School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science

New Scientist Live - Naked Mole Rats

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1 October 2017

Time: 10:00am - 5:00pm
Venue: Excel Centre Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway London E16 1XL

Come and visit a colony of naked mole rat and take part in a drawing workshop at the New Scientist Live 2017 Event from Thursday 28-September to October 1st

Listed as one of the NSL top 7 things to see in the Metro newspaper on September 14th 2017, the Naked Mole Rat stand demonstrates the data art the moles created using the real-time data artwork - animation, data vis, soft robot sculptures. Animal life drawing workshops are also available.

The stand is hosted by Dr Chris Faulkes Molecular ecologist (School of Biological and Chemical Sciences )  and Julie Freeman (EECS) Queen Mary University of London.

Dr Chris Faulkes will also be delivering his talk:

THE NAKED MOLE-RAT, ANIMAL SUPERHERO - October 1st 12:00-12:40pm, Earth Theatre

They fight off cancer, undergo puberty in days, and live in highly complex societies with surprising similarities to Game of Thrones. Enter the incredible world of the naked mole-rat. Naked mole-rats are unique among mammals, with many unusual features resulting from extreme adaptations to living underground. Groups commonly contain 100 or more individuals, yet a single dominant breeding queen and 1-3 males monopolise reproduction.

The rest of the colony of both sexes do not breed but instead carry out ‘work’ or defence-related activities. An astonishing 99% of naked mole-rats never reproduce. At all. Ever. The queen behaviourally harasses these non-breeders and the resulting stress somehow shuts down their reproductive systems.

But this can be rapidly reversed – for instance, if the queen dies, non-breeders can literally go through puberty in a matter of days. Naked mole-rats’ natural resistance to cancer have also made them an important model system for healthy aging, as well as giving us a rare insight into the evolution of complex societies.

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