Finding Genius Podcast

Aug 09 2020 30 mins 443

Podcast interviews with genius-level (top .1%) practitioners, scientists, researchers, clinicians and professionals in Cancer, 3D Bio Printing, CRISPR-CAS9, Ketogenic Diets, the Microbiome, Extracellular Vesicles, and more. Subscribe today for the latest medical, health and bioscience insights from geniuses in their field(s).

Resistant-Busting Drugs for Parasites with Richard J. Martin
Aug 13 2020 42 mins  
Researcher Richard J. Martin works predominantly on filarial parasites and how to develop drugs with the best parasite cleanse ability that can evade resistance. He explains How various filarial parasites move through their lifecycle, enter humans through biting insects, and affect various parts of the body; How the worms themselves have a nervous system that helps them seek different parts of the body and release chemicals to trick the human immune system; and Why social and political factors are a part of this battle against parasites and what anti parasitic medication for humans may offer at least a medical solution. Richard J. Martin is the Clarence Hartley Covault Distinguished Professor and the Dr. E.A. Benbrook Endowed Chair in Pathology and Parasitology at Iowa State University. He specializes in filarial parasitology and tells listeners about their impact on human health as well as describes their physiology and ecology. For example, he describes the life stages and habits of the worms that cause river blindness and elephantiasis and how these diseases result from the worm number and activity. He explains challenges to eradicating parasites completely by discussing the heartworm parasite existing in the U.S. despite effective sanitation. Therefore, in struggling countries with bad sanitation, effective anti parasitic medication for humans is a key part of the battle. He also ties this battle to social and political forces that make this anti parasitic effort especially challenging. For example, better governance and a different motivation for medication funding could make differences in a country’s ability to clean and sanitize these areas as well as motivate drug companies to relieve the suffering of those with these parasites. In the effort to find the best parasite cleanse that is not prone to resistance, the ideal looks like a drug that can be take once a year to treat and prevent all the filarial parasites. Dr. Martin describes one drug that is moving to phase 3 trials, and says that if it gets through, it will be a big breakthrough. To find out more, google him and find his research on research gate or send him an email. His university website is Available on Apple Podcasts:

Missing Heritability and the Human Microbiome: Gavin Douglas Discusses the Relationship
Aug 13 2020 27 mins  
Gavin Douglas and colleagues published a paper assessing microbiome research and assertions that the human microbiome explains missing heritability in nature. He discusses this issue and explains What are classic ways of understanding genetic variation in humans and how recently microbiome research has entered this understanding, What the holobiont model is and how it involves claims regarding the microbiome and missing heritability in nature, and How their paper views the microbiome as more of potential element in genetic variation in humans and necessitates more consideration regarding how to integrate it outside of the strict, holobiont model. Gavin Douglas is a PhD Candidate in the Langille Lab in the Deptartment of Microbiology and Immunology at Dalhousie University. His background is in human genetics and he has just published an intriguing paper called “Re-evaluating the relationship between missing heritability and the microbiome” in the journal Microbiome. He helps listeners understand the basics regarding the issue by explaining heritability as the proportion of variation in a phenotype in a given population explained by genetic variance. He offers more background to this standard and then explains the “case of the missing heritability,” which basically indicates the variation that isn’t explained. Several hypotheses have emerged to explain this missing heritability, several of which are tied to the human microbiome. He describes how, for example, a holobiont model of a human organism puts forward a hologenome—a combined genome that includes the microbiome and might capture the missing heritability. The article discusses this theory and points out ways it doesn’t quite fit. For example, the holobiont doesn’t present a combined evolutionary unit that transmits over generations. But he does think the microbiome plays a role in this mystery. He explains how and why and different ways scientists use these ideas. For more, follow him on twitter as @gavin_m_douglas and read the open-access paper here: Re-evaluating the relationship between missing heritability and the microbiome. Available on Apple Podcasts:

Understanding Our Era of Biological Evolution: Eugene V. Koonin Shares His Knowledge
Aug 12 2020 45 mins  
Computational biologist and evolutionary genomics researcher Eugene Koonin touches on several timely topics about biology, evolution, and what computational biology can teach us. In this podcast, he discusses How the molecular clock works as a null hypothesis and enables deviation studies and a better understanding of functional and ecological changes, How comparative genomics provides specialized ways to understand similarities and differences and explains this in terms of coronaviruses, and What are the mechanics of evolution, theories of the beginnings of life, and the coevolution of viruses. Eugene V. Koonin is a Senior Investigator at the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) and an NIH Distinguished Investigator and works in evolutionary systems biology. This includes genomic comparative analysis of everything from the human genome to coronaviruses. He shares his vast knowledge with listeners and explains how the molecular clock functions in a computational role. He gives concrete ways this can be understood, such as comparing the same gene in an animal and a human genome. He explains the basics of comparative genomics, a key advancement of our era of biological evolution study, and how it allows for an alignment for scientists to maximize similarity comparisons. They can then compare nucleotide sequences directly with similar life forms and make conclusions about their relationships and functional predictions. He explains how this works using coronaviruses as an example: anything shared between highly virulent strains but is not present in milder strains gives researchers vital information. He also discusses various elements of evolution like punctuated evolution and the math of speciation. He also describes theories of the beginnings of life and Darwin’s Last Universal Common Ancestor, or LUCA, as well as how the first genomes might have evolved from RNA and ribosomes that catalyzed various reactions including nucleotide polymerization. Finally, he addresses advancements in his field on the near horizon. For more, search for him in Google Scholar and see his NCBI web page: Available on Apple Podcasts:

The Technology Gap with Developing Countries: Eric Verhoogen Researches Industrial Development
Aug 11 2020 35 mins  
Tying the importance of economics to technological innovation is key to advancing developing countries. Eric Verhoogen’s research asks why firms in industrial countries aren’t adopting technologies already developed by richer countries. He tells listeners about some microeconomics concepts his research explores. For example, he explains How a variety of incentives within a company can inhibit adopting a new technology, How understanding and eradicating organizational barriers to concepts like profit sharing could lift such barriers, and Why connecting microeconomics concepts with effective government intervention is essential in approaching pay-for-performance export incentives. Eric Verhoogen is a professor in the Department of Economics and School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. He researches the importance of economics in adopting new technologies by examining organizational barriers to these technologies. He explains this research by telling listeners about a specific example involving the introduction of a less wasteful technology into soccer ball production in several Pakistani firms. He describes his particular research experiment that resulted in pinpointing the barrier to implementing this technology on workers who would lose money in their per-piece system. He discusses why this was the case and what was different about one firm that chose to take on this technology and why that was significant. His example relays other barriers to taking on new technology such as owners unwilling to undergo too much organizational reworking as well as the mysteries behind the lack of much “knowledge spill over.” Such research opens up keys to ways government could effectively intervene in terms of tariff reduction and trade organizations. He also discusses his other research projects such as incentivizing surgical goods innovation through a contest and a project in Tunisia on pay-for-performance export production and subsidies. To find out more, see his Columbia website,, and find him on Twitter as @EricVerhoogen. Available on Apple Podcasts:

On the Origins of COVID-19 with An Award-Winning Foreign Correspondent
Aug 11 2020 43 mins  
Ian Birrell is a contributing editor of The Mail on Sunday, has a weekly column in the i newspaper, and has written for a number of publications, including The Times, The Washington Post, the Daily Mail, and the Guardian. Over the course of his career, he has reported for more than 60 countries worldwide. In this episode, he shares what he knows about the origins of COVID-19 and the COVID-19 situation in general. Press play to learn: Who China’s ‘Bat Woman’ is and the significance of her role in the information and theories surrounding COVID-19 What characteristics of the virus are unusual What evidence suggests that COVID-19 did not originate from a wet market in China as we’ve been told Like most of us, Birrell began hearing about COVID-19 around February when stories began breaking in the media about a potential Chinese cover-up regarding the virus. Considering it a “potential” pandemic at the time, Birrell focused his investigative research on these allegations, including one which placed the World Health Organization (WHO) in collaboration with China in cover-up efforts. He wrote a couple of pieces covering evidence which suggests that the infectious virus broke out earlier than claimed, and that the wet market theory of origin might not be true. Birrell explains what’s wrong with the wet market theory of origin, citing the original Lancet paper on the wet market which showed that the very first cases identified were not linked to the wet market, a report in the South China Morning Post showing cases going back to mid-November which were not linked to the market, and several early investigative journalists who published articles which have since been censored and removed from most social media websites. In particular, Birrell discusses evidence which suggests that Chinese officials knew by mid-December that human-to-human transmission was possible, and that the entire genetic code of the virus had been sequenced by January 2nd. That genetic sequencing data—data that would have allowed for earlier research on an effective treatment or a vaccine—was not shared until more than a week later, when it was posted on a public access site by an Australian scientist on behalf of a Shanghai professor, who had his lab shut down just two days later. Birrell also discusses the potential of a laboratory leak of the virus, unusual characteristics of the virus, how different nations have responded to the virus, and the need to be wary of vested interests in journalism and science pushing particular narratives about what’s going on. Learn more at and find Birrell on Twitter at @ianbirrell. Available on Apple Podcasts:

Characterizing Cancer: Quantgene’s Jo Bhakdi Talks Cutting-Edge Data Analysis for Early Detection
Aug 10 2020 45 mins  
Returning guest Jo Bhadi discusses using new platforms and technologies to predict cancer probability as well as what he’s learned about how cancer evolves. He also discusses how Quantgene seeks to serve its customers. He addresses How Quantgene uses the human genome sequence, artificial intelligence, liquid biopsies, and other technology platforms to identify cancer patterns; How they’ve put together a monthly subscription turnkey service for early cancer detection; and How cancer itself develops and how they approach detection with this layering of different types of information to achieve a specificity of detection above 90%. Jo Bhakdi started Quantgene in 2015 at a UC Berkeley Lab with a goal of early disease detection. The company uses quantitative science for a new level of precision. They started in cancer detection spaces using cell-free DNA sequencing with what is known about the human genome sequence. They saw a tremendous opportunity opening up based on new technology platforms, sequencing, and AI recognition algorithms. In a nutshell, they pursued how to look at cell-free DNA shed by cancer in the bloodstream and recognition patterns to identify the 15 most deadly cancers. They sell their services directly to patients but include physicians and genetic counselors in the process. He explains their business model in further detail but also covers the complications of detecting and understanding cancer progression, from the heterogeneity of tumors to advantages of cell-free DNA sequencing compared to tumor biopsies. He explains the systemic insight into cancer a liquid biopsy offers. He describes other limitations of tumor biopsies and how the question of heterogeneity of a tumor is surprisingly complex. In fact, he adds that the whole concept of quantifying tumor heterogeneity is a very new concept. He describes many characteristics of cancer and its evolution in more detail and then addresses how Quantgene layers many degrees of information, including medical and genetic history, to produce a highly precise probabilistic model. For more about the company, see To find out about the direct-to-consumer service, see Available on Apple Podcasts:

Key for IBD: Early Diagnosis and Prevention with Jean-Frederic Colombel
Aug 09 2020 36 mins  
Researcher Jean-Frederic Colombel has studied Inflammatory Bowel Disease treatment (IBD) for about forty years. He explains for listeners What complications occur with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, which are included in the IBD designation; Why IBD can be brought into remission but is not considered cured; and How researchers are studying this autoimmune disease to understand causes and prevention. Jean-frederic Colombel is a professor of medicine and gastroenterology with the Feinstein IBD Clinical Center at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He came to Mount Sinai about 10 years ago and had been researching in Lille, France. He tells listeners how treatment of this autoimmune disease has progressed over 40 years and what scientists are still trying to understand. He explains that even though doctors are able to bring patients into deep remission with current inflammatory bowel disease treatment where they have no symptoms and show a perfect colonoscopy, there is not a real cure. As soon as they stop taking the medications, the disease makes headway. Since coming to Mount Sinai, he's worked on better predication and prevention measures. He tells listeners that Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis overlap and differ. For example, medications that work for one also often work for the other. Differences include how much of the digestive tract and layers of the bowel are being affected. Crohn's disease, for example, can result in a fistula—basically a "communication" or opening and track across the perennial area. They can result in painful abscesses and difficult day-to-day symptoms. He then addresses known causes and describes how much is unknown. IBD is a young person's disease, often showing up around age 25, and early diagnosis is key to preventing complications. He describes studies to better understand the disease, such as a large scale serum sample collection of the U.S. Army to look at biomarkers, as well as treatment efforts beyond drugs such as fecal transplants to microbiome alterations. For more see his page at Mount Sinai: Available on Apple Podcasts:

Looking at the Dark Underbelly of the Market System with Anton Korinek
Aug 08 2020 26 mins  
As an associate professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Virginia, Anton Korinek studies macroeconomics and international financial stability. He shares details of his work and his input on the COVID-19 situation. Press play to discover: What “externality” means in economics, how it affects each of us every day, and why it’s important How the COVID-19 situation has impacted the economy and in what ways in may continue to do so What types of externalities have arisen as a result of COVID-19 The study of economics rests on the premise that the market economy is a very powerful force in society—one that has enabled much progress, but has also been known to lead society astray from the greater good. The force referred to here is called an externality. Korinek explains that externalities arise when people who engage in economic activity do so in a way that affects others without their consent. Consider, for example, a company that dumps waste in a river which runs through your property. Or anyone who produces greenhouse gasses which contribute to global warming. These are externalities, or forces which produce a negative impact on individuals and society at large. Most recently, Korinek has been asking what kind of externalities have arisen from the COVID-19 situation. Mask mandates, social gathering restrictions, economic limitations…these are just a few topics that have become a serious issue of debate in recent months. Many people believe that these mandates infringe upon our civil liberties, but even more are disturbed by a seeming lack of evidence to support the idea that these restrictions are indeed helping the situation. As an economist, Korinek weighs in on these matters. He talks about the ways in which his opinions and viewpoints have changed over the course and development of the COVID-19 situation, the economic cost and effect of social distancing mandates, and what he thinks is likely to happen in the near and long-term future. Tune in, and check out for more. Available on Apple Podcasts:

From Millions of Variants to One: Correlating the Genome and Phenome—Erik Andersen—Northwestern University
Aug 07 2020 35 mins  
Associate professor in molecular biosciences at Northwestern University, Erik Andersen, discusses his research in quantitative and molecular genetics. Tune in to learn: How millions of genetic variants in a section of a genome can be narrowed down to just one or two How and for what purpose Andersen uses CRISPR-Cas9 in his research Andersen’s short and long-term research goals “If we could sequence a genome and then read it like a book, could we predict or understand the phenotype of an organism…how long we would live, the types of drugs we could take that would be most efficacious towards treating certain types of diseases, whether we’re predisposed to other diseases?” In Andersen's lab, the focus is on answering this question by using roundworm nematodes to study the connection between the genome and different traits of the organism. He explains that there are many examples—not just in nematodes, but in flies and yeast and humans—of correlation between genetic sequence changes from organism to organism and trait differences. In humans, two of the most well-known are for type II diabetes risk and height. Andersen is looking at how differences in DNA can explain phenotypic differences such as responses to chemotherapeutics and toxins. This type of work is particularly challenging because there could be millions of variants in a particular region of the genome that may correlate with the trait of interest. This is where quantitative genetics tends to stop, and Andersen’s research picks up. He explains that by using a genetic system like the nematode, large populations of individuals can be grown, their genomes can be mixed using genetic crosses, and the correlations can be broken down and further refined. This allows for the narrowing down of millions of variants to just a few hundred variants; additional crosses at this point can eventually break down those hundreds of variants to just one. Andersen dives into the details of this research and so much more, including what his research has shown about genetic polymorphism, what technologies have made this research possible, and the many benefits of using roundworms for this research. For more, visit Available on Apple Podcasts:

Beyond this World with Space Historian Bob Zimmerman
Aug 07 2020 52 mins  
Space historian, author, and founder of the website Behind the Black, Bob Zimmerman, shares compelling insight into the world of his expertise on space information and the latest space technology. In this episode, you will discover: Why Zimmerman believes the Apollo 8 mission in 1968 had the greatest historical and cultural impact Why JFK sent us to the moon and how he used the Soviet model to do it The current transition from governmental control to the privately-run industry in space exploration, and how NASA’s bureaucracy has attempted to slow this transition “You cannot separate space exploration from the politics…and the culture of its time,” says Zimmerman. He discusses the Apollo program—the individual missions and the overall purpose and outcome of it. He also discusses the Space Shuttle program and why it largely failed to meet its supposedly intended goal. So, what is the aim of most projects focused on the moon? Zimmerman says it's to explore the potential of permanently shadowed craters on the moon where the sun never shines. Some data suggest that ice might be located in these areas, which means there would be oxygen and hydrogen, and therefore a source of fuel. He goes on to explain the efforts of various characters to explore these potentialities. In the last decade, Zimmerman says that the US has been transitioning away from the Soviet model to the US model within which private enterprise operates, and that NASA is no longer the leader of everything done in this field. He dives into the details of what this means, what SpaceX has accomplished since entering this market, the purpose and design of what’s called the Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV), and so much more. Press play for an in-depth conversation covering all things space and space tech with a true expert on the matter. To learn more, check out Available on Apple Podcasts:

Malaria Parasites and Red Blood Cells: Teresa Carvalho Works on Disease Prevention
Aug 06 2020 48 mins  
Professor Carvalho researches parasitic diseases in humans. In this podcast, she focuses on causes of malaria and tells listeners How the malaria parasite transmits to humans and more about its complex life cycle, Why investigating the stage of red blood cell infection, which initiates malaria symptoms, is key to preventing disease progression, and Why denying the parasites some cellular ingredients may arrest their development and provide cost-effective prevention measures. Teresa Carvalho is a senior lecturer of physiology, anatomy, and microbiology at La Trobe University in Australia. She explains the basic elements of parasitic diseases in humans and how parasites that cause malaria enter the blood stream from the salivary glands of mosquitos. After they go to the liver, they return to the red blood cells, feed on hemoglobin, expand, and divide. One parasite can divide until as many as 32 leave one blood cell. They destroy red blood cells along the way, which leads to fever and other detrimental results. Disease progression includes severe anemia and debilitating cerebral malaria, which can result in blood clots and coma. Dr. Carvalho takes this information and explains key moments for therapeutic intervention, the crux of her research. Because their time in the red blood cells cause malaria symptoms and disease, scientists think this is when to focus treatment and research. She adds that it’s a more accessible moment for research because they can culture these parasites in the lab in red blood cells. She also describes some of the mystery causes of malaria. For example, even the red blood cells that are not infected by the parasite die—she and her lab are trying to understand why. One theory involves extracellular vesicles these parasites use to communicate with each other. She also describes challenges to these studies, the hope of repurposing drugs that are used for other disease, as well as the urgency: children under five are the largest group that die from malaria. For more about her work and to contact her with questions, see her page on the La Trobe University website: Available on Apple Podcasts:

Diabetic Dental Health Might Lead to the Foot: Brenda McManus Explains the Connection
Aug 06 2020 32 mins  
Researcher Brenda McManus is leading a microbiology study to better understand periodontal disease and foot ulcers in patients with diabetes. She explains her microbial research by discussing How Staphylococcus aureus links molecular biology, periodontal disease, and foot ulcers; Why patients with diabetes are immunologically prone to these microbial vulnerabilities; and How she’s identifying if the staph in the nose cavity is the same as that in the foot and next steps to find if it travels through the bloodstream or through contact. Dr. Brenda McManus is an Experimental Officer in Microbiology in the School of Dental Science at Trinity College in Dublin. She talks about her microbiology study involving dental health, foot ulcers, and diabetes with a focus on Staphylococci species. They’ve found bacteria in foot ulcers that “shouldn’t be there,” and these same bacteria are present in periodontal disease. She establishes why patients who suffer from diabetes struggle with foot ulcers and periodontal disease, from such reasons as poor circulation or nerve damage from excess glucose. This means they can’t feel an injury to the foot or can’t feel pain when a wound is developing. In addition, bacteria in periodontal disease can cause pockets in the gums and swelling and can ultimately lead to tooth loss. It is twice as common and more severe in people who have diabetes. She mentions additional research showing links between periodontal disease and other diseases throughout the body including heart and kidney disease. She describes her current research and says her team is comparing genomic sequences of different staph samples from the mouth, fingers, toes, and more, identifying which species are in each site. She adds that if they identify the same species in all the different sites, they will compare the isolate genomes. If they are the same, that would be very strong evidence that there is a link between these sites. She describes next steps, therapeutic goals, and the importance of awareness of periodontal health and disease prevention. For more, see her information on the Trinity College website,, and find her on Research Gate and LinkedIn. Available on Apple Podcasts:

A Proofreading Virus: Mark Denison Discusses his Coronavirus Research
Aug 05 2020 34 mins  
Researcher Mark Denison has studied infectious diseases and specifically coronaviruses for decades and he explains some unique elements of their daunting mechanisms. He discusses What’s different about their genome size, replicating capabilities, protein encyclopedia, and more; How the enzyme that provides its proofreading system is a standalone in RNA viruses and why that’s important to its function; and How all these variables are working toward different theories about ways to manage its infiltration. Mark Denison is Director of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University. He’s spent much of his career working with coronaviruses and was concerned about a scenario like our current one long before March. He backs up and explains some general findings about coronaviruses including their unique capacity for rapid evolution and adaptation, entry, recruitment of cellular machinery, and so on. He tells listeners that they have significantly more base pairs than other RNA viruses. In fact, this is one of the largest RNA replicating genomes known. Its mechanisms are responsible for symptoms like recurrent fever causes and vulnerability for immunodeficiency sufferers. In 2007, Dr Denison and his team made a significant discovery about this type of virus after years of mystification surrounding its ability to regulate itself, as if it were not error prone, unlike other RNA viruses. They found that coronaviruses are the only known organisms that encode an RNA-dependent, RNA-proofreading system. Many organisms have a proofreading system for copying, but most RNA viruses, like dengue for example, lack the ability to fix mistakes. They create a crowd of mutants around them. Denison explains how this determines the ecology of most RNA viruses and how the enzyme that proofreads for coronaviruses makes for a very different ecology and virulence quality. He also explains the experiments his lab has made on the SARS-CoV-2 “wild-type” virus they’ve worked with to either decrease or increase its mutation rates as well as connections with therapy possibilities. He addresses concerns about flu season and the difficulty in diagnosing recurrent fever causes when both are an issue. Finally, he offers a reality check on what we can predict about SARS-CoV-2’s future in the general population and those with immunodeficiency. For more, google his name and see his lab website: Available on Apple Podcasts:

Parasites and Public Health Issues with Rebecca Traub
Aug 05 2020 34 mins  
Researcher Rebecca Traub discusses the most prevalent and damaging types of parasites in Australia and Southeast Asia. She describes How a parasite's life cycle means that her work as a veterinary parasitologist involves the human animal as well, How hookworms are the cause of a massive level of morbidity despite a simple deworming treatment, and How these worms cause anemia and other bodily trauma and how WHO has tried to combat its impact. Rebecca Traub is a professor in veterinary parasitology at the University of Melbourne. She's had a prolific career, with over 130 publications and several book chapters on the veterinary parasitology impact factors in Australia and Southeast Asia. Her work expands beyond cats and dogs and includes any animal impacted by parasites and their life cycles, including human mammals and resulting public health issues. She explains that parasites use a number of different hosts to stay alive. Therefore, her work can involve wildlife and conservation medicine. As an example, she recounts some work she did to help repopulate an island with the eastern barred bandicoot after an infestation by parasites carried by feral dogs hurt their population. The majority of her work now is with zoonoses, or parasites transmitted between animals and humans through various means, but her main focus is on soil-transmitted helminths and tick-borne and flea-borne parasites. She describes one of the most dangerous parasites in the world, a soil-borne parasite called Ancylostoma ceylanicum, which is dropped in the soil from dog feces. It's the second most common hookworm in Australia and Southeast Asia and therefore has a tremendous veterinary parasitology impact factor. She explains why it is still a massive problem despite a large-scale effort on WHO's part to decrease its morbidity. She goes into detail about how these worms harm the human body and possible next steps to decrease its negative impact. For more, see her university website at and search her name in Google Scholar. Available on Apple Podcasts:

Rickettsial Research and Ruminations with Kevin Macaluso, PhD
Aug 04 2020 29 mins  
Chair of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of South Alabama, Kevin Macaluso, joins the show to discuss something you might not have even heard of: rickettsiology. Tune in to discover: What types of symptoms arise when tick-borne spotted fever goes undetected in the host In what ways rickettsia behave like viruses, and how they use host cell molecules to move around and penetrate neighboring cells What types of vector, host, and pathogenic variables are at play in the transmission biology of rickettsia Rickettsiology is the study of obligate intracellular gram-negative bacteria that was described over 100 years ago by Howard Taylor Ricketts, a physician who set out to study the then-unknown source of a lethal disease often referred to as black measles or spotted fever. Through a series of studies, Ricketts and other researchers figured out that the bacteria causing the disease could be transmitted through tick bites. Over 40 species of rickettsia have been identified worldwide. Ultimately, it is Macaluso’s goal to figure out what drives rickettsial diseases and rickettsial infection in order to potentially intervene in the transmission cycle or find a treatment. Macaluso’s research is centered around the disease transmission cycle of rickettsia. “Because you’re dealing with bacteria that are transmitted by arthropods to vertebrate hosts, they form a triad of vector-borne diseases, and there are a lot of variables associated with that…it’s a complex interaction between these three organisms, and we study all aspects of it,” explains Macaluso. He goes on to explain the mechanisms of the bacteria once in the body, including how and where they replicate in the body, how they disseminate in the body, how certain rickettsial pathogens affect the ticks through which transmission occurs, and more. Visit for more info. Available on Apple Podcasts:

A Conversation About Potential COVID-19 Vaccines with an Expert in Virology and Vaccinology
Aug 04 2020 36 mins  
Paul Offit, MD is Director of the Vaccine Education Center, professor of pediatrics in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He joins the show to share his perspective on COVID-19 and discuss COVID-19 vaccine updates. Press play to learn: What a phase 3 trial for a vaccine for this viruswould mean, and how important it is Why and how it might be possible to produce a commercial COVID-19 vaccine within 1.5 years of identifying the strain, when other vaccine research and development programs take 15-20 years What types of novel methods can be used for vaccine development “The fact that two-thirds of the population would get a theoretical, unknown vaccine for which they have no data against a virus which has been, at best, elusive…is pretty amazing…I think I would have answered ‘No’ to that question; I want to see the data first,” says Dr. Offit. The COVID-19 vaccine development program is receiving unprecedented international interest, much of which is in the form of billions of dollars poured in by the WHO, the US Department of Health and Human Services, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and about 80 other companies worldwide. Dr. Offit expresses concern over the less extensive licensure process and safety issues that may be associated with the emergency-use authorization for a COVID-19 vaccine. On this note, he discusses the importance of phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials involving a cohort of 30,000 people, 20,000 of which would receive the experimental vaccine and 10,000 of which would receive a placebo. Dr. Offit also discusses the efforts behind Operation Warp Speed, COVID-19 vaccine progress, what it would mean to have a vaccine provide short-lived and incomplete protection, novel mechanisms of vaccine development such as those that rely upon messenger RNA, information about the potential of the COVID-19 virus to mutate away from potential vaccines, and much more. Available on Apple Podcasts:

Understanding the Ancient Disease of Malaria—Purnima Bhanot—Associate Professor, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School
Aug 03 2020 45 mins  
Associate Professor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Purnima Bhanot, joins the show to discuss all things malaria. In this episode, you will discover: What the malaria parasite does once it enters the human body How many deaths continue to occur annually as a result of malaria, and why approximately 80% of these deaths are of children under age five When and how a human can build an immune response and avoid the worst consequences of malaria How the insecticide DDT was used for malaria control, and how it actually led to a resurgence of malaria in countries that had nearly eradicated it Malaria has plagued the human species for as long as we have known agriculture. With about 200 million cases and 400,000 deaths per year, it has a staggering toll on human life, but only half of the toll it had about a decade ago. Malaria is caused by a parasite called Plasmodium, which is transmitted to humans through the bite of the Anopheles mosquito. The disease affects primarily children under the age of five in sub-Saharan Africa, and leads to a number of malaria symptoms, including high fever, chills, anemia, coma, and death. Bhanot explains the malaria life cycle and exactly how it interacts with the body during subclinical and clinical phases of the disease. She also discusses which populations of individuals are most vulnerable to the disease and why, what sort of control methods have been implemented, how the immune response to the parasite works, whether malaria infects non-human animals, the increasing resistance to antimalarial drugs and how this is being studied, possible malaria treatments, and so much more. Available on Apple Podcasts:

Measuring and Managing Microplastics with Dr. Stephanie Wright
Aug 03 2020 43 mins  
Research Fellow at Imperial College London, Dr. Stephanie Wright, shares the expertise she’s gained over the course of nearly a decade researching the biological and environmental impacts of microplastic pollution. Press play to learn: How up to 90% of household synthetic fibers may end up as soil conditioner to agricultural fields By what chemical and physical mechanisms plastics turn into microplastics Approximately how many microplastic particles we are exposed to on a daily basis through diet Where does that plastic soda bottle you’re drinking from end up? How does the mere friction produced by your movement release synthetic clothing fibers into the environment, and where do those end up? What are “microplastic sinks” and where are they found? These are just a few of the questions explored by Dr. Wright, who’s been fascinated by marine biology since the early days of undergraduate school. At the time, she was doing lab-based research on the impact of microplastic ingestion by marine worms. The findings showed negative effects, including less feeding and a compromised ability to store energy. What might this suggest about the impact of microplastic pollution in the marine environment and on other species? Her current area of research is on human exposure to and human health effects of airborne microplastic pollution, which she says requires a strong focus on analytical techniques since the particles of interest are on the micron scale. These particles can enter the central airway and lower lung, and part of her research aims to identify evidence of this internal exposure and better understand how microplastics affect human cells of the airway. Are microplastics even toxic, and if so, what exactly makes them toxic? What are some potential microplastics pollution solutions and reduction strategies? Tune in for all the details on these important topics, and learn more at Available on Apple Podcasts:

Shattering Biological Determinism with Jonathan Latham
Aug 02 2020 59 mins  
Virologist Jonathan Latham explains his view of living organisms in opposition to genetic or biological determinism. He shares a wide range of thoughts, including A theory of how COVID-19 began in a group of miners in Wuhan in 2012; How our societal structure self-corrects to understanding science through genetic or biological determinism, prioritizing genetics facts; and A different way to conceive of living organisms as constantly changing with nonhierarchical layers of cooperation rather than an over-emphasis on the importance of genetics. Jonathan Latham, PhD, is the executive director and cofounder of the Bioscience Resource Project. He's the editor of Independent Science News and director of the Poison Papers project, which publishes documents on the chemical industry. In this podcast, he begins by engaging with ideas presented in a previous podcast when Richard spoke with famed biologist Denis Noble. Noble said that there's no privileged level of causation in biology and Latham continues to address this issue, offering his own commentary over the course of the show. He explains that he became interested in the kind of prominence that scientists give to genes and DNA and eventually came to the realization that there are a lot of flaws in how we think about organisms that stem from adherence to genetics facts and emphasizing the importance of genetics. He asserts that the only agency that exists in an organism is the one that derives from the organism itself and explains what this means in more concrete terms. He also touches on current projects such as a paper he and Allison Wilson wrote about their theory on the origin of SARS-CoV-2, which he believes was through a group of miners who experienced a mysterious disease in 2012. After explaining in more detail, he returns to the ideas of genetic determinism and talks about a book he's authoring on the topic. To find out more, he suggests getting on the mailing list of Independent Science News. Available on Apple Podcasts:

Lessons of a Stage 4 Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Survivor: Dr. Diva Nagula Explains Strategies for Health
Aug 01 2020 35 mins  
In 2014, physician Diva Nagula was surprised to face a startling diagnosis. His medical and personal journey is now a part of non hodgkin's lymphoma stage 4 survival stories and he shares some of what he's learned post cancer treatment. He shares with listeners How he handled his diagnosis and understanding of different types of non hodgkin's lymphoma and cancer treatments; How he was able to find the spark again and claim a healthy place and lifestyle for himself; and How he advises patients based on his own journey to find a place of healing the mind and body. Dr. Diva Nagula is an author, physician, and stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor. He began his career as a board-certified osteopathic physician and has extensive knowledge and training in Integrative and Functional Medicine. He adds his particular experience as a physician encountering symptoms of non hodgkin's lymphoma. He tells listeners the different phases of his diagnosis, from his first doctor visit to his waiting period before undergoing chemotherapy and his non hodgkin's lymphoma treatment. He describes spiraling into a fight-or-flight mode at this time as well as an angry phase that left him alone and without social support. His research led him into examining non hodgkin's lymphoma survival rate by age and basic non hodgkin's lymphoma survival rate for stage 4. As a physician, he was able to understand non hodgkin's lymphoma medicosis and non hodgkin's lymphoma histopathology in a way that other patients couldn’t but he still struggled with the unknown. He discusses his cancer treatment and eventually remission. But he adds that he then landed in a phase of depression. Though he was happy the cancer was in remission, it had been his only relationship and such a sharp point of focus for so long. After the treatments he found himself basically alone and asking "what's next?" He talks about how the "spark" eventually came back to him through a chance encounter with a previous trainer. He then describes his own lifestyle changes, from eating choices to exercise to mindfulness and spiritual practices. He's written a book about the experience and offers consultations for patients through his website. For more, see his website at Available on Apple Podcasts:

Humidity, Vitamin D, and Coronavirus: Jeff Gusky Connects the Dots
Jul 31 2020 44 mins  
ER doctor Jeff Gusky presents a strong case for key prevention measures of COVID-19 transmission and is eager to spread the word. He tells listeners about The connection between low humidity and Vitamin D levels increasing COVID-19 infections, Numerous examples that show how this is mirrored in hot spots and differences in country contagions, and Ways to mitigate these causes and how his grassroots movement is trying to spread the word. In addition to being an ER doctor, Jeff Gusky is a National Geographic photographer and an explorer. In this podcast he addresses urgent concerns he has about COVID-19 in light of the approaching flu season as well as for folks with vitamin D deficiencies. His concern for flu season actually centers on the low humidity levels in cooler months. Therefore, he's launching two grassroots initiatives to spread his concerns: 1. Don't Go In and 2. Get started, Get Tested, Get Right. The first initiative emphasizes the dangers of low humidity and urges people to get a hydrometer and not enter spaces below 50% absolute humidity. He asserts that COVID-19 infection only happens indoors in dangerously dry air and is completely tied to weather conditions. He's concerned that as fall approaches and the air gets dryer, the virus will infect more easily. He mentions findings and studies to support this trend and describes different climates that have seen different infection rates. His second initiative connects vitamin D and coronavirus infections. Studies have shown a correlation between vitamin D deficiencies and trouble with COVID-19; therefore, he urges listeners to get their vitamin D levels assessed and supplement if low. He provides more detailed numbers and findings in the podcast as well and discusses his free webinar to promote these issues. Jeff Gusky just completed this 16-minute webinar about GOING ON OFFENCE AGAINST THE VIRUS. For more information, watch his webinar. He's also happy to take questions by email: [email protected] Available on Apple Podcasts:

Amazing Microbe Physiology: Aindrila Mukhopadhyay Unlocks the Utility of Microbes
Jul 30 2020 38 mins  
Microbes perform functions from digesting our food to cycling elements in the environment. Aindrila Mukhopadhyay works to unpack some of their huge potential in her work. She explains to listeners The variety of microbe roles, from biofilms that hold the desert down to carbon-eating strains of microbial life; How types of membrane transport and signaling lead to various lab modifications for effective studies; and Examples of lab discoveries, including a fungus-bacteria combination that produces sustainable dyes. Aindrila Mukhopadhyay is a Biological Engineer Senior Scientist at Berkeley Lab. She studies types of membrane transport and stress response in microbiology, specifically bacterial stress response. She helps listeners understand her field by describing the capability of microbes, including their ability to make compounds and products that are valuable and can address some of the biggest challenges facing us. She offers some fascinating examples such as Pseudomonas putida KT2440, which can eat carbon sources that other microbes have difficulty eating. She also explains how she works with these organisms in a lab setting, describing plasmid transport and utilizing stress responses in microbiology to allow cells to take in media. She also discusses how her work implements engineering strategies and how that dictates which organisms she may use. For example, she stays away from organisms with a bacterial stress response of spore production because manufacturing necessitates predictable and stable organism. Finally, she gives examples of current projects as part of her work with the Bioenergy Research Center funded by the Department of Energy. She leads a group that studies organisms that produce biofuels and other bio products. For examples of her work, google her name for a list of publications and see her institution web site: Available on Apple Podcasts:

The Chikungunya Virus Infection and Other Host-Pathogen Interaction Examples with St. Patrick Reid
Jul 30 2020 45 mins  
What exactly does a virus do to invade our bodies? Scientist St. Patrick Reid addresses the mechanics through specific virus pathologies. He addresses how viruses use proteins to undercut the immune system and ensure replication, how the chikungunya virus infection has become more prevalent and often leaves chronic symptoms, and why these lasting effects from this RNA virus are especially puzzling and how scientists approach such questions. St Patrick Reid is an assistant professor in the Department of Pathology and Microbiology at the University of Nebraska. He focuses on the virology of proteins encoded by highly pathogenic viruses like the chikungunya virus infection. He explains what this means by describing his graduate and early career studies on Ebola and other host-pathogen interaction examples. Ebola is able to invade an organisms by encoding for proteins that block the immune system from responding. This gives the virus enough time to amplify itself and replicate. When the body is finally able to react, the virus is so pervasive it over reacts, often unleashing a dangerous over-response; in fact, this is what happens with COVID-19. Dr. Reid than describes the history of the chikungunya virus infection and how it has made its way from one part of the world to another, including South America and the southern United States. Transmitted by mosquitoes, it often results in a debilitating arthritis that can last for years and scientists don't understand how or why. In fact, that's one of his areas of research, to understand its pathology. As an RNA virus, it does not invade the nucleus and change the genome. He explains some possible theories and his own approach to solving this mystery. He also discusses his thoughts on COVID-19 from his protein-focused research and describes the magnanimous ways researchers are working together across the world to find ways to combat its effects. The best way to keep an eye on his work and learn more include following him on Twitter as @StPatrickReid3 as well as reviewing his university lab web page at Available on Apple Podcasts:

Catching Brainwaves and a New Therapy For Stroke Patients with Kathy Louise Ruddy, Research Assistant Professor at Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience
Jul 29 2020 27 mins  
In Kathy Louise Ruddy’s lab at Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, brain-computer interfaces (BCI) are used to study the brain, improve aspects of human behavior, and generate evidence of the efficacy of a new technique in stroke rehabilitation. Tune in to learn: How electroencephalography and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) BCI techniques work Why the current gold standard in stroke rehab (constraint-induced movement therapy) only works for some people, and how TMS can fill the gap When a new stroke rehab therapy could be brought to the clinic For people who are recovering from stroke, there’s a new therapeutic technique being researched that could hold great promise: transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). TMS is a type of BCI that magnetically stimulates the brain to cause a response (i.e. movement) in the muscle. These responses are recorded and used as feedback for the BCI, which enables the user to see and control those responses using various strategies. For example, if the user wants to increase the intensity of the muscle response in a finger, they might imagine forcibly pushing an object with that hand; if the user wants to decrease the intensity of the muscle response, they might imagine that their hand is cold or detached from the body. The hope is that when this is applied to the affected limb of a stroke patient, it will build and strengthen the neural pathways that were used to trigger movement in the muscle prior to the stroke, thereby increasing function and use of the affected limb. Ruddy discusses all the details of this technique and more, including past and upcoming research, results and feedback from research subjects, the use of electroencephalography to train users to control their brainwaves/neural oscillations, and what the near and long-term goals look like for Ruddy’s team. Learn more by visiting Available on Apple Podcasts:

Deep Sea Extremophiles and Methane: Victoria Orphan Explains the Connection
Jul 29 2020 29 mins  
Researcher Victoria Orphan implements environmental microbiology to understand the ecology of organisms in deep sea spaces unsuitable for human life. Her research has broad implications: these life forms process methane, a compound involved in global warming. In this podcast, she discusses Some of the symbiotic relationships in these ocean depths, from the farming yeti crab that grow their own bacteria food to the archaea and bacteria symbionts that she studies; How these microorganisms sequester methane and why that's important; and What this has to do with discovering life on Mars. Victoria Orphan is the James Irvine Professor of Environmental Science and Geobiology and the director of the Center for Environmental Microbial Interactions at Caltech. She studies the ecology of microbes and the minerals and elements that they cycle. This means utilizing tools of microbiology to understand how these microorganism function. Because she focuses on deep ocean systems, these interactions are often between undomesticated organisms that exist in extreme environments like hydrothermal vents. She's trying to learn how they influence the cycling of geological systems and elements like carbon and methane. She discusses some of her ventures into the ocean, describing the curious yeti crabs she observed—crabs that have a symbiosis with oxidizing bacteria and wave their arms over sulfur-rich vents to feed these bacteria that coats their arms and that they then eat. A lot of her focus, however, is on the microscale ecology of what is happening in these spaces. This includes microorganisms that are involved in the transfer of methane. She describes her study of a microbial symbiosis that is occurring between an archaea and a bacteria that use sulfates from seawater, removing methane. She expounds on the challenges of such a study and how this may help understand what exactly ends up in the atmosphere and causes warming. To find out more, see her lab's website: Available on Apple Podcasts:

Understanding Alzheimer's: Marc Vermulst Discusses Transcription Errors and Neurodegeneration
Jul 28 2020 28 mins  
Researcher Marc Vermulst and his team have discovered how years of prion-like proteins cause neurodegenerative disorders. He explains That while the copying of 3 billion base pairs inevitably lead to mistakes, certain mistakes are more significant; Why those mistakes are not evident for years; and Why a particular copying mistake leads to a misfolded protein that can take on a life of its own, causing diseases connected with the human aging process. Marc Vermulst is an assistant professor of gerontology at the University of Southern California. He has had a lifelong interest in the human aging process and signs of aging and studies how our genome changes. He measures that change and works to understand how this impacts our health. Early in his career while studying premature aging syndromes, he noted that most were characterized by an instable genome—in other words, these early signs of aging were accompanied by a genome that faced changes at a faster pace than most normal genomes. This pushed him to his current interest in genome change and aging. He's been trying to link the natural aging process in a mechanistic way to age-related diseases. He comments that while we see those disease occur as a result of the aging process, what exactly is happening to cause those diseases has not been clear; however, his work has identified what they think may be a key cause, namely misfolded proteins that lead to prion-like proteins, which result from transcription errors. These proteins take on a life of their own and force other proteins to conform to their shape, a shape that seems to be toxic to cells. He explains this process in more detail and suggest long term goals these findings may address such as medically relevant therapies. For more, see his website: Available on Apple Podcasts:

Inside a Coral Reef with Amy Apprill
Jul 28 2020 27 mins  
Associate Scientist in Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Amy Apprill, joins the show to share insight on her area of expertise: the microbes of the animals in the ocean and the marine ecosystem in general. Tune in to discover: Where corals get 80-90% of their nutrition, and by what mechanisms they ingest bacteria and zooplankton What types of protective mechanisms explain why it is rare to see an animal sitting on a coral What type of evidence suggests that microbes have different roles within coral depending on their location What’s been revealed by microbial research on the coral reefs in the Florida Keys—one of the most disturbed reef ecosystems in the Caribbean A coral reef is an entire ecosystem with its own rocks, animals, and plants in the most biodiverse environment in the ocean. Apprill’s work is centered around research on the microbiome of corals. She and her team have found that different microbes inhabit three primary regions of the coral: the mucous layer, the tissues, and the skeleton. She explains how the use of microscopy has helped shed light on the role of different bacterial communities within the coral depending on where they live. The team has also been looking at the composition of microbes and cells that can live as symbionts with the corals in the water within the 30 centimeters surrounding corals. She shares what they've learned so far from this research, and what's to come. Apprill also describes some of the signs which indicate unhealthy coral, and the research they're doing to determine what factors help healthy corals stay that way. She talks about the importance and sensitivities of ocean ecology, and the impact of human activities on coral reef microbial communities. To learn more about Apprill's work, visit Available on Apple Podcasts:

Exploring the Lost Forest with Julian Bayliss, Biodiversity and Protected Areas Specialist
Jul 27 2020 38 mins  
Biodiversity and protected area specialist, Julian Bayliss, shares the details of his interesting work in conservation biology, ecology, and area management over the years, with a special emphasis on his discovery of a lost forest. Tune in to learn: How Bayliss discovered and confirmed the existence of the forest What common African folklore is shared among the locals near Mount Lico regarding the mountain What new species were discovered in the lost rainforest atop Mount Lico Over 15 years of biodiversity research and surveys in Africa eventually led to the discovery of a lost rainforest atop Mount Lico in Northern Mozambique. The expeditions that led to this are a part of a larger conservation program that aims to bring attention and focus to the importance of protecting the high-altitude mountains and biodiversity in this region. Ultimately, it is about providing the necessary evidence to justify the funds for protecting and managing this region of Africa. According to the locals surrounding the base of the mountain, no one had ever been up there…up the steep circle of rock cradling a rainforest about one kilometer in diameter. With this information, Bayliss and his team set out to explore the secret forest he’d identified through satellite imagery, with the expectation that they would be the first humans to ever step foot there. However, they were in for quite a surprise when they discovered three upturned clay pots arranged in a triangular shape beside a stream. How did they get there? When were they put there? And by whom…and why? These are a few of the questions Bayliss talks about on today’s show. He also explains what types of new species were found in the rainforest, the DNA sequencing they’re doing to learn more about the animals found, and what he’s planning for the future. To watch a National Geographic special on the lost forest, click on the link here: Available on Apple Podcasts:

Truth-Telling Amid COVID-19: Asking the Critical Questions—Pamela Popper, PhD, ND—Wellness Forum Health
Jul 26 2020 27 mins  
Dr. Pamela Popper is the president of Wellness Forum Health, a company that’s been offering a number of health and wellness services for the past 25 years. In this episode, critically important questions about COVID-19—the ones you won’t hear in mainstream media—are asked and answered. You’ll learn: Why so many people’s videos are being censored and taken down during this pandemic—even those by credible medical doctors and scientists whose honesty and data contradict the narrative of the CDC, WHO, and mainstream media How many billions of dollars big pharma paid in advertising just last year to five major news outlets, and how this could be shaping the type of information we’re being told through those news outlets What next…once we accept that things aren’t exactly as they might appear? How do we retain our civil liberties? At first, we were told by health officials that masks couldn’t stop the spread of the virus, and even worse, that they might increase the likelihood of contracting it, but now we can’t buy food in most parts of the country without wearing one. Conflicting information has been coming at us through mainstream media outlets since day one, yet at the same time, popular platforms like Twitter and YouTube are actively censoring anyone who shares information that doesn’t align with a very specific narrative—the same narrative that’s touted in 24-hour news cycles, commercials, social media platforms, billboards, and even by many of our friends, family members, and neighbors. There is no end in sight. Will there be a second wave? Or are we already in the second wave, and waiting for the third? Is this really the “new normal” that we all just need to accept, one in which our children can return to school only if they wear a mask and stay far apart from their peers and teachers at all times, or else risk death? In this landscape, honest and credible medical doctors are being barred from documenting their clinical stats and perspectives on the handling of this virus. We must ask why. What about the doctors who admit that they’re being pressured and monetarily incentivized to write COVID-19 on death certificates? What about the conflicting results from multiple COVID-19 tests on one person, or the fact that the PCR test used isn’t a diagnostic tool at all, but a laboratory technique? How do we make sense of all of this? Dr. Popper provides a compelling answer that she can back of with extensive research and evidence, explaining “That’s how you destabilize a population, and that’s what this is really all about…If you want to completely take control of people, you make arbitrary rules and change them often, you make sure that people are separated and they can’t assemble…you turn the people against one another, and then you can take over a population of people…Hitler...Stalin…Castro did it…What we’re watching is how you can take over the world using the same strategies…” Dr. Popper provides a concise list of the four things that were necessary in order to bring about this pandemic, and what the powers that be—namely the CDC and WHO in conjunction with other powerful actors—didn’t count on. To learn more about making sense of the state of the world, and to unite with like-minded Americans, visit To find information on Dr. Popper and Wellness Forum Health, visit To check out Dr. Popper's informative and eye-opening videos on COVID-19, search for her channel on YouTube. Available on Apple Podcasts:

Eyes on the Economy Before, During, and After COVID-19—David Berger, PhD—Duke University
Jul 25 2020 29 mins  
David Berger is an associate professor of economics at Duke University who joins the show the discuss his expertise on the current and future economic climate in the U.S. Press play to learn: What the historically low interest rates in the housing market right now might mean for homeowners and the housing market in general What’s wrong with the administration of unemployment insurance across different states Why/how personal savings rates increased by 30% in April of 2020 As an empirical macroeconomist, Berger researches a variety of topics having to do with the interactions between government policy and the housing markets, as well as issues around imperfect competition in the labor market (i.e. the economic effects of firms that have the power to set wages). In this episode, Berger talks about the current housing market and how mortgage interest rates have trended over the past 30 years, state-level implementation of unemployment insurance administration amid the coronavirus pandemic, what Berger thinks should happen if cases of foreclosure increase, the increasing rate of permanent job loss each month, and the economic importance of reopening elementary schools. He also discusses reasons why the current recession is different from other recessions, such as the fact that wealthier households are not spending money, perhaps because they’ve cut back on eating out and travelling due to the pandemic. This is having a devastating effect on a lot of retailers, and Berger doesn’t think it will improve until the public health problems improve. Press play for all the details, and learn more about Berger’s work at Available on Apple Podcasts:

Coronavirus Conversations—Robert Siegel, PhD, MD—The Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University
Jul 24 2020 30 mins  
Robert Siegel is a professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Stanford University and commentator on coronavirus for several news outlets. He joins the podcast today to share his expertise. Tune in to discover: What viruses have been definitively linked to some of the most important cancers What type of basic information we do and do not know about COVID-19 Why Siegel believes things will look worse in six months than they do now in terms of the current pandemic Siegel started teaching about viruses over four decades ago during a course on the biology and causes of cancer. He teaches in public education, and works for a number of non-governmental organizations doing prevention work on HIV in regions of Africa, and malaria in Papua New Guinea. Most recently, he’s been working with students on a review of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission of the current coronavirus. He explains where the gaps in our knowledge lie with regard to the current pandemic, for example knowing what percentage of people who are positive for the virus yet asymptomatic will become symptomatic. He discusses mutation rates and replication of coronaviruses more generally, and the speed with which the molecular biology of COVID-19 has been understood. “It’s possible that we may have a vaccine in six months, or a year, or two years, or five years, but we can’t be sure; it’s possible we may have some very effective therapeutics by the end of the year, or in two years, or five years, but don’t know for sure; the only thing we know for sure is that behavioral interventions are capable of stopping this virus,” says Siegel. He goes on to explain the things that get in the way of behavioral intervention, which include psychological, economic, and political impacts. He advocates for a long-term perspective when it comes to thinking about this virus, and shares what he believes needs to happen right now in order to start getting rid of it. Available on Apple Podcasts:

The Public Health Hazard of Urban Flooding—Jalonne White-Newsome—The Kresge Foundation
Jul 24 2020 35 mins  
Senior program officer at The Kresge Foundation, Jalonne White-Newsome, joins the show to discuss equitable climate resilience and urban flooding and health. Tune in to discover: What is meant by climate resiliency and how it relates to community health and equity How “sunny day flooding” affects low-income communities and how the effects of climate change arecontributing to this In what ways flood and water damage creates a host of other problems and challenges for those affected, and what barriers prevent access to resources for recovery The Kresge Foundation mission is to expand opportunities in low-income American communities through grant making, where the focus is to help build climate-resilient communities in ways that are grounded in equity. This environmental program is where White-Newsome carries out most of her work at The Kresge Foundation. She explains that climate resilience is about reducing sources of pollution that drive climate change and helping people adapt to the new normal because of climate change. It’s also about making sure that those who are impacted the most are a part of the solution. White-Newsome has been an integral part of The Kresge Foundation’s Climate Resilience and Equitable Water Systems (CREWS) initiative, which aims to address climate-driven urban flooding—the kind of flooding that doesn’t always make the headlines like the flooding that occurs during major national disasters. However, White-Newsome explains that the same level of anxiety and disaster can come from the flooding that occurs in urban environments, especially when it causes significant property damage, requires people in low-income communities to relocate, and leads to mental and physical health effects for those impacted. “What has been underappreciated is the way we solve the problem; it’s not just…throwing up a levee or creating some type of physical infrastructure to…contain the water…the other critical piece is making sure that…we’re addressing the social infrastructure problem,” says White-Newsome. Press play for all the details of this important conversation, and learn more by searching for the CREWS initiative at Available on Apple Podcasts:

Anthropogenic Assays and Plastic Problems—Chelsea Rochman, PhD—Rochman Lab at the University of Toronto Lab
Jul 23 2020 31 mins  
Chelsea Rochman is an assistant professor of ecology at the University of Toronto and scientific advisor to the Ocean Conservancy. On today’s episode, she shares important insight from her research on anthropogenic contaminants in the environment and the organisms within it. Press play to learn: How the environmental impacts of micro and macroplastics differ What are some of the main dominant pathways for waste getting into the environment and how they differ depending on geographical location What type of filtration solution works well for keeping microplastics out of the environment Why it’s difficult to understand the role of nanoparticles in the environment Rochman’s research revolves around anthropogenic contaminants—what happens when they are added to the environment, how they interact with animals and plants, how they impact species and aquatic ecosystems, where they most frequently enter the environment, and what types of effects different contaminants have on different aspects of the environment. For over ten years, Rochman has focused on plastic contamination. By taking samples from various environmental sources and the guts of organisms, she quantifies and characterizes the plastics found, which allows her to not only conduct further research on how specific contaminants impact organisms, but also propose to industry and municipalities more sustainable ways of utilizing and managing plastics. Much of the research in this field has shown that the smaller the plastic, the more likely it is to have an impact on organisms, and those impacts range from changes in growth patterns to low offspring viability. In addition to discussing these topics in depth, Rochman touches on types of ecotoxicology research, trophic transfer of microplastics, bioaccumulation and biomagnification of microplastics, and the chemistry of the environment. For more information on Rochman’s work, visit Available on Apple Podcasts:

Pushing for the Platform Economy with Michael C. Munger
Jul 22 2020 38 mins  
Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Political Science at Duke University, Michael C. Munger, joins the show to discuss what he believes is the way forward for addressing poverty and more efficiently using resources. Tune in to learn: How the “sharing” economy differs from the “platform” economy Why it is important to understand the distinction between equality and poverty in the context of economics In what ways regulation is designed to make sure that certain types of social transformation don’t occur and that the existing system remains locked in place Interested in woodworking but nowhere near financially prepared to purchase everything you’d need for a workshop? Wishing you could put your money toward a particular project in your community? Wondering what you’d do with your time if you just…didn’t have to work anymore? These questions may seem entirely unrelated to each other, but according to Munger and many others, they’re not. In fact, each one of these questions is raised and discussed in this episode on what it would mean to have a “platform” economy—a voluntary, private space where people use smart contracts and apps to coordinate the sharing of resources rather than the purchasing and owning of resources. “Until fairly recently, most of us thought that we needed jobs because we needed money so that we could go buy stuff and own it and pay to store it; platforms allow us to share things in a way that reduces our footprint on the environment...and make much more efficient use of the stuff we have," says Munger. He explains all the details of how this system would work, how it would solve the problem of triangulation, and the main challenges that must be overcome. Available on Apple Podcasts:

Developing a COVID-19 Vaccine: Dr. Gambotto Explains Process Compared to Other Infectious Diseases
Jul 22 2020 37 mins  
Dr. Andrea Gambotto is working on potential vaccine candidates for COVID-19. In 2003, his group was the first to develop a vaccine for a coronavirus. He discusses developing the COVID-19 vaccine based on its epidemiology. He explains The difference between viral and protein platforms in vaccine development, The likely delivery method of their vaccine in a patch and microneedle array form, and The specific challenges for a COVID-19 vaccine, less common in other infectious diseases, such as the spike protein. Dr. Andrea Gambotto is an associate professor of surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He's worked on vaccines for MERs and SARs in the past decades and now his group is developing a prototype for COVID-19. Thus far, they have tested it on animal models and hope to move to testing on people soon. He explains the attributes necessary for the vaccine based on its epidemiology. Along the way he describes basic vaccine elements such as the difference between a protein and virus platform and the challenges of meeting yield requirements. He notes that the first group they will test is a subunit protein. Protein platforms are safer, he notes, because they are easier to manufacture large scale and to administer. Their prototype could be stable at room temperature, which is important because it needs to be used and stored all over the world. He comments that they are looking at delivery through microneedle patches and explains this process in more detail. He also tells listeners how the spike proteins in the vaccine induce antibodies that bind with the real virus and block it from entering the cell, which is called neutralizing a virus. He elaborates on this, explaining that ultimately the vaccine would have hundreds of different protein antibodies. He describes additional challenges of achieving the perfect balance in vaccine development particular to COVID-19. To find out more, see the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine website coverage, and keep an ear open for media updates. Available on Apple Podcasts:

Living Earth: Studying the Microbial Community in Soil with Trent Northen
Jul 21 2020 42 mins  
Trent Northen studies the chemistry of microbiomes. More specifically, he studies how exogenous metabolites structure a microbial community, and, in turn, how those microbes change the metabolite pool and grow the microbial population. Because his work is primarily funded by the Department of Energy, he's focused on the microbial community in soil and on plant roots. He describes The basic cycle of plant life, metabolites, and the microbial population and how this complex system affects each of its parts; The methods of his lab's research, including studies on hydroponic plant systems that are paired with the work of colleagues in the field; and The applications for these studies, like carbon restoration in poor, less fertile soils. Trent Northen is the Interim Deputy of the EGSB Division and a Chemist Senior Scientist at the Berkeley Lab of Biosciences. He begins the podcast describing the rich and complex cycles of plant, metabolites, and microbes, noting how plants feed microbes that live in and around their roots and how those microbial populations in turn help the plants with nitrogen-fixing, excluding pathogens, and transporting phosphorous, among other processes. His work mostly focuses on bacteria that live in close proximity to the roots, but he describes how fungi can interact with plant roots over very large distances. For example, biological soil crusts use fungal hyphae in extraordinary ways. He explains this process and ecology in more detail and then he describes his research into the microbial community attached to the roots of the plants—the rhizosphere. He also explains the mechanism of soil depletion in big agriculture, how the compost and organic carbon cycle of decaying plant materials is absent from larger farming systems. Furthermore, he elaborates on ways the work of his lab can and might address such problems as well as studying which plants might grow in low nutrient environments and heal the soil as well as practices for soil carbon restoration and other advances. For more information, see his lab's website,, and Available on Apple Podcasts:

Health Risks of Wireless Technology with Dafna Tachover
Jul 21 2020 43 mins  
Is wifi radiation harmful? Dafna Tachover asked this after experiencing extreme symptoms that began with a laptop purchase. She shares her research and efforts since then with podcast listeners. In this episode, she addresses Health risks of wireless technology like increased cancers and worsening of ADHD and autism symptoms; Efforts you can make in your own home against electric and magnetic fields, or EMF protection; and What the future holds for 5G infrastructure and how to fight back. Dafna Tachover is the director of Stop 5G & Wireless Harms Project, a part of Children's Health Defense, and an attorney in New York and Israel. She begins by relaying her own experience in 2009 while living in Princeton, New Jersey, and starting her own law practice. After buying a new laptop, she noticed disturbing symptoms while in proximity with the computer that continued despite returning and trying other laptops. These symptoms included tingling in her fingers and feet, headaches, and heart palpitations. She explains that she doesn't like the term "sensitivity" for this condition—rather, the word "injury" is a more accurate word for this. She had worked with wireless for years before and it had taken its toll, injuring her system. She describes why our biology is affected and why we need EMF protection from this pulsation modulation. She also explains the pushback to this claim and notes that there is a huge amount of studies that answer "is wifi radiation harmful?" with a definitive "yes." She notes the extreme financial incentive for wireless companies to cast this in the light of conspiracy theory and then explains what 5G is and how it will increase this radiation. Finally, she offers several ways listeners can fight back and make decisions to hardwire their own homes and eliminate radiation in their surroundings. For resources on how to hardwire to the internet within your home along with other information, see Other resources include ,, and Available on Apple Podcasts:

A Bionic Eye To the Future—Zhiyong Fan—Functional and Advanced Nanostructures (FAN) Laboratory, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Jul 20 2020 28 mins  
Professor Zhiyong Fan is a Professor in the Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering and head of the Functional and Advanced Nanostructures (FAN) Laboratory at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and he joins the show to discuss the development of a new bionic eye that would enable robots and people with blindness to see. In this episode, you’ll learn: What is anatomically different about cephalopod eyes that makes them superior even to human eyes Why it has been so challenging to design spherical or hemispherical light sensors How the bionic eye being developed could be self-powered, with no need for an external energy supply Why “superhuman” vision might not actually be something people want Fan’s initial inspiration for his current work stemmed from something that’s a source of inspiration for many: sci-fi films. In particular, he was amazed by the idea of creating a sophisticated artificial eye structure that could function like the human eye. He explains that all of the current technology utilizing light sensing materials are restricted by flat rather than spherical substrates…that is, until about 2016 when Fan had the idea to use a porous hemispherical template to host light sensing material to form an artificial retina. This template is filled with semi-conductive nanowires which form a 3D array in a way that allows them to stand vertically inside the template and point toward the center of the sphere. The result? A structure very similar to that of the human retina. Fan goes on to explain the next step in the creation of this aptly named “bionic eye,” the details of the processes which have led to the current product, how a bionic eye of this sort would work, the potential ways in which this technology could be further developed, and the feasibility of developing a bionic eye that can be fully implanted into a human eye socket. Interested in learning more? Tune in and check out Available on Apple Podcasts:

The Viruses of Microbes—Simon Roux—Joint Genome Institute
Jul 19 2020 33 mins  
Simon Roux is a member of the metagenome project at the Joint Genome Institute, which is a part of the Berkeley Lab. In this episode, he discusses his research on viruses that affect microbial life. Tune in to discover: How nutrient, UV, and chemical stress of the host cell could trigger the lytic cycle of viral reproduction What is unique about filamentous bacteriophage How phage predation could drive speciation of microorganisms How biofilms can protect microbes from viruses These days, it seems all the world has its focus on one virus, but Roux reminds us that there are likely billions of viruses in the universe, with at least one for every species on Earth. Over the course of the last five years or so, we’ve gone from having discovered just a few thousand virus genomes to now two million virus genomes. This is a massive amount of growth in data, and according to Roux, viruses will just continue to be discovered for the foreseeable future. As part of the metagenome project, Roux uses a number of ‘omics’ to study the genetic composition and function of viruses, including metatranscriptomics and metabolomics. He focuses exclusively on viruses of microbes, whether bacteria, archaea, or protists. He explains that contrary to what many people think, viruses don’t just kill their host cells, but carry out an array of activities and may choose between a lytic infection and a chronic infection. Roux discusses a number of topics involving phage, the viruses of bacteria. With over ten years’ worth of data at their fingertips, Roux is one of many researchers asking questions about the nature of the interactions between host cells of different types of microbes and viruses across microbial species. To learn more about the work being done at Berkeley Lab and the Joint Genome Institute, visit and Available on Apple Podcasts:

How Cancer Fuels Itself: Christian Frezza Explains Metabolism of Cancer Types
Jul 18 2020 23 mins  
Christian Frezza focuses on tissue-specific carcinogenesis and specifically metabolic pathways in an attempt to achieve the prevention of cancer progression. In this podcast he addresses How tumor and metastases cells vary and why that's important, How a finding regarding intermediates in metabolism that have signaling roles connecting metabolic pathways to oncogenesis produced a paradigm shift in cancer studies, and Why scientists are attempting to use more sophisticated approaches to starving cancer such as targeting two different metabolic pathways simultaneously. Christian Frezza works at the Medical Research Council (MRC) as a program leader in the MRC Cancer Unit at the University of Cambridge, a unit that investigates carcinogens, other cancer causes, differentiations between functionality of cancer types, and the prevention of cancer. His lab focuses specifically on metabolic determinants of cancerous transformation, which means understanding how cancer cells find their nutrients to grow and proliferate. He explains that this area of research is very exciting because they are revealing new aspects of cancer biology that can address therapies for different cancer types as well as a way to understand carcinogens. He explains how tumors and metastases have very different the nutrient needs. For example, a metastasis has a metabolism need closer to the nutrient needs of tissue around it. Furthermore, while they know that all cancer causes increased glucose consumption, there are many differences between how cancer types metabolize. He describes two important questions of his research: first, whether they can restrict some specific nutrients to affect growth; and second, if they can find that by using specific nutrients, they can identify certain markers of cancer transformation through identifying metabolites. Finally, overall this research will help understand the pathophysiology of cancer and mechanistic aspects of it. He also explains complications of the research and their findings as well as important steps and discoveries in the field. To learn more, see his lab's website at and follow him on twitter as @FrezzaLab. Available on Apple Podcasts:

Too Much Immunity? P'ng Loke Explores the Benefit of Helminth Infection for Our Immune System
Jul 17 2020 38 mins  
Researcher P'ng Loke investigates how our microbiome and immune system interacts with parasitic worm infections. He relays key points in his research, including The decision one man made 15 years ago to voluntarily infect himself with worms and the results that fascinated Loke, The role the "hygiene hypothesis " plays in the direction of his research, and The findings thus far of helminth impacts on our immune system. P'ng Loke is a senior investigator at the NIH and Chief of the Type 2 Immunity Section of the NIH's Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases. He explains to listeners that parasitic worms are really good at manipulating their hosts' immune response, particularly in how they affect a type of immune cell called the macrophage. In fact, they are able to remain in hosts for years if not decades undetected. This has huge potential in multiple therapeutic avenues, from organ transplants to overactive immune responses such as inflammatory and other bowel diseases. Loke explains the beginnings of his studies, including a fascinating case of a man suffering from IBD who infected himself with whipworms on purpose after reading some studies and found his disease went in remission. Loke then describes various reasons for this as well as how our efforts toward modern sanitation may have altered our immune system in some ways. He explains that parasitic worms, like helminths, have figured out how to mask themselves from hosts' immune responses, making them akin to a successful organ transplant. If scientists can understand how they are manipulating the immune response to downregulate or suppress its immunity, they may uncover many therapeutic treatments. He adds that most scientists think it is a spillover response—and the ways they affect the type 2 immune cells such as a type of macrophage cell—can lead to a protective barrier of mucus that prohibits bowel inflammation and disease in some cases. He explains this and other theories in more depth, so listen in. For more, see his lab's website: Available on Apple Podcasts:

Clean Air and Economic Progress: A Profitable Replacement for Petroleum—Graciela Chichilnisky—Global Thermostat
Jul 16 2020 34 mins  
Today’s episode features Graciela Chichilnisky, CEO & Co-founder of Global Thermostat and Professor of Economics and Statistics at Columbia University. Tune in to discover: What long-standing common assumption regarding the economy and environmental health is being turned upside down by a new carbon-sequestering technology Why direct-air carbon sequestration is necessary for a carbon-negative technology, and how many gigatons of CO2 must be removed from the atmosphere each year in order to prevent catastrophic climate change Why carbon sequestration will never produce a deficit of CO2 in any location In 1997, US Congress passed the Byrd-Hagel law, which states that there shall be no limitations on greenhouse gas emissions in the US if those limitations would have a negative impact on the economy. This law was passed under the assumption that economic development and a cleaner environment are incompatible goals, and as a result, emissions have gone unchecked and led to dire consequences. Global Thermostat is a company that’s turning this assumption on its head; the premise and mission of the company is that it is very much possible to lower emissions and remove CO2 from the atmosphere while at the same time spurring economic development and the creation of jobs. They have created and implemented technology that removes CO2 from the atmosphere in a profitable way by selling it to companies that use it for CO2-desalination processes and the creation of clean gasoline. “CO2 is a very valuable gas that can replace petroleum to produce a lot of goods and services, including clean polymers, biofertilizers…beverages and food…and synthetic fuels,” Chichilnisky explains. She continues by describing how the technology works to remove factory-produced CO2 and CO2 directly from the atmosphere via direct air capture. Currently, Global Thermostat is working with ExxonMobil and several other large companies to determine the best way of scaling up and removing 40 gigatons of CO2 from the atmosphere every year, which is what the United Nations and US National Academy of Sciences computes is necessary in order to avoid devastating consequences of climate change. Press play for the full conversation and visit to learn more. Available on Apple Podcasts:

Marine Microbes: Kim B. Ritchie's Research on Coral Reefs and Beneficial Bacteria
Jul 15 2020 29 mins  
Dr. Ritchie has studied corals and associated microbes for over 25 years and currently is focused on marine bacteria that live within corals. She explains for listeners The ecology of coral reefs and what causes coral "bleaching," Why several marine bacteria associated with corals form a protective microbiome through antibiotic production, and How other microbes in the ocean, including bacterial associations of sharks and rays, also have interesting stories to tell. Kim B. Ritchie is an associate professor of genetics and prokaryotic cell biology at the University of South Carolina Beaufort. She tells listeners how her interest in marine bacteria and microbes in the ocean began as an undergrad studying corals and continues in her current research. She explains that corals are animals that have an obligate symbiosis with a single-celled photosynthetic organism called a dinoflagellate. These algae live inside the cells of the corals and give the reefs their colors. Temperature increases cause the corals to expel this algae, leading to what is called coral bleaching and eventually death. She is studying the symbiosis of bacteria and coral and the protective nature of this microbiome. She began by studying the microbial shifts by looking at what type of bacteria are present under normal non-stressful conditions and how that shifts as temperature increases, when more of a pathogenic ecosystem develops. She goes into more detail of why this happens, namely that these beneficial bacteria produce antibiotics that deter the harmful marine bacteria and microbes in the ocean. She noticed in warmer months the corals lose that antibiotic bacteria and gain pathogenic bacteria. She explains her study methods in more detail as well as the implications, and describes other studies she's working on regarding ancient marine microbes such as the healing properties of sharks and rays. For more, see her website at Available on Apple Podcasts:

Impacts of Preterm Birth on Cardiovascular Health: Adam Lewandowski Discusses His Research
Jul 14 2020 29 mins  
Professor Lewandowski studies effects of pregnancy complications like preterm birth on heart development and other bodily systems and organs. In this podcast, he discusses preterm cardiology and possibilities of heart disease. He explains How the medical community defines and categorizes preterm stages, What preterm heart development looks like compared to in utero, and What studies are being done to identify interventions that might improve long-term cardiovascular health for preterm children. Adam Lewandowski is a university research lecturer and British Heart Foundation Intermediate Research Fellow at the University of Oxford in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Radcliffe Department of Medicine. As neonatal clinical care has advancement to increase survival rates of preterm babies, more focus is on long-term connections between preterm development and heart disease. Professor Lewandowski explains that babies born as early as 22 weeks survive, with a 60 to 70% survival rate within that cohort. He describes preterm development with a cardiology lens, explaining how changes in pressure effect functioning pulmonary resistance. It's common to see an increase in hypertrophic cells and thickening ventricular walls with smaller cavities leading to reduced myocardial functional reserve. Dr. Lewandowski also touches on causes of preterm birth like genetic factors, preeclampsia, infections, obesity, and smoking. He addresses the challenges of preterm care such as monitoring and maintaining lung function, providing nutrition and food, and keeping them infection free. Finally, he discusses chances of adult heart disease and other issues regarding cardiovascular health as well as studies to assess interventions like exercise and nutrition. He explains the importance of monitoring these patients as they grow into adulthood to catch any issues like hypertension early. He reminds listeners that long-term concerns often take a back seat at the neonatal stage because all efforts go to keeping these preterm babies alive. For more about Dr. Lewandowski, see his lab's website at For other resources on these issues, look for good charity websites like the March of Dimes. Available on Apple Podcasts:

On the Creation of a Sensor Only 11 Atoms in Size—Robbie Elbertse –Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands
Jul 13 2020 32 mins  
Robbie Elbertse is a researcher at Delft University who co-published an article with David Coffey on the creation of a sensor that is only 11 atoms in size, and he dives into all the details on today’s show. By tuning in, you’ll discover: How to understand and visualize a magnetic wave (one portion of an electromagnetic wave) What properties contribute to an atom’s “spin” or magnetic moment In what way quantum mechanics is relied upon in order for wave propagation to occur You may be familiar with “stadium waves” or “doing the wave” at sporting events. It’s accomplished when successive groups of spectators raise and almost immediately lower their arms, creating the perception of a wave rolling across the entire audience. Now, imagine what this would look like if instead of individual people contributing to the wave, individual atoms contributed to the wave. This is one way to imagine what’s called a magnetic wave, and it was David Coffey’s desire to measure this atomic-level wave that inspired him to create a sensor composed of just 11 atoms. Elbertse explains the science behind this sensor, describes why uncoupled electrons orbiting an atom’s nucleus cause an atom to have “spin” or magnetic moments, and illustrates how the orientation of certain atoms in a chain can lead to a magnetic wave. Coffey wanted to figure out how far these waves would travel. For example, could a magnetic wave reach the end of a 100-atom chain? In an effort to answer this, Coffey’s sensor was created and put to the test. In addition to discussing the results, Elbertse provides an in-depth explanation of the physics behind the sensor, how they conduct their experiments, the benefits and new opportunities provided by the use of this sensor, and much more. Watch the YouTube video at and visit to learn more. Available on Apple Podcasts:

Marsupial Research Matters: Sarcoptic Mange in Australian Wombats—Scott Carver, PhD—University of Tasmania
Jul 12 2020 39 mins  
Scott Carver is a lecturer in wildlife ecology at the University of Tasmania who joins the show to discuss his research in the field of ecology and infectious diseases in wildlife, domestic animals, and humans. In this episode, you will learn: How Australian wombats have contracted sarcoptic mange and how the disease progresses within a wombat What ecological role the wombat plays and what types of human-wombat interactions commonly occur What might explain the mystery of cube-shaped wombat poop Carver has a long-standing interest in connecting an understanding of ecosystem health with the health of animals and humans. Over the course of his education and career, he’s conducted research on mosquito-borne diseases, viral transmission in bobcats, mountain lions, and domestic cats, and even chlamydia in koalas. These days, Carver’s research revolves largely around sarcoptic mange in wombats. It’s a disease that affects over 100 different species, including humans (when it affects humans, it is called scabies), and creates both conservation and animal wellness issues. His research is geared around trying to find disease management solutions for this disease in wombats and other affected species. Carver explains that wombats suffer from a version of mange called crusted mange, which is a particularly severe form of the disease that ultimately results in death. He discusses the ways in which the low metabolic rate of wombats could contribute to the severity of sarcoptic mange, why he has chosen to focus on the wombat as a research subject for better understanding the disease, and much more. Press play for the full conversation and check out to learn more about Carver’s research. Available on Apple Podcasts:

Cancer Linked to Water Treatment By-Products: Chemist Susan Richardson Discusses DBPs
Jul 11 2020 50 mins  
Professor Susan Richardson specializes in water treatment and drinking water standards. In this podcast, she explores The history of treating drinking water in the U.S., When and why scientists raised concerns over water disinfection by-products (DBPs) and cancer, and Options for decreasing these DBPS, such as using granular activated carbon as a water filter in the treatment phase as well as regulation changes. Water treatment is important in ridding our supply of pathogens and water borne diseases. However, these disinfection by-products combine with organic materials and minerals in the environment when they are released to form DBPs. Susan Richardson explains how she first learned about this issue and where we are today in facing it. She has been the Arthur Sease Williams Professor of Chemistry and Environmental Standards at the University of South Carolina for the last six years, and previously was a research chemist at the U.S. EPA National Exposure Research Laboratory for 25 years. She tells listeners that when DBPs were linked to bladder and other cancers in humans, scientists sought her expertise in drinking water standards and these by-products in particular. She provides more details about which DBPs are the most toxic and explains that unfortunately the ones the U.S. doesn't regulate are much more toxic than ones it does. Richardson addresses some of the complications such as environmental variability across regions affecting iodine and bromates, for example. She describes ways to address DBPs that will still prevent water borne diseases and uphold drinking water standards. For example, she describes utilizing granular activated carbon as a sort of water filter right after chloramine is introduced to remove the precursors. To find out more, google EPS regulations. To learn about your local DBP levels, google water quality reports and the name of your city. Available on Apple Podcasts:

Coffee Chemistry with Christopher Hendon: Dr. Coffee Investigates Each Sip
Jul 10 2020 48 mins  
Returning guest and computational chemist known as Dr. Coffee, Christopher Hendon explores all that's behind our morning cup, from differences in water for coffee and methods of brewing coffee. Listeners will learn How his efforts toward sustainability focus on brewing coffee with more flavor and less coffee waste, What effect soft versus hard water will have on flavor highlights, and How variables such as country of origin and brewing coffee methods make the final product even more complicated. Christopher Hendon utilizes scientific inquiry and chemistry to assess coffee production. He's an assistant professor of computational materials in chemistry at the University of Oregon and he's made coffee his specialty. Currently, he's addressing sustainability and coffee in his research, noting that the largest waste in the U.S. is roast coffee that's never used—rather, after it goes stale, we throw it away. A lot of energy has gone into producing and roasting each bean. Therefore, his goal is to explore how we can make each cup equally good but with less coffee in the first place to reduce the amount of coffee roasted. He then explains the transport chain of events and complications, such as water loss, and other issues to consider. He also addresses what goes on in our kitchens from brewing coffee to choosing water for coffee. Listeners will hear an interesting lesson in water chemistry and how soft and hard water affect acidity. Because what each person wants from a cup tends to vary, there's no hard rule for what to use, so he provides methods to test your own preferences at home. He also touches on how different countries and climates produce different flavors, how brew methods are categorized, and finally shares his favorite coffee and his own daily method. For more, see the curated coffee literature list he provides on his website and see the American Chemical Society's coffee information. Available on Apple Podcasts:

COVID-19 Vaccine by Patch: Dr. Louis Falo Describes Exciting New Vaccine Delivery System
Jul 09 2020 29 mins  
Dermatologist and immunologist Louis Falo has created an innovative delivery method for vaccines that also has cancer treatment applications in the form of a skin patch with a microneedle array. He describes for listeners How this reaches the dermis skin layer through dissolvable microneedles, Why this skin layer, replete with antigen-presenting cells and other vital cells like T-cells, is an ideal microenvironment to initiate safe, systemic protection, and The practical nature of this vaccination method including easily-shipped non-refrigerated patches that can reach multinational locations with minimal effort. Dr. Falo received his PhD from Harvard in immunology and is Chairman of the Department of Dermatology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School. He specializes in both clinical and scientific work on the immunology of the skin. He explains that delivering vaccines to skin to address viruses in humans is not a new idea but very rarely used. While most vaccines are now from needle injection, the first vaccine was the small pox vaccine developed in the late 1700s. It was delivered through scratches in the skin and was very successful in protecting people. Because it was not easily reproducible, the practice of using it to protect against viruses in humans dropped off and clinics have depended on muscular delivery. However, he explains that technology has enabled a more easily reproducible method to enable a return to skin delivery. Furthermore, his lab is working on a vaccine for COVID-19 that will work with this skin patch. He describes why skin is a great entry point and is very efficient at mounting immune responses. His goal to create a delivery method to the skin that is reproducible, safe, and convenient for global deliveries led to the microneedle array. He explains the sugar composite of the needles and why they don't penetrate very far; rather, they stop at the dermis layer. As the needles absorb moisture in the skin, they dissolve and release the vaccine. He explains why this technology is safe, how it is easily shipped and applied, and also describes a cancer treatment this delivery system enables. For more, see his lab page: Available on Apple Podcasts:

Above Our Genes: Researcher Yael David Talks Epigenetics
Jul 08 2020 30 mins  
Yael David utilizes chemistry and biology in her approach to understanding the impact of environmental factors on epigenetic structures and mechanism and how they in turn affect our DNA. In this podcast, she explains Multiple layers of epigenetic effects on genes from high to low resolution, The different approaches in understanding what determines epigenetics, including her own stance that environmental factors are key, and How epigenetics in humans relates to cancer, including how damaged chromatin can drive cancer and enzymatic processes can rewrite those damages and protect chromatin. Yael Davids is lab head and assistant member in the Yael David Lab in the Chemical Biology Program at Sloan Kettering Memorial Cancer Center. She is also an assistant professor of pharmacology at Weill Cornell Medicine. She explores multiple questions of how epigenetic regulation of transcription functions alongside histone packaging and DNA and various determinates. She explains different schools of scientific thought in what effects the epigenetics of humans along with her own understanding that environmental cues effect and determine epigenetics. She describes how the environmental model explains things such as disease initiation like diabetes, which isn't explained in other models. In this conversation, she discusses how epigenetics change gene function from the changes in DNA itself from protein recruitment to histones, structures that help compact the DNA. She tells listeners how histones, which had been viewed as only structural, also contain messaging that recruit proteins. She then describes modification systems that combine for a gradient mechanism, ultimately more of a dial than an on/off switch. Dr. David also discusses her research, from developing better chemical tools for study to researching how damaged chromatin can drive cancer and how certain enzymatic mechanisms can rewrite this damage, a study that works towards therapeutic development. For more, see her lab web page at and follow her on Twitter: @David_Lab_MSK. Available on Apple Podcasts:

A Dive Into the Deep Blue-Green Sea—Steven W. Wilhelm, PhD—Aquatic Microbial Ecology Research Lab, University of Tennessee
Jul 07 2020 31 mins  
Kenneth & Blaire Mossman Professor of Microbiology, Steven W. Wilhelm, joins the show to talk about cyanobacteria, the problems presented by blue-green algae blooms, and the research he’s conducting in the lab. In this episode, you’ll learn: What the difference is between a blue-green algal bloom and a “dead zone” Why the switch from ammonium nitrate to urea as fertilizer about 25 years ago coincided with blue-green algal bloom issues In what ways toxic algal blooms are detrimental to humans and other species Cyanobacteria is responsible for carrying out more than 25% of the photosynthesis on the planet, which means that about one out of every four breaths of oxygen you take is thanks to these single-celled bacteria that can be found in abundance in every aquatic system in the world. But what happens when there’s too much growth of cyanobacteria, and what causes overgrowth? Wilhelm explains that concerning algal blooms are driven primarily by human activity—specifically those activities which result in high levels of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus being pumped into the environment and contributing to rapid population increases in cyanobacteria. When this happens, the algal blooms that form fundamentally change the water systems they are in by pushing out algae that may be better fish food, and producing toxins called microcystin and other compounds which can be harmful to other species, including humans. When these blooms die, they become food for heterotrophic bacteria that consume oxygen. As a result of this, “dead zones” form, which have significant impacts on fish habitat and other forms of aquatic life. So, what can be done about this problem? Wilhelm and the team at his lab spend a lot of time sequencing RNA and DNA in order to investigate why different organisms emerge under different circumstances. The hope is that with a better understanding of why cyanotoxins do so well under certain conditions (as opposed to more beneficial algae), it will be possible to intervene with a treatment or other method and prevent or limit further growth. Tune in for all the details and visit to learn more. Available on Apple Podcasts:

Immuno-Engineering the Future of Wellness—Sawsan Youssef—Chief Scientific Officer at Distributed Bio
Jul 07 2020 37 mins  
Chief Scientific Officer at Distributed Bio, Sawsan Youssef, joins the show to discuss her work at this unique company, and why it might hold promise for treating the COVID-19 virus and other medical conditions. In this episode, you will learn: What an antibody is, and how antibody therapeutics are developed How antibody therapy might prevent the COVID-19 virus from binding to host cells, thereby preventing illness How Distributed Bio identifies which antibodies will provide the most optimal binding properties at optimal binding sites for a given virus or disease Distributed Bio is a small, self-funded biotechnology company that’s creating new technologies for therapeutics in a variety of medical fields by using immunology as the platform. There are two type of therapeutics in their current portfolio: one that relies on antibody generation, and one that is vaccine-based. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Distributed Bio is developing a therapeutic which is based on the use of antibodies. Youssef explains the science and biology behind how antibody therapy works and why the use of antibodies to combat viruses is not only effective, but less likely to cause dangerous side effects. Generally speaking, antibodies are a good type of therapeutic because they are well-tolerated by the body and target precisely what you’re aiming for. In contrast, the use of other small molecules in therapeutics might target what you’re aiming for, but they may also target multiple other pathways in the body along the way, leading to adverse effects. Youssef discusses a number of other important topics, including how this technology could treat autoimmune diseases like lupus, the role of antibody therapeutics in the field of oncology, in what ways some viruses are able to render binding antibodies ineffective, and the timeframe on the COVID-19 therapeutic that’s in the works. Press play for all the details, and learn more about these technologies at Available on Apple Podcasts:

In Forward and Reverse: Understanding Zoonosis—Michelle Power—Department of Biological Sciences at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia
Jul 06 2020 31 mins  
Associate Professor Michelle Power discusses her expertise in the study of host-parasite associations in wildlife, with particular emphasis on protozoan parasites. Tune in to discover: What differentiates the two main classes of resistant bacteria and why this has important implications for humans, and potentially wildlife Why it is important to think about the many interactions within organisms relative to disease (i.e. the context of coinfection) rather than thinking about only about one host and one pathogen at a time What important ecological role flying foxes play in Australia The flying fox (i.e. fruit bat) is one of the world’s largest bats, and in Sydney, Australia, thousands of them can be found hanging from the trees in even the most urbanized parts of the city. Most of us are familiar with the idea that viruses can be transferred from these and other animals to humans, but what can be said about how the process might work in the opposite direction? In other words, what types of parasites and bacteria may be picked up by bats and other wildlife as the result of humans in their environment? These questions involve the concept of reverse zoonosis, which comprises one of Power’s primary research interests. She and the research team in the biology department at Macquarie University work on a suite of different organisms, most of which are associated with the gut, such as cryptosporidium and giardia. Both of these parasites are transmissible through the water and can therefore travel through the environment. As a result, they can be picked up by wildlife through drinking water or through interactions during rehabilitation and/or long-term captivity. Power is also researching malarial parasites and antibiotic-resistant bacteria, a global health concern for humans that may or may not be making its way into wildlife. Check out to learn more. Available on Apple Podcasts:

The Allergic Reaction – Carla McGuire Davis, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine and Director of the Food Allergy Program at Texas Children's Hospital – New Research and Effective Treatments for Allergies of All Kinds
Jul 05 2020 45 mins  
Carla McGuire Davis, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine; and Chief, Section of Immunology, Allergy and Retrovirology, as well as Director, Food Allergy Program at Texas Children's Hospital discusses her work, touching on topics, such as autoimmune diseases, immunology, and allergies. Podcast Points: What are some of the most common food allergies? How does oral immunotherapy work? Should I be concerned about anaphylactic shock? Dr. Davis talks about her background, and how early in her career as a pediatrician she came to realize that many children were highly impacted by allergic skin disease and food allergies. As she dug deeper, she found that while there was some research going on in these areas, the amount of research was small. She discusses particular cases that pushed her towards her current field, touching on anaphylactic shock, and severe allergic reactions, especially related to foods. The allergy and immunology expert provides details on some of the tests they have done regarding peanut allergies. As she states, it becomes a huge problem when someone with a peanut allergy ‘thinks’ they are eating a safe food, but then later ends up in the hospital. She discusses her studies, and immunotherapy protocols, such as oral immunotherapy which can increase an allergic person’s tolerance for the substance by introducing low levels into the body. Dr. Davis goes on to discuss medications that are being used to treat eczema, atopic dermatitis, and asthma that can stop the immune system in process, in order to help prevent reactions. Continuing, the research doctor discusses further studies that have been effective in treatment of allergy issues, including a discussion of appropriate dosing and issues related to the various effective options, such as peanut patches and other types of oral immunotherapy. Available on Apple Podcasts:

The Hottest in Heat Storage—Asegun Henry, PhD—The Atomistic Simulation & Energy Research Group at MIT
Jul 04 2020 37 mins  
Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Director of the Atomistic Simulation & Energy Group at MIT, Asegun Henry, discusses his research and how it may hold the key to moving the needle on climate change. In this episode, you will learn: How heat is transferred between atoms, what factors heat transfer mechanisms are dependent upon, and what happens at extremely hot temperatures How electricity can be stored as heat in the “sun in a box” technology being developed by Henry and his group What benefits are conferred by liquid metals for transferring heat When you heat a pot of water, what’s actually happening? What’s behind those boiling bubbles…what processes and principles lead to your observations? It may sound like a rather simple question, but there’s probably more to it than you think. In fact, this was one of the questions that led Professor Asegun Henry into the field of research involving heat transfer, high temperatures, and energy. For Henry, it took awhile for him to get a straight answer to these questions, but today’s show begins with exactly that. Also discussed are the two projects Henry and his group are currently working on, which include an energy storage technology that involves storing heat rather than electricity in order to achieve extremely low costs, and a CO2-free technological approach to hydrogen production. He provides an in-depth explanation of the physics and chemistry involved, and the solar energy and other commercial applications of this research. Learn more by visiting Available on Apple Podcasts:

The Science of Good Coffee: Asher Yaron Pours a Full Cup of Knowledge
Jul 03 2020 50 mins  
Author and researcher Asher Yaron talks about his process of discovering the elements of what it takes to bring in a satisfying pot of coffee. He tells listeners That caffeine is only one of several important chemical components to coffee and how to make the most of them all, Whether fresh-roasted coffee really needs to "rest" and other myths large coffee corporations spread, and How compounds fresh from roasting have positive health impacts that deserve more research. Author and speaker Asher Yaron has been working with coffee for over 15 years. He begins the conversation with his own discovery of some of the truths of coffee and coffee machines and then describes the evolution of coffee discovery by the industry starting in the 1990s. He makes his way to the first time he drank a cup of fresh roasted coffee and how that flavor was eye opening enough to pursue a fuller exploration of all things coffee. He explains to listeners what happens in a fresh roast that makes the difference and how a fresh grind prevents the oxidation that enables a flavor loss of an older grind. He also talks about how we are trained to think bitter means strong whereas it's actually the opposite—the bitter flavor develops from age post-roasting. A fresh roast and grind can produce a strong, non -bitter flavor. Further, chemicals beyond the caffeine that lend positive feelings to the drinker are still part of the bean soon after a fresh roast. He also addresses much of the harm and misleading information that's been perpetuated by the big coffee industry such as the effort to make Nespresso coffee machines have their coffee appear to have crema to match the look of good coffee. He then turns to the ways individuals can roast their own coffee and how to grind and brew for the perfect cup. He describes the current products he's designed and sells such as a specialized coffee machine called the Power Roaster that's been on Kickstarter and addresses different grinding techniques. Listen for more interesting science behind a good cup. For more, see his YouTube channel, Coffee University, and his web site, Available on Apple Podcasts:

Inflammation Information: An Eye on the Individual Microbe—Jakob Begun, MD, PhD—The University of Queensland School of Medicine
Jul 03 2020 33 mins  
Dr. Jakob Begun is a professor at the University of Queensland School of Medicine where he runs a research lab, as well as a practicing gastroenterologist at the Mater Hospital where he runs an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) clinic. In this episode, you will learn: What the important distinctions are between irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) Why identifying microbial diversity in the gut isn’t sufficient to understand how individual communities of microbes might be interacting or affecting the host, and how Begun’s research aims to address this What conditions fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) can be used for and how it may stack up against pharmaceuticals as a treatment for certain conditions What factors may be at play in the development of early immunity You have approximately 10 pounds of bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract at this very moment. What is the role and function of these bacteria? How many species exist, and how do they interact with one another? How does the immune system come to tolerate these bacteria…or do they? These are just a few of the questions discussed by Dr. Begun on today’s show. Dr. Begun has a particular interest in understanding the interplay between the gut microbiome and the immune system, and specifically how the bacteria in our gut can influence inflammation in our body. He points to the rising incidence of IBD alongside industrialization as a motivating factor for understanding what’s really at play. He argues that in order to develop a better understanding, it is necessary to understand the function of individual bacteria within the gut, rather than an overview of the types and quantity of species present. This approach will allow for the determination of which chemicals are being produced by which bacteria in the gut, which may lead to an understanding of whether those chemicals promote or suppress inflammatory responses. He describes the technique employed in his lab for studying this, and how he believes this research could shape the future of clinical treatment of inflammatory bowel disease and many other immune-mediated diseases, which are also increasing at unprecedented rates around the world. Visit to learn more. Available on Apple Podcasts:

Insight on Environmental and Global Health from an Economist—Clair Brown, PhD—Department of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley
Jul 02 2020 39 mins  
Clair Brown is Professor of Economics at UC Berkeley. Clair has published research on many aspects of inequality and sustainability. Her book Buddhist Economics: An enlightened approach to the dismal science (Bloomsbury Press) provides an economic framework that integrates global sustainability, shared prosperity and care for the human spirit. This holistic approach is based on actual national policies that reduce inequality, protect the environment, and support all people living a dignified, meaningful life. Her research team created the Sustainable, Share-Prosperity Index (SSPI) for 50 countries. Clair is a volunteer with 350 Bay Area Action, where she co-chairs the Legislative Committee to work on passing key climate justice bills in California. Read about Clair in Eminent Economists II: Their Life and Work Philosophies (Cambridge). You can listen to podcasts with Clair: Book trailer (2 min): Professor in the Department of Economics at Berkeley and author of Buddhist Economics: An Enlightened Approach to the Dismal Science, Clair Brown, joins the show to discuss the role and importance of economics in our lives. Tune in to discover: How economics have changed over the last few decades for the better in terms of understanding human interdependence and impermanence How the coronavirus has and will continue to change the economy and the way in which companies operate, as well as the way people perceive value and change In what three key areas countries need to improve their policies and performance “Most people go into economics because they want to change the way the world works. Most people really do care about…how well people are living…inequality…the climate crisis, the health emergency, and racial justice, but economists tend to think that all of those things are interdependent in economic systems, and that how the economy works can make a difference in all of those areas,” says Brown, as she explains why she’s an economist. To her, economics is about figuring out how to take the resources we have and work with them to provide what people need in order to have happy and meaningful lives. She discusses her book, Buddhist Economics: An Enlightened Approach to the Dismal Science, which addresses ways in which to think about the worldview of how the economy functions and the assumptions derived from this worldview. For instance, are people selfish or altruistic? Independent from or interdependent with one another and the planet? What differentiates the rational from the irrational? Brown argues that the way an economist answers these questions necessarily impacts the way they think about the way the economy functions. She provides insight on her view of the effects of the coronavirus, which include a reevaluation of what we find meaningful in our lives, a greater awareness of the climate change emergency (noticed through the significant improvements in air and water quality during the lockdown), and a realization that we really can implement change quickly. Tune in for all the details and visit to learn more. Available on Apple Podcasts:

Poisonous Snails and Our Cellular Membranes: Kallol Gupta Makes the Connection
Jul 02 2020 44 mins  
Professor Kallol Gupta's research into natural peptides and receptors, specifically neurotoxins, lead him on a path towards the deep sea cone snail, which release neurotoxins particularly helpful in studying how our cellular membranes work. He explains Why the hydrophobic exterior of membranes are particularly hard to study and how a new technique with mass spectrometry has enabled a superior approach, What the "resolution revolution" of mass spectrometry enables researches to observe in protein and membrane interaction, and How this information is useful in the field of biology and also in developing drugs that address numerous physiological issues. Kallol Gupta is an assistant professor of Cell Biology at Yale University and runs the Gupta Lab. He started his academic studies in chemistry and developed an interest in biology after studying the venom library of cone snails of the coast of India. Often called poisonous snails, they are actually venomous because they inject their prey with neurotoxins through a harpoon-like structure that houses a proboscis that's able to shoot out, sting, and inject. He became interested in how these toxins had fine-tuned their actions and were able to hijack animal physiology. He explains to listeners how mass spectrometry has opened the door to a much more thorough glimpse of this action on a cellular level. He describes how these toxins bind to membranes. Like a bomb, the toxins throw a large number of compounds at the cell and a small number hit the target. But it's enough to effect the neurons of their prey. He adds that he wants to study what is special about the few that are able to bind with the membrane. If scientists like him want to target specific proteins, they can figure out how other organisms are already doing this in nature and learn from them. Dr. Gupta tells listeners about the challenging environment of the lipid cell membrane and how they have figured out how to study it inside the mass spectrometer itself before it degrades and loses its nature. He adds why these studies are so important, from developing a fundamental understanding of biological functions to developing drugs that can appropriately bind to their target. Listen in for interesting details. For more, see his lab's web site: Available on Apple Podcasts:

Global Economics and COVID-19: Researcher Andrea Ferrero Discusses Possible Directions
Jul 01 2020 25 mins  
Andrea Ferrero studies monetary economics and international macroeconomics. In this podcast he discusses what has and may happen to the economy under government-imposed shutdowns. He shares with listeners his thoughts on How the collapse of 2007 set us up with low interest rates at the outset of the pandemic and why that's important, The difference between how monetary and fiscal policy are playing out, and What he projects under a substantial second wave and how health and political policies will ultimately determine economic policy. Andrea Ferrero is an associate professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Oxford and the Levine Fellow of Economics at Trinity College, Oxford. He begins the podcast summarizing how he fell into the academic sector of macroeconomics and monetary policy. His first job after his Ph.D. was actually with the Federal Reserve Bank in New York in their research department after the economic collapse of 2007. In addition to his teaching and research, he serves as an academic consultant to the Bank of England. He connects today's situation with the financial crisis of 2007 and distinguishes how we face a whole new set of questions as economics and policy makers under the COVID-19 pandemic. He points out governments have been extremely aggressive with fiscal policy as determinants of monetary policy didn't have a lot of room to respond; interest rates were already low and several places didn't have room to lower them. He discusses complications of current and future responses, the shocks of supply and demand, and other elements of baseline responses to the economic effects of a second wave of COVID-19. He notes that the quick rebound of the stock market has been a surprise though speaks to a cautious view of the future. He also addresses the ways health policies and political processes effect this future in macroeconomics and to what extent governments should be planning now for long-term objectives. Listen in for more details on his expert opinion. Available on Apple Podcasts:

Inspecting the Spread and Management of Infectious Diseases—Mark Lurie—Associate Professor of Epidemiology, Brown University
Jul 01 2020 41 mins  
Mark Lurie is an associate professor of epidemiology at Brown University who joins the show to discuss his work from the early 90s until the present day. Tune in to discover: What was primarily to blame for the early spread of TB in Africa, as well as the spread and development of HIV hotspots How and why early intervention is so important in the control of infectious diseases How the response to the COVID-19 pandemic differs from the response to other infectious disease outbreaks and whether the decisions made so far in the U.S. are appropriate Lurie has been involved in epidemiology since the early 90s, when he came across a fascinating study that looked at the early spread of TB in Africa. Since then, he’s studied the spread of HIV and various other infectious diseases. He talks about how treatment for HIV has developed remarkably over the years despite there still not being a vaccine, and where the largest reduction in new cases of HIV have been seen. He reminds us that it wasn’t more than three or four generations ago that our geographical footprint was very small… reaching not more than five or 10 miles from home. Clearly, this has changed significantly and impacted patterns of infectious disease. He discusses the coronavirus pandemic, when he thinks a vaccine may be available, the public health interventions surrounding it, evidence that the coronavirus-related lockdowns helped slow the spread, the less-talked-about consequences of the coronavirus outbreak (some of them positive), the purpose and importance of testing for the virus, the pros and cons of a treatment versus a vaccine for the virus, and what he thinks will happen in the near and long-term future. Available on Apple Podcasts:

Installing the World’s Highest Weather Station with Professor Baker Perry, PhD
Jun 30 2020 28 mins  
Co-lead of the meteorology team on the National Geographic and Rolex Perpetual Planet Extreme Expedition and professor in the Department of Geography at Appalachian State University, Baker Perry, joins the show to discuss his fascinating and truly unique work. Tune in to discover: How the recently-installed weather stations on Mt. Everest are filling a critical role in climber safety What has been learned about the intensity of solar radiation on the mountain and why this is important for projected glacier changes and current models used to make those projections Which new insight gained from the implementation of these weather stations might explain the incidence of climber disappearance on Mt. Everest How the data sets from these stations can take viewers on a virtual reality trip into the glacier for an immersive, once-in-a-lifetime experience On Tuesday, June 30, 2020 at 10pm ET on National Geographic, you can watch the television premier of Expedition Everest, an unprecedented journey that resulted in the installation of the world’s highest weather stations and the collection of the highest ice core known to man. Baker Perry shares firsthand experience as co-lead of this incredible mission, offering you a glimpse of what it would be like to make the climb yourself. By virtue of Perry and the rest of the expedition team, real-time weather data from the mountain and past and future projections of glacier change is now possible. This not only changes the game for climbing safety, but paves the way for significant improvements to forecast and glacier change models, as well as a better understanding of how the climate is changing. Perry explains the reasoning behind the placements of the weather stations, the challenges encountered as they gained elevation, what types of equipment and instrumentation were used, and so much more. Learn more and access real-time data links to these weather stations by visiting Available on Apple Podcasts:

Inside the Mind of Novelist and Screenwriter Edward Savio
Jun 30 2020 48 mins  
Author, screenwriter, and storyteller Edward Savio joins the show to discuss his works and the perspectives that inspired them. In this episode, you’ll discover: What led Savio to write Idiots in the Machine, an anti-screenplay novel (and what rules were broken in the creation of it) How Savio (or his characters) view a range of topics, like technology, sustainability, the idea of economic growth, and even interpersonal relationships Why Savio has a passion for writing about characters who live in the past, and what type of research he did in the creation of one of his most popular series “You have to have a kind of determination and a belief that is almost beyond reality,” says Savio, commenting on how he dealt with everyone in his life who, at one point in time, told him he needed a “real” job and shouldn’t pursue a career as a writer. He shares with listeners the sources of motivation that have led him to become the great writer he is today, and provides insight into some of his main characters. He also discusses some practical differences between the considerations that must be made while writing a novel versus a screenplay, how he’s been able to write a series about time travel without there actually being any time travel involved, human adaptation and evolution, how and why the future will "reveal us to be ignorant," and so much more. Tune in for a compelling and unique conversation with a brilliant mind and some new ideas for good reading. For more, visit and Available on Apple Podcasts: Edward Savio BFF Volume 3: The first two installments in Savio's Battle For Forever action adventure sci-fi series were just #1 and #9 Best Sellers with Wil Wheaton narrating the audiobooks. Those two titles are ALEXANDER X and ANCIENT AMONG US. Edward is working on Volume 3 of BFF now, LEAGUE OF AULD, and the goal is to have another Wil Wheaton narration dropped before the end of this year. Get yourself ready for Volume 3, and get access to a free novella in the BFF universe when signing up at

Disrupting the Complicated Cycle of Malaria: Caroline Ng Discusses her Work
Jun 29 2020 25 mins  
In her research, Dr. Caroline Ng addresses how to effectively treat malaria as scientists face possible drug resistance. She explains for listeners The cycle and stages of malaria-causing parasites and what causes common malaria symptoms, Why the asexual blood stage of the parasite is especially important in understanding how to disrupt its infection, and What signs of resistance are scientists observing and how her research hopes to solve the issue. Caroline L. Ng, Ph.D. is an assistant professor in the Department of Pathology and Microbiology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. She specializes in the pathogenesis of Plasmodium falciparum and the genetic and molecular mechanisms underlying drug resistance. She begins by explaining the life cycle of the parasites that cause malaria. Plasmodium spp. have evolved to require two hosts in their life cycle, mosquito and animal, and she specializes in the species that use human hosts in addition to the mosquito. She explains how the parasites move from mosquito saliva and make their way to the human liver. She describes their entry into red blood cells, how they divide asexually at an exponential rate, when they evolve into different sexes, and how a debris release causes the common malaria symptoms of fever and chills. She then builds on this explanation to describe the issues facing researches in how to treat malaria as symptoms of drug resistance seem to be showing up. In particular, the parasite Plasmodium falciparum is of concern as it is the most virulent and causes the most deaths. Artemisinin is a potent drug that's short-lived that must be partnered with another drug to make sure parasites are being cleared. But scientist in Southeast Asia have seen a decrease in the ability of this drug family to clear parasites. They worry this indicates artemisinin resistance. If they can understand this, they can designs drugs that synergize or identify a pathway to build up the efficacy of this drug. Along the way, she explains mechanisms of how these drugs work and how these poorer countries that face malaria need inexpensive treatments. To learn more, see her information on her institution's web site: Available on Apple Podcasts:

Combatting Parasitic Diseases in Malaysia with Professor Indra Vythilingam
Jun 28 2020 28 mins  
Professor Vythilingam started working with parasitic diseases in the early 1980s and now studies the recent upsurge in Plasmodium knowlesi in humans, which is a malaria originating in monkey hosts. In this podcast, she discusses How scientists traced the different Plasmodium species to discover that humans were being infected with this simian malaria that originates from different parasites, Why it's important that Malaysian mosquitos have adapted to biting in the early evening outdoors instead of indoors late at night, and How researchers and the Malaysian government are working together to find a solution to stopping these parasites. Indra Vythilingam is a professor of parasitology at the University of Malaya. Malaria is not a virus; rather, it's a disease caused by a parasite of the Plasmodium species that follows a host and vector life cycle. She started working on malaria the early 80s. In the early 1990s, she worked on a study with insecticide-treated mosquito nets, proving their efficacy. However, in the years since, malaria-infected mosquitoes have adapted their behaviors and evolved in Malaysia to bite earlier in the evening and outdoors. Furthermore, she explains that malaria is traveling from monkeys to mosquitos to people in Malaysia, a discovery made in 2004. Previously it was thought that humans could only catch malaria from a few specific species thought of as the human malaria parasites. However, a 2004 paper showed the simian parasite, Plasmodium knowlesi, had been transmitted to humans. Professor Vythilingam explains that the human malaria has been almost eradicated from the area, but they now have this difficult development to face. She discusses what measures she and her colleagues are hoping to take after the COVID-19 virus pandemic slows enough to allow them to return to the field. For more information, search for Indra Vythilingam in Google Scholar and other such research-accruing sites. Available on Apple Podcasts:

Human Life and Parasites in Wildlife—Andrew Thompson—Professor of Parasitology, Murdoch University
Jun 27 2020 24 mins  
Andrew Thompson is a Professor of Parasitology at Murdoch University who joins the show to discuss the ins and outs of his research on parasites. In this episode, you will learn: How parasites can change and/or be introduced as a result of human involvement How the recreational pursuit of fox hunting and domestication of horses led to an artificial parasitic cycle (hydatid disease) in the UK What mechanisms certain parasites have developed to help them survive in their hosts Thompson’s work on parasitic diseases began many years ago, when taking a class on invertebrate zoology. One project in particular struck his interest: the role of the dwarf tapeworm in mice. Since then, his research has gone far beyond tapeworms. In recent years, the focus has been on parasites of wildlife—particularly those that may have conservation effects. In other words, parasites that normally don’t cause much of a problem without the impact of human involvement and man-made domestic cycles. He gives a number of fascinating examples, and discusses the studies which led to these findings. He discusses the progression of hydatid disease in humans and domestic animals, surgical removal as an intervention, what can be done to prevent it, and much more. Available on Apple Podcasts:

New Multi-Virus Diagnostic Method by Broad Institute
Jun 26 2020 28 mins  
Cheri Ackerman and Cameron Myhrvold explain their innovative new system to test for multiple viruses in one test. They explain The overarching goal of low cost alongside high scale allowing multiple diagnostics at once, How a microwell array chip and criprs cas-13 work together in this test, and How the timing of this test works and their future goals. Dr. Cheri Ackerman is the cofounder and CEO of Concerto Biosciences and Dr. Cameron Myhrvold is a post doc fellow at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. In this podcast they discuss their project to develop a new virus diagnostic method that involves cripr. While there are several standout attributes to this new diagnostic, an integral element is that it tests for multiple viruses at once. They explain that they wanted to answer what is making a person sick by testing for different viruses at the same time. The technology can by summarized as using crispr cas-13 diagnostics in a microwell array. This allows different detection reactions for multiple viruses and multiple patients at the same time. As with common COVID virus PCR tests, it starts with a nasal swab. After taking the swab and performing sample preparation as with a PCR test, the process starts to differ, specifically in two ways: the detection is conducted with a small volume, which allows them to do many tests on the same sample; second, the test allows for all of these reactions to set themselves up on their own. Detection regents and samples self-organize in a way that gets a robust result that crispr cas-13, as an RNA target, allows. They explain the method in more detail as well as goals for improvement, including reducing the turnaround time from 7 to 3 hours. Listen for more details about this exciting technology. To keep tabs on this and related work, visit Available on Apple Podcasts:

Tidal Rhythms Encoded Human and Animal Physiology: Bokai Zhu Discusses Ultradian Rhythms
Jun 25 2020 25 mins  
Most listeners are familiar with circadian rhythms, but Professor Zhu is working on less-studied 12-hour cycles and how they affect our well-being. He talks about his research, explaining How 12-hour rhythms match the tidal shifts and patterns, Why this 12-hour rhythm probably evolved before the circadian rhythms, and How a better understanding of the physiologies of ultradian rhythms might lead to Alzheimer's and other disease treatments. Bokai Zhu is an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism and the Aging Institute at the University of Pittsburgh. He's working on biological rhythms, also known as oscillations, and specifically narrowed his study to research ultradian rhythms, which signifies 12-hour cycles, rather than the more commonly-studied circadian rhythms. Thus far he's found evidence that 12-hour rhythms originated to adapt to the 12-hour tidal rhythms, which we see in crustaceans. Furthermore, Zhu believes as we've evolved from the sea, humans and other animals have kept this 12-hour rhythm. In other words, this same tidal pattern followed by our evolutionary ancient ancestors is ingrained in our body clock. He discusses how he is conducting studies in mice to better understand this cycle and how it might regulate our systems. He makes an interesting analogy to morning and evening rush hour, how these 12-hour switches of increased activity present more risk for bodily damage like misfolded proteins. He's also found potential connections to memory issues because the hippocampus is especially engaged in the 12-hour cycle. Listen to learn about these issues and more. For more information, see his web site at the university and search for recent news articles covering his research: Available on Apple Podcasts:

Microbes of the Deep: Peter R. Girguis Discusses Ocean Microbial Life and Our Biosphere
Jun 25 2020 41 mins  
Professor Girguis studies microorganism in the ocean and their contributions that make our planet habitable. In this conversation, he explores How and why some microbes live in these extreme environments around hydrothermal vents and methane seeps; How these chemo autotrophs, or organisms that feed off of chemicals, connect to life in the upper reaches of the ocean and what that means to fisheries; and Why a reframing of ocean science is important in understanding and taking care of the interconnectedness of our biosphere. Peter R. Girguis is a professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. He works in a field of molecular biology that studies microbes and animals that live in the ocean, especially microbial organisms that interact with metals like iron and magnesium, which he describes as akin to the multivitamins of the ocean. His microbiology study focuses especially on bacteria and archaea. These microbes inhabit environments, like hydrothermal vents and methane seeps, to feed off the released metals, which are toxic to most animals. Professor Girguis utilizes molecular biology to understand how these microbes play a role in moving energy from the abiotic world, or nonliving structures like rocks, to the biotic world. Significantly, this microbiology study connects to the food chain. He mentions one study that shows how plankton feed on these microbes which in turn feed small fish that are eaten by the larger fish off the coast of Chile, which are integral to the fishing industry there. He describes other elements to this underwater architecture, from methane ice to giant sulfide structures, and how some fish use these extreme environments to rid themselves of parasites. He also posits a new view of ocean science that is much more outward looking and should engage people from all over the world. To find our more, see his lab’s website: Available on Apple Podcasts:

Fighting Antibiotic Resistance One Gene at a Time: Karl Hassan Discusses His Research
Jun 24 2020 31 mins  
Karl Hassan researches antimicrobial resistance specific to hospital-associated pathogens. He talks about his work towards developing compounds that can overcome this resistance. He explains The two main types of resistance, acquired and intrinsic; Which pathogens are the toughest to combat, namely gram-negative bacteria; and How understanding a specific gene expression for a bacteria may provide answers toward generating compounds to kill that bacteria. Karl Hassan is an ARC Future Fellow at the School of Environmental and Life Sciences at the University of Newcastle in Australia. He studies antimicrobial resistance of pathogens common to hospital settings. He explains that these pathogens adapted to the hospital niche and have become superbugs. Because big pharmaceutical companies experience low profits from antibiotic development, the research has been taken up by university scholars like Hassan. He talks more about the inner workings of the bacteria, especially the gram-negative bacteria, which present more of a challenge because they have two membranes and are intrinsically resistant. He explains more about the mechanics and cell architecture and then shares an exciting find: they were able to identify a gene that was unknown and verified that when expressed, it offered resistance to the bacteria. They believe, based on tests, it may code for the efflux pump protein. Understanding how different families of efflux pumps work will help develop compounds that can infiltrate the bacteria cells. He finishes by explaining the process for how something like this find can lead to eventual compound production. For more, see his page at the University of Newcastle: Available on Apple Podcasts:

Exciting Advantages to Single-Cell Sequencing of Parasites: Researchers Walzer and Chi Explain
Jun 23 2020 34 mins  
Jen-Tsan Ashley Chi: I was born and grew up in Taiwan. I obtained my MD from National Taiwan University and PhD from Stanford University. From my post-doctoral training with Dr. Patrick Brown at Stanford, I have been using genomic analysis and gene expression to dissect the influences of various tumor microenvironmental stresses in human cancer and tumor heterogeneity. Since arriving at Duke University, we discovered the presence of abundant and diverse species of RNAs in mature erythrocyte, a cell type long thought to lack any DNA or RNA. Since then we have pioneered the efforts to apply the genomic analysis of erythrocyte microRNAs to dissect the phenotypic variations among sickle cell diseases and blood storage. From the investigation of erythrocytes, we have been interested in the role of erythrocyte RNA in the malaria parasites, including the recent adoption of single cell RNA-Seq technology of malaria parasite pioneered by Dr. Katie Walzer during her thesis work in my lab. Katelyn Walzer: For over ten years, Dr. Katelyn Walzer has studied the genetics and genomics of multiple apicomplexan parasites, including Toxoplasma gondii, Plasmodium falciparum, and now Cryptosporidium parvum. She completed her PhD in 2018 under the guidance of Dr. Jen-Tsan Ashley Chi at Duke University, where she studied the malaria-causing parasite P. falciparum using high-throughput genomic technologies, including single-cell RNA sequencing. Her work, published in multiple journals including mSphere and PLoS Genetics, identified distinct gene expression differences between male and female parasites during the transmissible sexual stage and uncovered unexpected transcription of genes during multiple times in the P. falciparum life cycle. These findings imply that significant transcriptional diversity allows the P. falciparum parasite to survive its dynamic host environment. Now a post-doctoral fellow in Dr. Boris Striepen’s lab at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Walzer studies the transcriptional regulators of the C. parvum life cycle and has used single-cell RNA sequencing to determine the genes expressed during the asexual and sexual stages. Further work will focus on functionally characterizing stage-specific regulators and determining single-cell gene expression of the host immune response. Walzer KA, Fradin H, Emerson LY, Corcoran DL, Chi JT (2019) Latent transcriptional variations of individual Plasmodium falciparum uncovered by single-cell RNA-seq and fluorescence imaging. PLOS Genetics 15(12): e1008506. Walzer KA, Kubicki DM, Tang X, Chi JT. Single-Cell Analysis Reveals Distinct Gene Expression and Heterogeneity in Male and Female Plasmodium falciparum Gametocytes. mSphere. 2018;3(2):e00130-18. Published 2018 Apr 11. doi:10.1128/mSphere.00130-18 Researcher Katelyn Walzer and her Ph.D. mentor Dr. Jen-Tsan Ashley Chi used single-cell analysis to study the malaria-causing parasite, Plasmodium. Dr. Walzer is now studying another parasite called Cryptosporidium. In this podcast, they discuss How Cryptosporidium infects hosts and the dangers it poses, especially for children, Past bulk-sequencing techniques for parasites and what they missed in analysis, The mechanics for single-cell genomics analysis, what it offers microbiology, and advantages specific to fighting Cryptosporidium. Jen-Tsan Ashley Chi, MD, PhD, is an associate professor at the Center for Genomic and Computational Biology at Duke University School of Medicine. His former microbiology student, Katelyn Ann Walzer, PhD, is currently working on her post-doc at the University of Pennsylvania with single-cell analysis. They tell listeners about their specific findings on Plasmodium and Dr. Walzer's current focus on Cryptosporidium, a parasite that causes a diarrheal disease, and what else she hopes to study regarding the parasite. She gives some background on the parasite, describing how detrimental it can be for children in some countries of Africa who've already suffered from other diseases. Cryptosporidium can actually reactivate and cause chronic infection in these children, affecting their general health and quality of life. Dr. Walzer explains how single-cell genomics analysis has allowed her to identify which genes are expressed in the two different matting types (sexual and asexual). Dr. Chi explains how this technique also helped in Plasmodium research because mating is the only way to achieve intrapersonal human transmission, and identifying males and understanding the stages of development in both parasites may offer ways to block their development. Dr. Walzer explains additional findings, plans for upcoming research, and her goals to discover information that will help develop better treatments for infection by Cryptosporidium. For more information, search these researchers in Google Scholar. Available on Apple Podcasts:

Liver Lessons and Liquid Biopsies—Augusto Villanueva Rodriguez, MD—Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Jun 23 2020 33 mins  
Assistant Professor at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Dr. Augusto Rodriguez, talks about the scope of his work and research on different aspects of liver oncology. In this episode, you will learn: Which underlying diseases are the main causes of liver cancer, and how long it generally takes for liver cancer to develop How many therapies have been approved for use in patients with liver cancer, and why it has been challenging to determine which type of therapy will work best for a particular patient What it means for a liver tumor to be heterogenous and why it’s significant Dr. Rodriguez’s work centers around the goal of incorporating molecular information from tumors into tools that can be applied in the clinical setting to improve prognosis predictions, and developing novel methods for early detection of liver cancer. The current gold standard for early detection of liver cancer is a combination of abdominal ultrasonography to look for evidence of small tumor formation, and blood tests to identify the levels of a certain protein known to be elevated in patients with liver cancer. So, what’s wrong with the current gold standard? Dr. Rodriguez explains that in addition to operator error with regard to the ultrasound procedure, it requires patients to travel to an imaging center every six months, which is difficult to manage for many people. Due to the inconvenience and difficulty presented by compliance with the gold standard protocol, many people end up developing liver cancer that goes undetected for far too long. A potential solution that Dr. Rodriguez has his eyes on is a technology called liquid biopsy. In essence, it entails an analysis of tumor components within the bloodstream, such as fragments of DNA from tumors or extracellular vesicles released from tumors. The detection of such components in a blood sample taken at the point of care can detect liver tumors when they are very small, leading to better overall prognosis. In addition, liquid biopsy may address another complication in the area of liver cancer treatment, which is the determination of how best to sequence the many therapies that have become available in recent years. Dr. Rodriguez discusses a number of fascinating topics. Tune in for all the details. Available on Apple Podcasts:

Opening a Parasitic, Drug-Resistant Can of Worms—Ray Kaplan, DVM, PhD—Department of Infectious Diseases, University of Georgia
Jun 22 2020 50 mins  
Dr. Ray Kaplan is a professor in the Department of Infectious Diseases at University of Georgia. He joins the show to discuss the details of his research on parasitism and drug-resistant parasites. Tune in to discover: How a dog contracts heartworm disease and how the disease progresses How a hookworm infection in a dog progresses differently than it does in a human, and what type of research is being done in Kaplan’s lab to study drug-resistance in hookworms in dogs Why it has been difficult to tackle the problem of drug resistance in parasites, and where the research currently stands Dr. Kaplan’s interest in parasites was sparked after he found himself working in a parasitology lab as an undergraduate at Virginia Tech. He continued conducting research on parasitology while in veterinary school, and eventually entered academia to become a professor and focus more exclusively on his research. He studies primarily parasites of livestock and dogs, and aims to better understand and solve the problems posed by increasing numbers of drug-resistant parasites. Dr. Kaplan discusses the life cycle of common parasites in dogs, what happens when a human being is infected by hookworms, the coevolution of the gut microbiome and intestinal worms, evidence which suggests that some parasites may be critical to the human immune response and protection against autoimmune diseases, what mechanisms are used by parasites that enable them to complete their life cycles, challenges and roadblocks to progress in parasitology, drug resistance of roundworms infecting turkeys, and so much more. For information on these and related topics, check out the following: Available on Apple Podcasts:

Parasite-Induced Mind Control and Modification—Robert Poulin—Zoology Department, University of Otago, New Zealand
Jun 21 2020 32 mins  
Professor Robert Poulin’s interests center around how and in what ways parasites manipulate the behavior of their hosts. He joins the show to discuss his fascinating research. In this episode, you will learn: Why a parasite would benefit from making its host insect take on the appearance of a bright red berry How an examination of the brain cells of infected insects could shed light on the pathways by which host behaviors change How a parasite’s microbiome and the genomes of the microbes within it could help explain the mechanisms underlying parasite-driven behavioral modification of hosts Over the course of millions of years, parasitism has been gradually shaped and enhanced by evolution, resulting in parasites that have the amazing ability to induce behavioral and physical modifications in their hosts in ways that ultimately benefit the parasite. Consider, for instance, the hairworm, which is a parasite that grows inside a terrestrial insect in coil-like fashion until it becomes two to three feet in length, at which point it induces the insect to essentially commit suicide for its survival; the hairworm causes the insect to search for and jump into a body of water, where the hairworm can then emerge from the parasite (killing it in the process), find a mate, and reproduce. This is just one example of a parasitic relationship that Poulin hopes to better understand. In part, his research involves an examination of gene expression within the genome of the brain cells of infected host insects. Poulin is also interested in other mechanisms by which parasites manipulate hosts, such as those that may involve the microbes that parasites carry with them, or the presence of symbiotic viruses that manipulate host behavior. Among other topics, Poulin discusses how parasites are so effective at evading host immune systems, counter-adaptations to host defenses, examples of how parasites can form part of a larger ecosystem, which tissues are preferential for parasites to reside in and why, and so much more. Tune in for all the details and learn more about Poulin’s research by visiting Available on Apple Podcasts:

Liver Disease and At-Risk Communities: Hepatologist Ponni Perumalswami Works on Outreach
Jun 20 2020 21 mins  
Ponni Perumalswami treats patients who have advanced liver diseases. She also is working to reach communities at risk for viral hepatitis B and C to connect them to testing, education, and healthcare. She explains The differences, such as transmission means, between hepatitis B and C; The reason why some foreign-born communities are at risk and how her group is trying to make their way into the center of these groups; and Why these diseases of the liver, while usually asymptomatic for years, can cause damage leading to treatments like liver transplantation. Ponni Perumalswami is an associate professor of medicine in the Division of Liver Diseases at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. She tells listeners that there’s an at-risk population for hepatitis B and C that she and her colleagues are targeting. In the U.S., while the diseases are less common in the general population, at-risk groups who immigrate from areas with higher rates, specifically Asian and African-born communities, are hard to reach. Because they may not have insurance and are not English speakers, they aren’t in touch with primary care doctors who might normally screen for these diseases and they can be asymptomatic for years. Her outreach efforts include testing within the communities and awareness-raising efforts. Dr. Perumalswami explains how these diseases work. She explains that hepatitis B is a DNA virus that largely infects foreign-born populations because the U.S. has had the means to vaccinate and test for this disease. It spreads by a vertical transmission from mother to child. Hepatitis C is transmitted through blood exposures, so through intravenous drug use, blood transfusions, and organ donations done before 1992 when testing became available. Even though each can exist in the body silently for years, they can still do tremendous damage in the liver, and increase one’s risk for cirrhosis, cancer, and other disease of the liver that may need liver transplantation. For more, see the Mt. Sinai Liver Diseases Division website Available on Apple Podcasts:

On Virology and Immunology—Nicolas Vabret, PhD—Assistant Professor of Medicine, Hematology, and Medical Oncology at Mount Sinai
Jun 19 2020 30 mins  
Professor Nicolas Vabret has had an almost lifelong interest in viruses, and has been studying them since obtaining his PhD in 2011. He joins the show to discuss a number of interesting topics, including the following: How the two main arms of the immune system differ in function, and the nature of immune cells vs non-immune cells How an examination of the cytokines produced in response to the COVID-19 virus might shed light on why and whether some patients will develop a very serious form of the illness and some will remain asymptomatic What approaches have been and are currently being taken to find a treatment for HIV What happens as soon as a virus enters the body? What allows the body to recognize non-self cells and to respond accordingly? Some cells have the ability to detect the presence of viruses and bacteria that enter the body, and activate the first step in the innate immune response, which eventually leads to the activation of the second phase of the immune response. Vabret is particularly interested in understanding the early molecular mechanisms that make this possible. He describes the differences between the innate immune response and adaptive immune response, the role and function of pattern recognition receptors, RNA production, the importance of cytokines in the response to virally-infected hosts—in particular those infected with COVID-19, viral strategies for counteracting immune responses, characteristics of the HIV virus and chimpanzee versus human immune responses to it, current research in the field of immunology, and so much more. Available on Apple Podcasts:

Engineering Bacteriophages with Researcher Vivek Mutalik
Jun 18 2020 35 mins  
Vivek Mutalik is a synthetic biologist who studies biochemical energy and uses tools to understand how bacteria survive in their environment. He’s currently focused on bacteriophages. He discusses Investigating how bacteria survive phages including bacterial defenses, How phages subvert these bacterial defenses in turn, creating an arms race, and Applications these studies can be used for, from therapeutic treatments like phage therapy to diagnostic tools to industrial eradications of biofilms. Vivek Mutalik is a research scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the Environmental Genomics and Systems Biology Division as well as the Biological Systems and Engineering Division. He works with two key questions: how do phages and bacteria interact and how can scientists engineer phages. The goals connecting these foundational and engineering aspects include using phages for microbiome work and for eliminating pathogens. He explains his work studying the genes and mechanistics of bacteriophages by first giving an overview of the vast diversity and huge number of phages. He remarks that scientists know that they are virtually everywhere on earth, yet hardly know anything about their impact. He explains that there are different types of phages, some that infect specific bacteria and some that are broad spectrum, able to target lots of different bacteria. He says that while we don’t understand how this specificity happens and what their design rule is—the key of phage biology—his research hopes to change this and better understand the engineering of these phages. His research studies the phages’ genes to understand which genes encode which function. He explains some techniques and findings in more detail and says we need to understand this foundation to manipulate the microbiome so practitioners can get rid of specific microbes, not healthy ones, with precision. To find out more, find him on twitter as @vivek_mutalik and see his lab web site: Available on Apple Podcasts:

TB or Not To Be?—Sharee Basdeo—Research Fellow, Clinical Medicine, Trinity College Dublin
Jun 18 2020 30 mins  
As a research fellow in clinical medicine, Sharee Basdeo focuses primarily on tuberculosis (TB), which has co-evolved with the human immune system for thousands of years. By tuning in, you’ll discover: How the three general responses to TB exposure differ, and why it’s been difficult to determine why only some people develop active TB disease after exposure What is problematic about drug therapies and the vaccine for TB What Basdeo believes is the next step in TB-related research There are roughly three categories of responses to TB: a person can be exposed to TB but mount no immune response and show no signs of having been exposed, a person can be exposed and their immune system can mount an effective response which contains the TB infection and puts it in a dormant state, or a person can be exposed and develop active TB disease. So, what determines which course of action will occur? This is a question that has yet to be answered, and one that many people are actively researching. Basdeo discusses this topic, along with many other fascinating subjects, including how those who harbor latent TB can develop active TB as they age, innate immunity, what happens when the wrong drug or wrong dose of drug is taken for TB, how the lung and gut microbiome might be related to the immune response for TB, the mutagenesis of TB and why it is difficult to kill TB, how TB finds ways to tune down the immune response to allow itself to exist undetected, and the importance of Th17 cells. Visit to learn more about Basdeo’s work. Available on Apple Podcasts:

Microbial Interactions with Medications: Filipe Cabreiro Talks Drugs and the Microbiome
Jun 17 2020 32 mins  
Filipe Cabrerio researches how a host’s microbiome and physiology interact in the context of different conditions such as aging and metabolic syndrome while taking various medications. He shares some his lab’s research with listeners, explaining What they found when studying colorectal cancer drugs and microbial metabolism, How metformin interacts with microbial physiologies to alter metabolic syndrome, and What future studies he hopes to instigate involving the vast genetic diversity in some of these microbes, even within the same species, and medical impactions for treatment. Filipe Cabreiro holds a Sir Henry Dale Fellowship in the London Institute of Medical Sciences at the Imperial College of London. His lab works to understand how the microbiome interacts with a host’s physiology—how the microbes that one produces interact with others, especially when both are challenged by daily medications taken to deal with disease and in the conditions of aging. The lab recently made an important discovery in the context of cancer drugs: they found that classic drugs for colorectal cancer were modified by microbial metabolism that reduced or amplified the action of the drugs. Further, they found that certain components of food could change that response. He also discusses a study on metformin, a drug taken for type 2 diabetes, and its interaction with the microbiome. They found that nutrients, the host’s microbiome, and the drug interact in an important way. Metformin makes selective pressures on certain gut microbes, which translates into longer lasting change associated with positive effects. They think metformin pushes for certain conditions that allow some healthful microbes to survive and also pushes strong metabolic change. The consequences of that change is the production of molecules such as fatty acids and others that can actively regulate the host’s physiology and metabolism. He explains the nature of this interaction and the significance in more detail along with challenges to these kinds of studies, further hypotheses, and future research he hopes to take on. For more, see his lab’s web page: Available on Apple Podcasts:

Modulating Hospitals for Our Circadian Rhythm: John Hogenesch Discusses His Lab’s Research
Jun 16 2020 35 mins  
Professor John Hogenesch studies circadian rhythms and the genome. He talks about The influence of cues on our circadian rhythm and how lighting and even medication timing can affect us, Studies on hospital-specific lighting and how two new hospital wings in Cincinnati are designed accordingly, and Some unusual sleep patterns, such as Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome, and how it can affect people. Dr. John Hogenesch is Professor of Pediatrics at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in Human Genetics and Immunobiology at the University of Cincinnati Department of Pediatrics. He specializes in genome biology with a focus on the molecular mechanisms of circadian rhythms in mammals. He explains to listeners the basics of circadian rhythm as a daily rhythm of behavior and physiology that persists in the absence of external cues. He discusses how healthcare and specifically hospital design and schedules are often at odds with most patients’ rhythms. In fact, he mentions one study in which NICU patients under a cycled light schedule went home two weeks earlier than babies under constant dimmed light conditions. He discusses his hospital’s design of two new areas for NICU and PICU patients under the advisement of his lab that will integrate beds with circadian natural-light systems. He adds ways in which medication delivery and procedure timing could also be better paired with circadian rhythms and efforts to do so. Dr. Hogenesch also talks about Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS). Richard has such a sleep pattern and the two discuss how it manifests itself, as well as other sleep patterns, and how they affect those who experience them. He also addresses how cortisol’s peak has an effect as well as how external cues interfere or work with our sleep patterns. For example, he mentions our eating timing, light exposure, and light temperature and type. He discusses how the pandemic is pushing many of us to later sleep schedules and possible hypothesizes for why. Along the way he offers some suggestions for eliminating excessive blue and green light and other similar measures. For more, see his lab page at and the Society for Research in Biological Rhythms, which publishes helpful blog posts and articles. Available on Apple Podcasts:

Nutrition and Cognitive Decline with Dr. Alex Richardson
Jun 15 2020 55 mins  
Dr. Alex Richardson is an expert in nutrition and health and uses a multidisciplinary approach to epidemiology. In this podcast, she connects food health and physiology, explaining to listeners How the classic paradigm for research studies fails to take into account how our complicated physiology processes food and other factors, Why common medications for stomach acid may decrease our ability to prevent cognitive decline, and What comparing the differences between the British Victorian diet and habits with our modern lifestyle tells researchers about food health. Dr. Alex Richardson is the founding director of Food and Behavior (FAB) Research and is a Research Associate with the Department of Physiology, Anatomy, and Genetics at the University of Oxford. She has been a part of several seminal studies that involve connections between nutrition and brain health. In this podcast, she focuses specifically on the epidemiology of cognitive decline diseases and nutrition. She begins by describing the very limited approach historical studies have take thus far, commenting that the accepted model of research is incapable of taking into account how our body and nutrition work together. Specially, she identifies how the randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trials only handle one nutrient or medication at a time and tells listeners why this is so inadequate. She also entails several ways this study pattern has harmed our understanding of what medications can do and provides some recent findings of how proton pump inhibitors have a multi-pronged means of harming cognitive strength. In addition, she describes studies that show what’s actually good for us, enumerating a study on the British Victorian Era’s lifestyle and diet and resulting health and lack of disease. She then moves into a discussion about the harm in our modern-day diet and talks about how harmful sugar is, the importance of B vitamins and in what form, fatty acids, and other healthful choices and why. For more about Dr. Richardson, see her profile at Available on Apple Podcasts:

Where Immunology, Cell Biology, and Microbiology Meet—Dario Simões Zamboni—The Laboratory of Innate Immunity and Microbial Pathogenesis (Zamboni Lab)
Jun 14 2020 38 mins  
Dario Simões Zamboni is a professor in the Department of Cell Biology at the Ribeirão Preto Medical School, University of São Paulo, and he joins the show to discuss the ins and outs of his important and fascinating research. In this episode, you’ll discover: What type of cell death actually leads to an immune response capable of controlling the replication of pathogens in the body What types of parasites and bacteria are able to subvert the function of cells that are crucial to the immune response How innate immune memory works Zamboni’s research focuses on the interactions between host cells in the human body and microbial pathogens. According to Zamboni, understanding the processes that occur in relation to these interactions is key to understanding the outcome of certain diseases. When a pathogen is able to replicate in the host’s body, severe illness and even death can result, but under certain circumstances, the body can fight a pathogen and regain homeostasis. So, what dictates what will happen? This is one of the questions Zamboni spends his days investigating. Of particular interest to Zamboni are the intracellular parasites Leishmania and Trypanosoma cruzi, and the intracellular bacteria Legionella and Coxiella burnetii. These pathogens are considered virulent, which means they are adapted to subvert the function of certain cells, such as macrophages which are integral to the immune response. In the presence of these pathogens, macrophages are rendered unable to kill the pathogen or recruit other cells to kill the pathogen. Zamboni's goal is to better understand how exactly this process of modification by the pathogen works, and what exactly dictates whether the host or pathogen wins. Among other topics, Zamboni talks in detail about the process of phagocytosis, pathogenesis, innate immune memory, the many receptors we have that are ready to sense the most abundant components of bacteria, and bacterial secretion systems for modulating immune cells. Tune in and check out to learn more. Available on Apple Podcasts:

Patterns of Infectious Disease and Cancer: Syed Ahsan Raza Fights Disease through Epidemiology
Jun 13 2020 42 mins  
Epidemiologist Syed Ahsan Raza has been looking at several different epidemics and associated cancer viruses in multiple countries. He explains What an epidemiologist does and how that helps physicians treat more effectively, How he and his colleagues and have worked to eliminate neonatal tetanus and what still needs to be done, and What trends he's found in different populations for the human papillomavirus and the cancer viruses hepatitis B and C and how that will help designate resources. Syed Ahsan Raza is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and a Cancer Prevention Research Institute (CPRIT) fellow. At the outset he explains some misconceptions about epidemiology and then describes what he and fellow epidemiologists do and how their work helps medical workers fight pandemics. He says it is all about studying epidemics—not treating the diseases, but studying the spread and looking for insights and predications that people who are treating can use for more effective methods. He then describes some of his research. He started looking at neonatal tetanus in graduate school, which significantly affects infant and maternal mortality. He explains that the umbilical stump acts as a vehicle of delivery of the bacteria because of the unhygienic delivery practices in some areas. The spores that cause it are widespread so it can't be eradicated, but rather eliminated. He describes some of the measures to achieve this elimination like vaccines and even inexpensive clean birth kits. He tells listeners how much more needs to be done. He also talks about his work with cancer viruses like the human papillomavirus and hepatitis B and C, describing the population studies he's done across the globe, patterns he's identified, and how this will help medical personal target certain areas. For more about him, see his profile at Available on Apple Podcasts:

A Short and Long-Term Look at the Global Effects of COVID-19—Steve Luby, MD—Professor of Medicine and Senior Fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute
Jun 12 2020 28 mins  
Dr. Steve Luby is a communicable disease epidemiologist who joins the show to discuss his work over the years, as well as provide insight on the COVID-19 pandemic. In this episode, you will discover: How low-income countries with a high population density are being affected by COVID-19 In what ways and what countries strict lockdown measures have actually resulted in more deaths, directly and indirectly Why the COVID-19 pandemic might change the way politicians think about infectious diseases, and how it will shape the future of economic and global health Unlike many communicable disease epidemiologists, Dr. Luby spent a long time living in low-income countries including Pakistan and Bangladesh with the goal of seeing problems firsthand before trying to sort out how to address them, and identifying opportunities to make a difference. Through this experience, Dr. Luby gained unique insight into the patterns of infectious diseases and transmission in different areas of the world. He uses the current COVID-19 pandemic as an example of such patterns, explaining that the high population density in areas like Bangladesh make social distancing measures impossible, and encourage the efficiency of infectious diseases like COVID-19. The result? It’s tragic in the short term, he explains, but in the long-term it will result in fewer people in the area remaining susceptible to the virus. By virtue of the virus moving through these areas so quickly, these areas are likely to normalize a lot sooner than the US and other high-income countries where better medical infrastructure exists and social distancing measures are possible. In addition to a number of other important and interesting topics, Dr. Luby explains why it can be so problematic for governments to make ill-informed decisions out of a desire to simply “take action” amid a pandemic, and the importance of sound scientific support for political leadership worldwide. Tune in for the full conversation and learn more about Dr. Luby’s work by visiting Available on Apple Podcasts:

Cancer Epidemiology: Amanda Phipps Discusses Looking for Patterns in Cancer
Jun 12 2020 25 mins  
While many think of epidemiology as indicative of infectious disease, it actually designates the study of patterns of disease. Amanda Phipps explains this and her research into colorectal cancer. She discusses How a cancer epidemiologist begins to approach colorectal cancer, What types of samples they are able to find and what types of patterns they are looking for, and How microbiomes factor into their studies and what may be significant. Amanda Phipps is Associate Professor of Epidemiology and the Associate Chair of Epidemiology at the University of Washington. She explains that cancer epidemiology entails asking what puts some people at risk, why do some people develop certain kinds of cancer like breast cancer while others don't develop any or develop different kinds. Further, among those who do develop cancer, what predicts a good prognoses versus bad? She remarks that researchers try and get very specific about their subsets of study. Even with the same type of cancer like breast or colorectal cancer, each cancer is very different. There are different sets of genetic changes, risk factors, and courses of treatment. She discusses her research into colorectal cancer and the effort to gather as much data about their subjects as possible to identify certain patterns. She is also looking at the microbiomes from the tissue samples of these patients, comparing cancerous and noncancerous tissues. She explains their methodology and tests they perform, including the DDR PCR test, as well as a bacterium they've identified that seems to show a significant pattern in relation to colorectal cancer. She also touches on some other studies and future interests including immunotherapy responses and investigating associations between sleep apnea and certain cancers. To find out more, see her faculty web page: Available on Apple Podcasts:

Gerontologist Berenice Benayoun Reconfigures How We Study Aging
Jun 11 2020 42 mins  
Professor Benayoun grew interested in studying aging and becoming a gerontologist as an undergraduate working with a key study. Now an assistant professor of gerontology, she explains her current work to listeners. When you listen, you'll hear her talk about Why it is important that the FDA has not categorized aging as a disease, What transposons have to do with epigenetics, aging, and our immune system, and How differently the sexes respond to the aging process and why that should be centered more in most research. Berenice A. Benayoun is Assistant Professor of Gerontology at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. She tells listeners about how she became interested in the field and why it asks such complicated and engaging questions applicable to us all. She gives some background first on how scientists had to reframe their view on aging after a seminal study by biologist Cynthia Kenyon that found a mutation in a roundworm doubled its life. Benayoun explains that previously aging was thought only in terms of decay, but Kenyon's finding changed this view. Benayoun started her own lab at USC about three years ago. She's researching two main concepts, which she explains in more detail: first, her lab is looking at sex differences on aging. She says that some aging interventions have completely different effects on eah sex. Further, the majority of past studies have steered toward male subjects. Her lab is also looking at transposons, which are endogenous viruses in our genomes, and how they regulate aging. People had thought of them as part of junk DNA in the past, but because they become active when we age, they are likely significant. She explains other elements of aging that involve epigenetics, methods that show promise for delaying aging such as modulating the insulin cell-signaling pathway, and future steps in her field. For more see her lab page at and find her on twitter as @BBParis1984. Available on Apple Podcasts:

Immunity Gone Viral—Kate Jeffrey, PhD—Jeffrey Lab, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School
Jun 11 2020 33 mins  
Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Immunology Faculty Member of the Department of Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, Dr. Kate Jeffrey, joins the show to discuss her work in the field of virology and immunology. In this episode, you will learn: How the gut virome of healthy individuals differs from the gut virome of individuals with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) What the difference is between a symbiont and pathobiont, and how the former can become damaging What genes are triggered by viruses coming from healthy versus unhealthy individuals What complex immune disease are on the rise, and how they are a combination of environmental triggers and genetic susceptibility Microorganisms: trillions of them live in or on us, many of which we need just as much as they need us. But how exactly do they shape and educate our immune systems? And how might the answer differ if we were asking about viruses instead of microbes? These are just a couple of the questions that Dr. Jeffrey explores in her work, along with a close look at the influence of epigenetics on the function of our immune cells. In her lab, a brand-new field of study is under the spotlight: the virome. Dr. Jeffrey says that of the trillions of viruses on earth, we can only identify about 6,000. Although we certainly don’t know the extent to which it occurs, we do know that there is evidence that viruses have an impact on the function of immune cells. Dr. Jeffrey explains the process of studying this, which involves extracting viruses from resected sections of inflamed colons from patients with IBD, and testing those viruses in the lab to see how they interact with immune cells such as macrophages, which act as the first line of defense in the immune system. Through this research, they have found that viruses from a healthy gut essentially lead macrophages to be in an anti-inflammatory state, which means all the genes that define a macrophage as being anti-inflammatory are triggered by a virus coming from a healthy gut. To the contrary, viruses from an IBD individual trigger all of the classic inflammatory genes. Dr. Jeffrey expounds on a number of other fascinating topics, so tune in and check out to learn more. Available on Apple Podcasts:

A Resistance Millions of Years in the Making—Jake Scott, MD—Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine and Infectious Diseases at Stanford University
Jun 10 2020 30 mins  
As a clinical assistant professor of medicine and infectious diseases at Stanford University, Dr. Jake Scott spends his days diagnosing and treating a variety of infectious diseases. He joins the show to discuss the details of this interesting work. Tune in to discover: What was discovered by sequencing the microbiome of the Yanomami, a group of indigenous people who live in the Amazon rainforest, in relative isolation and without exposure to antibiotics Why it is not profitable to develop new, effective, potentially life-saving antibiotics, and how this is hindering companies that have done just that How organisms are so effective at developing resistance to antibiotics When Dr. Scott tells people what he does for a living, most people think his work pertains only to exotic, rare contagious diseases, such as Ebola or COVID-19. In reality, he also deals with very common infections, such as urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and appendicitis. He also focuses on the diagnosis and management of patients with HIV. In light of the increasing and deadly threat of multidrug-resistant bacteria, one of the most important aspects of his job has to do with “antimicrobial stewardship,” which is to protect the antibiotics we currently have by prescribing them as carefully as possible. This means prescribing the right dose of the right type of antibiotic for the right duration. Accomplishing this relies upon the ability to quickly identify the specific pathogen at hand using advanced technology. Dr. Scott explains new types of antibiotics that could hold promise in the fight against drug resistance, and the major challenge in getting these drugs to market and keeping them there. He stresses the importance of raising more awareness about drug resistance and incentivizing companies and research institutions to focus on the development of novel and effective antimicrobial drugs. He also reminds us that the organisms we’re trying to fight with antibiotics have been ready to be resistant for millions of years; the mechanism of resistance is quite literally built into these organisms, and they outweigh us by a billion-fold or more. If nothing else, this fact should compel us to do more. Available on Apple podcast:

Our Microbiome, Cancer, and Infectious Diseases: Microbiologist Samuel Minot Runs the Numbers
Jun 09 2020 30 mins  
A microbiologist by training, Sam Minot now works as a computational biologist helping other scientists understand the data between of human microbiome and health connections. In this podcast, he explains Why the complexity of bacteria and viruses is important in how scientists might approach infectious viruses and infectious diseases, Why is it difficult to culture "all" bacteria and what that means for microbiome study approaches, and How approaches that prioritize gene-level impact on human health can lead to microbiome-based therapeutics for diseases like cancer. Samuel Minot is a Staff Scientist with the Microbiome Research Initiative in the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division of the Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center. He begins this conversation with a foundational question in microbiology: how do the microbes on us impact our health? He then discusses the complexity of the interaction of bacteria and the viruses that infect them, also called phages. He offers examples of new discoveries constantly upending our picture of what viruses and bacteria can do and ways infectious viruses impact some bacteria and cause disease. As an example, he discusses cholera, which is harmful because of a satellite virus that infects a bacterium: the two together make the disease. He then lays the ground for why it is important to prioritize a gene-level study of our microbiome by describing the impossibility of culturing every bacterium. He describes what functional annotation is and how that concept allows him to identify genes that affect human health and work to understand data at this level. He talks about the big impacts in his field, namely newer findings on how the microbiome influences the treatment of cancer. Studies show that the kinds of microbes in our gut relate to our immune response's handling of different treatments to fight the cancer. In other words, the immune system is poised to respond to cancer treatment based on the microbiome. This is leading to hopeful microbiome-based therapeutic treatments for cancer. For more, see and Sam Minot's blog at Available on Apple podcast:

A Social and Ethical Analysis of Alzheimer’s—Emily Largent, PhD, JD, RN—Emanuel & Robert Hart Assistant Professor of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Perelman School of Medicine
Jun 09 2020 21 mins  
As an assistant professor at Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Emily Largent focuses primarily on research ethics and issues surrounding Alzheimer’s disease. In this episode, you will discover: How the detection of certain biomarkers can determine whether a person is at a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease What three primary attitudes/outlooks on the future emerged from a group of people who learned that their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease is elevated Whether she thinks the US will reach its goal of finding a disease-modifying therapy for Alzheimer’s disease by 2025 Over 5.5 million Americans have dementia, and there is still no disease-modifying therapy and no way to reverse or slow the progression of the disease. It is one of the most feared conditions of old age because it affects people’s personal identity, sense of self, and personal relationships in a way no other disease can. Largent discusses the key premise of her research, which is that our understanding of Alzheimer’s disease is changing in ways that will have a fundamental impact on the lived experiences of those who receive the diagnosis, as well as their family members. Largent is interested in exploring the social, legal, and ethical implications of Alzheimer’s disease research and how to translate this research into high-quality bedside care. In addition, she is interested in better understanding how people receive the news that they are (or are not) at a greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease in the future. She expounds on the details of a particular study which aimed to identify the emotional impact of receiving this type of news, and shares some interesting findings. She also discusses the ways in which people respond practically to receiving such news, and explores how it might affect the relationships they have with other people. Tune in to hear the full conversation. To learn more, visit,, and Available on Apple podcast:

The One-Size-Fits-You Approach to the One-Size-Fits-None Problem—John Bojanowski and Brian Fligor—Lantos Technologies
Jun 08 2020 30 mins  
CEO of Lantos Technologies John Bojanowski, and Chief Audiology Officer at Lantos Technologies Dr. Brian Fligor, join the podcast to discuss 3D ear scanning. In this episode, you will learn: How it is that ear prints could be used as biomarkers, and whether your left ear may be surprisingly different than your right (or vice versa) What the status quo custom ear technology was up until Lantos Technologies entered the market How sounds might be separated in the ear canal of an individual to enhance that individual’s hearing experience Lantos Technologies is a company that spun out of MIT about 10 years ago with the goal of improving the standard of care for creating custom-fit devices for the ear. Up until that point, the technology being used was quite literally about 130 years old. Despite encountering unexpected complications in the creation of digital technology for the ear, the technology at Lantos was brought to market and commercialized in 2019. The old technology for custom-fit ear devices relied on making ear molds, which quite literally required pouring a substance into the ear of the customer and waiting until it dried. This was not only inefficient and ineffective, but uncomfortable for the client. At Lantos Technologies, custom-fit devices are made based on a simple 60 to 90-second 3D scan of the ear, which is then uploaded via the cloud and sent to the manufacturer. This allows for personalized solutions for a range of products, including hearing aids, hearing protection, professional audio, and consumer audio. Bojanowski and Fligor discuss the uniqueness of ears—in fact, they even say that an ear print could serve as an excellent biomarker for individual identification. They’ve scanned over 18,000 ears and have yet to find any two alike—including the left and right ears on one individual. That’s right, your right and left ear are not symmetrical, but don't worry, Lantos accounts for this. Among other topics, Bojanowski and Fligor discuss the anatomy of the ear and how it relates to the creation of their technology, some of the most in-demand and interesting applications of their technology, and so much more. Tune in, and visit Available on Apple podcast:

Detecting Danger – Kimothy Smith, DVM, PhD, VP of Pathogen Detection Systems at Nephros, Inc. – The Technology Behind Testing—Searching for Bacteria and Pathogen Growth
Jun 07 2020 33 mins  
Kimothy Smith, DVM, PhD, VP of Pathogen Detection Systems at Nephros, Inc, discusses water-borne diseases, water filters, and more. Dr. Smith earned a BS in biochemistry and earned his Doctorate in veterinary medicine from Oklahoma State University. He holds a PhD in molecular epidemiology from Louisiana State University. Podcast Points: Pathogen detection explained—an overview What environments are ideal for bacteria to grow? What could be lurking in your plumbing, and how to detect it? Dr. Smith talks about the core technology of Nephros, and how they got their start in filtration systems that provide barriers to many water-borne pathogens, such as Legionella, and others. He goes on to explain some of the newer technologies developed by the company and his personal role in their pathogen-detection systems—to help with mitigation, and to clear potential problems. He explains that certain plumbing and pipes, and the age of buildings, etc., can contribute to bacteria and pathogen growth. Dr. Smith gives an overview of just how important it is for workers to take care and exercise caution when opening up plumbing systems, because there is always an opportunity for bacteria to find a way in, and potentially multiply. Continuing, the pathogen expert discusses heavy metals, and environments that are ideal for bacteria and pathogenic growth. Expanding on his thoughts and knowledge, Dr. Smith discusses the specifics of buildings, and pathogen entry potential. He explains the importance of testing, and mitigation practices—from chemical to thermal treatments, as well as filtration. Dr. Smith goes on to explain seasonal changes and weather/flooding events that could also play a role in bacteria growth and the risks to human health.

Solving the Genetic Puzzle – Shawn Patrick O’Brien, Chief Executive Officer of Genomind – Improving Mental Health Treatment Through Genetic Testing
Jun 06 2020 23 mins  
Shawn Patrick O’Brien, chief executive officer of Genomind (, discusses anxiety, mental health, and genetic connections. Before his work began at Genomind, O’Brien founded Key BioPharma Partners, LLC, a private consulting firm focused on biopharma, and he served as president and CEO of multiple influential pharmaceutical and bioscience companies. Podcast Points: How can genetic testing help improve drug treatment outcomes for mental health patients? How many people suffer from mental health issues over their lifetime? Do some drugs work better than others for a particular patient? O’Brien discusses the background of Genomind, and why the company was created. He talks about the company’s founder, Dr. Ronald Dozoretz, MD, who sadly passed away recently due to Covid-19. Dr. Dozoretz’s career as a psychiatrist focused on building mental health centers, working to improve patient outcomes, and decrease costs. O’Brien states that according to the CDC, by the end of the decade, depression will be the largest healthcare cost. Genomind seeks to bring real solutions to mental health care. As O’Brien explains, as many as 50% of the total population will need mental health services at some point in their lives. Genomind has developed a system of testing that can eliminate the trial and error of care, by providing genetic testing of 24 different genes which can elucidate which drugs are suitable for the individual and which will be ineffective, how they will metabolize a type of drug, and how that drug will be distributed throughout their body, etc. This valuable information can assist health care practitioners to prescribe medications that will work for their patients, and eliminate the long journey of trial and error that many patients go through en route to finding a successful path to treatment through medication. The Genomind CEO talks about the ways they have adapted their company’s models to facilitate the current Covid-19 period. He discusses particular drugs and drug profiles, detailing therapy and treatment. O’Brien explains that many patients may be currently taking drugs that will simply never work for them, but genetic testing will help correct this. Wrapping up, O’Brien provides an overview of new emerging data in his field, and how drugs are incorporated with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), etc., and he talks about his personal story with his son that motivated him to work with Genomind helping others improve their lives.

Virus Diversity Dependent on Host: Marilyn Roossinck Discusses Her Research
Jun 05 2020 30 mins  
Professor and virologist Marilyn J. Roossinck describes her work and interesting elements of virus behavior. She tells listeners Why plant viruses became the focus of her research, What she’s learned about the host impact on virus diversity, and How her work on persistent plant viruses has changed how she conceives of the larger virus community. Marilyn J. Roossinck, Ph.D. is a professor in plant pathology and environmental microbiology and biology. She’s at the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics at the Huck Institute of Life Sciences at Pennsylvania State University. She describes for listeners how she first became interested in the field of virology and where that interest took her. Because viruses evolve rapidly, they can be a helpful vehicle for observing evolutionary processes. One of her early studies involved watching virus mutations of RNA viruses, noting the diversity of their populations. She then describes the work she’s done with the cucumber mosaic virus. Because the virus infects about 1,200 different species, they could compare virus evolution by starting with clones of the cucumber mosaic virus and see how the exact same virus progressed differently among host plants. Contrary to general thought, they found the virus behavior and diversity was dependent on the host plant. She discusses some other studies including on a virus that has coevolved with the jalapeno and other pepper plants and what that plant virus accomplishes for that plant. She also talks about her work on a virus found in fungi that inhabit geothermal soil and viruses in Costa Rican plants. She explains how this work has caused her to think of viruses differently, as beneficial for the most part. In fact, she says pathogenic viruses are actually quite rare. For more about her work, see

Bones that Speak: Rita Austin Uncovers Ancient Medical Histories and Pathogens
Jun 05 2020 33 mins  
Rita Austin looks at human remains from all over the world to try and understand past human experiences and disease processes, particularly for tuberculosis and syphilis. In this podcast, she shares with listeners The interdisciplinary methods of molecular, morphological, and archival studies that inform her work; The history of tuberculosis and syphilis as pathogens; and The stories we can gather from bone lesions, DNA ancestry, and teeth calculus. Dr. Rita Austin is a Predoctoral Research Fellow at the Smithsonian Institution, Museum of Natural History, where she works to evaluate their human biological anthropology collections to better inform destructive sampling decisions made by the museum. She recently obtained her PhD from the University of Oklahoma. She talks about her work in this podcast, explaining the way researchers use methods like DNA ancestry, skeletal studies, and teeth calculus to reconstruct the impact of pathogens in the near and distant past. Her studies have focused specifically on tuberculosis and syphilis and she explains that TB is ancient—we have been evolving with it for millennia. Syphilis on the other hand is much more recent and was first documented in the 1400s; however, there are subspecies that are more ancient and non-venereal. She adds that these diseases still exist today and explains how TB invades the body in more detail. Her work helps scientists better understand these pathogens in the past and how they have changed over time: a better understanding can help us target them now and be prepared for how they may continue to evolve. She also explains one of her overarching interests, namely how cultural practices inform and affect health care. She adds some examples and reminders listeners that one’s socioeconomic status affected one’s health. People were touched by the plague, for example, due to different socioeconomic situations. She comments that being able to protect one’s self from sickness is a privilege. Finally, she shares some interesting examples of how researchers have reconstructed end-of-life circumstances by looking at human remains, including a story about what some nun’s teeth told about the ink they used. To find out more about her work, see the University of Oklahoma’s Laboratories of Molecular Anthropology and Microbiome Research page at

Causal Inference and Confounding Factors in Public Health and Clinical Medicine--Jessica Young, PhD--Assistant Professor, Department of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School & Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute
Jun 04 2020 29 mins  
Jessica Young, PhD is a biostatistician in the Department of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School who joins the show to discuss the ins and outs of her interesting and important work. Tune in to learn the following: How confounding factors in a study can influence the findings of the study, and how/why the gold standard of randomized trials can address this What is meant by the “fundamental challenge of causal inference” and how this explains why assumptions are always necessary in order to claim that a statistical analysis is unbiased Why large subject numbers or data points can’t overwhelm biases; why bias is a function of the thing being studied Dr. Young’s job is two-fold: she works on both the applications of statistical methods for public health and clinical medicine, and also on the development of methods in these areas. She focuses on causal inference, which is the formal process of understanding how to estimate causal effect from data collected in real-world studies. Through examples including a longitudinal study on nurses starting in the 1970s to present day studies revolving around the coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Young discusses confounding factors in studies and the effect they have on interpretations of findings, the importance of randomization, the presence of bias regardless of how statistically significant a finding is, meta-analyses, where she sees the field of biostatistics heading in the near future, and more. To learn about the basics of causal inference, Dr. Young recommends reading The Book of Why: The New Science of Cause and Effect. Visit to learn more about her work and publications.

Immunology and COVID-19: Michael Betts Explains Immune Cell Responses to COVID_19 and Others
Jun 04 2020 46 mins  
Michael Betts and his lab have focused on recoverable viruses like influenza and those that never leave human bodies like HIV. He explains different mechanisms of responses as well as what’s been unusual about our immune system and COVID-19. He describes How initial human immune system responses are similar across viruses, How our bodies are able to clear some viruses and not others and examples of each, and What unusual and specific immune cell activities they’ve observed thus far with COVID-19. Michael Betts is a professor of microbiology at the Penn Institute for Immunology. His lab studies human-specific responses to viruses. He begins by explaining the immune system in general from a microbiologist perspective. He comments that our initial response to most viruses of lethargy and fever is pretty similar. This is an active phase to eliminate the virus if possible. He adds that with viruses like HIV, your body is not able to eliminate the virus. He explains in what ways the virus replication is always a step ahead and how its high replication rate is an advantage for the virus. He provides other examples, like the ability of CMV to encode an MHC complex decoy to evade detection by the CD8+ T cells. He also describes what the field of immunology has observed with COVID-19 and describes his lab work specifically. He says that the initial response is not different from other infections, but the continuing outcomes and manifestations of those outcomes run the gamut. They’ve focused on reactions of T-cells and the innate immune system, which is mediated by several types of cells like monocytes. They are noticing that severe COVID-19 has an impact on the innate lymphocyte population. They are seeing very dramatic changes in cell surface protein expression and in the population of cells called neutrophils, namely an extreme elevation of these in the blood. The cell surface protein effect is most pronounced in people with severe disease, not mild or moderate, which means it may help gauge reactions and treatments. To learn more, see his lab’s website,, or look him up and contact him. His Twitter account is @BettsLab.

Antimicrobial Developments: the Way Forward with Dr. John H. Rex, MD.
Jun 03 2020 42 mins  
Dr. John H. Rex, MD, has worked in the antimicrobial resistance (AMR) field his entire career. In this podcast, he explains key elements in antimicrobial drug development. He describes The developmental challenges for antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral drugs; How we need to reframe antibacterial drugs as akin to fire extinguishers and why; and What a fungus and a human have in common and what that means when trying to develop fungal infection treatments. Dr. Rex has several roles, including Chief Medical Officer of F2G, Ltd, which is an antifungal biotech company; Operating Partner for Advent Life Sciences; and Adjunct Professor of Medicine at McGovern Medical School. He began his career as an academic medic focusing on new drugs for fungal infections. He then became head of Anti-Infection Development at AstraZeneca for several years before leaving to take on freelance roles and his work at F2G, Ltd. He explains the difficulty of drug development for fighting bacteria by describing the three challenges of antibiotic development: antibiotics are hard to discover, hard to develop, and nobody pays for them. He offers an analogy to explain these challenges: antibiotics are the fire extinguishers of medicine. We need to be willing to pay for their very existence though we may not use them. He describes the push and pull maneuvers in the drug development industry and what must happen for both efforts. He also tells listeners about the nature of bacteria, fungi, and viruses, and how their different functions mean different efficacies and ease of drug developments to treat resulting infections. A fungus and bacterium, for example, though challenging, don’t equal what developers face when trying to fight a virus. Therefore, while the development of drugs for a fungal infection are difficult as are the outlooks for new antibiotics, viral infections present the greatest challenge. Yet, he says, the path forward is not bleak, just tough. For more, sign up for his newsletter and see his blog at his website:

What Does Quantum Mechanics Have to Tell Us About the World?—A Conversation with the Writer and Producer of The End of Quantum Reality
Jun 03 2020 44 mins  
Rick DeLano Bio: Rick DeLano has worked as an executive producer, and financial consultant in the music and film industries for more than 20 years. A writer and filmmaker, DeLano is best known for producing the controversial movie, THE PRINCIPLE, an endeavor that has rocked the scientific establishment by using its own discoveries to prove that the Earth is centrally located in the universe and sits in a favored position. His newest production is the film, THE END OF QUANTUM REALITY, a work based on the discoveries of former MIT mathematics professor, Dr. Wolfgang Smith. The movie details how it is that Dr. Smith has solved the legendary “quantum enigma” - the paradox whereby Schrodinger's cat is both alive and dead or one particle can be at two places at once, something that Albert Einstein futilely spent the last 30 years of his life trying to understand. THE END OF QUANTUM REALITY, releases to theaters on January 10, 2020. Writer and producer of the film The End of Quantum Reality, Rick DeLano, discusses a number of fascinating topics, including the following: The fundamental difference between Newtonian mechanics and quantum mechanics, and why it’s so important What the many-worlds interpretation is and what quantum mechanics has to say about it How an Aristotelian theory may have answered a critical question in quantum mechanics When Rick DeLano set out to write the independent film The Principle, which deals with matters in cosmology, he didn’t know that it would ultimately be the key to not only a great friendship with Wolfgang Smith, but also all of the intriguing and compelling information required for what would become his second film, The End of Quantum Reality, in which the genius Wolfgang Smith—who entered Cornell University at age 14 and was teaching mathematics at MIT by age 25—examines quantum theory. DeLano discusses what he says is perhaps the most widespread belief among humanity today, which is that the world is composed of fundamental particles—what many people call atoms. However, it might not be that simple. How so? DeLano tackles this question by exploring the inconsistencies between Newtonian mechanics and quantum mechanics, the clouds of probability associated with atoms which disallow us from identifying where or how fast or what direction a particle is moving at any particular time...that is, until the very moment that particle is measured, Wolfgang's criticism of Heisenberg’s equation, and the profound and fundamental difference between the pre-measured and post-measured system of a particle. He also explains the many-worlds interpretation (MWI), the Boltzmann constant, what Wolfgang means when he refers to the “physical universe” and in what ways it is a very different place than the world we live in, Heisenberg’s take on Aristotle’s notion of potentia and how it might help solve the problem of wave-particle duality, what he sees in the near future of particle physics, and so much more. To watch The End Of Quantum Reality, visit

How a Fungal Infection Could Be Driving Your Allergy—David Corry, MD—Baylor College of Medicine: Immunology, Allergy, and Rheumatology
Jun 02 2020 40 mins  
Dr. Corry's Bio: David B. Corry is Professor of Pathology & Immunology and Medicine; Vice Chair for Immunology, Department of Pathology & Immunology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Dr. Corry further holds the Fulbright Endowed Chair in Pathology. He received his M.D. degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School and after residency training in Internal Medicine at Duke University Medical Center, he completed his clinical training in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of California at San Francisco. In 1992, he joined the immunology laboratory of Dr. Richard Locksley to study mechanisms of T cell differentiation and immune injury. He then joined the faculty at San Francisco General Hospital as Adjunct Assistant Professor and in 1999 joined the faculty at Baylor College of Medicine. The primary objectives of Dr. Corry’s research are to discover the fundamental immune and environmental causes of chronic human inflammatory diseases to improve the diagnosis, prognosis, and therapy of these often profoundly disabling conditions. Dr. Corry’s laboratory discovered the seminal importance of the of the IL-4/IL-13 signaling pathway in asthma; the fundamental role that environmental and endogenous proteinases play in the pathogenesis of TH2-dependent allergic inflammation; the fibrinogen-Toll like receptor 4 interaction in the control of antifungal immunity and allergic inflammation; and the fungal infectious basis of allergic airway disease of humans, including chronic rhinosinusitis and asthma. In collaboration with Dr. Farrah Kheradmand, the Corry laboratory discovered the critical role that matrix metalloproteinases play in orchestrating allergic inflammation; first demonstrated the autoimmune TH1/TH17 basis of human emphysema; the critical roles that peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma (PPAR-g) and osteopontin play in emphysema; and that the primary disease-causing factor in tobacco smoke-related emphysema is nanoparticulate carbon black. Dr. Corry’s laboratory further pioneered the study of microRNAs (miRs) in pulmonary disease and discovered the pro-inflammatory role of let-7 miRs in experimental asthma and the critical role that miR-22 and histone deacetylase 4 (HDAC4) play in organizing pathologic TH17 responses in experimental emphysema. Most recently, Dr. Corry’s laboratory has discovered that low-grade fungal sepsis due to the yeast Candida albicans produces a durable cerebritis with features resembling Alzheimer’s Disease. Current research in the Corry laboratory is directed at translating these discoveries into improved diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for human allergic, smoking-related, and degenerative central nervous system diseases. Dr. David Corry is a physician and professor at Baylor College of Medicine who joins the show to discuss allergies, fungal infections, immunology, and so much more. In this episode, you will discover: What the most common reason is for death in people who suffer from asthma How a fungal infection could actually be the underlying cause of your allergic reaction to allergens in the environment Where in the body mycobiomes can be found, and what type of conditions they have been linked to Ever since the early days of his training as a physician, Dr. David Corry gravitated toward a strong clinical interest in diseases of the lungs, and discovered one of the major problems facing pulmonologists today: textbook and even the most advanced treatments don’t always work on some of the most common illnesses, including chronic sinusitis and asthma. Further, the more severe the disease, the less likely it is that treatment will work. This sparked Dr. Corry’s interest and compelled him to examine what is really going on with these conditions and how diagnoses and treatments for them might be improved. Dr. Corry’s clinic focuses on treating advanced, potentially life-threatening inflammatory airway diseases, as well as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or emphysema that are complicated by sensitization to pollens or molds, which in turn leads to a particular pattern of inflammation called eosinophilic bronchitis. By using techniques that have been developed over the course of ten years’ worth of research using mouse models, Dr. Corry and his team have been targeting the core problem that underlies these different conditions. What might that problem be? This question leads him to explain one of the most important discoveries uncovered through his research, which is that in addition to continual exposure to an allergen such as pollen or cedar or mold, there is a factor that drives these allergies: airway mycosis, or the growth of mold in the airway. Dr. Corry explains what is really meant by the broad term “allergies” and the many different forms it can take in different people, how airway mycosis not only worsens but can also cause the symptoms of allergies, and how he treats his patients having been equipped with this knowledge. He also discusses the difficulty in prescribing antifungal medication, the presence of mycobiomes in the human body, and some of the most common sources of mold growth that you might not think of (and what to do about them). He shares the specifics of the research he and his team are currently conducting, which aims to determine why only a small percentage of people develop serious disorders related to airway mycosis. He explains his two-fold hypothesis and when they expect to have sufficient data on the matter. Tune in for all the details and visit to learn more.

More than Water: the Keys to Hydration with Dr. Dana Cohen
Jun 01 2020 36 mins  
Integrative medical doctor Dana Cohen talks about the importance of hydration as well as some surprising nuances as discussed in her book Quench, which she coauthored with Gina Bria. She describes for listeners Why the ubiquitous eight-glasses-a-day is not an effective guideline and why; The ties between energy levels, brain sharpness, and hydration; and Some basic daily steps toward better hydration. Dr. Dana Cohan is a nationally-renowned integrative medical doctor with a multidisciplinary approach to her practice. She trained under Dr. Atkins and has been practicing for more than twenty years. She begins the podcast by recounting how few of her patients come in to her office feeling as if they hydrate enough. She feels that proper hydration is the single most important thing one can do to treat and prevent chronic illness. This along with Dr. Gerald Pollock's findings of a "fourth phase of water," were the impetus behind writing the book. She describes some of the ways just focusing on drinking lots of water leaves an individual behind in hydration, and believes many of us function in a place of low-grade dehydration. She says that one of first signs to look for is fatigue because hydration is a source of energy in the body. Hydration provides electrical energy and helps us store our energy better. But if we only focus on water, we can dilute our electrolytes and minerals. She explains ways to avoid this, including a daily regime that includes front-loading our water intake first thing as well as filling ourselves with water from foods like vegetables and fruit. She gets into more detail about what this looks like and other handy ways to hydrate, including certain movements. For more, her book Quench is available from multiple retailers.

Infectious Diseases Expert Dr. James Shepherd Offers Global Perspective
May 31 2020 27 mins  
Dr. Shepherd has worked in key areas like Botswana to address infectious diseases. He shares with listeners How HIV and TB are still tremendous problems in many parts of the world, Why the covid-19 shutdown has frozen many global treatment centers for infectious diseases like HIV and tuberculosis, and How tuberculosis stands as the top infectious disease killer in the world. Dr. James Shepherd is an infectious disease physician at Yale, New Haven hospital. For the past 20 years, he has advised and worked in TB and HIV global treatment programs. For example, he worked in Nigeria to roll out HIV treatment programs through the US-funded President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. He also ran the CDC's TB and HIV research program in Botswana to address HIV symptoms and curtail TB spread, which has one of the most severe TB and HIV co-epidemics in the world, and worked with the CDC WHO contingent in India, advising on their national TB program. He describes his work with governments and health issues in smaller countries, which have a lot more challenges. He comments that one has to get creative, adapt, and work around issues and prioritize because there isn't the luxury of picking and choosing. He adds that there's a lot of pragmatism: these parts of the world are limited by funds so they have to make very hard choices for their people. He also tells listeners about the covid-19 shutdown's effects on some of these programs, how the lack of PPE, resources, and the "cold chain" supply of vaccines and medicines are no longer reaching places like Botswana. He adds how they handled the covid-19 precautions very well from the start and have very limited cases, but are suffering from this lack of other needs met. Therefore, Dr. Shepherd expresses his concern for the near future of TB and HIV symptoms relief, prevention, and treatments as well as the lack of vaccines like measles. For more information on infectious diseases from a global perspective, he suggests seeing web pages from philanthropic organizations like the global health section of the Gates Foundation and the UK's Wellcome Foundation.

Ocean Overview – Dr. Mya Breitbart, Professor of Biological Oceanography at the University of South Florida – Marine Microbes, Bacteria, Viruses, and the Diversity of Life in our Oceans
May 30 2020 32 mins  
Dr. Mya Breitbart, Professor of Biological Oceanography at the University of South Florida, College of Marine Science, discusses marine microbes—microbes in the ocean, wastewater treatment, viruses, and her lab’s current and past work. Breitbart earned her PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology at San Diego State University and a BS in Biological Sciences from Florida Institute of Technology. Podcast Points: An overview of bacteria and viruses How oceanographers take water samples for their research Methods for analyzing DNA viruses Dr. Breitbart discusses her lab’s focus and objectives. As she explains, they use sequencing techniques to explore the diversity of viruses and bacteria. Specifically, Dr. Breitbart’s lab’s molecular techniques can be utilized to study the distribution, and ecological roles, of viruses and bacteria in a diverse range of varied environments. Her studies cover seawater, plants, animals, insects, coral reefs, zooplankton, stromatolites, reclaimed water, and more. While there is certainly a lot of interest in the larger species, etc. that inhabit our oceans, Dr. Breitbart and her team are keenly interested in the smaller things. As she explains, in every milliliter of sea water there are about one million bacteria and ten million viruses, so there’s a lot to examine and study. She discusses bacteria and viruses’ important roles in the carbon and nutrient cycles in the oceans, and explains that there is so much more to learn still, on top of what they already know. Dr. Breitbart discusses how bacteria adapt to different habitats. And she provides an overview of sampling procedures that oceanographers utilize, discussing the processes in detail. She explains how they can get specific with depths, capturing water samples at precisely the depth they want to study. She explains why viruses are harder to look at, one reason being is that they have such different types of genomes. And she expands upon how they can look at viruses in regard to pollution in the marine environment. Continuing, Dr. Breitbart discusses how their studies can provide insight into diseases that affect sea animals as well. And in regard to sequencing, she talks about single-stranded DNA viruses versus double-stranded, and the methods they’ve used to discover similarities and differences.

