Café Scientifique

Café Scientifique
is an international network of informal groups that brings scientific debate into local communities.

Stanford Blood Center joined the Café Scientifique community in Fall 2007 with the goal of fostering medical and scientific learning, and raising awareness within our community about the blood center.

For more information about Café Scientifique, or to add your e-mail address to our mailing list, please contact Kevin O'Neill.

Upcoming Events

Please check back soon for details about our next Cafe Scientifique presentation.

Past Events

On Thursday, February 25, 2016, Sharon J. Sha, MD, MS discussed the distinguishing characteristics of age-related memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, and what we can do to protect ourselves. A video recording of this event is coming soon.

On Thursday, November 12, 2015, Ed Engleman, MD discussed the new era in the treatment of cancer. He shared why this proved to be so difficult for so many years, and how we can now use immunotherapy to treat and potentially cure a wide range of cancers. A video recording of this event is coming soon. View the video recording of this event here.

On Tuesday, September 15, 2015, Paul Tang, MD discussed the important role adults play in our society and across the globe. He shared information on a new program called linkAges - connecting generations to create the communities we want to live in. There is no video recording of this event.

On Thursday, July 23, 2015, Bernard Muir shared insights and anecdotes from his vantage point as director of Stanford Athletics. There is no video recording of this event.

On Thursday, May 28, 2015, Michael Synder, PhD shared promising new discoveries in autism research using advanced genomics and other "omics" technologies. View a video recording of this event here.

On Thursday, March 26, 2015, Dr. Esquivel reviewed the journey of his career and his work in pioneering the first liver transplants on babies. He also mentioned the importance of organ donation. There is no video recording of this event.

On Thursday, January 29, 2015, Pegasus Physicians, composed of academic and private practice physicians in various stages of career development who also are creative writers, read their short stories and poems on the usage of blood products as life-saving interventions from the perspective of their various specialties. View the video recording of this event here.

On Wednesday, November 19, 2014, J.D. Schramm discussed techniques for sharing stories with greater impact on listeners. View the video recording of this event here.

On Thursday, September 25, 2014, Daryn Reicherter, MD discussed war crimes stemming from political conflict and the devastating scars they leave upon victims, physically and pshycologically. The talk addressed successful approaches to the healing of these wounds, including storytelling, and their incorporation into the international criminal justice process. View the video recording of this event here.

On Thursday, July 22, 2014, Dr. Jennifer Brokaw discussed the process of Advance Care Planning; what it involves and what decisions you will need to make when you create your plan. View the video recording of this event here.

On Thursday, June 5, 2014, Dr. Susan Swetter discussed the best protective practices for preventing sunburn, photoaging, and skin cancer, including the most deadly type - melanoma. She also discussed the latest FDA regulations regarding sunscreens. View the video recording of this event here.

On Thursday, March 27, 2014, Jay Azarow, Ph.D. presented "Stress and Success: The Science of Stress, Energy, and Productivity on the Job." View the video recording of this event here.

On Thursday, January 30, 2014, Lloyd B. Minor, MD, Dean of the Stanford University School of Medicine, discussed how academic medical centers like Stanford Medicine are leading the biomedical revolution in this Century of Biology.

On Thursday, November 21, 2013, Dr. Steven Adeslsheim discussed the international and national movement toward building early detection and intervention models for serious mental illness.

On Thursday, September 26, 2013, Dr. Clete Kushida discussed sleep and sleepiness, how to recognize common sleep problems and disorders, and how to receive treatment for them. He also shared some do's and don'ts for good sleep.

On Thursday, July 25, 2013, Bob Jachens brought his therapy German Shepherd, Kobuk, for a demonstration, while Robert Higa discussed desirable dog and handler characteristics, the training process, and the ever-growing venues where therapy animals are being effectively utilized.

On Thursday, May 30, 2013, Robert Higa provided an overview of current practices in animal therapy, and shared emerging trends for its use in modern healthcare facilities, mental health and education. He also shared research findings on the reciprocal health benefits which can accrue to the animals as well as patients engaged in therapy activities.

On Thursday, March 28, 2013,Dr. Quake described the development of the first single molecule DNA sequencer. He then discussed several applications of high throughput DNA sequencing in medicine, ranging from non-invasive diagnostics to the first clinically annotated human genome.

On Thursday, January 31, 2013, Judith A. Shizuru, MD, PhD, explained definitions of both tissue stem cells and pluripotent stem cells. She reviewed the work leading to the recent award of a Nobel Prize to a stem cell biologist, and concluded with an overview on near-term, promising therapies from the field of stem cell biology.

