Northern California Science Writers Association


Upcoming events

    • Tuesday, April 10, 2018
    • 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
    • Thirsty Bear Brewing Co., 661 Howard St, San Francisco CA 94105 (a short walk from the Montgomery BART station)
    • 46

    Medicine is at an inflection point, where the very idea of what we consider a drug is about to change. Today, pharmaceutical companies create chemical compounds that attack pathogens or tweak your own cells’ function to help them fight disease. But tomorrow, researchers may be able to build smart therapeutic cells that reside in the body for life, poised to respond to diseases from cancer to Alzheimer’s — or even prevent them entirely.

    Join us at Thirsty Bear Brewery in San Francisco to learn about the next-level technologies being developed by Kole Roybal and his team at UC San Francisco to reprogram and repurpose immune cells into “cell-bots” — cellular robots that sense tumors or other diseased tissue and respond with an array of customizable therapeutic responses.

    Roybal envisions a future in which cellular therapies act as microscopic “physicians,” capable of rapidly traveling anywhere in the body to detect, diagnose, and treat diseases by killing off sick or dangerous cells, cleaning up toxic debris, or delivering medications directly to where they’re needed.


    Kole Roybal is an assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of California, San Francisco, a member of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, and an inaugural Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Investigator. His laboratory harnesses the tools of synthetic and chemical biology to engineer immune cell therapies for cancer and autoimmune diseases. He received his doctorate from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.


    6 pm Drinks & mingling (cash bar)

    7 pm Buffet dinner

    8 pm Speaker & Q&A


    MIXED GREENS SALAD tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions & sherry vinaigrette

    PIQUILLO PEPPERS fire roasted sweet red peppers stuffed w/goat cheese & herbs

    ASPARAGUS grilled with hard-boiled eggs & salsa verde

    PATATAS BRAVAS garlicky potatoes w/spicy brava sauce & lemon aioli

    AHI TUNA seared w/pimenton spice, olive & lemon marinated chick peas, pea sprouts

    CHICKEN sauteed w/capers, garlic, butter & sherry

    VEGAN PAELLA DE VERDURAS rice, asparagus, fava beans, baby squash, carrots,spinach, parsley, lemon zest

    CHURROS fried dough, cinnamon, sugar, chocolate dipping sauce

    COST: $22 members / $17 students / $45 nonmembers

    REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Sign up by 5 pm PDT April 4, 2018

    • Saturday, April 21, 2018
    • 9:00 AM - 3:30 PM
    • Sutter Buttes

    Explore the Sutter Buttes, a volcanic mini-mountain range in the midst of the Central Valley, with NCSWA on Saturday, April 21. Learn about its geologic origins, ecology, and significance in Native American cultures during a three- to five-mile moderately strenuous trek. The hike will wind through the Dean property, a working cattle ranch, at the heart of the Buttes. Wildflower displays should be glorious given recent rains. Steve Roddy, a certified California Naturalist and retired teacher, will be our primary guide. He is extremely familiar with the property and can tailor the hike to match participant interests and weather conditions. He’ll make frequent stops on this interpretive hike to examine natural features.

    Children capable of walking the distance on their own are welcome. Bring food, water, hiking attire (sturdy shoes, hat, layers, etc.). No dogs are permitted on the property. Porta-potties are located at the trailhead. The duration of the hike may be somewhat longer or shorter than listed, depending on conditions and the interests of the group.

    Travel information

    We'll meet in a shopping center at Yuba City and caravan to the Buttes together with our guide. Because the Buttes are private property, you cannot drive in on your own.

    Supplemental reading

    The U.S. Geological Survey has published an excellent four-page fact sheet providing an geological overview of the mountain range: Sutter Buttes—The Lone Volcano in California's Central Valley.

    In addition, Roddy recommends two books for those interested in learning more about the area beforehand. Secrets of the Oak Woodland, by Kate Marianchild offers introductions to the natural history of 22 native species ranging from toyon to woodrats

    Inland Island: The Sutter Buttes, by Walt Anderson, is the definitive text about this unique range.

