at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 10 in the G St. Wunderbar, 228 G St., Davis.
Some of the topics to be discussed at the event, billed as “a conversation and dialogue with a scientist,” include:
- The trends in aging research on extending human lifespan.
- Theoretical arguments for upper limits and empirical evidence in humans
- The impact of disease elimination and organ replacement on longevity
- With the changes in human life expectancy, humans are now being given a second chance-- somewhat like the proverbial cat with nine lives--after an otherwise life-ending disease or incident
- Look to nature for perspectives on the limits of “life duration,” for example 40,000-year-old frozen nematodes; hibernation and dormancy) and limits to “active lifespan.”
An internationally recognized leader and distinguished scholar in insect demography and invasion biology, spanning three decades, Carey also researches health demography, biology of aging, and lifespan theory. He is the author of a landmark study published in the journal Science in 1992 that showed mortality of Mediterranean fruit flies (medflies) slows at older ages. Earlier this year scientists confirmed that this also occurs in humans, citing the study of 105-year-old Italian women.
Carey, who joined the UC Davis faculty in 1980, directed an 11-university, $10 million, 10-year study on biodemography of aging from 2003-2013. He is also known for discovering Carey's Equality or the death distribution in a life table population equals its age structure. He teaches a popular longevity course that draws 250 to 300 students year, and recently authored a book on biodemography, to be published by Princeton University next year.
Professor Jared Shaw, interim chair of the UC Davis Department of Chemistry and founder of the Science Café series, will host the Oct. 10th presentation. Launched in 2012 and initially supported by the National Science Foundation, the popular series now draws support from the Department of Chemistry and Division of Mathematical and Physical Sciences and is promoted by Capital Science Communicators.
The presentations are free and open to the public and take place the second Wednesday of each month. See schedule on the UC Davis Department of Chemistry website.
Sarah Silverman, a doctoral candidate who is studying insect demography at UC Davis with major professor James R. Carey, won a second-place award in her category.
Boudinot, who studies classification and evolution of morphology, delivered a 10-minute oral presentation in the Systematics, Evolution and Biodiversity Section on "The Protopodal Theory of Genitalic Evolution in the Hexapoda (Arthropoda: Mandibulata: Pancrustacea)."
Boudinot completed his undergraduate work at the Evergreen State College, Olympia, Wash., and spent a year working as a research technician at the University of Utah before starting his graduate work in 2014 with advisor Phil Ward. He focuses his research on evolution and ecology, approached from the perspective of systematics. “I integrate several lines of inquiry to answer historical evolutionary questions, including morphological and molecular phylogenetics, paleontology, and traditional comparative morphology,” Boudinot related. “I specialize on the skeletomusculature system of the male genitalia of the Hexapoda and the classification of the Formicoidea.”
Silverman gave a 10-minute oral presentation in the Diptera-Mosquitoes category of the Medical, Urban, and Veterinary Entomology Section, on “Population as Cohort: Interpreting the Mortality Patterns of Wild-Caught Adult Mosquitoes of Unknown Ages.”
Silverman completed her bachelor's degree in environmental science at McGill University in Montreal. For her undergraduate thesis, she studied the phenology of wild Osmia bees. Her work at UC Davis is in the field of insect demography. “I specifically study insect lifespan in the wild, as well as the the age-structure of insect populations in the wild using an innovative methodological approach: the capture of live-insects in the wild which are then maintained and observed in the lab until death,” she said.
At its annual meetings, the ESA offers graduate students the opportunity to present their research and win coveted prizes. The first-place President's Prize recipient receives a one-year free membership in ESA, a $75 cash prize, and a certificate. The second-place winner receives a one-year free membership in ESA and a certificate.
The oral presentations are evaluated on scientific content (50 percent) and presentation (50 percent). For scientific content, judges score them on introduction and background with pertinent literature cited; objectives clearly stated and concise; materials and methods (study design) clear and concise; results and discussion clear, concise and accurate; and significance of results to field of study. Judges evaluation the presentation on organization, slides and delivery.
Boudinot's previous President's Prizes were for work on the male genitalia of ants, and for providing the first male-based identification material for the ant genera of the New World.
Ants are highly diverse, with over 13,000 known species, Boudinot said. "They are, however, but one stitch in the diversity of all insects, and we are entering a new era for the study of morphology in the 21st century."
