A Toast to Your Health: Fruit Flies, Alcohol, and Medicine

When: Wed., January 14, 2015
Doors at 6:00pm, event at 7:00pm

Cost: $8.00 advance tickets,
$10.00* suggested cover at the door

Food and Drink: Beer, wine, popcorn, pizza slices, and snacks available.

Science on Tap is a science lecture series where you can sit back, enjoy a pint, and laugh while you learn. Listen to experts talk about the science in your neighborhood and around the world. You don’t have to be a science geek to have fun—all you need is a thirst for knowledge!

Those pesky fruit flies that seem to come out of nowhere have actually evolved a pretty sophisticated way to stay healthy. Fruit flies are often host to parasitic wasps who lay their eggs inside the flies and which, after they hatch, consume the flies from the inside out. (Yes, like the movie Alien.) Since fruit flies are often around rotting, fermenting fruits, the flies that are infected with the parasitic wasps will actively seek out otherwise harmful levels of alcohol that has the effect of killing off the wasps in their system. They can also identify the wasps by sight, and when they see them, they will lay their eggs on more alcoholic food sources in (presumably) an effort to protect their offspring from being infected in the future. Todd Schlenke, PhD, biology professor at Reed College, will talk about his studies that seem to show fruit flies self medicating and discuss how alcohol might be used as medication in humans as well.

Science on Tap at the Kiggins is produced in partnership with  Campus Sig-Horz Vancouver