Sept. 18 Science Cafe talk will focus on UF/IFAS space biology research

Rob Ferl

Click here for high resolution image. Caption at bottom.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Two University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences faculty will lead the first Science Café of the fall, titled “Going Boldly: Astrobiology, Space Biology and Seeking the Meaning of Life off Earth,” on Sept. 18.

Science Café is a discussion series hosted by UF’s Florida Museum of Natural History that features a variety of science topics. Tuesday’s talk will be held at The Warehouse Restaurant and Lounge located at 502 S. Main St. in Gainesville from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

The talk will be free and attendees can purchase food and beverages.

Anna-Lisa Paul, a horticultural sciences research associate professor, and Robert Ferl, a horticultural sciences professor and director of UF’s Interdisciplinary Center for Biotechnology Research, are the featured speakers.

The ICBR provides the latest technological services to UF and others for researching molecular life sciences, and the talk is part of the center’s 25th anniversary celebration.

Paul and Ferl work with NASA to understand how life can survive in space and perhaps on other planets.

“Some of the questions we’re looking at address the deep theoretical limits of where life is in the universe,” Ferl said. “Others involve practical questions such as how to grow plants in really challenging environments like the International Space Station, the surface of the moon or on Mars. If we can learn how to grow plants in space, and do it well, then we can help sustain outposts where plant-based ecosystems provide air, water and nutrient cycling for colonists.”

To attend the Science Café talk, RSVP via email to aerickson@flmnh.ufl.edu or call Amanda Harvey at 352-273-2062.

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Contacts:

Writer: Robert H. Wells, 352-273-3569; rhwells@ufl.edu

Source: Robert Ferl, 352-273-8030; robferl@ufl.edu

Caption: Rob Ferl is director of UF’s Interdisciplinary Center for Biotechnology Research and a UF/IFAS horticultural sciences professor. He will be a speaker at the Sept. 18 Science Cafe talk in Gainesville titled “Going Boldly: Astrobiology, Space Biology and Seeking the Meaning of Life off Earth.”