The genitalia of male insects are fascinating, he said. "Both male and female insect genitalia are derived from the appendages of a pair of abdominal segments. Evidence from the skeletomusculature indicates that these structures are really legs of a crustacean ancestor that have been modified for numerous reproductive tasks--from copulation and insemination, to singing and silk-spinning."
Carey, described as “a truly outstanding teacher,” was named a semifinalist and received a $1000 honorarium. Approximately 100 applicants began the initial process.
“Dr. James Carey epitomizes the scholar-teacher,” said Cherry Award committee member Kevin Dougherty, associate professor of sociology. “He is a prodigious author with multiple books and hundreds of research articles. Millions of dollars in grants have funded his research. Yet, Dr. Carey has done more than produce knowledge. He is an innovative, international leader in interdisciplinary teaching and learning. He is an entomologist who teaches courses on aging, crime, and war to classes ranging in size from 20 to 200 plus. Over a thousand instructional videos also feature Dr. Carey. Dr. James Carey is the type of exemplary scholar-teacher for which Baylor University's Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching exists.”
The Cherry Award program is “designed to honor great teachers, to stimulate discussion in the academy about the value of teaching, and to encourage departments and institutions to value their own great teachers.” Nominees are from all over the English-speaking world.
The three finalists, to present a series of lectures in the fall of 2017, are Heidi G. Elmendorf, biology, Georgetown University; Neil K. Garg, chemistry, University of California, Los Angeles; and Clinton O. Longenecker, leadership, The University of Toledo. Each receives $15,000, and the home department, $10,000, to foster the development of teaching skills. The winning professor, to be announced in spring 2018, will thus receive a total of $265,000, and $35,000 for his or her home department.
Carey, who joined the UC Davis faculty in 1980, is nationally and internationally recognized for his innovative teaching program that centers on the strategic use of digital technology. He received the 2015 Distinguished Achievement in Teaching Award from the Entomological Society of America (ESA); the 2014 Distinguished Teaching Award from the Pacific Branch of ESA; and the UC Davis Academic Senate's 2014 Distinguished Teaching Award, an honor given to internationally recognized professors who excel at teaching.
The seminar, "Best Practices for Scientific Presentations: Information Design, Advanced PowerPoint, and Scientific Storytelling," will take place from 10 to 11 a.m., Thursday, Dec. 15 in 122 Briggs Hall, Kleiber Hall Drive.
"For the past several years I have been teaching workshops to faculty and graduate students at various international organizations/institutions on digital strategies in university instruction," Carey said. These include the Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa (Nairobi), the European Doctoral School of Demography (Rome), and the Agricultural University of Faisalabad (Pakistan). Carey will package the information he presents on best practices in scientific talks into three domains:
- Information/graphic design concepts—how to visualize information/data clearly and efficiently including decluttering;
- Projection and presentation techniques (PPT)—how to walk audiences through each slide to keep them engaged and their gaze directed; and
- Scientific storytelling—how to structure talks to ensure coherency and flow. Although his workshops typically are multi-day affairs with hands-on projects, he has distilled most of the key concepts and methods into a 50-minute best-practices presentation.
Here's why to attend:
"I ran across this statement while researching: “The amount of time and effort you invest in preparing your talk is in direct proportion to what you have at stake," Carey said. If you attend this presentation, you will know best practices and be made aware of the time it will take you to prepare a talk designed to impress—all depending on “what's at stake."
For more information, contact Carey at email@example.com
The distinction recognizes outstanding Senate faculty who have achieved the highest level of scholarship. "These are scholars whose work has been internationally recognized and whose teaching performance is excellent," according to the website.
Leal, former professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, serves as a mentor in the campuswide Research Scholars Program in Insect Biology (RSPIB), launched in 2011 and administered by UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology faculty members professor Jay Rosenheim, associate professor Louie Yang and assistant professor Joanna Chiu.
RSPIB aims to provide academically strong and highly motivated undergraduates with a multi-year research experience that cultivates skills that will prepare them for a career in biological research. The annual deadline for undergraduates to apply is April 10.
Leal joins five other current or former faculty members of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology with the “distinguished professor” title: nematologists Howard Ferris and Harry Kaya and entomologists Bruce Hammock, Frank Zalom, Thomas Scott (now emeritus) and James R. Carey. Most are affiliated with RSPIB: Leal, insect physiology; Hammock, insect biochemistry; Zalom, integrated pest management, and Carey, insect demography.
Leal serves as co-chair the International Congress of Entomology (ICE) meeting, to take place Sept. 25-30, 2016 in Orlando, Fla.