The Skinny on Skin – John M. Newsam, Author, and CEO of Tioga Research – Research and Development of Formulations for the Skin
May 29 2020 34 mins  
John M. Newsam, author, and CEO of Tioga Research, discusses skin in general, care for skin, and his work at Tioga Research. Podcast Points: An overview of transdermal drug delivery Active versus inactive ingredients Do enzymes break down proteins? — a focus on skin and products for the skin Newsam has provided his expertise in scientific and strategic consulting to multiple US Fortune500 companies, as well as early-phase biotech and materials companies around the globe, including the US, UK, and Korea. He has worked with notable government institutions such as IFP Energies Nouvelles, and he has been a respected member of many academic advisory committees. Newsam provides an overview of Tioga Research, their objectives in research, and overall mission. As he states, they are heavily involved in research and early development of formulations applied to the skin, including pharmaceutical (primary) as well as the beauty/skin care area as well. Newsam explains how ‘active’ ingredients are diffused into the skin in order to achieve the desired therapeutic benefit, and he talks about transdermal delivery of drugs, and why this method can be particularly useful. The research CEO provides an overview of active and inactive ingredients, and FDA-approved products. As he states, cocktails of molecules tend to work best for delivering the benefits to users. Newsam explains how they have worked to assemble a long list of safe compounds and mixtures, and databases of useful excipients (inactive substances). Continuing, Newsam delivers an overview of what manufacturers can claim regarding their products and the benefits they may provide. As he states, in theory, any claim of benefit should be supported by a scientific study, but the cosmetic industry is so large, with so many products on the market, it can be difficult to police every product that exists. Additionally, Newsam talks about other drugs, permeability, and how enzymes can degrade proteins. Newsam is a materials chemist by training, and he has authored in excess of 170 scientific publications. Visit these links to find out more about John M. Newsam:

Cutting Edge Mouse Models Help Fight HIV: Moses T. Bility Discusses His Research
May 28 2020 32 mins  
Dr. Bility works with humanized mouse models to investigate infectious viruses like HIV. He explains his microbiology work by sharing with listeners The inspirational background for recapitulating human disease study with a new paradigm, How these humanized mouse models with human organ systems and immune systems are developed, and Their recent ability to control HIV in these mouse models that may enable vaccine development. Moses T. Bility, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology at the School of Public Health and the University of Pittsburgh. In this conversation he explains how Stephen Hawking's theory of model-dependent realism inspired his approach to studying infectious viruses. In an effort to rethink the paradigm that can explain and predict human disease in a more effective way, he works with rodent models that are humanized. He explains the technique for introducing human organ systems in mice, including the liver, hypothalamus, kidney capsule, skin, and the whole immune system. This realigns how a microbiology lab can analyze infectious viruses, from HIV to Covid-19. Dr. Bility describes his current investigation, namely in HIV interaction with macrophages and iron. Macrophages are multifunctional cells that play a role in maintaining tissue integrity and initiating an immune response. He describes how they developed a humanized mouse model with a human spleen and studied the model to see what allows the HIV virus to persist and how they could affect the virus. They had an exciting outcome, namely that they were able to control HIV in their mouse model. They now will do some machine learning and other studies to see how they can design a vaccine around their findings in terms of controlling the virus. For more, see his faculty page at

Investigating the Human Virome with Frederic Bushman
May 27 2020 36 mins  
Professor Bushman has been studying microbes since the early 80s and was involved in researching HIV pathogenesis, developing in vitro HIV integration that led to integration inhibitors for treatment. He shares interesting details about viruses with readers, such as Different types of retroviruses and which type are part of the human genome, The pathogenesis of some viruses and the variety of phages, and His recent study involving the development of a baby’s microbiome and virome. Frederic Bushman, Ph.D., is the William Maul Measey Professor and Chair of Microbiology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He shares with listeners how his own interest in the field developed and then begins by addressing ways we understand viruses as scientists consider efforts like gene therapy. For example, he explains that HIV integrates into the host cell, which is why it is so difficult to get rid of it. However, it does not act on the scale of endogenous retroviruses, which infect germ cells and expand into every bodily cell as we grow. He says that the human genome is composed of 8% viral genes from these viruses. The conversation then turns to the microbiome, virome, and bacteria phages and he reminds listeners of the vast number of viruses in the world. In fact, he talks of a “dark matter” existence level of viruses that researchers are just beginning to try and investigate. While the public may mainly hear about viruses in terms of pathogenesis and gene therapy, their involvement in our world and evolution is complex and far beyond these issues. He also talks about his findings about to be published in Nature. He and his team studied the development of a baby’s microbiome and found that at birth, a baby is without bacterial colonists. He explains how the microbiome develops alongside integrative prophages. For prospective students wanting to enter the field, he suggests trying to formulate a question that’s interesting, important, and answerable. To find out more, he suggests searching his name and the term “virome.” In addition, his faculty page has links to some of his publications:

Bone Marrow – Pooja Khandelwal, MD, Assistant Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital – An Informative Discussion on the Important Functions of Bone Marrow and Bone Marrow Transplants for Hard-to-treat Diseases
May 27 2020 33 mins  
Pooja Khandelwal, MD, Assistant Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics and Member, Division of Bone Marrow Transplantation and Immune Deficiency, discusses bone marrow, gut health, and their work at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Podcast Points: What conditions require a bone marrow transplant? What is bone marrow? How does the intestinal microbiome develop? As a principal investigator at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Dr. Khandelwal has a keen interest in acute graft versus host disease biology, the treatment of steroid refractory acute graft versus host disease, and management of refractory autoimmune cytopenias in the post-transplant setting. Her work is often focused on pediatric bone marrow transplantation and blood diseases. Dr. Khandelwal discusses acute graft versus host disease that can occur after a transplant. She provides some data on the number of bone marrow transplants, stating that approximately 10,000 patients annually go through the procedure in the United States alone. She explains how it can be a curative modality for diseases that are either hard to treat or that have returned after remission. Dr. Khandelwal provides some detailed information on bone marrow, explaining how it is a fascinating organ. As she states, bone marrow is a living organ in our bones that produces all the cells that make up our blood—white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. From carrying oxygen to the core of our immune system, to other crucial functions, our bone marrow is responsible for originating many important elements that are critical to our body’s health. Dr. Khandelwal discusses matching immune systems, and the factors. She discusses proteins and the matches between recipients and donors. Further, Dr. Khandelwal explains the actual process of how bone marrow transplants work from a technical perspective. She discusses how sophisticated the bone marrow is, and how it knows where it needs to go after transplanting it. The research doctor explains how chemotherapy is often used to eradicate a recipient’s current bone marrow to make room for the new, healthy bone marrow. Continuing, Dr. Khandelwal explains the changes within intestinal microbiome over time, in transplantation. She discusses where disruption happens, and how they can restore the beneficial bacteria to patients’ bodies. Additionally, she provides information on how the intestinal microbiome is formed, and how human milk allows for the initial growth of an intestinal microbiome that can allow healthy systems to flourish. Wrapping up, Dr. Khandelwal discusses the future of transplants, and some of her perspectives on personalized medicine.

Searching for a Better Search – Trey Grainger, Chief Algorithms Officer at Lucidworks – How Intelligent, Targeted Search Engines Can Provide Better, More Relevant Results for Employees and Customers
May 26 2020 29 mins  
Trey Grainger, Chief Algorithms Officer at Lucidworks, author, and speaker, discusses search engines, artificial intelligence, and AI-powered searches. Podcast Points: What can AI-powered searches do for me or my company? An overview of the technology behind AI-powered search engines. How employees can benefit from better search engines. Grainger is an experienced engineering and data science executive with specific expertise in search and information retrieval, as well as recommendation systems, and data analytics spaces. Grainger discusses his background and his work at Lucidworks, the successful San Francisco, California-based enterprise search technology company. As Grainger explains, Lucidworks provides its expertise in the area of AI-powered search technology to hundreds of Fortune 1000 clients. Accessing data and finding relevant results is the name of the game, and Lucidworks is exceptional in this critical area of business development. He discusses chatbots and analytics use cases, and how companies can benefit. Lucidworks assists their broad base of clients by helping them build intelligent search applications that will allow them to fully expose their products to customers and/or provide internal knowledge to all their existing employees. Grainger goes on to explain how search engines are utilized by nearly every website, but many simply don’t get the job done. Lucidworks powers search engine technology that digs deeper and provides relevant results that are useful. Grainger talks about the importance of ‘bringing back’ results that best match the intent of the user/searcher. Intelligent search technology must be specific, focusing on the content dimension, and user-understanding dimension, etc. For example, sophisticated search engines should be able to pick up on signals, learning what people want to ‘see’ in their content, based upon their clicks and behaviors, so the engine can ‘tune’ itself to find better answers for future user/searchers. He delves into the subject of domain understanding, and discusses how it drills down to what the content is really about. For the engine to understand the nuanced meaning of searches and search words is important. The context of the user is important, for example, if a user searches for the word ‘driver’ while at the airport, the search engine should be able to discern that they’re probably looking for an Uber or taxi driver, and probably not a device driver for their computer’s OS. Context is crucial in order to provide the appropriate results. Continuing, Grainger discusses the specifics of queries, and different experiences that searches can provide. He talks about the direct correlation between improving relevance in searches to increased bottom lines. He talks about commerce use cases versus enterprise use cases, their similarities, and the benefits. Wrapping up, Grainger talks about natural language processing and the future of searches. Click here to get Trey Grainger's book "AI-Powered Search" There is a permanent 40% discount code (good for all products in all formats): podftech19 Here are also 5 free eBook codes (each good for one sample of AI-Powered Search): aipftp-4E89 aipftp-2D0A aipftp-77C3 aipftp-3428 aipftp-BE23

A Virtual Reality Eye Goggle on Brain Health—Scott Anderson—SyncThink
May 26 2020 21 mins  
Chief Clinical Officer of SyncThink, Scott Anderson, discusses a novel technology capable of identifying eye movements that indicate the presence of certain neurological conditions. In this episode, you’ll discover: How common neurological conditions are diagnosed (it might not be how you think) What types of eye movements are associated with neurological impairments What the future of eye tracking looks like Most neurological conditions lack objective diagnostic tools, which means diagnoses are made only by the exclusion of others, and heavily reliant upon the patient’s reported experiences or answers on standardized questionnaires. This includes developmental conditions often labeled as learning disabilities in children, and degenerative conditions in late life, such as dementia. Until now, there has been no method for functionally measuring the brain to determine what is actually going on with patients who present with certain signs or symptoms. For the past 15 years, Stanford neurosurgeon Dr. Ghajar has been capturing, studying, identifying, and classifying eye movements and correlating them with various neurological conditions in partnership with the US Department of Defense. With the help of today’s guest, Scott Anderson, the data gathered from this extensive research has been commercialized, and is now available as an unprecedented tool for objectively measuring evidence of neurological impairments and conditions. The technology utilizes FDA-approved, high-fidelity, research-grade eye tracking infrared cameras and emitters built into virtual reality goggles, and conducts a series of 60-second assessments to capture eye movements. Anderson explains the specifics of the treatments and exercises used in this field, how to improve the standard and quality care for concussions, the future of eye tracking, and more. Tune in and visit

Introducing Insulin-Producing Cells into Diabetics: Gopika Nair Talks Stem Cell Research Milestones
May 25 2020 36 mins  
Researcher Gopike Nair and her colleagues have produced in vitro cells that make insulin and have successfully implanted them in mice, curing them of type 1 diabetes. She shares her research with listeners, explaining The difference between type 1 and 2 diabetes and how her research is applicable to both, Some of the challenges in creating these cells and ones they face when entering a patient, and The next milestone to overcome and an estimate of the timing before this therapy will be clinically available. Dr. Gopkia Nair is a stem cell biologist working as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of California, San Francisco. She has been working on stem cell research and diabetes in order to reintroduce insulin-producing cells into patients who've lost these cells and suffer from diabetes type 1. She begins by explaining the physiology in different types of diabetic conditions and how these generated cells act like beta cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. While her focus is on type 1, she says the therapy will be applicable to both types. In order to explain how this therapy works, she explores the cause in more detail, reviewing the immune system's overdrive that attacks insulin-producing cells after some sort of trigger. Researchers have found that the disease starts at the beta cell level, exposing a certain protein on the surface that the immune system recognizes and attacks. Scientists are still not sure what the trigger is, but this helps them know they must address this in the cells they've created from the stem cells. She addresses different ways they are protecting the cells from the immune system and how they will introduce the cells into the body of the patient, most likely through a patch in a vascularized area. Finally, she expects this therapy to be available to patients in 5 to 10 years at the latest. For more, see her LinkedIn page and personal research web page. cwV3jwflKxO27ijDlaMV

The Whole Person: Seqster's System for 360-Degree Healthcare Data
May 25 2020 26 mins  
Seqster Founder and CEO Ardy Arianpour explains how the company integrates multiple data sources regarding health care into one system. He discusses How they integrate human genetic information, medical records, and wearable devises, How this becomes a longitudinal record sharable across institutions, and Why this improves our health care treatment and experience. Ardy Arianpour is a genomics executive and serial entrepreneur in the biotechnology industry and has launched several clinical and consumer-based genetic tests in past companies. He co-founded Seqster in January of 2016. He describes the company as a SaaS healthcare platform used by enterprises in health care fields. It enables organizations to drive efficient healthcare via a comprehensive collection of medical records and electronic health record (EHR) data. It also includes a patient's genomic profile and human genetic information along with any wearable device data and puts this all in one place, allowing individuals to share that data and create a longitudinal health record. He addresses issues of privacy as well, emphasizing the patient-centric mode of this information and the empowering nature of the data alongside protective technology. He provides examples of the usefulness of this platform such as a caregiver's handling of a relative's cancer treatments, having to deal with six different health systems. Rather than lugging binders and CDs of information, all data can be shared across institutions with Seqster. Finally, he shares some recent additions to the system such as a covid-19 compass symptom checker module that is built into the platform for research subjects who may have been exposed. He adds that they are assessing the growth in telehealth, and says that a weakness in telehealth is sharing data, a weakness that Seqster can address. For best ways to learn more, see, follow them on twitter through @Seqster, and find them on LinkedIn.

A Matter (or Antimatter) of Physics—Amar Vutha—Canada Research Chair in Precision Atomic & Molecular Physics, University of Toronto
May 24 2020 40 mins  
Amar Vutha is the Canada Research Chair in Precision Atomic & Molecular Physics at the University of Toronto, and he joins the show to discuss the nature of his fascinating work. In this episode, you’ll discover: What the difference is between dark matter and dark energy, why Vutha believes it’s important to figure out what each is comprised of, and how scientists are researching these topics What makes a molecule stable or unstable, and what happens when you remove some or all of the electrons from an atom How atomic clocks work, and how they are related to highly-charged ions How antimatter is made in the lab Everything we see around is—including every galaxy identified telescopically—comprises only 5% of the universe. The consensus among scientists is that this 5% of the universe is understood fairly well, but Vutha second guesses that position. Rather than the questions that can be answered in physics, Vutha is interested in the questions that cannot be answered…or at least haven’t been answered yet. By studying and conducting precision measurements of the properties of atoms and molecules, Vutha aims to understand more about how the universe and the laws of physics work. He discusses what he believes to be three of the most important unsolved problems in physics, emergent properties and energetically-favored states of molecules, how highly-charged ions are able to resist perturbation by external stimuli (and why this is useful in making atomic clocks), the absence of identifiable natural antimatter in the universe (and why scientists reason that we should be able to identify it), and so much more. Visit to learn more about Vutha’s research.

Examining the Ethics of Health Care and COVID-19—Dr. James Thomas—Department of Epidemiology at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
May 23 2020 33 mins  
Associate professor at UNC Department of Epidemiology, Dr. James Thomas, joins the show to discuss his line of work in health care ethics, and how it has changed in response to the recent COVID-19 outbreak. Tune in to learn the following: How medical ethics and public health ethics differ, and why the distinction is so important to understand What the Siracusa principles are and how they apply to the COVID-19 pandemic How politics are muddying the waters of communication about COVID-19, and why this is problematic How the government-led War on Drugs campaign caused the US to lead the world in incarceration rates, and how this disproportionately affected African American communities For much of his career, Dr. James Thomas has studied the social determinants of infectious diseases, focusing particularly on the effects of mass incarceration on the communities left behind. Over the last decade, he has done a lot of work involving health information systems in developing countries. Just as he was moving toward a study of digital data and how they are used in public health, COVID-19 hit. Dr. Thomas discusses the social determinants of this virus, which includes a look at how incarcerated individuals are being affected by the virus, the level of constraint being placed on the general public in this country and across the globe, the unprecedented implementation of digital surveillance in China and the US, why COVID-19 presents unique challenges to health care ethics and decision-making, what he sees as the primary ethical mishap of this pandemic, what he thinks will happen as states begin to reopen across the country, and so much more. To learn more about the current pandemic, Dr. Thomas suggests visiting the CDC website.

Watching our Wildlife: Jonathan Sleeman Reviews U.S. Wildlife Surveillance for Pathogens
May 22 2020 22 mins  
U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center Director Jonathan Sleeman explains the process for observing and reporting issues with wildlife. This podcast explores The mission and main activities of the center, The potential for spillover of viral diseases including covid-19 from humans to North American bats, and Current findings and projects of the center, such as bird flu, chronic wasting disease in deer and elk, and white nose syndrome in bats. The U.S. Geological Survey's National Wildlife Health Center has been in action since 1975 and has a mission to advance wildlife health science for the benefit of animals and the environment. Jonathan Sleeman has been the director since 2009 and explains to listeners some of the vital work of his team. This includes general surveillance of wildlife diseases including investigations into viral diseases and other pathogens when die offs of wildlife are observed. He discusses the effect of the current coronavirus pandemic on their work. He says that one concern is that it could do a reverse spillover to our bats. Therefore the center is doing risk assessments to see the probability of this by analyzing human and bat wildlife interaction among other things. Bats, felines, mink, and deer are some animals that potentially could be affected. After the risk assessment is complete, they'll design a system to monitor these animals He covers some of the other wildlife pathogens the center monitors and tells the history behind discovering white nose syndrome in bats in North America and the continued monitoring of bird flu and chronic wasting disease. For more information, see their web page at and the email contact is [email protected] Mr. Sleeman urges listeners to enjoy wildlife from a distance; however, if you see sick or dead animals that seem out of the norm, contact your state wildlife management group.

On the Latest in the Emerging Field of Virome Research—Ken Cadwell, PhD—Recanati Family Associate Professor of Microbiology, Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine at New York University
May 21 2020 35 mins  
Recanati Family Associate Professor of Microbiology at the Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine, Ken Cadwell, discusses the virome and how it relates to infectious and inflammatory diseases. In this episode, you will learn the following: What exactly is a virome, where it is found, and what it is comprised of What a bacteriophage is, and the ways in which it can interact with bacteria to ultimately cause the production of certain toxins What the inherent drawbacks are of “shotgun” sequencing for metagenomics, and how to overcome them Understanding the role of the virome in health is an emerging field of research. In fact, many people aren’t even familiar with the term ‘virome,’ which refers to the collection of viruses that inhabit living things, which of course includes humans. Dr. Caldwell’s lab is focused on understanding the functional consequences of viral infections primarily through the use of mouse models and cultured human cells. Through a collaborative network, Dr. Cadwell’s team is also trying to make correlations with humans directly in order to examine how viral exposure changes in individuals with certain diseases, such as irritable bowel disease (IBD). Dr. Cadwell explains the approach they take in determining what viruses are present in a particle sample, whether it be in a mouse model or the human gut. The approach involves sequencing everything that’s there…which means sequencing a lot of bacteria and bacteriophages, which are viruses that infect and replicate within bacteria. Dr. Cadwell says that about 90 to 95 percent of the viruses they sequence are identified as bacteriophage. So, what comprises the remaining five to 10 percent of viruses? Although it’s a small percentage relatively, Dr. Cadwell explains that identifying these other viruses is of high interest because these are the viruses that infect animal cells directly, rather than bacterial cells. The team at Cadwell’s lab is interested in seeing what viruses are present in healthy people, and why. Dr. Cadwell also shares some exciting new research findings that show the human immune system is capable of reacting to certain bacteriophages that are supposedly only inside bacteria, suggesting that researchers need to be paying a lot more attention to bacteriophages that don’t seem to directly infect animal cells. Dr. Cadwell discusses a number of fascinating topics, including the norovirus (in mice and humans), symbiotic relationships between viruses and hosts and how they are similar to symbioses between humans and the human gut microbiome, why it’s difficult to define what constitutes a healthy microbiome, and so much more. Tune in and check out to learn more.

Giant Viruses Give the Big Picture Researcher Chantal Abergel Explains What Giant Viruses Show Us
May 20 2020 40 mins  
Chantal Abergel studies giant viruses, which are a relatively new discovery. She tells listeners how the size offers new observations in virology. She explains Why preconceptions of virus properties delayed their discovery, What functions and processes the larger size enables researchers to observe, and What these things may tell researchers about virus and cell coevolution. Chantal Abergel is the Research Director of the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS). She achieved her Ph.D. in Material Science in 1990 from Aix Marseille University. Dr. Abergel co-founded the Structural and Genomic Information (IGS) Laboratory at the CNRS. She specializes in a study new to virology, namely giant viruses. She tells listeners that their very size made them undetectable previously because of filtration measures assuming a certain size, which kept these viruses out of the literal scope of study. Dr. Abergel shares many traits and processes of the families they’ve been able to identify thus far. For example, bigger viruses are more complex with genomes that can be as large as 2.5 million base pairs. She gives a bit of the history, telling listeners about the first giant virus discovery called the Mimivirus as well as the family she’s currently studying, the Pandoravirus. Their size makes them easier to isolate and observe. Dr. Abergel and her colleagues are studying their relationship with amoeba and have observed processes such as the capsid opening and contents transferring into the cell cytoplasm. Some explains that some viruses divide up and reproduce in the cytoplasm and some transfer and unfold into the nucleus and use cell machinery to duplicate. She shares many fascinating processes that have implications about giant virus evolution. For example, after causing the overexpression of nuclear proteins inside of amoeba to address the question of whether the viruses are really cytoplasmic replicators, they observed the transcription machinery was not in the virus capsid and the virus didn’t enter the cell nucleus to replicate. Rather they observed proteins leaving the nucleus of the amoeba and going to the virus for transcription. She remarks that this implies that these viruses may have been independent of the cell and this is a demonstration of how they coevolved. To learn more, see her lab web page at CNRS,, and search for her articles, which include pictures of some of these recorded processes.

Treatment Advances in Top Pediatric Disease of the Liver Jorge A. Bezerra Shares Promising News
May 19 2020 27 mins  
Dr. Bezerra specializes in biliary atresia research. It's the single most common cause of end-stage liver disease in children and the number one indication for pediatric liver transplants. He explains to listeners The ways this diseases causes harm, including the obstruction of biliary ducts; The importance of early diagnosis and its connection to survival rates; and New breakthroughs improving testing for the disease and treatment of epithelial cells in the ducts. Jorge A. Bezerra is Director of the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition and Medical Director of the Pediatric Liver Care Center at the University of Cincinnati. He is also a professor in the Department of Pediatrics. In this podcast, he carefully explains the progression of pediatric biliary atresia and research addressing this disease of the liver. He tells listeners that this indicates a closure or obstruction of the liver's biliary ducts in the first three months after birth. In the first few weeks of life, parents notice yellow jaundice in the infant's eyes and pale stools. He remarks that immediate treatment including surgery offers the most benefit. He then explains a few gastroenterology hypothesizes for when this actually starts. A recent study found that babies that develop this disease often have slightly abnormal bilirubin increases at birth, which indicates that it most likely is a prenatal disease. He adds that if a baby is diagnosed early and taken to surgery, there's a much higher possibility that surgery will work. He finishes with several breakthroughs in treating this disease and means of testing. For example, researchers have developed a novel test that can be given very early with fast results. Testing normally requires a liver biopsy and as long as two weeks for results. He also talks about liver organoid research that has led to a new way to treat the epithelial cells of the ducts. For more, see his lab's website:

Entangled Life of Fungi: Author and Researcher Merlin Sheldrake Talks Fungal Ecology and Environment
May 18 2020 41 mins  
Merlin Sheldrake is a biologist and writer who has written a book about the vast world of fungi while pursuing a plant study involving fungi symbiosis. He shares with listeners The prehistoric and ongoing relationship between plants and fungi, The nature and variety of these multisystem symbioses, and The composition of the "wood wide web" that the ecology and environment of plant and fungal symbioses creates. Merlin Sheldrake has studied plant sciences, microbiology, ecology, and the history and philosophy of science. He has his Ph.D. in tropical ecology from Cambridge University for his work on underground fungal networks in tropical forests in Panama. He was awarded the position of research fellow of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute while pursuing his Ph.D. Merlin has just published the book Entangled Life, which describes how fungi affect our world. He shares many of these effects in this conversation, starting with his own fascination as a child for how natural objects transform. As he studied about decomposers and learned about symbiosis, plant study and research into plant and fungi relationships was a natural direction to pursue. He explains that fungi exists in plant roots and spread deep into soil but also live in plant leaves and stems as endocytes. In fact, there are no plants found without endocytes. Therefore, he says, fungi are a fundamental part of planthood, even more than roots and leaves, as fungi existed in symbiosis with plants even before roots evolved. He tells listeners more about this relationship, current studies on communication between plants, fungi, and other plants and the necessity of fungi for health soil. For more, find his book Entangled Life, which was just published, and see his website:

The Evolution of Antibiotic Resistance in Gut Bacteria: Sharmily Khanam Explains Her Research
May 17 2020 27 mins  
While scientists know antibiotic resistance is linked to the widespread use of antibiotics, understanding the physiology and microbiome of guts that have never been exposed to synthetic antibiotics might offer information to help address this resistance. Researcher Sharmily Khanam designed a study to tackle this gap in knowledge. She explains How our understanding of resistance mostly comes from clinicallybrelevant bacteria that's pathogenic and our understanding is therefore incomplete; Where she found a population without any exposure to synthetic antibiotics and what her research process is; and What pattern and discovery this research has offered, namely the ubiquitous nature of the antibiotic resistant gene and additional questions this raises. Dr. Sharmily S. Khanam is a Postdoctoral Research Associate with the Department of Microbiology and Plant Biology at the University of Oklahoma. She explains her initial question in her research, namely what the microbial population in our ancestors was like and how resistant they were to the current antibiotics. She and her colleagues are therefore studying a population in a remote village in the Amazon Forest in Peru. Currently they are studying the scope and extent of antibiotic resistance in the gut microbiome population of this ancestral-like population, comparing them with the gut microbial population, physiology, and antibiotic resistant population in the microbiome of people exposed to modern antibiotics. They are trying to see if our ancestral microbiome was well positioned to tolerate the modern day antibiotics. She explains that researchers need to fill the gap of knowledge in understanding the molecular mechanism involved in resistance to a diverse group of antibiotics. She adds that at the same time, this will provide a foundation to investigate and characterize the molecular mechanism in the bacterial population and how that is related to host metabolism—the combination of host and microbial population is creating the outcome that scientists need to understand in order to interrupt this process and prevent resistance. She adds an explanation of their findings thus far and explains how this may help the medical community. To learn more about this study, see her LinkedIn profile and Google scholar account.

Fatty Liver, Inflammation, and Scarring: Dr. Friedman Talks Disease of Liver Progression and Prevention
May 16 2020 38 mins  
Scarring of the liver leads to numerous health concerns and in this podcast, Dr. Friedman addresses these concerns and ways pharmaceutical companies are trying to prevent these diseases. He tells listeners How nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is one component of the umbrella term Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and why that's important, How metabolic syndrome connects to these liver issues and why type 2 diabetes as an accompanying disease is of special concern, and How pharmaceutical companies are targeting scarring prevention with a new drug. Dr. Scott L. Friedman is the Dean for Therapeutic Discovery and Chief of the Division of Liver Diseases at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He has worked to address liver diseases since 1984 and considers himself a physician scientist who oversees clinical trials and program. He explains that the liver gets scarred as a consequence of a variety of insults, from hepatitis A and B to alcoholic disease to NAFLD and NASH. Progressive inflammation leads to scarring and then advanced scarring known as cirrhosis. He tells listeners that any disease of the liver often begins with a fatty liver and explains the physiology of this, how liver regeneration can be impeded by fatty liver, and how the liver functions to handle any toxins that enter our bodies. He says that the main fibrotic or scaring disease targeted by pharmaceutical companies is NASH, which falls under the umbrella term NAFLD. He adds that a disease that is rising worldwide and part of liver disease is a full body disease known as metabolic syndrome, which includes type 2 diabetes, obesity, and other issues. He explains why liver disease is often overlooked and why this is a problem. He finishes with mentioning some new drugs, one of which should be available soon, to prevent this scarring. For more, see helpful groups that address liver issues such as the American Liver Foundation, the Mt. Sinai web site, the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease, and the Fatty Liver Foundation.

Effective New Migraine Medication Suitable for Patients with Vascular Issues: Kate Mullin Explains
May 15 2020 22 mins  
Kathleen Mullin Bio: Kathleen Mullin, M.D., is the Medical Director for Clinical Research at the New England Institute for Clinical Research and the Associate Medical Director at the New England Institute for Neurology and Headache (NEINH). Dr. Mullin is board-certified in neurology and headache medicine and after graduating from Tufts University and New York University School of Medicine, she completed her residency training at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, followed by a fellowship in Headache Medicine at Montefiore Medical Center. Prior to joining NEINH, Dr. Mullin was the Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology at Montefiore. She was also Director of Clinical Trials, overseeing a busy clinical trials program. She has been a principle and a sub-investigator on numerous studies, with her work being published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at national meetings. Newer migraine medications are designed to address a different arm of the pain source than traditional triptan therapy, an approach not usable by patients with vascular issues. Dr. Mullin explains How this medication works by blocking CRPG receptors and why that makes a difference What exactly defines a medication as being effective and how Nurtec™ fits the definition, and How to let your doctor know about these newer medications. Kathleen Mullin, MD, is the Medical Director of the New England Institute for Clinical Research (NEICR) in Stamford and specializes in headache medicine. A neurologist by training, she continued working in headache medicine after a fellowship following medical school and has never looked back. She is a clinician who also helps companies run migraine medication trails on her patient population and has found a very effective new medication that's now FDA approved: Nurtec™. She explains how this works differently than the common triptan line of medicines, which work to decrease inflammation through vascular shrinking. However, any patient with a vascular condition of any sort is not able to take these medicines. She explains how the migraine medication Nurtec™ binds with CGRP receptors; GCRP is a neuropeptide that we all have in our bodies. Migraine sufferers have an increased amount of them and blocking their ability to bind blocks their ability to cause pain. Therefore, medications that work this way are called CGRP antagonists. She discusses the success patients have had with this who haven't found relief with any other medication She adds that headaches are wildly underdiagnosed and urges listeners to seek out medical help if they suffer from headaches. She says that if you ever had a headache that made you feel you had to cancel something, you probably had a migraine—so go to the doctor, she advises. For more about Nurtec™, see .

The Intrigue of Innate Immunity and Inflammation—Gyongyi Szabo, MD, PhD—Chief Academic Officer, Beth Israel Lahey Health
May 15 2020 24 mins  
Chief Academic Officer at Beth Israel Lahey Health, Dr. Gyongyi Szabo, joins the show to discuss her research on the role of inflammation in innate immunity and liver disease. In this episode, you will learn: What is meant by innate immunity and what type of cells are involved in phases of the immune response In what way it is an overactivation of innate immunity as opposed to a lack of innate immunity that is the real issue in many diseases What evolutionary process is responsible for low-level inflammation in certain diseases such as hepatitis C and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease How the blockage of the inflammasome complex has been shown to reduce the effect of alcohol-induced liver disease in mice, and what sort of promise this might hold for the treatment of alcoholic liver disease in humans For nearly 20 years, Dr. Szabo has been studying innate immunity, innate cell function, and signal transduction pathways. The focus in her lab is on various types of liver diseases that have an inflammatory component, which accounts for almost all liver injuries and chronic liver diseases. The goal of her research is to gain a better understanding of what causes the inflammatory response in certain liver diseases with the hopes of intervening with certain medications or treatments that would benefit patients suffering from liver disease. She discusses the difference between innate and adaptive responses of the immune system, how the evolutionary-preserved pattern-recognition receptors that are normally activated by pathogens can also recognize damage-associated molecular patterns, thus leading to low-level systemic inflammation, in what ways her research might lead to an effective treatment for alcohol-related liver disease, and more.

Lessons on Liver Health—Michael Schilsky, MD—Professor of Medicine and Surgery at Yale University
May 14 2020 33 mins  
Dr. Schilsky is a professor of medicine and surgery and medical director of liver transplantation at Yale, and he joins the show today to discuss issues related to the liver and liver transplantation. Tune in to learn the following: Under what conditions the use of acetaminophen can become a problem for liver and overall health In what ways and to what extent the liver is regenerative The relationship between atherosclerosis (which leads to a higher risk of heart attack and stroke) and fatty liver disease Dr. Schilsky had the privilege of witnessing the transition of organ transplantation from the imaginary world, to the world of practical application, to the world of successful application. He has seen firsthand the influence of pharmacology and advanced techniques on the outcomes in this field, and perhaps most importantly, increased quality of life and lifespan enjoyed by patients. For Dr. Schilsky, this is precisely where his interests exist: in the space where patient care and science marry. He discusses acute and chronic injuries to the liver, the safeness of acetaminophen, infectious causes of liver diseases, the crucial balance between liver injury and regeneration, the relationship between NSAIDs and kidney malfunction and other disorders, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, when and why life-saving bariatric surgeries may be performed, the absence of signs in early stages of liver diseases, whether or not liver diseases tend to happen in certain locations of the liver, and so much more. Learn more at and

Ethical Issues of Genetic Testing: Biomedical Ethicist Amy Lynn McGuire Covers Modern Concerns
May 14 2020 23 mins  
This podcast explores how readily available genomic testing and databases of human genetic information raise ethical concerns. Dr. McGuire discusses How information from direct-to-consumer genetic testing can be used and what to look out for, Where different lines of concern lie between genomic testing that prevents or treats disease and potential uses that are less clear, and What direction trends for the next few years are heading in the biomedical ethicist world while facing a pandemic. Dr. McGuire is the Leon Jaworski Professor of Biomedical Ethics and Director of the Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy at Baylor College of Medicine. She specializes in ethical issues of genetic testing and genomic research. Modern technologies and commercialization put human genetic information at the forefront of medical ethics revolving around multiple health issues. For example, she begins the conversation by addressing gene editing, which has brought a lot of attention: it offers great promise, but also raises ethical concerns about how we influence nature. She also discusses privacy issues from direct-to-consumer genetic testing and genealogy information. She advises listeners to use caution and understand that who can access the information depends on the company you are using. She reviews different company policies but also the ways the fine print may include provisions the consumer can miss. Ultimately, these companies have created a business model to amass this data and sell it to pharmaceutical companies to develop health initiatives like new drugs. She talks about the extent to which HIPA and GINA, a newer suite of laws that directly address genomic research and human genetic testing information, meet the needs for protection yet could be tightened. She also brings up newer technologies and reproduction issues, some mass testing programs, and how balancing competing health issues with a global health emergency is a rising issue. For more, follow the work of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities and see the web site for the Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy at Baylor Medicine at

Next Generation Antibiotics: Dr. Santanu Datta Talks about the Latest Antibiotic Development
May 13 2020 36 mins  
Bugworks Research, Inc., is a company focused on producing a next generation antibiotic in light of antibiotic resistance. Dr. Datta details surrounding issues, including Why there have been no new antibiotics introduced in the last 50 years, How this new broad spectrum antibiotic is designed to evade antibiotic resistance, and Which bacteria in particular it targets and under what circumstances. Dr. Santanu Datta is the CSO of Bugworks, Inc., and has been working in the field of infectious disease for decades. He begins telling listeners about the background of antibiotic development, highlighting the difference it has made. He explains why it has been difficult to develop new antibiotics from both a market and scientific perspective. He also explains the mechanisms of antibiotic and bacteria interaction, from the parts the antibiotics have traditionally targeted to the types of adaptations and evolutions bacteria are able to make to impede antibiotics, resulting in antibiotic resistance. He then talks about his company's work to make a new broad spectrum antibiotic that targets the most dangerous bacteria hospitals face in one antibiotic, from E. coli to Staphylococcus aureus to other common bacteria in hospital patients. Therefore, doctors may use this in an IV form when they don't have time to wait for test results because of the health risks to the patient. Dr. Datta explains that his new generation antibiotic targets two parts of the bacteria at once, limiting its ability to escape unharmed. One of the targets includes the enzyme bacteria require for replication. He also explains their approval process as they head towards phase 1 and adds that they are funded by Carb-x. For more, see the company's web site at

Human and Environmental Health: Pummeled By Plastics and the Chemicals Within Them—Martin Wagner—Faculty of Natural Sciences at Norwegian University of Science and Technology
May 13 2020 30 mins  
Environmental toxicologist Martin Wagner joins the show today to discuss the effect of plastics and other endocrine-disrupting agents on human health and the ecosystem at large. In this episode, you will learn: Roughly how many compounds have been detected in many plastic products, and what percentage of those compounds are actually identifiable What one of the main challenges is in determining which chemicals are leachable and therefore potentially dangerous to humans How to begin making steps toward the development of plastics that are less threatening to human and environmental health Wagner began studying plastics while obtaining his PhD, and has since focused largely on trying to determine what compounds exist in the products we consume, how those compounds function, and what effect they have on human and environmental health. Many of these chemicals are known to disturb hormone signaling in the body, which can lead to all types of ailments. Despite this, they have become “almost invisible to us because they are just so pervasive in our everyday life,” says Wagner. Following his PhD studies, Wagner began focusing on an area of research where he saw a void: while most researchers were looking at marine plastic pollution, Wagner wanted to look at microplastic and nanoplastic pollution on freshwater systems like lakes and rivers. In light of the recent increase in public attention on and awareness of the environmental impact of single-use plastics, Wagner has recentered his work on this topic with the goal of emphasizing not just the use of plastics and the impact on the environment, but also the significance of the chemical compounds within these plastics. He discusses the details of past and recent studies in the field, what it means for a plastic product to have a certain dispersion factor and why this is significant, what items are found most often on European beaches and what’s being done about it, surprising sources of plastic pollution, why recycling only works well for a few types of plastic, and more. To learn more about Wagner’s work or reach out with questions, contact him through Twitter.

Detecting Cancer Earlier: Danial A. Heller Discusses Nanotechnologists' Advances
May 12 2020 25 mins  
Daniel Heller runs a lab developing nanomaterials for the treatment and detection of cancer and other diseases. He explains this technology by describing The research tools used to try and improve biological systems testing in general, Specific nanotechnology designed to detect the signs of cancer, especially ovarian, much earlier than current tests, and The movement towards fitness tracker paradigms for noninvasive medical detectors. Daniel A. Heller, PhD, runs the Daniel Heller Lab at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. They're making sensors to detect signs of cancer at the earlies stages, like ovarian cancer, which is often detected at later stages when it is hardest to treat. Currently, they're creating sensors that would be implanted in patients at higher risk to detect ovarian cancer. He explains that the sensors identify biomarkers, which appear at higher levels in certain areas of the body like fallopian tubes, for example, before they appear in the blood where they are normally detected but too late for effective treatment. He explains that nanotechnologists are working alongside the popularity of fitness trackers like the Apple watches, hoping to merge that trend with medical advancement. These trackers shoot light to measure bodily functions like your pulse. Heller and his colleagues thought that they could get at these key biomarkers through something similar, a wearable device, which can use light to compare and measure indicators but noninvasively. A nanotube in the body can send infrared signals to this wearable device. He describes how these can offer an accumulative measure—so even if the cancer is at a very early stage, and a single time point measure wouldn't find significant biomarker levels, if clinicians do accumulative measures, they should be able to catch it. Then, they can tell if they are increasing or measure their rate of change, also called the biomarker velocity. For more, find him on twitter through @HellerLab and see the lab web site at

Slash, Poison, Burn: How We Treat Cancer, and How We Should—Azra Raza, MD—Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) Center at Columbia University in New York
May 12 2020 43 mins  
Azra Raza is the Chan Soon-Shiong Professor of Medicine and Director of the Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) Center at Columbia University in New York, a practicing oncologist, and author of The First Cell: And the Human Costs of Pursuing Cancer to the Last. She joins the show to discuss several incredibly important topics, including the following: Why there is a significant problem with the use of mice as models for cancer research and what needs to be done in order to really understand the earliest footprints of cancer in humans How Dr. Raza is trying to overcome the financial barriers to the research necessary for cancer prevention and early detection Why a complete paradigm shift is needed within the cancer industry “Today…we are curing 68% of the cancers, and that’s great, but what are we curing them with? Slash, poison, burn: surgery, chemotherapy, radiation…the same treatments we were using…with a few rare exceptions…it is shocking that in this day and age of such advanced technology we are using such paleolithic caveman treatments...” says Dr. Raza, who has devoted over 30 years of her life to the early detection and prevention of cancer while working firsthand with countless cancer patients. She continues by explaining that these treatments (surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation) were initially given as stop-gap measures, and despite the efforts of thousands of scientists over the course of the last several decades, a more successful treatment has not been developed. Why? According to Dr. Raza, a big part of the answer has to do with the fact that cancer is heterogeneous; it’s a moving target that’s continually evolving and picking up new mutations. So, what’s the solution? In Dr. Raza’s view, the solution is early detection and prevention of the development of cancer, rather than attempts to treat it once it’s already advanced, and she emphasizes the need to use every available resource to this end, including genomics, metabolomics, proteomics, and transcriptomics. She explains the financial burden of pursuing this research pathway, how she’s trying to overcome it, and so much more. “On a daily basis I am seeing patients, and it is their stories that are the motivation for me…I am looking at everything through the prism of human anguish…to separate human suffering and pain from the need to find the answers is criminal, because the motivation has to be…to reduce human suffering.” Tune in to hear the full conversation, and visit to learn more about Dr. Raza’s mission.

Visualizing What the Microscope Can’t—Gaël McGill, PhD—Digizyme
May 11 2020 44 mins  
As the director of molecular visualization in the Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School, and the president and CEO of Digizyme, Gaël McGill is interested in how we understand complex science through images. In this episode, you will learn: How cell dynamics can be visually represented Why it may be just as useful to understand how a scientific image was created than to understand the material within the image How the COVID-19 virus can be depicted from the time it binds to a cell to the time it penetrates the cell membrane and releases genetic material If you’ve ever watched a YouTube video on a process like DNA transcription, then you were likely viewing images generated from a software program—not a microscope. Which design decisions lead to effective imagery for communicating scientific concepts? How do you combine a ton of data into representations that help people understand complicated scientific principles and improve communication in science? How do you strike a balance between doing the science justice and making it simple enough to reach the understanding of students and laymen? These are the questions that drive McGill’s work, and just a few of the ones he discusses on today’s episode. He emphasizes the pedagogical value of getting people to think about how certain images are made, as he believes that in and of itself is an excellent way to learn the material presented by the images. In this vein of thought, he shares the thought-provoking philosophy that “science is not a bunch of facts; science is a way of knowing, and it has to be taught that way.” McGill explains how techniques such as X-ray crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy can be used to reconstitute an image and obtain the information for the precise location of every single atom in a molecule—whether it's a small one like a hormone, or a large one like an entire virus. Check out to browse animations selected and curated by the team at Digizyme and explore a series of online courses and training for those interested in scientific illustration.