On Thursday, November 15, 2012, Beth Kanter, well-known blogger and co-author of the highly acclaimed book The Networked Nonprofit, talked about her new book "Measuring the Networked Nonprofit", co-authored with KD Paine. She discussed the two processes that nonprofits need for success in a networked age: To become networked and measurement. The book provides valuable, how-to insights on using data to change the world – insights all nonprofits can use to fulfill their missions.

On Thursday, September 27, 2012, Scott Johnson, CEO, President and Founder of the Myelin Repair Foundation, presented "Where are the Cures? Accelerating New Treatments for Multiple Sclerosis & All Diseases". Johnson discussed how he, an entrepreneur and multiple sclerosis patient, became an unlikely revolutionary to transform the medical research system and accelerate new patient treatments for millions living with chronic and debilitating diseases.

On Thursday, July 26, 2012, Matthew W. Anderson, MD, PhD, presented "Precision Medicine: Will Genomic Information Improve Healthcare?" Dr. Anderson discussed how molecular information may be used to improve the classification, diagnosis, and treatment of disease.

On Thursday, May 31, 2012, Allan L. Reiss, MD, presented "Deconstructing Autism". Dr. Reiss discussed how a major shift in scientific perspectives is causing a reappraisal of the fundamental nature of autism – from a behaviorally defined syndrome to a plethora of specific brain diseases that can give rise to multiple outcomes in addition to autism.

On Thursday, March 29, 2012, Mark Z. Jacobson, PhD presented "A Plan for Clean, Sustainable Energy Worldwide in 20-40 Years" where he discussed a plan to solve the problems of global warming, air pollution, and energy insecurity by powering 100% of the world’s energy for all purposes, including electricity, transportation, industry, and heating/cooling, with wind, water, and sunlight (WWS) within 20-40 years.

On Thursday, January 26, 2012, Sherry Wren MD, FACS, Professor of Surgery and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Stanford University School of Medicine, and Chief of General Surgery at Palo Alto Veterans Health Care System, presented "Humanitarian Surgery in the Heart of Darkness." The event detailed Wren's experience as a surgeon with Doctors Without Borders in African conflict zones.

On Thursday, November 17, 2011, Robert Lustig, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Endocrinology, UCSF, presented "Darwin, Diet, Dollars, and Disease" about biochemistry and the obesity epidemic. Dr. Lustig is currently investigating the contribution of biochemical, neural, hormonal, and genetic influences in the expression of the current obesity epidemic both in children and adults.

On Thursday, September 29, 2011, Marina Basina, M.D., a diabetes expert and Clinical Assistant Professor, Medicine - Endocrinology, Gerontology, Metabolism at Stanford University and Jen M. Block, BSRN, CDE, a diabetes educator and research coordinator in the Department of Pediatric Endocrinology at Stanford University, presented "Triumphing Over Type 1 Diabetes: Tips & Tricks for Control & Freedom". The event addressed various mechanisms that patients with T1 diabetes can use to make the daily burdens of insulin and glucose less of a hindrance, and ways in which they can add variety and healthy enjoyment to their lives without compromising diabetes care.

On Thursday, July 28, 2011, Glenn Brassington, PhD, presented: Excellence Is No Accident. This highly practical workshop taught viewers to apply the mental training techniques used by the world's greatest athletes, performing artists, and business professionals to enhance performance at work, in sport, and in life.
Glenn Brassington, Ph D, Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor at the Prevention Research Center in the School of Medicine at Stanford University, & Associate Professor of Psychology at Sonoma State University

On Thursday, May 26, 2011, William C. Dement, MD, PhD, Stanford University School of Medicine Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Science, and the Chief of the Stanford University Division of Sleep discussed Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sleep but Were Afraid to Ask.

The author of “The Promise of Sleep”, Dr. Dement started the world’s first Sleep Disorders Clinic which introduced all-night polysomnographic examination of patients with sleep-related complaints, medical responsibility and management of the patient, and objective assessment of the relationship between nighttime sleep and daytime function. Widely regarded as “The Father of Sleep Medicine”, Dr. Dement will review the importance of sleep and the consequences of sleep deprivation. Three major sleep disorders, insomnia, narcolepsy and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), will be discussed in depth, including best treatment practices. He will also share his personal challenges with insomnia.

Here's a Medical Center Report article about Dr. Dement.

