Loading Events

« All Events

The Use of Slime Molds in Promoting Science for and by the People

  • This event has passed.
Event Series Event Series: Incredible Minds

May 6, 2023 @ 6:00 pm 8:00 pm CEST

The Use of Slime Molds in Promoting Science for and by the People

with Dr. Audrey Dussutour

Saturday May 6, 2023
9:00am PDT | 12:00pm EDT | 5:00pm BST  |  6:00pm CEST

2-hour session

The session is live and you will be sent the RECORDING.

Slime molds are remarkable single cell organisms that belong to the Amoebozoa, a kingdom usually considered to be a sister group to fungi and animals. Slime molds are model organisms to study problem-solving in aneural biological systems. Although they lack the complex hardware of a true brain, they live in a complex ecological niche and face the same decision-making challenges that animals are faced with: they must feed, mate and adapt to changing conditions. Hence, in the first part of my talk, I will present various examples of problem-solving in slime molds. Surprisingly, slime moulds are also model organisms to conduct citizen science projects. They are easy to culture, safe, nontoxic and hypoallergenic living organisms. Thus, in the second part of my talk, I will demonstrate how slime molds can be used to 1) increase the public’s understanding of science and research, 2) raise awareness about societal challenges and 3) develop critical thinking.

To see the Full Incredible Minds program

Audrey Dussutour, a French born ethologist, is a CNRS Senior Researcher at the Research centre on Animal Cognition in Toulouse (Paul Sabatier University, France). She studies collective behavior and cognition, working with ant colonies and slime molds. Her topics of interest include decision-making, learning and integrative nutrition. She has made important contributions to these fields through meticulous behavioral experiments. In 2021, Audrey was awarded a Medal by the CNRS and given the French Order of Merit by the President of the French Republic, for her involvement in outreach activities. An example of her outreach efforts includes a citizen science project involving 350 000 schoolchildren with the aim to engage kids in science. Astronaut Thomas Pesquet onboard the ISS and schools were asked to run the same experiment to observe if slime molds behave differently in microgravity.


May 6, 2023
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm CEST