How to Impede the Coronavirus in Cellular Machinery: Frederic Bards Shares His Research
May 11 2020 38 mins  
Researcher Frederic Bard has studied coronaviruses' step-by-step entry and replication inside cells. He explains to listeners which stages are the most promising for interference. Along the way, he describes The parasitic nature and structure of virus binding and replicating mechanisms, How the ph of the endosome enables viruses to enter the cytosol where the viruses' RNA replicates, and The promising identification of the VCP spike protein that the virus binds with and efforts to inhibit it. Frederic Bard is an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry at Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore and is part of the Institute of Cellular and Molecular Biology with the Agency for Science, Technology, and Research (A Star) in Singapore. He explains to listeners about the importance of host genes for coronavirus replication. He reminds us that viruses are parasites and need the machinery of a cell to replicate—he has researched different proteins and machines inside the cell that help the structure of viruses to replicate: if we can understand that, he says, maybe we can block replication. He describes the two moments that show the most promise for disturbing this process, namely when viruses bind with spike proteins on the outside of the cell and when they enter the cytosol for the viruses' RNA replication. A few years ago, he published work identifying the VCP protein that coronaviruses bind with and is now researching the possibility of inhibiting that protein without hurting the cell. That is part of the challenge, he explains—to make the cell a little bit sick to inhibit the virus replication but not enough to damage the cell and health of the person. Along the way, he explains cell mechanisms in response to viruses, how the structure of virus works with the endosomes and cytosol. For more, see his lab websites with links to his publications and contact information: and

Birth Defects Associated with Diabetes: Researcher Nikita Ved Wants to Educate the Public
May 10 2020 27 mins  
Researcher Nikita Ved is studying birth defects as a result of diabetes and wants to increase public awareness of these issues. She tells listeners About statistical evidence that shows diabetes-related birth defects is a substantial problem, How the testing protocol in OB-GYN clinics hasn't caught up with the science in how early birth defects develop, and What are possible effects of high blood sugar on various developmental factors, especially the heart. Nikita Ved is a Novo Nordisk Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Dr. Duncan Sparrow's group in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics at the University of Oxford. She researches how diabetes during pregnancy causes birth defects in the embryo, most commonly heart issues; this includes all forms of diabetes, from the 2 types of diabetes more commonly known as well as gestational. She says that many people don't know that one of the major complications of diabetes happens during pregnancy. If fact, it can increase the rate of miscarriage and birth defects by up to 30%. She explains how difficult it has been to educate the public about these concerns, perhaps because the focus of diabetic complications tends to center on worries about blindness, kidneys, and other neuropathy. Yet she feels that birth defects should be put on the same level of awareness. She describes some of the difficulty involved in these studies but also some protocols that aren't helping, such as not testing pregnant women for diabetes or gestational diabetes until their 2nd trimester while birth defects happen very early in the pregnancy. She advocates for screening for and educating patients about the 2 types of diabetes as they undergo regular gynecological checkups well before they are pregnant. For more and for contact information, see her web page at the lab:

Clamming Up at the Thought of Ageing? Scientists are Clamming for the Key to Longevity—Steven N. Austad—Department of Biology, University of Alabama at Birmingham
May 09 2020 36 mins  
Distinguished professor and Chair of the Department of Biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Steven N. Austad, joins the podcast to discuss his research on the biology of ageing. Tune in to learn the following: The importance of proper protein folding in terms of healthy ageing and longevity, and what secrets the Arctica islandica clam might hold in this regard How the human lifespan stacks up against other mammals of similar size Why the study of lab mice might not be the best model for improving human longevity For over 30 years, Austad has been studying the biology of ageing. He more or less stumbled upon this area of research while conducting field work in South America on opossums; much to his surprise, he learned that the lifespan of these animals is very short—just 18 months on average—and as they age, they develop numerous ailments, including cataracts, muscle atrophy, and dental issues. This spurred Austad’s interest in the topic of ageing and compelled him to research why certain species age at the rate they do, and more broadly, why ageing occurs at all. Austad studies traditional lab animals and unusual animals in the field, such as small bats and Arctica islandica, a species of clam that can live for over 500 years. Despite the general trend of increased life expectancy with increased size, these small animals show a fascinating ability to age successfully—even against the rigors of the wild. By studying the process of ageing in these animals, Austad believes that insights can be gained that might inform us on how to increase human longevity. He explains one of the suspected ways in which certain species of clams, including the Arctica islandica, live so long. The key lies at least partially in the ability to regulate and maintain proper protein folding. Indeed, it is the age-related weakened ability to do this that leads to dementia and other common features of ageing in humans. Currently, he’s working on sequencing the genomes of various species of clams that live various lengths of time with the hope that this will reveal which molecules might be involved in the protein folding process. Learn more about Austad’s work by visiting

A Biotechnological Boost to Wildlife Conservation—Ben Novak—Revive & Restore
May 08 2020 25 mins  
Ben Novak is the lead scientist at Revive & Restore, a leading wildlife conservation organization that promotes the incorporation of biotechnology in various conservation efforts. He joins the show to discuss some fascinating topics, including the following: What important function is carried out by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) How it would work to restore and bring to life the long-extinct woolly mammoth The ever so relevant distinction between a species that is extinct versus “on ice” How humans can act as surrogate mothers to simulate natural parenting and family environments for various species Novak joined the Revive & Restore team in early 2012 to work on the Passenger Pigeon Project. Since then, he’s worked on a number of projects, including those involving the endangered black-footed ferret and endangered heath hens. For over a century now, scientists have been restoring populations once they go extinct, but this hasn’t been done for every vital extinct species, such as the woolly mammoth and Passenger Pigeon. This is where the team at Revive & Restore sees the greatest potential for new biotechnologies to enhance and improve conservation efforts. Among these technologies are animal gene editing, embryogenesis, and primordial germ cell transfer. Novak says that reproductive technologies are needed in order for their current projects to succeed, and he explains how the Catalyst Science Fund program has begun employing reproductive techniques for use in poultry, but not in wildlife. To reach this end, they are beginning with a project on the greater prairie chicken, which was funded just last year and has remained unimpeded since. Novak discusses the details of the various projects they’re working on, how the prevention or reversal of species extinction could be accomplished with different biotechnologies, current restoration projects, and the many concerns and challenges encountered in this type of work. Check out to learn more.

Like Fish, Like Human: New Research That Might Shed Light on Longevity—Dario Valenzano–Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing, CECAD
May 08 2020 42 mins  
As a research group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing in Cologne, Germany, Dario Valenzano is trying to understand the molecular and genetic bases underlying differences between lifespans and ageing processes of different species, and how we might be able to manipulate our own. In this episode, you will learn: Why the daughters of older fathers have a slighter shorter lifespan than those of younger fathers How the shortest-lived vertebrate known to exist might shed light on human evolution and the development of human disease in late life How microbiota composition in the gastrointestinal tract changes during ageing Some species live for just a few hours, while others live for thousands of years. Why and how have species evolved such different lifespans, and how might the answer to these questions allow us to increase our own longevity and reduce the risk of many diseases? These questions form the cornerstone of the research being carried out by Valenzano and his group. As a model organism for this research, the team is using the African turquoise killifish, which is the shortest-lived vertebrate known to exist. This fish lives approximately four months both in the lab and in its natural environment. In studying how this species evolved to be so short-lived, they have found that Darwinian selection has little to do with it; rather, Valenzano says its short lifespan came about as a mere accident. For this type of fish, there is little advantage to being long-lived, and without selective pressure to survive for a long time, selection doesn’t act to remove deleterious mutations in late life. Valenzano explains what this might reveal about human evolution, and in particular, late-life weakened selection in humans that fails to remove deleterious mutations which result in diseases like dementia. Valenzano also discusses their research on the microbiome of fish, mice, and humans, which includes a look at how the microbiome changes over time and during the ageing process, and how microbes interact with the immune system during the ageing process. Tune in for the full conversation and visit to learn more.

Preventing Staph Infections: The Latest Technology with Researcher Fábio Aguiar-Alves
May 07 2020 43 mins  
Professor Fábio Aguiar-Alves specializes in identifying bacteria common to staph infection. For example, he can identify the exact types of bacteria present on a patient before they face surgery in order to prevent serious bacterial infections. He tells listeners How he tests patients and passes on the information to doctors for better treatment, What "surveillance" means in the staph infection hospital world, and What are even more effect advances with testing times and scenarios in the works. Fábio Aguiar-Alves is an associate professor of Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology at Universidade Federal Fluminense in Brazil. While his initial studies focused on parasites, he became intrigued with bacteria during his PhD work and followed up with a postdoc at University of California, Berkeley, where he researched Staphyloccocus Aureus, a common staph infection. He now works in molecular epidemiology, identifying bacteria in patients and looking for specific genes that relate to virulence and resistance. He can provide this information to help guide the doctors in specific treatments to prevent or treat bacterial infection. He explains what he's looking for after he does this DNA retraction. For example, if he finds a certain gene denoting resistance, he can tell the doctor not to use penicillin to treat this patient because it won't solve the problem. Ultimately, this serves to give the patient a specific antibiotic when needed rather than a broad spectrum antimicrobial agent. He goes into more details about the process—specifically PCR (polymerase chain reaction) to identify the genes—which takes from 2 to 3 hours to figure out. Therefore, they can give a fast answer to the doctor about how to treat—much faster than past systems which delayed treatment considerably. He also explains the different methods for treating the resistant MRSA versus Staphyloccocus Aureus, how common each is in the general population, and how future advances include better mobility and even faster testing times. He also explains the role lateral gene transfer plays in the spread of MRSA. Found out more by searching for his google scholar profile and listings. His papers are listed in NCBI under aguiar/alves and his University website is

Google Artificial Intelligence: DeepMind's Irina Higgins Talks about the Field
May 07 2020 18 mins  
Irina Higgins works to develop effective artificial intelligence models for Google's DeepMind project. She explains some essential tenants and goals, including Why accruing single task artificial intelligence components still presents a weakness, What unsupervised learning is and why that's the next leap for artificial intelligence, What roadblocks still stand in front of this and how researchers in Google artificial intelligence might bypass them. After finishing her PhD in neuroscience, Irian Higgins went into the tech world instead of academia and is part of Google's team that works at DeepMind, their artificial intelligence arm. She describes their work as a mix between academia and industry. Their mission is to build something that can solve any task at least as good as any human can. However, she explains that while there's a large group of researchers who think that we just need to put together single AIs who can perform one task and see what they can do in combination, she comments that such systems are still brittle—a little bit of noise can throw the whole algorithm off. She adds that given how the complicated the natural world is, she doesn't think we can come up with enough narrow AIs to handle problems. At this point she brings in her neuroscience, trying to create a model able to make unsupervised transfers of learning as the brain does. For example, we as humans understand the abstract notion of a paddle and a ball and keeping the ball in the air and can transfer those ideas to another game. She adds that if we can get a computer to do that same transfer, that's a huge leap forward. She further describes some of the ways she's trying to get to that point. To keep up to date in this field of research, she recommends following blogs in the discipline, such as Google's DeepMind blog:, and finding AI research scientists on twitter.

Viruses and Evolution Current Research on How Viruses Adapt with Paul Turner
May 06 2020 51 mins  
Professor Paul Turner specializes in the evolution of viruses. He shares how researchers conceive of and approach viruses today, including Understanding viruses as possible "took kits" for other organisms alongside their own evolution toward opportunity; The goals of his own lab, such as studying viruses as ideal forms in understanding evolutionary processes; and Phages (viruses that target bacteria) and their potential to replace antibiotics to treat bacterial infection. Paul Turner is the Rachel Carson Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Yale University. In this conversation, he covers many key topics about viruses and virus RNA and how bacteria and viruses may coevolve. He explains that there are numerous ways bacteria have taken genes and functions from viruses and incorporated them into the bacteria to enable a new opportunity for bacterial life to continue. Further, our human genomes are full of what are recognizably virus genes, or "ghosts of infections past," and we're still not clear how these genes may function. He also covers the tremendous potential for phages to fight infection as antibiotics lose their effectiveness. He talks about some of the roadblocks to this forward movement and how his lab is approaching this research as well as using viruses to better understand evolution as a process and examine pathogenic virus ecology. Along the way he explains multiple current theories on viruses, virus RNA, and even touches on the exciting work in ocean genomics, a field that is able to look even closer at metagenomics. He also talks about the technology available, how now that scientists have more single-cell tools to study and examine viruses, he's more optimistic that we can access the individual cell level to see variation in how certain cells interact with "free riders" like viruses. For more, see his page at Yale University,, and the Turner Lab page,

The Latest in Allergy Treatments with Specialist Lahari Rampur
May 06 2020 23 mins  
Clinician and researcher Lahari Rampur became interested in allergy studies when confronted with underserved populations in India followed by the amazing possibilities for treatments she found in her graduate work in New York. She's since spent her professional career pursing allergy and autoimmune disorder treatments. Dr. Rampur explains to listeners Why it's important to identity true allergic reactions to antibiotics versus tolerable side effects, Which theories may explain the rise of allergies, and How breakthrough treatments work, including allergy shots and biologic medications for asthma. Dr. Lahari Rampur is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Allergy and Infectious Disease, at the University of Washington. The majority of her time is spent in clinical work involving allergy and autoimmune disorders. However, she also researches antibiotic allergies. She explains that while many people have a history of allergic reactions to penicillin and various antibiotics, alternatives can be more expensive and have bad side effects. Her research involves developing important protocols and guidelines therefore to identify who is truly allergic versus those patients who will be able to tolerate those antibiotics. In fact, she's found that 90% of those who've had reactions are able to tolerate the antibiotics at a later time. She shares some general information about allergies with listeners, including genetics versus environmental factors and offers solutions to allergies, from dust mite control measures to allergy shots. She describes how allergy shots work to gradually teach the immune system not to over react to the introduced substance, affecting the behavior of cytokine cells. She also describes some exciting breakthroughs, including biologic medications that work well with certain types of asthma by blocking IgE antibodies. For more, google her name and see her website at the University of Washington:

Engineering a Virus that Infects Tumors: Dr. Tony Reid and the Cancer-Fighting Work of EpicentRx
May 05 2020 31 mins  
Dr. Reid is Chief Scientific Officer and President of EpicentRx and discusses their groundbreaking work. He explains How viruses typically seek out specific cell types, How researchers at EpicentRx were able to engineer a virus to seek out cancer cells for infection, and When the public will be able to utilize this antitumor activity to fight cancer. Dr. Tony Reid obtained his PhD in biochemistry and his MD at Stanford and actually built the foundation of his present work during his graduate efforts there. He begins by explaining how viruses work. For example, adenoviruses have various manifestations that target certain cell types such as lung or gut cells. EpicentRx has taken that characteristic and engineered a virus to attack and kill cancer cells without harming other bodily cells. In addition, the virus alters the immune system so other cancer cells can be seen and treated effectively. Rather than using virus research to create antiviral medication, they've used it to create anticancer medication. Dr. Reid explains the process more closely, how after detecting molecular switches that told a virus to infect lung tissue, they knocked that signal out so it wouldn't be able to infect lung tissue, and ended up with a weakened virus. They went in and sequenced the virus and made very small, deliberate changes so it would infect cancer cells. He discusses the intricacies in more detail, the studies they've done, and says they've already gotten FDA approval and hope to release the medication and engage in antitumor activity this year. He finishes by addressing the coronavirus and says his company is actually working on an antiviral medication, more specifically a vaccine that will be successful for the general public but also for immune-suppressed and compromised individuals such as cancer patients. For more, see the company's website at

Addressing Wheat's Challenges with Rudi Appels
May 05 2020 31 mins  
Rudi Appels has worked with genome sequencing in agriculture for forty years and specializes in the genomics of wheat. He shares his knowledge with listeners, explaining The makeup of the wheat genome and why its complexity allows for its flexibility, Some of the history of wheat's progression, including the strong tie between human and wheat existence, and The biggest challenges for wheat today such as gluten sensitivity and disease resistance and how researchers are addressing these challenges. Rudi Appels is an honorary professor at the University of Melbourne and a Research Fellow at AgriBio out of La Trobe University. He begins by explaining how his interest developed, namely after an opportunity to work on tracking the rye chromosomes in wheat while working on genome sequencing in agriculture. He was entranced by the ability to look at something as specific as chromosomes. He tells listeners about the variety of wheat across the globe—how some varieties can be planted in the fall in snowbound regions and are able to go dormant only to begin growing again in the warmth of spring. Meanwhile other varieties are used in warmer climates like Australia, and are planted in spring and harvested in the fall. He describes the chromosome structure of wheat, how it has three times the number of bases of the human genome and its three sets of pairs compared to our two. This allows for this diversity that's made the human and wheat evolution go hand in hand. He finishes by disucssing Genomics, CropGenomics, cropscience, WheatGenomics. Some of today's biggest problems to address through the genomics of wheat, namely gluten sensitivities people are exhibiting, adapting to global warming, and disease resistance. He adds that disease resistance is and has been a constant issue because the pathogens, fungi, and nematodes will always work to find a way to succeed in their battle for life. He then describes some methods for the genomics of wheat to work toward an adaptability to climate change. To learn more: google his name for a list of his publications and see the work of the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium .

World Bank Lead Economist Wolfgang Fengler on Eradicating Poverty
May 04 2020 26 mins  
Wolfgang Fengler has spent over 18 years at the World Bank. In this podcast, he explains What the World Bank mission to end poverty looks like in day-to-day processes, How their system for offering loans and grants to countries works, and What are some of the greatest successes he’s seen in his time there. Wolfgang Fengler is the Lead Economist in Finance, Competitiveness, and Innovation at the World Bank. He’s lived on 4 continents (North America, Asia, Africa, and Europe) over the course of his work there and is now headquartered in Vienna at the World Bank hub. He talks about the main functions of the World Bank, namely to follow the mission of making the world free of poverty with the goal of longevity always at the forefront of projects. Fengler explains what this looks like on a smaller scale to enhance development and further knowledge transfer. He explains how a loan may develop in a small to medium-sized country, from initiation to weekly meetings to a results-based approach. He also discusses some individual projects, such as a current project in Kazakhstan he’s overseeing that involves a large digital operation and research on the world data economy. He emphasizes the importance of longevity in all that they initiate, from education to infrastructure to health systems. As an example of on the World Bank’s successes, he describes the results of their involvement with Indonesia and surrounding areas after the Tsunami. Finally, he addresses their current actions to mitigate the coronavirus, including mobilizing resources to countries in for health systems and efforts to address the economic effects. They’ve also accelerated projects that would normally take a year and now needs to take a month because the need is so urgent. There are also a number of projects already in some countries that they were able to piggyback on. For more, see If you have a business you’d like them to connect with, see their private sector arm,, and find an IFC office in your country.

On the Future of More Fulfilling Work—John Hagel—Deloitte’s Center for the Edge
May 04 2020 28 mins  
John Hagel is the co-chairman for Deloitte’s Center for the Edge, an organization researching the future of work in a changing world. Tune in to learn the following: Why—contrary to what many people assume—the replacement of jobs by machines will be beneficial to humans and enrich our lives How the distinction between skill and capability is crucial to the philosophy behind the work being done at Center for the Edge How the current coronavirus pandemic will spur discussions about the future of work Hagel brings to the table over 40 years’ worth of experience as a management consultant, author, speaker, and entrepreneur. In this episode, he discusses ways to address the work-related roles of human beings in a rapidly changing world where technology is replacing highly standardized and routine tasks that were once carried out only by human beings. Rather than a dystopian future where human-to-human connections are replaced by machines and human value or potential is diminished, Hagel sees quite the opposite; he sees a future in which technology allows humans to shape the future, redefine what it means to work, and focus on addressing unseen problems and opportunities to create more value and engage in more fulfilling work. The philosophy at Center for the Edge relies in large part upon a distinction between skills and capabilities. Hagel explains that skills have value only in very specific contexts, for example being able to operate a specific machine under certain conditions. In contrast, capabilities have value in all contexts, and include curiosity, empathy, creativity, and imagination. He argues that when companies and organizations focus on cultivating capabilities in their employees, human capital is increased, learning is accelerated, unexpected challenges are better addressed, efficiency is increased, and both employee and customer satisfaction improves. Check out one of the many books published by John Hagel and visit to learn more.

Next-Generation Tissue Analysis Furthering the Field of Immuno-Oncology—Brian McKelligon—Akoya Biosciences
May 03 2020 24 mins  
CEO of Akoya Biosciences, Brian McKelligon, discusses how technology can improve and advance research in the field of immuno-oncology. In this episode, you will learn: How the therapies in immuno-oncology use the immune system to shut down the pathways responsible for unchecked tumor growth, which leads to metastases How the identification of more predictive biomarkers will improve overall health economics Why Akoya’s technology is first being applied to the neurological space and therapies for breast cancer, lung cancer, and melanomas In essence, immuno-oncology is the study of how to treat cancer by unlocking the power of the immune system and leveraging it against metastatic processes. In recent years, therapeutic modalities in this field have been exploding, and the goal at Akoya is to provide technology to scientists in academic, biopharmaceutical, and government institutions who are developing these therapies. The cornerstone of Akoya’s technology is the identification of biomarkers predictive of the success of immuno-oncology therapy for individual patients. Instead of merely detecting whether or not a biomarker is present, McKelligon emphasizes the importance of locating where in the tissues they are present, determining how many are present, and obtaining proximal measurements between biomarkers. Standard technologies are only able to detect up to three biomarkers at a time, whereas the Akoya technology allows for the detection of 30 to 50 at a time, making it an excellent and much-needed tool for next generation tissue analysis. This technology will allow scientists to locate more predictive biomarkers, which will in turn benefit health economics and patient care. Learn more at

Decoding Non-Coding RNA: A Closer Look at the Role of MicroRNA—Shervin Takyar, MD, PhD—Yale School of Medicine
May 01 2020 39 mins  
Shervin Takyar, MD, PhD, is an associate professor at Yale School of Medicine who joins the show today to discuss microRNA (miRNA). Tune in to learn the following: What role microRNA play in cell-to-cell communication How the identification of a particular microRNA has shed light on the allergic response in asthma, and how to decrease that response How microRNA are able to control multiple genes, and why this could potentially have life-saving clinical applications Dr. Takyar holds a medical degree, as well as a PhD in both microbiology and molecular biology. He discusses the discovery of microRNA over 10 years ago, and the subsequent discoveries about their role in the body and gene expression. His research is focused on the interaction between microRNA and endothelium. His most recent work began years ago when he noticed that a vascular growth factor (VEGF) was high in patients with asthma. Up until that point, most of the research about asthma was focused on lung epithelium or immune cells; Dr. Takyar wanted to investigate whether this vascular growth factor also affects the microRNA in endothelial cells. Over the past 12 years, that’s been his primary focus. He has been able to show a correlation between VEGF and one particular microRNA in endothelial cells—specifically in the expression of the Mpl gene, which controls the adhesion of eosinophils (a type of white blood cell present in the asthmatic response). He has shown that when VEGF increases, the specific microRNA decreases, and the Mpl gene is expressed. The relationship between the microRNA and Mpl gene makes sense, since microRNA is known to play an inhibitory role in gene expression. By changing this one microRNA in the endothelium of an animal model, the asthma response decreased significantly. This explanation leads Dr. Takyar to discuss the potential of microRNA as a tool for inhibiting or modulating groups of genes, rather than just one gene. This would confer a huge advantage to the treatment of certain ailments such as lung cancer, where it is known that targeting a single gene does not often produce the desired result. In addition to explaining just why it is that single-gene targets don’t work well, Dr. Takyar discusses a number of interesting topics, including the role of microRNA in cell-to-cell communication, how genes are matched with certain microRNA, how microRNA is able to control many genes as opposed to just one, and the biogenesis of microRNA. Learn more at

A Structured Path to Newfound Hydration—Gina Bria—The Hydration Foundation
Apr 30 2020 24 mins  
Gina Bria is an anthropologist and founder of the Hydration Foundation. She joins the show to discuss an incredibly valuable, newly discovered form of concentrated water. In this episode, you’ll learn the following: Why the environment we live in is so dehydrating, leaving many of us in a chronic state of dehydration (perhaps without even knowing it) How the molecular structure of ordered water differs from the structure of the water found in your tap or ordinary bottle of water Where to find the best sources of structured water, or even create your own for improved health and cognitive performance As an anthropologist, Gina Bria was studying desert communities of humans when she became curious about their ability to survive with such limited amounts of water. She soon made the fascinating discovery that these communities of thriving humans were not using liquid for hydration; they were using plants. This finding led her to investigate these plants, which in turn led her to Dr. Gerald Pollack’s identification of a new form of water called structured water (it also goes by many other names, including ordered water, coherent water, EZ water, coherent domain water, and liquid crystalline water). It has a gel-like quality and superior ability to supply hydration, and is found in all living cells on the planet. In essence, this water is formed when water molecules move closer to one another and share electrons. Surprisingly, this is actually the natural state of water, as it is in this phase when it purifies, cleanses, and activates itself in the hydrological cycle in the planet and inside biological systems. Tap and bottled water have been interfered with, and since the body must use resources to organize it, it can actually encourage poor hydration. Bria founded the Hydration Foundation with the goal of sharing this valuable information with the world. She discusses the many methods of structuring water, highlights the myriad influences in daily life that leave us dehydrated, and touches on the health benefits of staying truly hydrated. Tune in for all the details and visit to learn more.

Virions and Provirus, Oxygen and Algae: Forest Rohwer Talks Research on Viromes
Apr 30 2020 47 mins  
Professor Forest Rohwer's lab invented many of the methods to look at the virome, particularly the uncultured methods utilizing metagenomics. In this podcast, he shares some interesting observations of virus ecology, such as The diverse types and stages of viruses inside humans and on our body, The differences in behavior of viruses in our cells and out and how that may connect to disease therapies, and His current research focusing on ecosystems of the human lung, specifically cystic fibrosis, and coral reef virus ecosystems. Dr. Forest Rohwer is a marine microbiologist and microbial ecologist and professor of biology at San Diego State University. He discusses the complex behavior of viruses in humans, observations and findings that may lead to treating how virions affect cells and how scientists can manipulate that behavior in treatments for pathogenic viruses such as Covid19. He explains that we humans have viruses and bacteriophage, retrovirus, herpesvirus, Torque Teno Viruses (TTV), and more: it's a complex ecosystem. Our gut in particular is filled with phages attacking the bacteria and in symbiosis with bacteria. He provides one example of bacteria in our gut that carry a lot of prophage, which they shed over time. These viruses will bind to the mucus of the gut and forma barrier that will kill bacteria invading our gut, thereby protecting their host. These are the kinds of relationships that reveal this complex relationship. He also talks about his current research into two different ecosystems, namely the human lung in relationship to cystic fibrosis and coral reefs in the context of increased algae due to decreased fish and diversity. He explains how the human and coral system studies both reveal virus behavior, namely how provirus and virions increase or decrease depending on oxygen levels. He explains that this may provide insights for therapies for disease to manipulate virus presence. This may be useful for pathogenic viruses such as Covd19. For more, see his lab page at, where a copy of his book Life in our Phage World is available as a free download.

The Latest in Genetics Epidemiology and Next Generation Genome Sequencing with Sarah Ennis
Apr 29 2020 43 mins  
Professor Sarah Ennis has been in the field of genetic epidemiology for over 20 years. In this conversation, she explains What a dry lab does specifically in terms of understanding disease through data analysis, The types of information they can pass on to clinicians to help them treat patients, and What the future holds as far as the ability to offer molecular diagnoses. Sarah Ennis runs the Genomic Informatics group at the University of South Hampton, which is a dry lab specializing in next generation sequencing (NGS) data and clinical cohorts. She explains that genetics epidemiology in a dry lab setting means she and her colleagues use data analysis to offer information on disease. Specifically, they look at the genome data of patients to understand how and why the DNA mutates and changes and how and why those changes cause sickness in some cases and none in other cases. She offers listeners more detail about the factors they analyze as they untangle what changes are important and how and why. Along the way she is able to explain the logistics of what scientists really mean whey they say they've sequenced a genome, including the focus on the positive strand of the 5 and 3 prime, and how recessive and dominant disease genes are understood in this context. She then ties this information to next generation sequencing, how it offers a less expensive and more sweeping technique to produce the data. Finally, she discusses her present work on analyzing data on inflammatory bowel disease for children and adults. Inflammatory bowel disease is very hard on children who depend on nutrition for growth. Their analysis allows them to tell clinicians if it's caused by one gene in one patient and another gene in a second patient; therefore, the clinician can specialize the medicines accordingly. For more, see the Genomic Informatics group page at the University of South Hampton:

Genomics of Wheat and Biomes of Microbes: Kellye Eversole Brings Agricultural Factors Together
Apr 29 2020 31 mins  
Kellye Eversole has been involved with agricultural research and development since the early 1990s and is currently directing two international research consortia. She explains these projects to listeners, covering along the way The benefits of sequencing the wheat genome How tailoring agricultural practices to the specificity of a particular area and environment could reduce nutrient use and produce more resilient crops sustainably, and Why understanding the phytobiomes (plants in specific biomes) of these specific places is critical. Kellye Eversole specializes in agricultural genomics, biotechnology, and information technology. She directs the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium and the International Alliance for Phytobiomes Research. The wheat genome sequencing effort is a way to build the foundation for a new paradigm in wheat breeding. She explains that while it generally takes 12 to 15 years to develop a new wheat variety, this consortium is providing tools breeders can use to bypass some of those years; those tools can only be developed through access to a high-quality sequence, she adds. As with our advances in human genomics where we are targeting healthcare with a person’s genetic makeup in mind, we can do the same thing in agriculture to create disease-resistant varieties of wheat before a disease wipes out a crop. She also explains that the Phytobiomes Alliance addresses factors beyond genome sequencing in agriculture—regardless of how much you know about a plant, she remarks, growth will be influenced by what’s in the immediate environment down to the specific site and farm—what works in Oklahoma won’t work In New York, for example. Examining the phytobiome is a holistic system approach that strives to understand all the factors that impact a plant in a particular field or forest, so we can use the best crop genetics and management practices for a particular area. For more see as well as the web site for Kellye Eversole’s company,

Spillover Author David Quammen Talks Pandemics
Apr 28 2020 30 mins  
Award-winning author and journalist David Quammen revisits his book Spillover in the wake of our current pandemic. He talks about How the covid-19 pandemic was predicted stage by stage exactly as it has happened, What the possibilities are for another spillover virus, and What can we expect for the next few years and how best to prepare for and prevent future pandemics. David Quammen has specialized in how viruses leave animals that are in close proximity with us. He wrote his 2013 book Spillover about Ebola, bird flu, SARS, and other diseases. It raised concerns over the next spillover virus and future pandemics. He describes how he got interested in the subject after covering a national geographic expedition across the Congo through the Ebola habitat. His interest progressed into research of the ecology and evolutionary biology of zoonotic diseases. He comments that he tried to highlight patterns in his book, and in fact ten years ago had a conversation with a researcher that predicted that exact scenario of the covid-19 eruption, down to the Wuhan market. What has surprised him therefore about this spillover virus has actually been the surprise of the global community rather that the virus itself. He talks more about these past predictions as well as what information and sources he trusts today. He adds thoughts about how he sees the virus progressing and remarks he expects it to take on behavior similar to the measles model rather than influenza and why. He adds that there are going to be other spillover viruses and we need the political will to invest in more investigating, testing, preventing, ventilator capacity, ICU capacity, and more in order to prepare. To find out more, see his website,, and follow his articles in publications like the New Yorker as well as his books such as Spillover. He's currently working on a book about Covid-19.

Plastics in our Water Cycle: Researcher Marco Vighi Talks Ecology Risk Assessment
Apr 28 2020 37 mins  
Aquatic ecotoxicologist Marco Vighi is studying the water cycle in agriculture and presence of plastics. He shares vital information with listeners such has The different sizes and sources of plastic in our water such as micro, macro, and nano plastics; The concern for acute aquatic toxicity and why our inability to measure nano plastics is concerning; and What we do know about the types of plastic sources that harm marine wildlife. Former professor and researcher Marco Vighi works with the IMDEA Water Institute studying acute aquatic toxicity and ecology risk assessment. He's following the water cycle in agriculture, from rivers to irrigation to agricultural application and back to surface water. He begins by explaining it is better to understand in general the origin of micro plastics and consider that nano plastics are the unknown—we don't know anything about their presence because we don't have the tools to measure them or know if they are crossing cell barriers. He explains to listeners that there are two types of micro plastics: first, ones that are intentionally produced at a micro level for products like cosmetics and toothpaste; and second, non-intentionally produced micro plastics derived from the fragmentation of bigger plastics, from synthetic clothing fibers, and from roadside products like tire pieces. He adds that while regulations are in play for the first type, which is less concerning, there is little in the way to control the second type. He explains more about the technical aspects of how these plastics fragment, how ubiquitous they are, and additional struggles with understanding nano plastic activity. For more information, he urges listeners to comb through information with care, learning what is accurate and what isn't. Finally, he says that packaging makes up the majority of harmful plastic and is a source that we can replace with alternate materials and must tackle. For more about Marco Vighi, see

On Bringing Dark Matter to Light—Todd Adams, PhD—Department of Physics at Florida State University, Researcher at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider
Apr 27 2020 39 mins  
Todd Adams is a professor of physics at Florida State University, and a member of the High Energy Physics Group that is working on the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland. He joins the show to discuss the details of this fascinating work, such as the following: How gravitational lensing allows for the estimation of the mass of unseen objects, and how this is used to investigate dark matter In what ways the standard model of particle physics fails to address critical questions and observations in physics What WIMPs (weakly interacting massive particles) are and why Adams is hoping to produce them in the proton-proton collisions taking place in the Large Hadron Collider The Large Hadron Collider is the “world’s largest scientific experiment,” says Adams. It is a particle accelerator that was built underground in Geneva, Switzerland, and is about 17 miles in circumference. It accelerates protons in a circle at a speed close to that of light, with the purpose of observing what happens when protons collide. These collisions are the highest energy collisions ever created in a lab. As many people know from the famous equation E= MC2, energy can be converted to mass, which is the goal at the Hadron Collider; the creation and study of new particles from these high-energy collisions. Adams explains the details of the CMS experiment, which uses a detector five stories in height and 12,000 tons in weight that’s designed to detect the particles produced by the high-energy collision of protons. Once the particles have been identified, the goal is to reconstruct precisely what happened at the time of the collision. So, what’s the ultimate purpose of these experiments? Adams explains that the standard model of particle physics does an excellent job of explaining most of what we see in the world, but it leaves some compelling questions and observations unanswered, namely what’s called “dark matter.” One theory to explain dark matter is the presence of a particle that doesn’t interact like normal matter in that it does not interact with light, with the exception of the gravitational effects of light. Adams also discusses why it becomes harder to accelerate a particle to higher velocities as the particle approaches the speed of light, how protons are brought to such high speeds, the importance of the search for weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs), the significance of the Higgs boson, the uncertainty principle from quantum physics, and so much more. Learn more at and

Origami Screen Turns Windows into Solar Panels: Prevalent Architecture's Ben Berwick Talks Solar
Apr 27 2020 22 mins  
Prevalent Architecture has created a solar panel that collects solar energy and illuminates interior spaces. Founder and director Ben Berwick describes the technology and company goals regarding renewable energy sources, including The basic dimensions and structures of the solar panel and screen, The issue of reflectivity in solar panels and coatings and how Prevalent Architecture addresses these issues, and How their design has been received globally and what the timing looks like for production. Ben Berwick founded his company three years ago with the goal of moving architecture out of the niche market and into use by a more general audience while engaging specifically with renewable energy sources. The Origami Screen is a way to bring architectural design and innovation to a larger audience while utilizing solar energy. He describes the screen itself, which is about 20 millimeters deep. The solar cell is placed horizontally across the window and redirects light across the surface. An optical coating splits the light between infrared and visible light, reflecting the visible light back into the room and the infrared into solar energy. He reminds listeners that health is related to natural illumination and therefore this product would have many applications from urban living to hospitals to work spaces. Currently they are hoping to go into production in the next three years with a prototype in the next year. For more, see

Food for Philosophical Thought—Dr. Nicolas Laos—Philosopher, Author, Religious Visionary, Mathematician, Noopolitics Expert
Apr 26 2020 28 mins  
Dr. Nicolas Laos is a philosopher, religious visionary, mathematician, noopolitics expert, and author of many books including The Meaning of Being Illuminati. He dives deep into his philosophical perspectives and explores the following questions: How the notions of subjective, objective, and absolute spirit are differentiated from one another in Hegelianism, the philosophy of German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel What is meant by the ontological potential of the human being, and how this fits into the overall picture of Dr. Laos’ work How the coronavirus pandemic can be analyzed through a biological, political, and economic lens “I am deeply and systematically concerned with the interplay between fundamental notions such as time and eternity, the relationship between a being or thing and its meaning, the source of the significance of the beings and things that exist in the world, as well as the ontological potential of the human being,” explains Dr. Laos. He continues by expressing his concern for the sociopolitical ramifications of these issues, and the importance of philosophy in addressing these ideas. Dr. Laos explains his idea of the meaning of spirituality, the tenets of Hegelian philosophy which is one of his main areas of research, and ontology, which he perceives to be a heavily under-researched issue in contemporary social life. He also provides a brief analysis of the coronavirus pandemic from a biological, political, and economic perspective, explaining why he believes that at the political level, the coronavirus has “been mistreated” and “used as an opportunity to impose historical changes in a way that clashes with fundamental human freedoms.” Dr. Laos provides unique, compelling, and thought-provoking ideas for listeners to consider, so don’t miss out. Tune in and find out more about his work by visiting

The Next Generation of Prosthetic Limb Control—Blair Lock—Coapt
Apr 25 2020 27 mins  
CEO and co-founder of Coapt, Blair Lock, discusses the focus of his work in the field of prosthetic control. Tune in to learn the following: How the Coapt control system is different than and superior to traditional systems of prosthetic control Why it’s so important for functionality to train the system to recognize when the user is not performing a prescribed motion How the future development of subcutaneous sensors could significantly improve the muscle signals detected and decoded by the Coapt control system Coapt is focused on the control of upper limb powered prosthetic devices. This means that they don’t make anything that you necessarily see; they make the control system that operates behind the scenes. The system is a finely-tuned neurological decoder that takes signals from the human body and converts them to control commands in real time for robotic hands, wrists, and elbows. Lock explains the physiology of muscle contraction and movement, describing processes that emit a “concert of noise and information” at a low electrical level that is detected by the Coapt system and then used to teach algorithms to learn the personalized “music” of each wearer. In fact, it is the user that teaches the device what is intuitive to them, making the prosthesis even more functional and tuned to the individual. Interested in learning more? Press play and check out

Gene Silencing Through RNA Interference--Phillip Zamore, PhD--University of Massachusetts Medical School
Apr 24 2020 28 mins  
Phillip D. Zamore Bio: Phillip D. Zamore, Ph.D. has been an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute since 2008. In 2016, he became the Chair of the RNA Therapeutics Institute, which was established at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 2009. Dr. Zamore also is Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, the department he joined in 1999, and he became the Gretchen Stone Cook Professor of Biomedical Sciences in 2005. Dr. Zamore received his A.B. (1986) and Ph.D. (1992) degrees in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Harvard University. He then pursued postdoctoral studies on the role of the RNA binding proteins in Drosophila development at The Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Dr. Zamore’s laboratory studies small RNA silencing pathways in eukaryotes and prokaryotes, including RNA interference (RNAi), microRNA, and PIWI-interacting RNA pathways. Dr. Zamore and his collaborators seek to use these insights to design therapies for human diseases, including Huntington’s disease. Under Dr. Zamore’s mentorship, the Zamore Lab has produced dozens of researchers working at top institutions both in the United States and abroad. In 2015, Dr. Zamore was awarded the Chancellor’s Medal for Excellence in Scholarship at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. To date, Dr. Zamore has more than 150 publications and has been among the most highly cited researchers for more than a decade. He serves on the editorial boards of numerous journals and is in demand as a presenter at conferences and institutions worldwide. Dr. Zamore holds more than 20 patents, with other applications pending; he was elected a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors in 2014. In 2002, Dr. Zamore co-founded Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (Cambridge, MA), a publicly traded biotech company which now has more than 1000 employees and multiple drugs in clinical trials. Alnylam’s first drug, ONPATTRO, a first-of-its-kind RNAi therapeutic, for the treatment of the polyneuropathy of hereditary transthyretin-mediated (hATTR) amyloidosis in adults, was approved by the FDA in 2018. In 2014, he co-founded Voyager Therapeutics in Cambridge, MA. Chair and Professor at University of Massachusetts Medical School, Phillip Zamore, joins the show to discuss a new method of gene silencing called RNA interference (RNAi). Tune in to learn the following: How the RNAi system is analogous to the basis of vaccination How specifically the method of RNAi prevents a protein from being made and what happens to the mRNA after it has been cut Why RNAi will never replace the knock-out method, and the benefit of combining both methods Zamore states that the world’s diseases can be divided into two broad categories: those with mutations in the genome that can be addressed by turning off the gene forever, and those with mutations in the genome that can be addressed by lowering the amount of a gene product, as opposed to turning off the gene completely. The gene knock-out method is used for the first kind of disease, and the effects of the knock-out are irreversible. This makes the method a good tool for studying model organisms in the lab, but rather risky as a therapeutic intervention for humans. This is where a new method called RNA interference comes into play and holds promise for the future of medicine and the treatment of diseases. RNA interference is a way of destroying messenger RNA (mRNA) in order to prevent the creation of a protein. Unlike other methods, RNA interference uses a natural cellular pathway, which makes it more effective than other mechanisms in turning off disease genes. And just like taking a drug, stopping this process means stopping any unwanted side effects, which means it’s a lot safer and less risky than the knock-out method. There are currently two RNAi drugs on the market, both of which direct small RNA (sRNA) to the liver where the protein in question is made. By way of preventing the creation of that protein, the disease gene is turned down (almost off). Zamore explains why the liver is particularly amenable to these drugs, and the ongoing research and development taking place for drugs that target proteins made in other areas of the body. He also discusses the near-term goal of bringing to market an sRNA drug that blocks the production of a protein in the cholesterol biosynthesis pathway. This drug would function as a replacement for statins, and comes with fewer side effects and would only need to be taken by a patient twice per year. Zamore brings an impressive amount of insight and information to the show, discussing a number of topics in depth but with enough clarity to follow along with ease. Learn more by visting his Google Scholar page at

Global Virus Tracking by Science Consortium: One Health Institute's Jonna Mazet Discusses their Work
Apr 24 2020 30 mins  
UC Davis's One Health Institute (OHI) focuses on problem-solving for emerging infectious diseases and conservation challenges to address global health issues. Executive Director Jonna Mazet shares their Predict project's current findings, including How they have discovered numerous viruses and more than a hundred different coronaviruses, the family to which COVID-19 (SARS CoV-2) belongs; How they identify high-risk transmission zones where people are working with animals in a especially stressful way that would cause virus spillover; and What risk factors they've developed to gauge the viruses themselves through the help of 70 different international researchers. In addition to her work as Executive Director, Joanna Mazet is a Professor of Epidemiology and Disease Ecology at the UC Davis school of Veterinary Medicine. OHI has been working since 2009 to understand viruses that spill over from animals. For the COVID-19 version specifically, they've been using their Predict platform to help global communities predict, understand, and identify its spread. OHI and their Predict project is especially looking ahead to prevention for future global health issues. She discusses the various approaches, from bringing together ministries of health, agriculture, and environment in countries with less resources to communicate and identify high transmission zones. She describes the factors they use to identify high risk zones and means for mitigation. Dr. Mazet also describes the essential efforts to prevent future global health issues such as pandemics, including the need to understand as much about viruses as we do about bacteria. She explains that predicting a virus's harm potential is more about its ability to jump to multiple host species rather than its relatedness to other harmful viruses. In addition, they are testing species that weren't the target host to understand SARS CoV-2 (COVID-19) better and figure out clues to help scientist fight other viruses. To find out more, see the list of published literature on, where maps of their surveillance work with test results and affected species are also posted.