On Thursday, March 31, 2011, Lauren Ward Larsen, the President and Chief Ambassador of the Foundation for America’s Blood Centers, discussed her memoir, Zuzu’s Petals: A True Story of Second Chances (In The Telling Press, © 2011), which chronicles her experience with near-fatal preeclampsia and the unexpected life that unfolded as a result. After becoming a multi-gallon blood recipient, Lauren toured the U.S. meeting both the life-saving blood donors, and those whose lives were saved. She also shared the heartfelt stories encompassing the “ripple effect” inherent in every blood donation.

On Thursday, February 17, 2011, Anne Findlay and Marina Basina, M.D. presented Triabetes Documentary: The Science of Inspiration. Twelve people with type 1 diabetes set out to complete the 2008 Ironman Wisconsin Triathlon as part of a team called “Triabetes”. This and similar events have helped to shatter presumed limitations, thereby revolutionizing the way people approach diabetes management.
Anne Findlay was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 14. She participated in cross country in college, running in the Boston Marathon in 2005. She has since participated in 4 Ironman triathlons. She is also a new member of the Team Type 1 women’s road bike racing team. She works in Biomedical Engineering at UCSF.
Marina Basina, M.D., is a diabetes expert and Clinical Assistant Professor, Medicine - Endocrinology, Gerontology, Metabolism at Stanford University. She received her M.D. from Moscow Medical School, Russia. She did her internship & residency in internal medicine at UCLA, and is board certified in internal medicine with a specialty in endocrinology and metabolism.

On Thursday, January 27, 2011, Dr. Robert Sapolsky delivered: Stress, Coping and Health: Lessons from Wild Baboons.

Dr. Robert Sapolsky is a MacArthur “Genius” Fellow, a professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University, and a research associate with the Institute of Primate Research at the National Museum of Kenya. In 2008, National Geographic & PBS aired an hour-long special on stress featuring Dr. Sapolsky and his research on the subject. In addition to A Primate’s Memoir, which won the 2001 Bay Area Book Reviewers Award in nonfiction, Robert Sapolsky has written three other books, The Trouble with Testosterone, Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers, and Monkeyluv and Other Essays on our Lives as Animals. His articles have appeared in publications such as Discover and The New Yorker. Dr. Sapolsky was awarded Rockefeller University’s Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science for 2008.

On Thursday, November 18, 2010, Philip A. Pizzo, MD, Dean of the Stanford University School of Medicine and The Carl and Elizabeth Naumann Professor of Pediatrics and Microbiology & Immunology, presented: What is the future of academic medicine at a time of change in the United States: some personal reflections.

On Thursday, November 4, 2010, David Miller discussed: The College Admissions Process: Pyramids, Poker, Portals, Perspectives, and Possibilities. David Miller is Director of College Counseling at Stevenson School in Pebble Beach, CA. He earned his B.A. from Princeton, and M.A. from Stanford. He has served for 30+ years as an educator in both public and private schools. He currently teaches at the Stevenson School in Pebble Beach, and is its Director of College Counseling.

On Thursday, October 14, 2010, we hosted a talk by Thea Cooper, B.A., Bard College, M.F.A., Iowa Playwrights Workshop, and co-author of Breakthrough: Elizabeth Hughes, the Discovery of Insulin, and the Making of a Medical Miracle by Thea Cooper and Arthur Ainsberg (St. Martin’s Press, September 2010).

On October 31, 1920, Frederick Banting was an orthopedic surgeon looking for work when, half-asleep in the midst of a restless night, he scrawled twenty-five words that would lead to the life-saving solution to a problem that had confounded scientists for centuries. Less than two years later, the fourteen-year-old diabetic daughter of the U.S. Secretary of State, Elizabeth Hughes, became one of the first recipients of an experimental drug called insulin. This improbable meeting would change both of their lives – and millions of others. But for nearly sixty years, Elizabeth’s story was virtually lost to history. More than 23 million people in the United States, or about 8% of the population, have diabetes, and 5 to 10% of these have Type 1 diabetes. Yet many do not know the amazing story that led to the medical breakthrough on which they depend.

On Thursday, September 30, 2010, John Edward Watson-Williams, M.D., past Professor of Medicine and Hematology on three continents, on Advisory Board for “The Safe Blood Africa Project, discussed The Blood Banking Challenge in Africa: The 'Safe Blood Africa Project' Response"

One quarter of a million people die annually in Nigeria from lack of blood products. Its National Transfusion Service supplies 2% of the needs of its population of 150 million. In response to the monumental need for modern blood product services on the African continent, the Rotary Club of Carmel Valley founded “The Safe Blood Africa Project” in 2004. Dr Watson-Williams serves on its Advisory Board. Known as the “Father of Transfusion Medicine in Uganda”, he has worked tirelessly in academic, missionary, voluntary, & service roles in many African countries. He will share with us his first hand experiences in tackling daunting medical, cultural, logistical, & financial challenges working to modernize hematological practices in Africa.