Past events

Saturday, March 17, 2018 NCSWA Workshop — Career Planning for Science Writers: How to get from where you are to where you want to be
Sunday, March 04, 2018 NCSWA Field Trip — Oro Loma ecotone slope
Tuesday, December 05, 2017 NCSWA Holiday Dinner: Ancient DNA--A Path Toward De-Extinction?
Wednesday, June 21, 2017 Little darlin’ ... There goes the sun: August's total solar eclipse
Saturday, April 29, 2017 NCSWA Workshop: Smartphone Photography
Saturday, April 22, 2017 NCSWA March for Science Meetup
Tuesday, March 14, 2017 When itch becomes a pain: the biology of touch
Saturday, March 04, 2017 Show and Tell: How to build stories with scenes and voice
Tuesday, December 13, 2016 California's redwoods in a changing climate
Sunday, October 30, 2016 Tour of Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve
Saturday, October 08, 2016 NCSWA Workshop: Smartphone Photography
Tuesday, October 04, 2016 A Giant Step for Robots
Saturday, August 27, 2016 Walking Tour: Berkeley Rocks!
Thursday, August 04, 2016 The see-through brain
Saturday, April 23, 2016 NCSWA Workshop: Narrative Structure: Choosing the best way to tell your story
Tuesday, April 19, 2016 Open Board Meeting
Tuesday, April 12, 2016 Stiff, Spook, Bonk and More: Science Meets Humor
Saturday, February 27, 2016 Marine Mammal Center & Point Bonita Lighthouse
Saturday, February 20, 2016 NCSWA WORKSHOP: The Art of the Science Essay
Wednesday, December 16, 2015 Pluto’s “Spinning Top” Moons and other Discoveries
Thursday, October 08, 2015 NCSWA Movie Night: The Martian
Thursday, October 01, 2015 Your Aging Cells: The Fast Track to Disease?
Saturday, September 19, 2015 NCSWA Data Scraping and Visualization Workshop
Tuesday, July 07, 2015 How CRISPR gene editing is changing our world
Friday, June 26, 2015 NCSWA weekend at Hastings Reserve, June 26-28
Wednesday, December 17, 2014 Proof: the Science of Booze
Tuesday, October 07, 2014 How scary is Ebola?
Saturday, May 24, 2014 Underground tour of Black Diamond Mines
Thursday, April 03, 2014 Daniela Kaufer - Stress & the Brain
Wednesday, December 11, 2013 Holiday dinner: Chasing volcanoes
Thursday, September 26, 2013 NCSWA Night at the Exploratorium
Friday, August 16, 2013 Camping trip to Sagehen reserve in the Sierra Nevada
Friday, May 03, 2013 How to Be a Science Writer
Wednesday, April 17, 2013 Spring Dinner: Hydraulic Fracturing, with Stanford's Mark Zoback
Saturday, January 12, 2013 NCSWA Data Journalism Workshop
Wednesday, December 05, 2012 NCSWA Holiday Dinner: Nerds on Wall Street (REGISTRATION CLOSED)
Thursday, October 11, 2012 NCSWA Fall Event: Cyber Crime (REGISTRATION CLOSED)
Tuesday, August 28, 2012 NCSWA Movie Night
Friday, August 24, 2012 Overnight trip to North Coast’s Angelo Reserve (FULL)
Saturday, July 14, 2012 Special tour of Buckminster Fuller exhibit (SOLD OUT)
Thursday, May 17, 2012 Spring dinner with Atul Butte
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 Resetting the Aging Clock
Wednesday, December 07, 2011 Intimate Aerials: Photography using Kite-Lofted Cameras
Tuesday, October 04, 2011 GAMING SCIENCE: Video Games and Scientific Research – Who’s in the Lead?
Monday, July 11, 2011 SETI: If We're Not Alone, How Will We Find Out?
Thursday, March 10, 2011 Building the brain in silicon
Saturday, February 26, 2011 Hike the "minor peaks" of San Francisco
Saturday, January 22, 2011 Hike the Pinnacles with a ranger
Wednesday, December 15, 2010 Math whiz and Las Vegas card counting veteran Paul Stepahin
Saturday, November 20, 2010 Digital Photography Workshop
Thursday, October 07, 2010 Oil Spills and Microbes: Can Mother Nature Take a Punch?
Saturday, August 21, 2010 NCSWA Point Reyes Kayak Camping
Tuesday, May 18, 2010 David Relman & the Micro World of Endo-Ecology
Thursday, April 01, 2010 Dinner with Stephen Palumbi
Wednesday, December 16, 2009 Holiday Dinner with Science Comedian Brian Malow
Wednesday, October 07, 2009 Let’s Get Really Small: A Report on Nanotechnology from Someone Ahead of the Forefront
Tuesday, June 09, 2009 The Hunt for Planets Like Earth
Saturday, April 25, 2009 WORKSHOP: New Directions in Science Writing
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