Transplants without Immunosuppressant Drugs: UCSF's Transplant and Stem Cell Immunobiology Lab
Apr 23 2020 37 mins  
Sonja Schrepfer Bio: Sonja Schrepfer, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Surgery, founded the Transplant and Stem Cell Immunobiology (TSI) Lab in 2009 in Germany. In 2015, she joined the faculty of the Department of Surgery at the University of California San Francisco and was Director of the TSI Lab at UCSF. Sonja is scientific co-founder of Sana Biotechnology Inc. which she joined as SVP in 2019. Dr. Schrepfer's research career has been dedicated to making fundamental discovers in transplant and stem cell immunobiology. Pluripotent stem cell (PSC)-based approaches are effective in immunosuppressed/deficient animal models; but in humans, systemic immunosuppression cannot be justified, due to severe side effects and significant risk of infections and malignancies. So far, only a few immunological strategies have been proposed to overcome these hurdles. Work by Dr. Schrepfer is at the forefront of PSC immunobiology and paves the way for treatment of a wide range of diseases – from supporting functional recovery of failing myocardium to the derivation of other cell types to treat diabetes, blindness, cancer, lung, neurodegenerative, and related diseases. She spent many years examining in detail the fetomaternal interface for application to the envisioned cell therapy. Her work with one of the most antigenic phenotypes, antigen-presenting endothelial cells, demonstrates that hypo-immunogenic cells reliably evade immune rejection in allogeneic recipients that are entirely mismatched in their major histocompatibility complex profile, and further, these cells show long-term survival without immunosuppression in mice and humanized mice (published in Nature Biotechnology in 2019). Sonja is currently Adjunct Professor at UCSF investigating the immunobiology in “tissue chips in space”; that is sending tissue chips to the international space station (ISS). She participated in three flight missions as collaborator and was the PI on the SpaceX16 mission (December 2019). This research will provide insight into what physiological effects time in outer space might have on astronauts, with potentially important implications for future longer-term missions, and has the possibility to open the door to fascinating new discoveries that could be used in earth-bound immunology research. Tobias Deuse Bio: Tobias Deuse, M.D. is a cardiac and heart and lung transplant surgeon internationally renowned for his pioneering work in the development of minimally-invasive techniques for mitral valve repair. Dr. Deuse graduated the University of Stuttgart (Germany) in 1994 with a BS in Physics, and in 2000 earned an M.D. from University of Wuerzburg. Dr. Deuse thereafter received advanced training in cardiothoracic surgery at the University Hospital Munich-Grosshadern and University Heart Center Hamburg-Eppendorf. After obtaining his board certification in Germany in 2007 as a heart surgeon, Dr. Deuse completed a surgical fellowship in Lung and Heart-Lung Transplantation at Stanford and joined the UCSF faculty in 2015. Dr. Deuse’s laboratory at UCSF is working on the immunobiology of pluripotent stem cells. To circumvent rejection, techniques such as somatic cell nucleus transfer (SCNT) into an enucleated oocyte (formation of a SCNT stem cell), fusion of a somatic cell with an embryonic stem cell (ESC; formation of a hybrid cell), and reprograming of somatic cells using certain transcription factors (induced PSCs, iPSCs) have been used. However, his work has shown that SCNT stem cells and iPSCs may have immune incompatibilities with the nucleus or cell donor, respectively, despite having identical nuclear DNA (published in Cell Stem Cell 2014). Further, he has demonstrated that mitochondrial (mt) DNA-encoded proteins as well as mtDNA mutations and genetic instability associated with reprograming and iPSC expansion can create minor antigens, producing rejection. His work also demonstrated that even autologous iPSC derivatives are not inherently immunologically inert for autologous transplantation (published in Nature Biotechnology in 2019). This has provided an important, promising avenue for selection of optimal stem cell therapeutics for future clinical applications ¾ via identifying the most compatible starter cell line and monitoring “near match” autologous iPSC products for mtDNA mutations and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) enrichments during the manufacturing process. Director Sonja Schrepfer, M.D., Ph.D., and co-director Tobias Deuse, M.D., explain the lab's research towards understanding and overcoming transplant rejection. They touch on Why finding ways to reduce rejection and successfully find transplantation avenues that don't require immunosuppression drugs is so important, How their research starts with pluripotent stems cells that must be differentiated and then transplanted, Why using a patients' specific stem cells still face rejection due to mitochondrial proteins that eventually form despite gene editing, and How the lab is working toward an "off the shelf" solution by altering proteins that trigger rejection and other means. Drs. Schrepfer and Deuse run the Transplant and Stem Cell Immunobiology Lab (TSI) at the University of California in San Francisco and specialize in heart and lung transplant issues through CRISPR, gene editing,and stem cell therapy. They begin by explaining the many complications a person taking immunosuppressant drugs faces and why their research seeks to address these issues and make for a safer system for patients. Further, they explain that patient-tailored stem cell therapy approaches are not suitable for large populations for several reasons, including the frequent need to treat a patient almost immediately for heart damage or other similar issues. They explain that while they can generate cardiac cells that don't get rejected at first, these cells can develop mutant proteins that causes rejection later. They are following a couple of approaches to address the rejections including learning how fetuses survive the mother's immune system. A big leap forward for the lab was learning how to knock out the molecule that signaled to the immune system its foreignness through CRISPR: in other words, they are learning how to make these introduced cells silent to the immune system. Finally, they describe their "off the shelf" goal of producing non-immunogenic cells ready for injection for a majority of patients and alternatively generating a hypo-immunogenic environment in the patient to prevent long-term rejection. For more, see the lab's web page at

The Future of Work and Digital Economy with Gary Bolles of Singularity University
Apr 23 2020 37 mins  
Gary Bolles discusses work concerns and opportunities, especially with the work-from-home dynamic that's grown from virus precautions. He addresses Ways the pace of change is accelerating in terms of tech, the digital economy, and what we are asking people to do, Some of the most important elements in effective company constructs, including an emphasis on alignment (communicating goals), and Some key specific strategies to follow in the face of the economic downturn to maintain the best in ourselves and our work life. Gary Bolles is the Chair of the Future of Work at Singularity University. He begins the podcast by specifying that the discussions about the future of work starts with addressing present concerns. He reminds listeners that change is accelerating, but also the spread of change is expanding—the skill set demands ask for much bigger switches than in the past—for example, consider the difference in going from a coal mine to computer science. He provides some modern examples of organizational innovations such as the manager-less company and distributed teams. He provides company examples for each and discusses ways these innovations may succeed and fail, but emphasizes what potential each innovation offers. As he acknowledges ways the virus has changed our work life, he advises that as we return to more interactions, it shouldn't be an either/or picture: in fact, a digital economy and technology allows us to build connections faster. Yet it's in-person when we really cement these relationships and can talk with less structure, and that holds creative value. He offers three strategies to follow: be a curious, life-long learner; maintain effective teams; and practice alignment, which means make sure people know what the company goals and priorities are. For more, find Gary Bolles' lectures on LinkedIn Learning and read his article in Techonomy called "Welcome to the Great Reset".

Earth Day Special: National Geographic Explorers Discuss Born Wild and Wildlife Conservation
Apr 22 2020 42 mins  
Beverly and Dereck Joubert are National Geographic explorers-at-large. They are featured in National Geographic's Earth Day commemorative special, Born Wild: the Next Generation. They share with listeners Some stories of the special animals featured in the Earth Day show, Their own concerns about wildlife conservation in the face of coronavirus stresses, and Elemental changes and policy shifts that must happen to take care of our planet. In addition to their National Geographic work, Derek and Beverly Joubert are conservationists and wildlife filmmakers. Derek is also an author and founder and director of Great Plains Conservation, which manages several wildlife reserves in Botswana, Kenya, and Zimbabwe. They've been involved in conversation for close to four decades. They discuss how in Born Wild, their adventure with a lioness and her new cubs is featured and share some of the extraordinary wildlife moments. They also talk about what it is like to be an explorer with National Geographic, how a typical day may start at 4:00 a.m. and end 14 hours later. They remark that National Geographic has encouraged the best in them for both storytelling and integrity. They end with ruminations about Earth Day, wildlife conservation, and climate change against the backdrop of the coronavirus lockdowns and crisis. They express that there's a tremendous opportunity to reassess and change our approach and demand policy shifts from governments toward conservation. They assert that we should be celebrating every day as earth day and give back to our planet host. For more about the special, see

The Endocannabinoid System and Pharmaceuticals: Artelo Biosciences' CEO Discusses their Products
Apr 22 2020 26 mins  
Gregory D. Gorgas, President and CEO, explains what pharmaceuticals his company is developing to work with the body's endocannabinoid system. He touches on How our endocannabinoid system was discovered and how it works, The ways Artelo Biosciences approaches the development of pharmaceuticals, and What three products they are currently working toward releasing. Mr. Gorgas begins with how Dr. Raphael Mechoulam discovered our endocannabinoid system in Israel as he researched the effects of cannabis, trying to pinpoint what receptors it targeted. This allowed him to identify several receptors in our body, discovering this powerful system. Mr. Gorgas explains that the body makes chemicals that target these receptors and the cannabis plant mimics what the body already makes. He then discusses why his company is working on pharmaceuticals to address this system. He says that it's a powerful communication system throughout the body and handles responses to inflammation, stress, and any stimulus which the body would want to address. When the body is overwhelmed, introducing a chemical from outside the body may help this system. He then explains the three ways Artelo Biosciences is trying to target this system through pharmaceuticals: First, a naturally-occurring cannabinoid that's been altered to increase appetite yet avoid the euphoria or high state as a treatment for cancer patients; second, a cannabinoid called EBD with anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory properties; and third, a fatty-acid binding protein-5 inhibitor originally researched as a cancer treatment. For more, see their web site at

Functional Medicine and Cancer Treatment: A Conversation with Marcus Freudenmann of
Apr 21 2020 37 mins  
After several friends were diagnosed with cancer, Marcus Freudenmann went on an intense research journey to try and help them fight the diagnoses. He shares his journey with listeners by describing His global travels and discussions with doctors that lead to an understanding of cancer treatment as process, How one particular doctor taught him to stop looking at treatments and start looking at what needs to be treated, and How he took these conversations and research and created his program. When Marcus Freudenmann's best friend was diagnosed with cancer, he put his German mentality of "we can fix it" to work. After piles of research and ideas about new cancer treatments at hand, from paleo diets to ozone therapy, he had the humbling and demoralizing experience of seeing cancer progress further in his friends despite these remedies. He describes further discussions with one particular doctor who described three patients with the same cancer but very different backgrounds. He learned that an approach to any new cancer treatments, from special diets to ozone therapy, really needs to change its focus. For example, one patient had an intense bacterial presence in combination with living in a high EMF environment while another had a past history of Lyme disease. The doctor designed different treatments for all three patients despite having the same cancer, noting that one should stop looking only at treatments and start looking at what needs to be treated. That's how he was introduced to functional medicine doctors—he saw facing cancer as more of a process of putting a puzzle together. He made a mind map at the time that allowed for a fuller picture and understanding of a patient's situation as part of the treatment plan. This was the beginning of his training program, which he describes as a course-finding evaluation company. They offer a six-part training program that goes into key elements, matching new cancer treatments to an understanding of mental issues, lifestyle factors, physical imbalances, and inherited problems. For more and to access the free part of the training, see

Inspiring Immunity in the Face of Covid-19 with Dr. Tom O'Bryan
Apr 21 2020 36 mins  
Author Dr. Tom O'Bryan shares his thoughts on how to boost immune systems as the coronavirus spreads. He touches on the following issues: Why testing for the Covid-19 antibodies is a beneficial tool, What we should have in our medicine cabinets and on our plates to boost immune systems, and What are some daily habits to reduce stress and improve our mental health. Author and National Book Award winner Dr. Tom O-Bryan is a strong and consistent voice in the medical world. He specializes in functional medicine and works to communicate with and educate the public on all sorts of medical issues. In this podcast he addresses ways listeners can boost their immune system amid the worries about the latest strain of the coronavirus. He reminds listeners of the basic timeline of how the virus hits and discusses the delay from the initial onset of symptoms to the drop to a much worse condition. He explains that this is because the virus can successfully hide in our cells from part of our immune system for a time. He comments that zinc is an effective way to protect our cells in this situation and in general. He also designates vitamin D and quercetin as helpful products to have on hand in addition to zinc and explains why. He then comments on why testing for antibodies is helpful in knowing the best actions to take and in knowing to what degree one needs to worry when the virus flares again sometime in the fall. He also discusses some mental health exercises, why it is important to not embrace junk food but rather eat every color in the rainbow especially now, and he offers several other methods for self-care. For more, listeners can tune in to "Coffee with Dr. Tom" at 9 am pacific on Facebook, Instagram, and his YouTube channel. The talks are being archived and past talks are available. For more and for links to his talks, see

Viruses as the R & D Sector of Evolution: James Shapiro Talks about the Natural History of Viruses
Apr 20 2020 46 mins  
Professor James Shapiro shares his thoughts with listeners on all things viral. In this exploration of molecular biology, he touches on Some of the intricacies and differences in how retroviruses versus other types of viruses behave and affect their hosts; How viruses are sources of new information for cells that may be useful to evolving organisms at critical junctures; and Why he's studying the evolution of cancers in comparison to organismal evolution. James A. Shapiro has been with the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Chicago since 1973. He has written several books, including Evolution: a View from the 21st century. He begins by explaining some of the genome editing virus interactions bring about, including in the virus and bacteria-as-host relationship. He describes the protection phages (viruses that inhabit bacteria) offer bacteria from protozoans, for example. He adds examples of mammal and retrovirus interactions and genome editing, citing placental development as a result. These, he comments, are examples of how viruses introduce new elements into evolving organisms, leading to his virus-as-R & D analogy. Dr. Shapiro also describes this as a one-way transfer system and notes that viruses are part of what we call the biosphere. They are vehicles for cells communicating with each other. On their own, they can't do much, yet they can enact change on their hosts. He expands on some of this molecular biology phenomena and explains that viruses are sources of new information that may be useful to evolving organisms at critical junctions in evolution. He also offers an exploration of cancer behavior and evolution. Cancer is so destructive, he says, because cellular behaviors are enacted that wouldn't normally be, yet cancer uses normal evolutionary processes to change. He's working on understanding cancer by comparing its evolution with organismal evolution and noting the parallels. Finally, he discusses his theory of cellular cognition, and that in the near future, we will think about cells in a more systemic, cognitive way—ultimately learning about living organisms is really learning about how systems behave. For more, see his lab website at, which links to his research, books, and past blogs and articles.

Damaging Disinfectants and Cleaning Considerations—Erica Hartmann, PhD—McCormick School of Engineering, Northwestern University
Apr 20 2020 45 mins  
Erica Hartmann's Bio: Dr. Erica Marie Hartmann is an environmental microbiologist interested in the interaction between human-made chemicals and microbes. Her career began at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she worked on mass spectrometry-based methods for detecting microbial enzymes necessary for bioremediation. She then moved to Arizona State University where she was the first graduate of the interdisciplinary Biological Design PhD program. She when to France on a Fulbright, studying microbes that degrade carcinogenic pollutants at the Commission for Atomic Energy. She began leading studies antimicrobial chemicals and microbes found in indoor dust at the Biology and the Built Environment Center at the University of Oregon and is currently continuing that work as an assistant professor at Northwestern University. Assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Northwestern University, Erica Maria Hartmann, joins the show to discuss the interesting reactions that occur between antimicrobial chemicals and antimicrobial resistance. Tune in to discover the following: Why the molecular biological tools being used can lead to the inaccurate detection of microbes that are actually alive, and why this is a problem How common household paints containing antimicrobial agents might affect microbial communities in the environment How exposure to various microbes early on in life might provide a benefit, including lower chances of developing asthma and allergies Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest global health threats right now, and according to Hartmann, the cleaning products we use, the way we clean, and the assumptions we make about microbes are not helping. Much of her work revolves around trying to understand how the use of specific chemicals impacts the microbes in indoor environments. She explains that while most people operate under the assumption that all microbes are bad, the vast majority of microbes are neutral if not good; ironically, it is the chemicals we use and the way in which we use them that can sometimes be more detrimental to our health, and actually foster the development of antimicrobial resistance. The main goal of Hartmann’s work is to identify the specific impacts of specific cleaning products on different microbial communities, and thereby be able to determine whether the appropriate cleaning agent is being used in the correct way. For example, depending on the specific microbe that's being targeted by a cleaning agent, soap and water might be all that’s necessary, as opposed to a harsh chemical such as bleach. Hartmann is a wealth of knowledge on environmental microbiology and these other incredibly relevant topics, so press play to hear all the details. Visit to learn more.

Advancing Technology and Microbiome Research Amid COVID-19 Pandemic—Rob Knight—Center for Microbiome Innovation, UC San Diego
Apr 19 2020 36 mins  
Founding director of the Center for Microbiome Innovation and professor of pediatrics and computer science & engineering at UC San Diego, Rob Knight, discusses several aspects of his past and ongoing contributions to the field of microbiome research. He also discusses his recent focus on the COVID-19 pandemic. On this episode, you’ll learn the following: Why COVID-19 is causing a very time-sensitive need for serology tests to detect antibodies What dietary factors affect the microbiome in certain viral and bacterial diseases (e.g. salmonella, influenza) Why planting eucalyptus trees outside Australia was a terrible idea, and how this relates to pathogenic bacteria and microbial communities in the human gut Rob Knight helped develop the technology that enabled the field of microbiome research to get where it is today. For example, Knight’s lab has developed software for microbiome analysis, lab protocols for looking at thousands of microbiomes simultaneously, and the American Gut Project, which analyzed hundreds of thousands of microbiome samples from humans to plants to soil and oceanic environments. He explains that while the human genome is fixed, the microbiome is constantly changing. The idea is that if it can be understood what causes or leads to changes in the microbiome, then it may be possible to control the microbiome in ways that confer health advantages. When COVID-19 began spreading globally, Knight was working on a project that aimed to determine the relationship between diet and the microbiome, and how it might make people more or less susceptible to disease. He’s now carrying out this research with an eye towards the current pandemic, and hoping to identify whether there are dietary or supplemental interventions that can help people combat the virus, or prevent symptoms of the virus altogether. Knight is currently trying to develop technology that will allow for a broader, simultaneous view of the entire metabolome and microbiome, and the influence of diet upon them both. “In many ways, COVID-19 is providing a stress test of what we can do right now, which is going to be very useful for pointing the way towards what we need to develop over the next few years,” says Knight. He continues by explaining the importance and challenge of being able to detect antibodies to COVID-19, as this would indicate whether someone has been exposed to the virus and is therefore likely to have immunity against it. Armed with this knowledge, people could re-enter work spaces where the risk of COVID-19 exposure is high, and do so knowing that they are unlikely to contract and fall ill from the virus. He also explains the protocol he’s developing to this end, which includes COVID-19 surveillance of individuals who are at risk but currently unaffected by the virus, testing of individuals who are showing symptoms, and testing of people who have recovered from the virus. Knight dives deep into the fascinating details of this work and the continuously evolving field of microbiome research. He offers listeners with an impressive amount of information on microorganisms, the latest research on virus-host microbiome mechanisms based on animal models, how bacterial and viral infections respond to certain dietary interventions, how microbiome analysis can be predictive for the development of certain diseases, and more. To learn more, check out the following resources:

On the Development of a Genetic Noah’s Ark—Oliver Ryder, PhD—Kleberg Endowed Director of Conservation Genetics, San Diego Zoo Global
Apr 18 2020 25 mins  
Oliver Ryder, Kleberg Endowed Director of Conservation Genetics at San Diego Zoo Global joins the podcast to discuss the Frozen Zoo, the world’s largest, most diverse, most characterized, and most utilized collection of its kind. Press play to discover the following: Why now is a time when more genetic samples can be collected than ever (and the importance of doing so as a result of loss of species and decline in numbers) How many institutions are sending samples to the San Diego Zoo for collection, and how many cells of individual vertebrates are already frozen in this genetic bank What type of useful and unprecedented knowledge the Frozen Zoo will bring about regarding molecular genetics and stem cells Only within the last 60 years or so has it been possible to grow animal cells in the lab, freeze them, and revive them in a way that allows them to resume their function. This technology has made a huge contribution to the field of genomics and conservation science, allowing for a better understanding of the evolution of life, errors in the transmission of chromosomes that cause disease, extinction risks of certain species, and genetic diseases in endangered species to provide better health care and prevent extinction. The Frozen Zoo in San Diego was founded by physician Kurt Benirschke with the goal of helping to conserve endangered species. It now contains cells of 10,000 individual vertebrates (fishes, reptiles, amphibians, birds, mammals) and 1,200 species. This, however, is just the tip of the iceberg; the goal is to continue adding to this collection until samples of all 60,000-70,000 vertebrate species have been obtained. Ryder discusses many fascinating topics, including the collection of several high priority species samples, the increasing need to integrate efforts to save species in natural habitats that are preserved in human care, how scientists can access the database of frozen genetic samples, the Vertebrate Genome Project, how the genetic sequencing of animal genomes can provide interesting insight into human disease assessment, the ethical aspects of this type of work, and more. For more information, visit

A Molecular Mechanism for Mastering Sleep—Ying-Hui Fu, PhD—UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences
Apr 17 2020 23 mins  
Professor of neurology at the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences, Ying-Hui Fu, joins the show to discuss human sleep behavior. On this episode, you’ll learn the following: How genetics could hold the key to understanding how some people not only survive, but thrive off of just a few hours of sleep per night (and how an understanding of the molecular mechanism at play could allow us all to have more efficient sleep) How genes play an important role in human sleep behavior Whether or not it’s actually “better” to be early to bed and early to rise, rather than late to bed and late to rise Ying-Hui Fu, PhD, discusses the focus of the research being conducted in her lab at the Weill Institute for Neurosciences in San Francisco, CA. Her work centers on two areas: the circadian rhythm, and sleep duration. For well over two decades now, Fu has studied and conducted research in this field and found that genetics and genomics play an important role in determining sleep behavior, including whether a person is a so-called night owl or early bird, and how many hours of sleep per night a person needs in order to achieve optimal health and function. “I’m most interested in understanding…how to regulate sleep efficiency, because if we can increase it for everyone, then the incidences of all kinds of disease will drop significantly…and to me that’s much better than trying to find cures for one disease at a time,” says Fu. She continues by explaining the importance of understanding and harnessing the power of sleep efficiency in modern society through an examination of the relationship between genetic information and sleep regulation. Fu discusses a number of interesting topics, including the way in which the benefits of therapies and medicine can be maximized through administration at times that correlate with certain times during an individual’s circadian rhythm, the increasing demand for shift workers and how detrimental night shift work can be for those who are early risers, the way in which sleep schedules change throughout different stages of life (e.g. teenage years versus old age), how a set of molecular reactions related to signals integral to the circadian rhythm regulates more than half of the genes in our bodies, how to measure sleep efficiency, and so much more. Tune in and check out and for more.

The Human Body as a Microbial Ecosystem—Sean Gibbons, PhD—Washington Research Foundation, Institute for Systems Biology
Apr 17 2020 38 mins  
Sean Gibbons, PhD, is a distinguished investigator at the Washington Research Foundation and assistant professor at the Institute for Systems Biology. He joins the show today to discuss the work being done in his lab. Tune in to learn the following: How species diversity in the human gut microbiome may lend itself to health and disease states of the host, patterns seen at the high and low ends of diversity, and how to qualify the meaning of “diversity” What findings Gibbons’ work has shown, including the importance and implications of the intimate connection between the metabolites produced in the gut and the metabolites circulating in the bloodstream What patterns and characteristics are found in the microbiome during aging, and how analysis in this regard could provide predictive information about mortality Gibbons has a background and long-standing interest in the ecology, microbiology, and evolutionary biology of microbial communities, and for the past several years, he’s been studying the human body through this lens. His lab is focused on trying to understand the variation in the ecology and evolutionary dynamics of the microbial communities that drive changes in the molecular phenotypes of host organisms. Gibbons and his team are accomplishing this by looking at the microbiome of healthy and sick individuals, as well as detailed molecular phenotypic data on the metabolome, proteome, human genome sequence, and dietary and lifestyle measurements. The ultimate goal is to understand what amount of variation in the ecology of microbial communities in the human body is coherent with variation in disease states. By doing this, the hope is to determine where the microbiome is involved in the etiology of disease. Gibbons discusses a number of fascinating topics, including the significance of low versus high species diversity in the gut microbiome, how bacteria in the gut compete and interact with one another, patterns found in the relationship between ageing and the gut microbiome, how information about the structure of someone’s microbiome can be obtained by analyzing the metabolites in a sample of their blood, why a reliance on mouse models in the study of the human microbiome is not ideal, how Gibbons’ team is trying to develop methods that will bring research findings closer to showing causality as opposed to just correlation, the importance of longitudinal data and interventional studies for moving the microbiome into clinical medicine, and so much more. Check out to learn more.

Understanding, Diagnosing, and Treating Pulmonary Hypertension—Vinicio de Jesus Perez, MD—Associate Professor Medicine at Stanford University
Apr 16 2020 31 mins  
Dr. Vinicio de Jesus Perez is an associate professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Stanford University, and practicing cardiopulmonologist who specializes in research and the clinical care of patients with pulmonary hypertension. He joins the show today to discuss the details of this interesting and important career, including the following: What the difference is between systemic hypertension and pulmonary hypertension How pulmonary hypertension has emerged as an increasingly common and complex disease since the 1960s, and what signs and symptoms patients generally present with What drugs and interventions can be used to treat different forms of pulmonary hypertension, and the importance of educating and supporting medical professionals in this area Dr. De Jesus Perez begins by illustrating the road that led him to pursue a path of medicine in the field of cardiopulmonology and critical care. He details one of the most difficult and memorable patients he saw in his early days as a medical intern, and how the experience spurred his desire to dive more deeply into an understanding of pulmonary hypertension. He explains the fascinating and somewhat unusual uptick in the number of cases of pulmonary hypertension in the 1960s in correlation with a weight loss drug called aminorex, and the discovery that pulmonary hypertension can be both a disease on its own as well as a complication of other disease processes, including lung fibrosis, left heart failure, kidney failure, HIV, and scleroderma. In order to meet the needs of patients with pulmonary hypertension and properly equip medical professionals for dealing with the disease, Dr. De Jesus Perez’s group was one of the first to establish a pulmonary fellowship program aimed at training professionals to understand, diagnose, and treat pulmonary hypertension. Tune in to hear the full conversation and learn about the many resources for additional information on pulmonary hypertension, including

Virus Vacations – João Marques, Department of Biochemistry and Immunology, Federal University of Minas Gerais – How Viruses Travel and Spread Throughout Populations
Apr 16 2020 40 mins  
João Marques, Department of Biochemistry and Immunology, Federal University of Minas Gerais, provides an overview of his research, discussing viruses and explaining RNA interference mechanisms, arbovirus structure, and more. Podcast Points: How do viruses evade immune systems? What is RNA interference? What can we learn about viruses by studying mosquitos? Dr. João Marques earned his PhD from the Brazilian Federal University of Minas Gerais. Dr. Marques’ work was centered on the interaction between viruses and select host immune responses. Dr. Marques discusses his background and why he became so interested in viruses in particular, and devoted much of his study to them. As he explains, they are fascinating because as small as they are, they can still have immense power within species, when the right conditions are present. He explains why he was interested in viruses, and how hosts recognize virus infections. Dr. João Marques began working with insects and focused some of his studies on the mechanism of RNA interference, a very important antiviral response for most animals. Dr. Marques explains how some viruses are excellent at evading immune systems. He discusses HIV in particular and how it targets cells. Continuing, he explains acute infections, and how some viruses proliferate rapidly, jumping from host to host. The research doctor explains how double-stranded RNA is involved in the process of virus life, and he discusses how systems seek to contain infection. Going deeper, Dr. Marques explains how the production of proteins plays a role in informing other cells that certain cells are infected. The research doctor talks about some of his work and experimentation with mosquitos, explaining infection and how viruses grow. As he explains, there is much still to learn about viruses and infections, and there are many intriguing questions. Continuing his overview, Dr. Marques provides in-depth information on how viruses spread, detailing how the goal of a virus is to grow to a high level but not kill the host. Going further, he explains how viruses may appear, and how viruses that infect humans may have previously been solely mosquito viruses. This virus evolution is a complex process, but it appears to be happening, though more research needs to be done to confirm theories. Wrapping up, the virus expert talks about signature viruses that can tell us a lot about specific biology. He talks about density issues and how viruses within mosquitos mutate.

Virus Vocation – Curtis Suttle, Professor, Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, The University of British Columbia – An Overview of Viruses and Their Many Important Functions
Apr 15 2020 45 mins  
Curtis Suttle, Professor, Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, The University of British Columbia, provides an overview of his work studying viruses that live in the oceans as he explains the ecological importance of viruses and much more. Podcast Points: Just how important are viruses to population and change? What viruses do to exist and fulfill their missions How do viruses infect cells? Suttle talks about his background, and how his early years as a sailing enthusiast opened his mind to the possibilities of learning more about the oceans. Upon discovering research vessels on his early voyages, he was intrigued about their missions. He discusses his PhD work and some of those he worked with who were already studying bacteria. As Suttle explains, bacteria are important, critical actually, to the balance of the oceans. And in fact, more than 95% of the living material in the oceans, by weight, is microscopic. To put this in perspective, these microbes produce about one-half of the oxygen on the planet. Continuing, the PhD discusses his work investigating ecology and viruses, moving into his later studies and experiments studying viruses that might infect phytoplankton. Additionally, Suttle shares the interesting stories from his childhood, as he and his family circumnavigated the globe on their small sailboat. He discusses his journey and the people they met, and how they were able to survive and provide for themselves, etc. Getting back to his remarks on viruses, Suttle explains the paradigm shift that has occurred, in terms of what we know about the ocean’s microorganisms. Cycles are quick and the implications are large, and ultimately it is the microbes that are driving much of the change. Suttle explains how viruses have an important role of maintaining balance within a species, and when there is an overabundance, viruses advance and effectively control the expansion of species. Suttle explains how viruses are incredibly diverse and how they can encode complex genetic information in regard to DNA and RNA. Suttle talks about his early grant proposals for viral discovery, and how he came to study certain areas within his field. He expounds upon the overwhelming number of viruses that exist all over the world, and how they even exist above us, in the atmosphere.

Bacteria and Virus Interactions: Understanding Microbes with Alejandro Reyes Muñoz
Apr 15 2020 38 mins  
Computational biologist Dr. Reyes discusses the basics of bacteriophages (viruses that infect bacteria) and bacteria interactions as well as current research. He covers How the majority of viruses and bacteria interactions are mutually beneficial, in what way, and why; What makes a phage move on to other bacteria, what it takes with it, and what effect that has; and How this particular strain of coronavirus is an RNA virus, what that tells us about how it works, and what it may take to get a vaccine. Alejandro Reyes Muñoz is an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at La Universidad de Los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia. He has investigated the importance of gut health and the interactions of microbes in the gut. In this podcast, he discusses phage-host interactions. He explains to listeners that it is important to consider the biodiversity of all the different environments that exist for bacteria, including the human gut. He explains why the question "what is a virus/host interaction like" is a very complex one. He adds that there are many different ways in which a virus and host need to interact to get to the point of a successful infection. Furthermore, he comments that the worst thing a pathogen can do to itself is to kill a host quickly. He describes more about this complicated and active relationship that has created a city-like architecture of microbes in the human gut, elucidating the importance of gut health. He also explains how genetic material is exchanged between the two and why each gains various benefits and what they are. He also addresses the coronavirus strain we currently are facing and discusses what scientist have observed about its mutation rate as well as the type of virus it is and what that implies about its behavior. Reyes also tells listeners about the complexity of understanding genomes and while scientists may sequence a virus genome, they can't predict what about 70% of that genome codes for. Finally, he describes his current work as developing computational methods to id some of the genes that those phages are coding for. For more information about the coronavirus sequencing, he directs listeners to a phylogenetic tree available at https://nextstr For more about the work of Alejandro Reyes Muñoz, see his lab website at

The Latest in Quantum Technologies with Doug Finke
Apr 14 2020 29 mins  
The founder of The Quantum Computing Report, Doug Finke offers listeners a perfect distillation of the basics of quantum computing alongside the latest advances. He describes The two twentieth century physics advancements quantum computing uses, namely entanglement and super-positioning and what they are, The challenges of quantum computing including the error rate, qubit de-coherence, and crosstalk alongside physical requirements such as the intense cooling, and Current quantum computing industry issues, including the lack of a shared computing language and the attempts to reach a "quantum advantage," a step that will bring quantum computing into the commercial field. Doug Finke has been involved in computing for over 30 years, following industry elements such as semi-conductors, the storage industry, and more. His research and reporting have helped drive the growth of quantum computing. In this podcast, he discusses the differences between classical computing and quantum technologies. First, he explains that our classic computers are based on the physics of the 1800s. He adds that in the 20th century, scientists like Einstein and Heisenberg came up with quantum mechanics—physics that involves entanglement (where two things are linked) and super positioning (can hold a mixture of 0 and 1 at same time). Classic computers of today don't take advantage of that phenomena, he explains, but quantum technologies and quantum computing do. He adds more about the probabilistic form of the answers derived from quantum computing, the need therefore for carefully crafted algorithms, and the accompanying issues of error rates and why. Along the way, he describes the special nature of a qubit and how it holds all of these technologies. He finishes by addressing current industry directions, the possibility of quantum computing commercialization, and what type of access the average user may have. For more see the website,, where you can sign up for his weekly newsletter that summarizes quantum news with applicable links.

Measuring Health, Detecting Illness (Before It’s Too Late)—Michael Snyder, PhD–Snyder Lab, Department of Genetics, Stanford University
Apr 14 2020 34 mins  
Michael Snyder, PhD, is a Stanford W. Ascherman Professor and Chair of the Department of Genetics at Stanford, and Director of the Stanford Center for Genomics and Personalized Medicine. By tuning in, you’ll learn the following: How your smartphone can be converted to your own personal health dashboard, allowing you to effectively manage and monitor your health How continuous glucose monitoring can help people manage diabetes or detect pre-diabetes, as well as determine which types of foods cause glucose spikes (different people experience glucose spikes in response to different foods) What the number one stumbling block is to rolling out various types of technology that can quite literally save lives by identifying illness early on, rather than after it’s too late “To be quite frank, I think the way we practice health care these days is entirely wrong…that is to say we typically focus on people when they’re ill and we really don’t spend much energy trying to keep people healthy…I want to transform that…and actually catch disease at its earliest time so we can really work on health care and not sick care,” says Dr. Snyder. According to Dr. Snyder, the key is in following people while they’re healthy in order to establish a healthy baseline, and thereby detect signs of illness earlier on—before a disease or illness progresses. He says that advanced technologies have the ability to provide people with an unprecedented amount of access to their personal health data, and with little to no effort on their part. The research in the Snyder Lab is focused on sequencing genomes to predict genetic risk for disease, and has shown promising results. Out of the first 70 people sequenced, they found that 12 had clinically actionable information in their genome, including a mutation that placed a patient at high risk for breast cancer, and a gene that predicted a heart defect in a young patient. Dr. Snyder and his team are also using omics technology (e.g. proteomics, metabolomics) to measure as many molecules as possible from a sample of blood in order to ascertain a more precise understanding of a person’s health state. Dr. Snyder discusses the use of wearables that can detect changes in heart rate, temperature, blood oxygen levels, and other metrics in order to not only provide people with an understanding of their baseline measurements, but alert them to unexpected or out of place changes that may indicate disease. Press play for the full conversation and learn more about the work being done at Snyder Lab by visiting

Using CRISPR for Covid-19 Surveillance: Virologists at the Sabeti Lab Discuss their Test Development
Apr 13 2020 35 mins  
Catherine Freije and Cameron Myhrvold are working on a test for the Covid-19 virus that will provide faster results than what's currently in use. They explain Why more prevalent and faster testing is vital in fighting the virus, How the development of a CRISPR-based diagnostic test, which primarily uses a nasal swab collection, can provide faster results—from an hour to a half hour, and The mechanics of how this test actually works with the CRISPR process, Cas13, and reporter signaling, and how the general process has worked with other viral infections. Cameron Myhrvold is a postdoctoral fellow in the Sabeti Lab and Catherine Freije is a Ph.D. student in Harvard University’s Program in Virology and is also working in the Sabeti Lab. These two virologists discuss an exciting step forward in rapid testing for the Covid-19 virus that involves CRISPR. First, they discuss some general concerns of understanding how long the virus may linger and when exactly we can know when someone is contagion-free. They explain that if we could test a lot of people more rapidly, it would be really helpful step forward. They tell listeners that their test is quantitative and can let you distinguish between infection levels that are really low or moderate versus high. They then explain the mechanics of the virus test: basically, they use a CRISPR process called Sherlock that picks a target with Cas13 and amplifies it for inspection through the cleaving process and reporter signaling. They explain that this general process has been used for other viral infections like the Zika virus and Dengue, but must be specified for Covid-19. They add that they are still in the optimization phase, getting the test to work as well as possible. However, the turnaround for use will likely be accelerated by the FDA. They address other concerns about testing for the virus and challenges they may face. For more, see the lab website:

Affordable Dialysis: Accessibility in Poorer Regions with The George Institute's John Knight
Apr 13 2020 28 mins  
Dr. John Knight helped oversee a global competition to produce a more affordable dialysis system. He discusses challenges that face users of dialysis, including the exorbitant cost that makes members of poorer countries more vulnerable to kidney disease deaths, the competition The George Institute set up to find a more cost-effective alternative, and the innovative result and how it may help people across the globe. Dr. John Knight is a Professorial Fellow of the Renal and Metabolic Division and Professor of Medicine at UNSW Sydney and is Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics and Child health at their Children's Hospital. He was in private practice for several years focusing on pediatric chronic kidney disease. He recently joined a non-profit medical research group called The George Institute for Global Health in Sydney. He describes their focus on questions about kidney treatment around the world including dialysis complications and chronic kidney disease: dialysis is highly successful but highly expensive. In most western countries, the community picks up the cost through taxes. The rest of the world can't afford that and many die from their kidney disease instead of receiving dialysis. Around 10 million world-wide need dialysis but only about 2.6 million are able to get it. Knight describes the global competition called the Affordable Dialysis Prize, which The George Institute organized with the following terms: inventors should invent a low cost dialysis that uses solar power, is portable, can purify water from any source, and costs less than $1000 to manufacture. Dr. Knight tells listeners about the winner, about the group called Ellen Medical Devices Party, Ltd., he created to manufacture it, and describes the next phase of making it available worldwide to address dialysis complications and chronic kidney disease. For more, see, where viewers can sign up for a newsletter.

Amir D. Aczel's Family Talks about Finding Zero and the Amir D. Aczel Foundation for Research
Apr 12 2020 34 mins  
Debra and Miriam Aczel, wife and daughter of Amir D. Aczel, talk about goals of the foundation and what they've accomplished thus far. They tell listeners about Aczel's inspirations, including his childhood friendship with a ship's steward that led him on the path to mathematics and science research, The foundation's involvement with K-127, the earliest dated artifact that uses zero, and its place in Cambodia's history, and Future goals of the foundation, including partnerships with groups helping to contribute to upcoming generations participating in mathematics and science research. Debra G. Aczel, co-founder and co-director, and Miriam Aczel , co-director, talk about the Amir D. Aczel Foundation for Research. Miriam is also obtaining her PhD in London on environmental policy emphasizing global environmental change and climate science. In 2019, the Amir D. Aczel Foundation for Research held the "Symposium on the History of Mathematics: The Number Zero" in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Debra and Miriam talk about the symposium as they explain how the foundation lives up to the spirit of what Amir wanted to bring about in the world. They touch on the story of Finding Zero, Amir's love for all things math, and how he believed telling a good story was a vital way to reach people about math and science. His involvement with the k-127 artifact was substantial as he wrote about it as a key to understanding the zero symbol's origin in the region. The 2019 symposium prioritized this important history and Cambodian's place in the story. Miriam explains that the conference itself had two goals centered on sustainability: first, prioritizing the sustainability of relationships they were building between Cambodian mathematicians and world mathematicians; and second, substantiality through food and venue choices emphasizing global environmental change and climate science. For more and to contact the foundation, see its web site at

The Asthma Question: COPSAC's Shiraz Shah Talks about Their Research Process
Apr 10 2020 49 mins  
Shiraz Shah, a Senior Researcher at COPSAC, or Copenhagen's Prospective Studies on Asthma in Childhood, uses microbiology to track and analyze the viruses and corresponding health conditions in the two cohorts that the center follows. This podcast explores The types of data COPSAC is collecting about these children, Findings thus far from seemingly disparate types of data, from effects of fish oil to having a cat, and How a majority of viruses may, like bacteria, be beneficial to living beings and why. COPSAC currently is following two cohorts (or groups) of children with asthma, one born in 2000 and one born in 2010. The research center is trying to figure out why asthma occurs. Asthma is the most prevalent disease in children as well is the most common reason children see doctors and are being medicated. COPSAC is using microbiology and data analysis to understand why. Dr. Shah explains that the center is measuring everything that they can about these children, from when they started daycare to the food they eat to their respective genomes. The prevailing theory centers around the immune system attacking its own body and corresponding inflammation. Examples of single-study findings include one where mothers who take extra fish oil while pregnant have kids who were a third-less likely to develop asthma. He describes other similar findings but ultimately there's no overarching finding at this point. Dr. Shah also describes what microbiology can discover from collecting data on the viruses and bacteria present in these children as they try and understand if, in one example, asthma is really five different diseases with the same physical effect. He explains how viruses dominant our earth and each living organism. As our understanding of bacteria has evolved over the past several hundred years, he describes how our understanding of viruses is also changing and explains how intimately involved they are with human evolution. For more, see and search Shiraz Shah's name in pubmed for his past work on CRISPR.

Meals, Metabolites, and the Microbiome—Henrik Munch Roager, PhD—Assistant Professor, University of Copenhagen
Apr 10 2020 33 mins  
Assistant professor at the University of Copenhagen, Henrik Munch Roager, PhD, discusses a number of interesting topics in his area of expertise: the role of gut microbiota in nutrition and health. On this episode, you’ll discover: What effect a Mediterranean diet vs meat-heavy diet has on the metabolites produced in the human gut How a small capsule can be designed to collect samples from specific regions throughout the human GI tract What Dr. Roager thinks might be at play in personalized responses to diet (i.e. why would one person’s response to a diet differ from another person’s response to the same diet?) When investigating the ways in which diet affects the microbiome, most scientists analyze the composition of microbes in the gut. Dr. Roager is moving beyond this by looking at the activity of microbes in the gut through metabolomics, the study of metabolites produced by the gut. In Dr. Roager’s opinion, the study of these small molecules is key to moving the whole microbiome research field forward. His work is focused primarily on human intervention and cohort studies, where his task is to use mass spectrometry to measure the metabolites in stool, blood, and urine samples in order to detect changes or patterns that occur in correlation with dietary interventions. Dr. Roager shares the findings of past research, including a study that looked at the effect of a whole grain versus refined grain diet on the gut microbiome in overweight but otherwise relatively healthy Danish adults, as well as a Mediterranean diet intervention in which meats were largely replaced by nuts, fruits, and vegetables. He explains the challenge inherent in human intervention studies looking at gut microbiota and nutrition, what type of work is being done by other researchers in an attempt to noninvasively collect samples for analysis from different places in the GI tract, the important role of short chain fatty acids and other groups of metabolites in the human body, and his research goals for the near future, which include looking at personalized responses to diet and nutrition, as well as the gut microbiome in infants. Tune in for the full conversation and follow Dr. Roager on Twitter at @HRoager.

Pain-Free Living: Author Cheryl Meyer Shares Her Journey toward Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle
Apr 09 2020 35 mins  
After turning from conventional medicine when it didn’t offer answers to her health struggles, Cheryl Meyer discovered life-changing information in the functional medicine world. She explains to listeners her own story of autoimmune disease and how she researched her way out of pain, what testing and information functional medicine offered to help her understand what changes to make, and what are some fundamental ways to make similar changes in our own lives such as eating choices and reference sources. Author Cheryl Meyer was living a stressful lifestyle running a high-profile jewelry business. One day she woke up with bodily swelling and so much pain she couldn’t get out of bed. She details this story and how she turned to her regular doctor whose only solution was steroids and therapy, a response indicative of what she describes as our broken healthcare system. After Cheryl turned elsewhere through research, she discovered the world of functional medicine. She then explains how testing revealed she had 18 food sensitives, a concept in functional medicine that conventional medicine doesn’t explore in the same way. She goes into more detail about this testing and her various sensitives and how they led to damage to her gut over time called leaky gut syndrome. She describes how our bodies react to that leaking material, causing even more physical distress. Cheryl explores how understanding her autoimmune disease led to enough life alterations that she’s now pain free. She then talks about coaching others through this process of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, acknowledging how yes, it is hard for people to deal with giving foods up but she says the payback is worth it. She reminds listeners how much better it is to reduce the pain and have so many healthy days. Cheryl believes our broken healthcare system is itself a symptom of our lack of understanding and attention to the toxins that surround us and the foods that are harming us. She is the author of the award-winning It Feels Good to Feel Good and will be publishing another book over the next month. For more information and to contact her about speaking or coaching, see

Searching for Novel Solutions to Bacterial Infections Amid a Viral Pandemic—Kevin Outterson, J.D., LL.M.—Professor and N. Neal Pike Scholar at Boston University
Apr 09 2020 33 mins  
Professor and N. Neal Pike Scholar in Health and Disability Law at Boston University discusses viruses and the role of bacteria in viral pandemics. By tuning in, you will discover: How bacteria differ from viruses, and why antibiotics should not be taken by a person who only has a viral infection Why the number one safety feature in a hospital room is the toilet lid, and why public restrooms may need to be redone in light of the current coronavirus pandemic What types of non-traditional antibacterial therapies CARB-X is looking to support Over the past 15 years, Kevin Outterson has become increasingly interested in researching the market for antibiotics. Initially, he wanted to understand why patents weren’t incentivizing highly effective antibiotics in the same way as other high-priced drugs in the system. About four years ago, he started working in a different yet related capacity in supporting the small companies that conduct potentially groundbreaking research on antibiotics that can effectively treat what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) consider the biggest bacterial risks to human health. Outterson currently serves as the executive director of Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator (CARB-X), which is a company that is focused on combating bacterial superbugs through novel technologies leading to cures, diagnostics, and prevention against bacterial infection. Outterson reminds listeners that many of those who have passed away from the coronavirus fell ill to secondary bacterial pneumonia, and that each year 33,000 people die from drug-resistant bacterial infections. In light of this, he emphasizes the need to attack disease transmission on multiple levels. He discusses the cleanliness and safety of even the best hospitals in the country, and what needs to be done in order to limit infection. Outterson also mentions a few of the most common sources of bacterial infection, as well as one that was seen primarily in veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan who had been injured in explosive events. He explains the difference between viruses and bacteria, the ways in which a person’s immune system can be suppressed (making them more susceptible to infection), how phage therapy works, and so much more.