On Thursday, July 29, 2010, Edgar Engleman, M.D., Professor of Pathology & Blood Center Director, Stanford University discussed Medicine’s First Therapeutic Cancer Vaccine: The Challenge, the Breakthrough, & the Future. A video of his presentation is featured below. You may also watch it on our YouTube channel.


On Thursday, May 27, 2010, Robert Norris, M.D., professor and chief of emergency medicine at Stanford, discussed his team's emergency medical relief effort in the wake of the Haitian earthquake.

On Thursday, March 25, 2010, Daniel Bernstein, M.D., a Professor of Pediatrics at the Stanford University School of Medicine a clinician at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and Stanford Hospital & Clinics, shared the revolutionary improvements in care for newborns who are tragically born with devastating heart defects.

On Thursday, January 28, 2010, Students from the Stanford Theatre Activist Mobilization Project (STAMP) presented monologues written anonymously by Stanford students living with depression, bipolar disorder, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other mental health issues.

Terence Ketter, M.D., Stanford Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science - Psychopharmacology, provided invaluable insight on the disorders dramatized, described current university emergency response practices to behavioral crisis, and skillfully answered questions on the entire range of topics covered during the evening.

On Tuesday, November 17, 2009, Ruthann Richter, Director of Media Relations at Stanford University School of Medicine and Karen Ande, acclaimed photographer offered a glimpse of their new book about their experiences in the bush of East Africa and slums of Nairobi.

On Tuesday, September 22, 2009, Arthur Reingold, MD, professor and head of the Division of Epidemiology at UC Berkeley, discussed the topic as an expert on the prevention of infectious diseases.

By now you've heard of the H1N1 influenza, or swine flu. A new strain of the virus appeared in Mexico and Southern California in the Spring of 2009 and has since spread across the country and globe, causing a pandemic that is expected to worsen during the coming winter in the northern hemisphere. Dr. Reingold gave an update on the clinical and epidemiological features of the pandemic and discuss options for prevention and control.

On Thursday, July 30, 2009, Abraham Verghese, MD, Professor of Medicine at Stanford University, and best-selling author of My Own Country and The Tennis Partner, gave a discussion titled: "Is Fiction a Higher Form of Truth?" and field questions on his books.

On Thursday, May 28, 2009, Chief Flight Nurse Sonya Ruiz and a Life Flight pilot shared their fascinating career stories, accounts of their life-saving service to the sick and injured, and the challenges and rewards involved.

On Thursday, March 26, 2009, Dr. Jack Lissauer discussd NASA's first mission capable of finding Earth-size planets where liquid water and life might exist.

On January 29, 2009, Anabel and Isabel Stenzel, authors, medical professionals, and identical twins, discussed their personal accounts of living with cystic fibrosis, a genetic lung disease. Copies of their book, The Power of Two: A Twin Triumph over Cystic Fibrosis were available.

On November 25, 2008, Dr. Paul Ehrlich discussed his new book, co-written with his wife, Anne Ehrlich, about human population, dominance, and the rapidly changing world we live in.

On September 25, 2008, We were treated to a discussion about mindfullness-based meditation led by Philippe Goldin, PhD. He presented new brain imaging data on the science of bringing yourself back to the here and now.

On July 31, 2008, Stanford Blood Center's own Director of Clinical Operations, Dr. Susan Galel, discussed the rationale behind the FDA's policy that restricts blood donations from men who have had sex with a man.

On May 29, 2008, Wes Alles, PhD—Director of the Stanford Health Improvement Program—discussed the health consequences of having a type-A personality. It was a lively discussion, and he took several questions from a very eager audience. Video to come ASAP.

On March 25, 2008, Dr. Dolly Tyan pinch-hit for us when we had to re-schedule a previously planned speaker. She shared a little about her amazing research in the field of organ transplantation.

On January 29, 2008, Dr. Stephen Schneider joined us at Stanford Blood Center to share his unique perspective as both a Climate Studies Expert and a cancer patient. His approach to both cancer and the climate is to manage risk and do preventative maintenance. Please see video from this discussion here:

On November 13, 2007, Dr. Ed Engleman—Stanford Blood Center's Medical Director—led a stimulating discussion about his research in the field of cancer treatment.

Dr. Engleman delivers his talk