The Latest in Energy Storage and Environment-Saving Technology—Lindsay Gorril—KORE Power
Apr 08 2020 23 mins  
CEO of KORE Power, Lindsay Gorril, discusses renewable and electrical energy storage systems and technology. On this episode, you will learn the following: Why the energy cost per kilowatt-hour per user has increased in California despite billions of dollars having been spent on solar energy What impact the current global pandemic has had on energy supply and demand What KORE Power plans to accomplish in the next few months, which includes global integration of their products KORE Power has been around for three years, and has been in communication with global companies for about a year. The main goal is to become the leading developer of high-density, high-voltage energy storage solutions for global utility, industrial, and mission-critical markets. As a cell manufacturer, the team at KORE Power produces lithium ion cells and places them into modules which can then be placed in small energy storage platforms or used in massive peaker plants. In essence, these batteries store any excess or what would otherwise be wasted energy so that it can be used at times of low energy production or peak usage times. In turn, this not only makes solar grids and renewables more efficient, but also limits the amount of time the peaker plants are being run, which reduces greenhouse gasses and lowers the environmental impact. Gorril discusses how the coronavirus pandemic has affected the supply and demand for energy, and how it has shed light on the need for and usefulness of more energy storage to alleviate certain challenges. He also explains why cost has historically been one of the greatest constraints on the technology now being developed by KORE Power, a recycling plan for the batteries they produce, how KORE’s technology can be delivered to and used in remote locations where power lines are not connected to large areas or by FEMA during global disasters, the three main parts of a battery and the technology behind the development of such high-density and high-voltage systems, and more. Tune in and learn more at

Recipe for Blood: Researcher Rio Sugimura Describes his Research in Developing Blood Stem Cells
Apr 08 2020 31 mins  
This podcast explores how researchers are working on generating blood from a patient's skin cells for optimal stem cells therapy. When you listen, you'll learn How blood stem cells are produced in our own body and reside in bone marrow before responding to signals to form progenitor cells that will differentiate, What steps Dr. Sugimura is taking to create Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (IPS), and What ingredients are still missing from these IPS cells and how Dr. Sugimura thinks they will be able to solve these issues. Rio Sugimura is a Research Fellow at Boston Children’s Hospital with the Daley Lab working on producing lab-grown blood. First he explains our body's process for making blood, detailing the importance of bone marrow as the home for blood stem cells that generate all types of blood cells in our body. Along the way, he explains the benefits of gene editing and different means of stem cells therapy. Specifically, he is using skin cells instead of bone marrow to generate blood stem cells. He explains the challenges this process presents compared to our natural system and provides two essential categories in which the IPS cells lack the same efficacy. Specifically, these lab-generated IPS cells lack components of genetic regulators that tell the cells how to behave and also lack the environmental benefit a home of bone marrow provides. However, he is working on solutions for these issues, including efforts toward manufacturing bone marrow organoids. He finishes by explaining the next steps in developing and testing how these cells will work in bodies and how this exploration works in tandem with benefits of gene editing. For more, Google his name for papers, see the Daley Lab website, and find him on Twitter as @RioSugimura.

The Rhizosphere Zone: Focusing on the Importance of Plant Health in the Lab
Apr 07 2020 18 mins  
Graduate student Dr. Ayanna Jones is studying the complex rhizosphere surrounding plant root structures. In this podcast, you'll learn The nature of the rhizosphere, a coating-like zone in the soil surrounding plant roots with various interactions between the plant itself, bacteria, and other microorganisms, Roles of these rhizosphere microorganisms in serving the plant's needs such as responding to wounds, and Applications for these findings that show the importance of plant health, from climate change protections to managing lack of crop space. Dr. Ayanna Jones is a chemistry PhD student and is bringing systems chemistry to her work at Emory with a focus on rhizosphere microorganisms. She describes the rhizosphere as a very unique zone with all kinds of interactions including channels where these microorganisms can move about. Some are associated with wounding processes, for example, that help repair the plant. She explains that studying the rhizosphere is important because it allows scientist to better understand how plants regulate behavior at these wounded and non-wounded sites and heal and protect themselves. When a plant is wounded or torn, the act ignites a response from the plant just like humans respond to a wound with certain biological processes such as a release of white blood cells. Dr. Jones is looking at kinetic models of wounded versus non-wounded sites specifically with monocot plants such as sorghum because they offer a simpler model for study. She describes the various strengths of this research approach and elaborates on what they can learn, such as the behavior of a pathogen's ability to wound a plant and how a plant may defend itself. Such findings will lead to healthier plants and better crop production. For more including related publications, see

Origins of Life: David Deamer Explains what Science Tells Us About the First Steps
Apr 07 2020 31 mins  
Research professor David Deamer’s work led to the exciting discovery of lipid material in meteorites that are capable of “self-assembly” into membranous material, a key step in understanding the first cell membrane formation. He explains this and other life-origin elements, such as What scientists think may have happened in “hot little pools” around volcanic activity four billion years ago and how they are recreating these pools in the lab, Additional elements of biomolecular engineering research that enabled their design of these experiments that includes findings of stromatolites in Australia, and Next steps in his work on the road towards the first developments of metabolism and RNA catalyzation. David Deamer is a Research Professor of Biomolecular Engineering at UC Santa Cruz. In this podcast he begins with the early days of his research, including a sabbatical in England when he worked with Dr. Alec D. Bangham, the inventor of liposomes, which are essentially drug delivery compounds made from lipids. Deamer and Bangham realized no one had figured out where membranes came from in the beginnings of life. That began a decade-long research project that included meteorites, lipids, astrobiology, and biomolecular engineering research. After he explains this discovery of “self-assembly” of membrane formation from these meteor lipids, he describes his current research, including steps toward understanding how a cell membrane might surround these other cell elements. He describes how monomers lead to polymers, which lead to amino acids and how nucleic acids eventually arise. He also gets specific about the steps of life and how his research now anticipates the beginnings of metabolism and RNA catalyzation. For more information, he advises searching the NASA website for astrobiology information. In addition, a journal called Astrobiology can be found at major academic research libraries and Nature and Science magazines publish exciting papers as well.

Research Scientist Brian J. Ford Talks Microbiology, Microbes, and Viruses
Apr 06 2020 47 mins  
Professor Brian J. Ford is a prolific research scientist who launched numerous science communication projects for the BBC. In this discussion, he discusses a gamut of relevant microbiology topics, including his thoughts on Covid-19, or with the nomenclature he prefers, this new form of SARS, and various government and population reactions as well as ways we should prevents its spread in our homes, his ideas on the consideration if viruses are alive or not and why, and glimpses of his own historical involvement with microbiology, microbes, viruses, and interesting discoveries, including a look through one of Van Leeuwenhoek’s original microscopes and original samples. Author of numerous books, professor, author, and scientist Brian J. Ford has spent a lifetime educating the public about science through research, projects with the BBC, and traveling the world lecturing. In this podcast, he discusses a variety of subjects about microbiology, microbes, viruses and other similar topics. He begins with a frank talk about Covid-19, which he feels should be more accurately called a new form of the SARS virus, which we faced in 2003. He explains that it is much more infectious, though kills less. But because it is so infectious and many countries have not stopped its spread early enough, it may reach many more people and ultimately be more deadly, therefore. He says many countries and communities minimalized the seriousness, dumbing down the reality of the virus and closing down too late. For example, he points out that in Germany and South Korea, leadership was organized and insisted on tracing every case and its contacts—Germany now has the lowest mortality rate in the world. The conversation also touches on many other subjects such as the often-argued topic of whether viruses are alive and why, including defining what qualities make something alive. He then discusses his sense of the living cell as not just part of our body. He looks at people as a community of living cells, sees us as fruiting bodies rather than an engineered machine of some sort. He then adds interesting stories about his own run in with history such as Van Leeuwenhoek’s original microscopes, his thoughts on microbiomes, and modern theories about healthy eating. For more, see his website at

AI-Driven Discoveries of Novel Antibiotics—James J. Collins, Ph.D.—The Collins Lab, Broad Institute of MIT & Harvard
Apr 06 2020 28 mins  
For the past decade, the Collins Lab at MIT has been focused on using bioengineering principles to better understand antibiotics with the primary goal of discovering novel molecules that work effectively against bacterial pathogens. On this episode, you’ll learn the following: What four primary mechanisms of antibiotic resistance are used by pathogens How AI can be used to identify certain features of molecules out of massive numbers of molecules and amounts of data Where Collins hopes to see his research and applications applied in the coming years James J. Collins, Ph.D., is a professor of medical engineering and science at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and head of the Collins Lab at MIT. About one year ago, he teamed up with colleague Regina Barzilay, one of the world’s leading experts on applying artificial intelligence (AI) to healthcare. The goal was to determine whether the power of AI could be used to address the challenge of antibiotic resistance and bacterial pathogens through the discovery of new antibiotics. They began by putting together a training collection of over 2,500 molecules, including 1,700 FDA-approved drugs. This library was tested against E. coli in the lab to see which molecules might lead to inhibitory activity against the bug. Next, a deep neural network was trained using the data gathered and information about the structure of each molecule in the library. The trained deep neural network was then applied to a drug repurposing library containing several thousand molecules that have already been developed or are in the process of being developed as drugs. The neural network was challenged to identify molecules that are predicted to be antibiotics but don’t look like any existing antibiotics: one molecule fit the criteria, and was named halocin. Halocin proved itself to be a potent novel antibiotic that worked against 35 out of 36 samples of multidrug-resistant, extensively drug resistant and pandrug-resistant pathogens from the CDC. In addition to the details of this exciting discovery that could change health and medicine for the better, Collins discusses the most common mechanisms of bacterial resistance to antibiotics, why gram negative bacteria poses an extra challenge to the search for effective antibiotics, how AI could be used to identify features of molecules that make them amenable to gram negative bacterial uptake, the most useful strengths at the core of the AI technology being used in these capacities, the soon-to-be-launched Antibiotics AI Project, and so much more. Tune in for the full conversation and learn more at

Gun Detection via Artificial Intelligence and Computer Vision Tech—Ben Ziomek—Actuate
Apr 05 2020 21 mins  
Chief Product Officer at Actuate, Ben Ziomek, joins the podcast to discuss a new and potentially life-saving application of artificial intelligence and computer vision technology. Tune in to learn the following: Why and in what ways in can be challenging to detect weapons on camera without the AI-based technology that’s been developed and employed by Actuate How much video footage is necessary in order for this technology to identify and alert the authorities of a potential threat or gun detection How many false positives are generated on average, and the important trade-off between sensitivity and false positives Over the last several years in the U.S., there has been an unprecedented number of mass shootings and active shooter events. Unfortunately, even one second in the delay of an emergency response can cost several innocent lives. Actuate is an AI computer vision-based company that set out to address this problem. They began by speaking directly with law enforcement officers about what would help them mount more effective responses to these situations. One of the most consistent requests from these officers was for a way to determine where an active shooter is located within a building, and what type of weapon they have. In response, the team at Actuate has developed an AI and computer vision technology-based solution that can plug into virtually any security camera system that exists and instantly detect a visible weapon with better-than-human accuracy. In less than a single second, this technology can identify a weapon and alert the authorities. Each time there is an alert, a unique link is generated that can be shared with anyone who needs it, allowing those individuals to instantaneously track the person around the facility. Actuate is working with every type of security platform, and can notify teachers as well as automatically trigger the lock down of any facility when necessary. Press play for all the details and learn more by visiting

Sleep Health and Psychology on Lockdown—Yelena Blank, Ph.D.—Clinical Psychologist and Sleep Expert
Apr 04 2020 18 mins  
Clinical psychologist and sleep expert, Yelena Blank, Ph.D., discusses sleep health and her approach to helping those who suffer from a variety of sleep and psychological disorders. On this episode, you’ll learn the following: What type of patients Dr. Blank sees on a regular basis in the Bay Area, and how the tech industry and companies can play a role in the development of sleep issues, as well as contribute to sleeping problem and mental health solutions What type of approaches and practices Dr. Blank implements in addition to cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (e.g. mindfulness, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)) How the recent coronavirus and subsequent quarantine is affecting people’s routines, psychology states, and sleep health, and how Dr. Blank’s practice is acclimating to the change When Dr. Blank graduated from college with a degree in psychology, she wasn’t sure how she wanted to apply what she'd learned. She decided to take a couple of years away from school to determine what exactly she wanted to do, and it was during that time that she encountered the world of sleep health and medicine, as well as the way in which trauma, PTSD, depression, and anxiety can affect sleep health. She was fascinated by it all, and decided that's what she wanted to pursue. She’s currently a licensed clinical psychologist in the San Francisco Bay Area who provides sleep therapy and online events using evidence-based practices and tips combined with a nonjudgmental and collaborative approach to addressing her clients’ challenges. She discusses insomnia, the ways in which she can fill a gap in treatment for those with sleep apnea, circadian rhythm sleep disorder, shift work sleep disorder, and the fallacy that being a “night owl” is somehow inherently “bad.” She also touches on the ways in which the recent quarantine for coronavirus is affecting many of her patients, and how she’s helping them use this time to their advantage. Press play to hear the full conversation and check out to learn more.

The Antibiotic Revolution: Alexander Fleming Laboratory Museum Curator Shares a Slice of History
Apr 03 2020 31 mins  
Author Kevin Brown established and curated the Alexander Fleming Laboratory Museum in London. He tells listeners about the process of collecting special pieces and information to create an effective display, some lesser-known details about Fleming's life and discoveries, and perspective on how health and medicine history impacts current mindsets. Among other books, Kevin Brown authored Penicillin Man: Alexander Fleming and the Antibiotic Revolution. In this conversation he talks about what it's like to be a historian in this sciences. He tells listeners that he studies the history of medicine because it's a subject which affect most of us—he is studying at a wider history that's also political and societal and affects all of us on a daily level. He adds that the communication of history is where he wants to be: he likes explaining the stories to people, feeling like he is walking in the footsteps of health and medicine history. He comments that there's an excitement that comes to talking to visitors and seeing the excitement in their eyes—perhaps inspiring some to be the Alexander Flemings of tomorrow. He continues with details of setting up the museum, procuring items, accepting special loans, and writing the material. Fleming's son gave the museum some items, in fact, and is a great supporter of the project. Brown shares the story of the summer Fleming made the infamous penicillin discovery, including details about other project of Fleming that lead to his mindset at the time. He also gives some perspective of the scientific mind and health and medicine history from the ancient Greeks to current ways we handle knowledge. For more, see the museum web site at and email Kevin Brown through the museum at [email protected]

Fighting Pathogens with Biotherapy: An Interview with Founder and CEO of RAW Molecular Systems, LLC
Apr 03 2020 39 mins  
Dr. Richard Allen White began RAW Molecular Systems, LLC, eight years after his mother's death from streptococcus complications. His mission is to push science from addressing the theoretical basics to advance to applied states to better serve people and agriculture. He explains to listeners the possibilities that lie with phages to fight dangerous phenomena such as antibiotic resistance, what two specific agricultural diseases his company is working to combat with phage cocktails, and the vastness of virus numbers and ancient place in the natural world's evolution and why they have therefore have tremendous potential to address pathogenic bacteria. Dr. Richard Allen White, III, has been focused on microbiology for the majority of his educational life. He has a PhD in microbiology and immunology from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and a Master's from Cal State East Bay, where he worked on HIV GEC responses. His company works on viruses that affect people, plants, fungi, and bacteria, though currently they are focused primarily on agricultural blights, namely the fire blight, which is a pathogenic bacteria that affects pears and apple crops, and a potato disease called verticillium, which is a devastating fungal pathogen. However, they are moving toward targeting human and bee diseases as well. He describes the very complex yet ancient arms race between viruses and bacteria, and how nature has given us an "Excalibur" of sorts with phages and the benefits viruses can offer us. In this constant battle between bacteria and viruses, a virus will take a clip of bacteria and uses it to defend itself against it later. This constant dynamic means viruses offer researchers numerous means to battle pathogenic bacteria and even other viruses. His company envisions that a wave of new therapeutics will come from synthetic microbiology. He explains that scientist can use natural viruses and combine them with a synthetic process involving phages. Researchers start from nature, knowing how a virus can infect a population, but then predict what will be infected and what they can do to magnify certain actions through synthetic means to fight pathogenic bacteria. For more, see the company's web site at In addition, Dr. Richard Allen White has started a YouTube channel to explain more about their research.

Pediatric Transplantation Challenges and Achievements: Dr. George V. Mazariegos Shares an Overview
Apr 02 2020 32 mins  
A specialist in pediatric transplantation for children facing liver and intestinal disease, Dr. Mazariegos discuss current practices. He explains how treatments can vary among the spectrum of ages and individual situations, advances that allow for a reduction of immunosuppressant drugs, including heightened monitoring abilities for asymptomatic viral biomarkers, and challenges in recommending treatments with possible future advancements in mind. Dr. George V. Mazariegos is the director of Pediatric Transplantation at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. He is an associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh in the departments of Surgery, Anesthesiology, and Critical Care Medicine. While he specializes in children with liver and intestinal disease, the center cares for all pediatric transplantation issues. He gives listeners an overview of transplantation history and explains the particular quality-of-life issues that involve pediatric patients. He comments that most pediatric patients, about 95%, require lifelong immunosuppression; a big focus of his research is understanding why that 5% doesn't need those drugs and what we can learn from them. Dr. Mazariegos explains that advances in viral detection and other monitoring tools have made it possible to reduce the amount of drugs patients need to take to the bare minimum. Therefore, they’ve been able to monitor the side effects and adjust the dosing before complications become significance. He adds a summary of the ways these drugs would change according to life stages various patients face. Finally, he addresses the near-term future of his field, describing the challenge of trying to balance what's "around the corner" with what doctors can and should proceed with for now. For example, gene therapies have been touted as "just around the corner" for 20 years. Therefore, while gene therapy is very promising as half these kids suffer from a genetic condition, it isn't a usable treatment yet. While there has been progress in the delivery of the gene vector, the efficacy hasn't been proven. For more, see his information page at, follow him on Twitter with @CHPtransplant, and email him through his CHP web site information page. He's Happy to chat with parents and patients.

Coronavirus Conversation – Luis P. Villarreal, Professor Emeritus, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, UC Irvine – Viruses, Infection & Coronavirus Updates
Apr 02 2020 55 mins  
In this informative podcast, Luis P. Villarreal, Professor Emeritus, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, School of Biological Sciences, University of California, Irvine, provides an overview of his thoughts on biological changes, virus evolution, viral gene therapy, and more. Podcast Points: Why is coronavirus more concerning than the standard flu? An overview on the origin of the coronavirus How do species continue to thrive while existing with persistent lifelong infections? As a Founding Director of the Center for Virus Research, Villarreal has long been interested in research related to viruses. Villarreal holds a PhD from the University of California, San Diego, and a BS from California State University at Los Angeles, in Biochemistry. Dr. Villarreal discusses the current state of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), commonly referred to as simply, coronavirus. He provides specific information on the origin of coronaviruses. As Dr. Villarreal states, most emerging viruses that go on to cause acute epidemics or a pandemic, typically come from a particular species found in the region that has a persistent lifelong infection. Bats, in particular, harbor a great deal of coronaviruses, as well as other viruses. These viruses are specific to the species and within the host species, they typically show almost no evidence of disease. These viruses are passed from generation to generation in bats, but have almost no effect on bat health; it’s an epigenome of the bat. The research doctor provides some interesting examples of specific studies of mice. He explains the research that shows how mice, like some other species, benefit from the viruses they carry because the virus can act as a way of ensuring a particular colony’s survival. For example, when mice engage in reproductive contact between colonies, the mice that are not colonized with the virus will die off. Dr. Villarreal talks about the ways that coronavirus establishes itself in hosts. This coronavirus is particularly difficult to tackle because it is quite successful at transmission, because hosts who carry the virus will often have no signs, or few signs, of any actual infection. He states that this virus presents a complex problem because it, unlike some other viruses, seems to be acting as if it is trying to establish a persistent infection in humans, in a similar manner to how persistent infections become established in animal species. In this event that is happening now, Dr. Villarreal states that this is an event of communication that has brought technology and science to its knees with the power it has exerted over human biology. Unfortunately, the United States’ delayed reaction, its slow response to the coronavirus, is going to make things worse than they might have been if the virus had been taken seriously at the beginning. Dr. Villarreal talks about some of the medications that are being repurposed for possible treatment of coronavirus. He discusses the clinical trials that are in progress and the need for immediate action. Continuing, Dr. Villarreal talks about the damage to the immune system that coronavirus creates, but details are thin at this point as to why it is happening. Going further, Dr. Villarreal talks about the virus and how it continues to retain its ability to harm in other species. Dr. Villarreal is an SACNAS Distinguished Scientist, and he was recognized with the Distinguished Alumnus Award from California State University, the National Science Foundation Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring, and was elected as Fellow of the American Society of Microbiology.

Microbial Musings—Adam Arkin, Ph.D.—Senior Faculty Scientist, University of California, Berkeley
Apr 01 2020 33 mins  
Dr. Adam Arkin’s research focuses on the synthetic biology of microorganisms, environmental genomics, and molecular ecosystems biology. On today’s episode, you will learn: How many microbes exist in a single gram of soil, and how scientists conduct research in the lab to try to identify how all of these microbes interact and function as a community What bacteriocin is and how it can utilize a partial phage to kill other bacteria directly How to understand the longitudinal dynamic between viruses and bacteria At the University of California, Berkeley, Adam Arkin, Ph.D. is researching one of his primary interests, which is how microbes (i.e. bacteria, archaea, viruses) transform the environment and impact various processes, including the processes that occur in our own bodies. He is working on how to track and characterize groups of microbes, understand how they operate together, and determine the ways in which we may be able to intervene in order to get microbes to do things that are beneficial to us. The largest projects he’s working on involve terrestrial environments, such as the subsurface of a watershed. In particular, Dr. Arkin and his team are researching the microbes in a field behind the Oak Ridge National Lab, where the soil is contaminated with uranium and has the highest level of nitrates on Earth. In that location, microbes breathe in the metals and transform them to immobile and relatively harmless substances. Dr. Arkin explain how this may be applied to the agricultural arena in order to use microbes that mobilize nutrients for crops, protect them from pathogens, increase resilience to drought, and improve their ability to sequester carbon, thereby reducing greenhouse gasses. He continues by discussing the potential of a human microbiome that is resistant to invasion by pathogens and allows us to make better use of nutrients. What’s stopping the development of this? Dr. Arkin explains that despite the growing amount of data being gathered in the field, there are still huge gaps in basic data about the composition and function of microbial genes in a wide range of conditions. Consider, for example, that a single gram of soil contains one million microbes and about 10,000 different species of microbes, and that the human gut contains just as many, if not more. He explains the approach that has allowed his research and the research of others to show that most large community microbial dynamics can be described by much smaller numbers of pairwise interactions. In other words, predictions about a large community of microbes can be made based on observations of smaller number of pairwise interactions among community members. In addition to all of this, Dr. Arkin takes a look at viruses and phages, bacteriocin, mechanisms of cell sensing, the various uses of phages (including those in the therapeutic realm), in what ways his research relies on machine learning and computational biology, and so much more. Tune in for the full conversation and visit and to learn more.

On the Status of Sleep Medicine and Health in the U.S.—Matthew Anastasi—Limina Sleep Consulting
Apr 01 2020 25 mins  
CEO of Limina Sleep Consulting, Matthew Anastasi, discusses the current state of sleep medicine and health in the U.S. Tune in to learn the following: What two processes determine whether a person feels alert or sleepy How the Affordable Care Act signed into law a decade ago has had a big impact on sleep health and medicine Why the differences between in-home sleep studies and lab-based sleep studies are important and how they can result in false diagnoses or undetected cases of sleep apnea For over 20 years, Matthew Anastasi has worked in the sleep industry in various capacities, including as a sleep technologist, author, researcher, volunteer, and conference organizer. On today’s show, he shares his insights on sleep and the valuable knowledge he has gained over the course of his career. He begins by discussing the impact of the homeostatic drive and the circadian clock on our bodies and level of alertness. “The circadian clock is actually embedded in every living cell in our body…every cell in our body…knows what time of day it is, and when you change that, even by one hour, that has a huge impact on the function that each cell has throughout the circadian rhythm,” says Anastasi. With a combination of his years of research and clinical experience in the field, Anastasi established Limina Sleep Consulting as a way of providing a variety of services in the sleep industry, such as advice for companies that want to put forth evidence-based best practices, expert strategic analysis for investment companies, conference organization and lectures for sleep professionals who want to stay ahead of the curve, and support for industry sales and marketing. He explains the specific ways in which sleep medicine practices and policies have changed over the past 20 years, how providers and patients alike are being affected by these changes, and what needs to be done in order to ensure and maintain a safe environment for patients, sleep technologists, and respiratory therapists. He also discusses why it can take months just to see a sleep professional, and five months for a patient to receive treatment after being diagnosed. For patients who are healthy enough, the trend is to move more toward in-home sleep studies, sleep diagnosis, and treatment. Press play to learn about the ways in which Limina Sleep Consulting is working against the challenges and barriers to sleep health and treatment, uncovering avenues for better sleeping problem solutions, and teaming up with other organizations in the process. For more information, visit

Up in the Electron Clouds—Preston J. MacDougall, Ph.D.—Author & Professor, Middle Tennessee State University
Mar 31 2020 46 mins  
You may or may not remember learning about the periodic table in chemistry class and why it’s shaped the way it is. Dr. Preston MacDougall explains the orbital model that’s behind it, and why orbitals are actually just invented mathematical entities. Tune in to learn the following: Why it’s significant to understand the difference between the orbital model and the probabilistic model of electron behavior in chemical bonds and reactions How the vibrational timescale of molecules poses barriers to experimentation, and the complex process by which chemists collect x-ray diffraction data and view molecules vibrating in zero-point motion or harmonic mode What role non-contact enzymes or catalysts play in chemical reactions Preston J. MacDougall, Ph.D. is an author and professor at Middle Tennessee State University, and returning guest on today’s episode. He begins by explaining the orbital model, which he says is a convenient model for teaching early students of chemistry how to understand electron configurations and why the periodic table is organized in the way that it is. However, he says that orbitals are actually just mathematical entities that do not apply to anything but single electrons. Why? Dr. MacDougall explains that it’s because the orbital model assumes that an individual electron is not influenced by the motions of all of the other electrons around it. As opposed to the orbital model, Dr. MacDougall prefers to consider the probabilistic picture, which is that every electron in an atom has a certain probability of being found at a certain point around the nucleus at any given time. This is referred to as the charge or cloud density, and he explains how it changes with relation to the proximity of the electron to the nucleus of the atom. He continues by discussing the vibrational timescale of molecules, which is less than a trillionth of a second. So, how is it that scientists conduct experiments on molecules that vibrate so quickly? He explains the method of obtaining x-ray diffraction data, which begins by the cooling of crystals with liquid nitrogen or liquid helium until they reach a temperature of about -250 degrees Celsius. At that point, molecules reach the lowest possible energy state of zero-point motion, where chemists can then “deconvolute” the electron cloud and make it appear as though a molecule is standing still. Dr. MacDougall expounds on the ways in which the pressure produced by atoms on other atoms can be modified to produce electron cloud changes, explains the octet rule and stability of noble gasses, touches on the applications of quantum chemistry and molecular modeling in drug design, and so much more. To learn more, visit

Meet Cutii: a Fully-Operated Robot Designed to Enrich Social Connection for Housebound Seniors
Mar 31 2020 17 mins  
Richard Marshall is the Business Development Director for the company that has created Cutii, an autonomous robot created to enlarge social connection for seniors who want to age in place at home. He describes some of the robot's functions, including autonomous, infrared sensor movement and ability to learn the living space in which it functions, voice-controlled as well as controllable by family who are outside the home, such as the senior's children, and additional applications such as an adept telemedicine feature and ability to do museum tours and cooking classes in real time. Richard Marshall describes the goal in creating Cutii as a tool to combat loneliness for seniors. He reminds listeners that there's a tidal wave of people entertaining retirement as well as a growing problem of disconnection and loneliness in society, especially for seniors. Therefore, they hope to use Cutii to connect people who want to age in place at home, to allow people to stay at home as long as possible while still communicating in a fuller way with the outside world. He adds that they've deliberately designed it to not imitate a human; rather it is a fully-operated robot that moves along on wheels, is about five feet tall, and it is sturdy and accessible. He provides examples of its usefulness such as a senior's kids' ability to call their mother up and send Cutti to find her in the living space if they are concerned or just want to chat. The kids can control Cutii remotely and find her and then talk with her. Conversely, the senior can control Cutti with their voice and tell it to come where they are for any need, including social connection with distance family and friends. Richard Marshall also explains several design features and how it may serve well in an emergency yet also as an enrichment, for example, as a way to participate in a cooking class in real time. It is in the market now in France and has been successful and well-received. He remarks that it's not YouTube on wheels, rather a newer more flexible way to offer live interactions when you are limited to being in your home. They are starting product trials in the U.S. and should be hitting the market in late 2020 and are ready to talk to channel partners in the U.S. now as well. For more, see the web page at

Mapping Covid 19 through Artificial Intelligence with Dr. Ching-Yung Lin and Graphen.AI
Mar 30 2020 35 mins turned their resources to mapping Covid 19 mutations in late February. Their CEO, Dr. Ching-Yung Lin, explains the process and tells listeners what his company has learned, including the number of mutations thus far by implementing artificial intelligence in healthcare, the patterns it shows under different climates by way of whole genome sequencing analysis, and how and why these mutation data points are helpful for fighting the virus. Graphen specializes in building AI platforms based on graphs to serve sectors such as the financial industry. They’ve worked to identify hard-to-trace global movements such as terrorist networks and money laundering. As Covid 19 began to progress, the company turned its resources to using artificial intelligence in healthcare, plotting and analyzing available data such as whole genome sequencing analysis. Dr. Ching-Yung Lin describes for listeners the steps they have taken. The company assessed what they could contribute to understanding the virus propagation at the end of February. They felt it was an appropriate time for them to jump in and help contribute through using artificial intelligence in healthcare. He explains that different countries are sequencing the virus and sharing the data. Graphen takes this data and shows the mutations, but also shows the parent viruses of these mutations, giving them the ability to map its path. When the virus propagates or replicates, it copies itself. As with any copying process, mistakes can happen in translation--this is essentially a mutation. Mutations are very important indications of how it changes and how it propagates and spreads; therefore, this information is providing the crux for how Graphen can investigate Covid 10’s habits. For example, they are able to reverse-assess the danger a community may be in: they can us the virus sequencing to determining how long it has actually been in the community based on mutations. They are trying to use this information to figure out how it might continue to replicate itself but also how to shut down its replication ability They are sharing the mutation of each virus and gender and age of the diagnosed patient on their web site so people can study the data on their own if they would like. It’s updated every day. Find out more at Contact them through email with questions or information by sending to [email protected] Finally, if you have any ability to get Graphen more data, please consider reaching out to them.

Lung Organoid Research: Advancing Surfactant Protein B Deficiency Treatment with Dr. Sandra Leibel
Mar 29 2020 37 mins  
Neonatologist and researcher Dr. Sandra Leibel discusses her research into a particular gene therapy process involving a lung organoid model. She explains her research and surrounding issues, including the basics of lung research, and specifically the importance of the surfactant process in keeping lungs from collapsing; how mutations lead to the need for surfactant protein b deficiency treatment in babies; and how her model showed positive treatment possibilities but what must happen before treatment is available clinically. Dr. Sandra Leibel is an assistant clinical professor in pediatrics at UC San Diego School of Medicine and a neonatologist specialist at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego. She's currently focused on the lab side of her work involving a gene therapy process. Dr. Leibel created a model using induced pluripotent stem cells, or embryonic stem cells, and differentiated them into three-dimensional lung organoids. She's using these models to test a possible surfactant protein b deficiency treatment. She explains to listeners the basics of lung geography and mechanics and how of the 40 different lung cell types, she uses the epithelial cells in her model. She describes the surfactant production that happens in the distal portion of the lung, which is the furthest portion, yet serves the whole lung by reducing surface tension and keeping our lungs from collapsing. These alveolar type 2 cells can undergo a mutation during embryonic development that damages the b protein of those cell; they cannot then produce effective surfactant. These babies are born needing to be on a breathing machine until they are able to get a lung transplant. However, she's found an exciting advancement in her research, namely that by introducing a virus vector that carried a healthy b gene, she measured signs of the model cells completely normalizing into surfactant-producing cells. In other words, she was able to cure the disease in a dish. She explains the implications of this, the timing for clinical use, and other related issues. For more, google her name and see her page at UC San Diego:

An Integrative Approach to Sleep Disorders and Cardiovascular Health—Dr. Sherif Hassan—International Physician and Keynote Speaker
Mar 28 2020 24 mins  
Dr. Sherif Hassan is an international sleep medicine doctor from Washington DC who focuses on the relationship between sleep disorders and cardiovascular disease, and the benefits of precision medicine. Tune in to learn the following: What impacts sleep apnea and hypopnea have on heart muscles on a short and long-term basis How the oral microbiome, oral hygiene (including the use of mouthwashes), and sleep apnea impact the levels of nitric oxide in the body, and why this is so important for cardiovascular and overall health How the right amount of sleep and exercise, proper nutrition, and the optimization of metabolic and basic functions of the body might be achieved through a program Dr. Hassan is developing Cardiovascular disease is the most prevalent yet most preventable non-communicable disorder in the U.S., and is greatly affected by sleep disorders—in particular obstructive sleep apnea and hypopnea during sleep. Dr. Hassan sees value not only in taking an integrative approach to sleep and overall health of the individual, but also in following up with patients after they have received treatment for a sleep disorder. He explains that the outcomes following some of the most common forms of treatment such as CPAP, BiPAP, and dental appliances are very poorly understood, as is the correlation between sleep apnea and weight and cardiovascular changes, such as heart disease, hypertension, and coronary artery disease. He explains in detail the impact of sleep apnea on the muscles of the heart, and the role of nitric oxide in delivering oxygen to various parts of the body and reversing the damaging effects of sleep apnea and hypopnea. He discusses the relationship between the oral microbiome and oral health on the body’s level of nitric oxide, and ways of increasing the body’s production of it, which include more intake of essential substrates in the form of celery, spinach, and lettuce. Dr. Hassan is trying to come up with a program to optimize sleep and cardiovascular health through the establishment of regular sleep cycles, optimization of hormones and basic function of the body, exercise, and proper nutrition, not just for patients with sleep disorders, but for everyone. Check out for more information.

Dr. Arianne Missimer Discusses The Movement Paradigm, Functional Medicine, and Healing
Mar 27 2020 34 mins  
Cancer-survivor and expert on physical therapy, nutrition, and mindfulness, Dr. Missimer shares her story with listeners. She recounts what lead her to create The Movement Paradigm, from supporting her dying brother to appearing on American Ninja Warrior, her intake process and questions for new patients at the center, and Why almost every health and pain concern she treats is ultimately about inflammation and what to do about it. Dr. Missimer has her Doctor of Physical Therapy and is a Registered Dietitian. She's an inspirational speaker who has appeared on such outlets as TEDX and is the founder of The Movement Paradigm, an integrative health center that bases treatments on mindfulness benefits, nutrition, movement, and the importance of meditation. She uses a blend of eastern and western philosophies in combination with her physical therapy and dietitian training to serve her clients. She begins by describing her journey towards founding the center, one that includes caring for her brother who later passed from cancer, undergoing her own cancer diagnosis and treatment, and then a full realization of her desire to make an impact. She appeared on the American Ninja Warrior show while undergoing cancer treatment, which was quite a challenge, and explains her success by describing the importance of movement for her. She remarks that working and moving have always given her strength. Her work at the center starts with having clients fill out a very detailed functional medicine-themed form that can help her develop some simple first steps. She tells listeners that ultimately she is trying to figure out a patient's antecedents (such as family autoimmune history), triggers (like stress), and mediators (lifestyle factors). Then she picks one place to start so as not to overwhelm. She says she sees lots of SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) and yeast overgrowth as well as food sensitivities and intolerances. Regardless of what the issue is, she asserts, the foundation of most problems is one of inflammation. She brings clients to a healthier, pain-free place through simple steps of movement, diet, an understanding of mindfulness benefits, the importance of meditation, and other techniques. For more, see the The Movement Paradigm web page at

Confronting Inadequate, Unsafe Methods of Medication Tracking in U.S. Hospitals—Gordon Krass—IntelliGuard
Mar 26 2020 25 mins  
Gordon Krass, CEO of IntelliGuard, discusses how the late-stage startup company is making the medication supply chain within U.S. hospitals safer and more efficient. You will learn the following: How inadequate tracking and tracing systems for medications and weak medical inventory control within U.S. hospitals is allowing for the clinical use of counterfeit, recalled, or expired drugs, as well as theft of controlled substances How the automation of tracking and inventory offered by IntelliGuard will be providing a huge relief to pharmacists and anesthesiologists, and improving patient experiences What a full rollout of this technology will look like, and what kind of feedback IntelliGuard is receiving from the 500 hospitals they already serve With the use of radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology and data analytics, IntelliGuard has one ultimate goal in mind: maximizing positive healthcare outcomes for patients. Krass explains that while hospitals in the U.S. today are on the cutting-edge of the clinical side of the business with the use of AI in surgeries, new procedures, and advanced imaging technology, the infrastructure that’s responsible for running hospitals is outdated, relying far too heavily on paper-based documentation and human interaction. “People think the supply chain of medications is secure, the truth is it’s not,” says Krass, citing a 60 percent accuracy rate for inventory of critical medications used in surgeries and other complex procedures. This inadequacy is a dangerous one, leading to the administration of expired, recalled, incorrect, or counterfeit drugs. Aside from labor, drugs and supplies are the highest cost items in hospitals, but despite this, hospitals don’t know where medications are or how much they have on hand at any given time. “Most businesses would not be in business if they operated in this way,” says Krass. He continues by explaining the details of how IntelliGuard is working to address these issues, where some of the greatest weaknesses lie in the current system, and how IntelliGuard technologies will transform hospital infrastructure in the U.S. for the better. Press play for all the details. For more info, visit

Shining a Light on the Fourth Phase of Water—Gerald H. Pollack—Author and Professor at the University of Washington Department of Bioengineering
Mar 25 2020 50 mins  
Dr. Pollack discusses the ways in which the water in your body’s cells isn’t the same type of water in your cup. Tune in to learn the following: How an alternative understanding of the electrical potential of cells could be explained by the fourth phase of water, and how the magnitude of electrical charge of a pathological cell differs from that of a normal or “healthy” cell What type of energy is critical for the transition from ordinary water to the fourth phase of water, and where and when we get that energy What features and properties can be assigned to the fourth phase of water Dr. Gerald H. Pollack is a professor at the University of Washington Department of Bioengineering, and author of award-winning books The Fourth Phase of Water and Cells, Gels, and the Engines of Life. On today’s show, he explains how the water in biology differs from “ordinary” water that we drink each day, and what implications this has for human health and biology at large. He begins by sharing how he discovered the idea that water might have a “fourth” phase, which was through the work of Gilbert Ling, a physiologist and author of over five books on the topic. Inspired by Ling’s work, Dr. Pollack decided to dive into this area of research and eventually write a book that dealt with Ling’s ideas (Cells, Gels, and the Engines of Life). He discusses the experimentation he’s done showing that when water molecules are ordered, they form a crystal-like structure that excludes other substances from entering. This was a critical observation because it proved that there can be regions of water molecules that are not free to bounce around millions of times in a second like they do in ordinary water. Investigating further through multiple experiments, Dr. Pollack and his team found that every feature examined in the exclusion zone of water was different from the features of ordinary water. According to him and many others, this is the type of water that exists in our cells, and it plays a role in nearly every important reaction that occurs inside our cells. He continues by explaining the details of his experimentation, the conditions for exclusion, and the manner or pattern in which exclusion occurs. He also describes how infrared light is the source of energy that allows for the transition from ordinary water to this fourth phase of water, commonly called exclusion zone (EZ) water. He notes the sources of infrared energy in our environment, the ways in which diurnal variation of the amount of infrared energy may be affecting us, and the use of infrared energy as a therapeutic approach for cancer and other illnesses. To learn more, visit

Virus Expert Dr. Frank Ryan Discuss Behaviors of Viruses and Our Coevolution
Mar 24 2020 51 mins  
Author Dr. Frank Ryan has spent a lifetime researching, speaking on, and writing about virus behaviors. His book Virusphere: From Common Colds to Ebola Epidemics--Why We Need the Viruses That Plague Us was just released in paperback. In this exploratory conversation, he explains why calling viruses parasitic is too simplistic and confining, why this is so as he discusses the history of the AIDS virus evolution with humans as an example, and how different mechanics we use to survive, such as placental membranes, are virus derived. Dr. Frank Ryan is an Honorary Senior Lecturer in the Department of Medical Education at The University of Sheffield in the UK. He has authored numerous books, including Virusphere. The conversation begins with an explanation of the behaviors of viruses as symbionts, existing at a continuum between parasite and mutualistic symbiont. Among many other examples he presents, he discusses AIDS, one of the worse epidemic viruses in our lifetime. Yet even at the height of the epidemic, scientist didn't ask if it were a parasite or not. Rather, they asked what aspect of the virus is changing as a result of the human interaction and vice versa. What they found was a change in the patient gene antigen that had to do with the virus evolution—both virus and human genome were actually altering each other's genome; so while this may be a virus near the parasitic end of the continuum, human and virus are still changing each other—it's not just a one-sided relationship. Dr. Ryan offers other examples of the behaviors of viruses to flesh out this coevolution, from viruses and the Brazilian wood rabbit in Australia to mammal placental development. He explains how retroviruses function, replicate, and become infectious. He also explains the process of the Coronavirus, its mechanics within human cell cytoplasm and the replication process. He finishes by explaining the ubiquitous nature of the behavior of viruses having effects we may be unaware of, such as keeping the bacteria from taking over the ocean. For more, you can find his book for sale at

Microscale Manufacturing – Rahul Panat, Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University – An Overview of Modern Manufacturing and Technology’s Important Role
Mar 22 2020 31 mins  
Rahul Panat, Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, provides an overview of his work in microscale additive manufacturing, microelectronics, and much more. Podcast Points: How has 3D printing improved manufacturing? What’s on the horizon for technological advances for the medical industry and patient care? An overview of nanoparticles and applications Panat received an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and secured his PhD in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Panat discusses his work on micro and nanoscale 3D printing using nanoparticles to fabricate devices with new functionality and features. As he explains, their goal is to use this technology to develop new types of biomedical devices or to provide additional functionality to devices already in use. Dr. Panat’s research seeks to enhance fundamental scientific knowledge in an effort to create engineering breakthroughs for critical applications. He discusses printed electronics products and the advanced materials impact factor. Dr. Panat provides examples of some of the work they are doing currently, such as creating three-dimensional structures that can build microscale needles that are used as brain-computer interfaces. The research Ph.D. goes on to explain how they use their advanced technology in varied ways, for example, they are able to create complex 3D structures with high surface area which can help enhance sensitivity in detecting biomarkers. Dr. Panat gets into the details on several of his research areas and provides an analysis of their work goals, providing specific examples on structures, density, customization, and material manufacturing improvements. Dr. Panat explains his background at Intel, in microprocessing. He delves into his work studying micro and nanoscale manufacturing techniques and 3D printing, and his success combining different materials to develop microstructures. Wrapping up, the research expert talks in depth about the practical applications in medicine that can improve patients’ lives.

Fighting Chronic Bacterial Infections in Lung Disease Patients: Dr. Jennifer Bomberger Shares Her Research
Mar 21 2020 34 mins  
Dr. Bomberger tries to understand why patients get chronic bacterial lung infections from microbial pathogenesis, especially Cystic Fibrosis patients. She discusses key elements, such as why lung disease patients lack the effective mucosa latory clearance system of healthy patients, how epithelial cells sequester nutrients and send signals to disrupt viral replication to combat bacterial and viral infections, and why this sequestration led to an understanding of how viral infections might engender chronic biofilms in patients with lung disease. Dr. Jennifer Bomberger is an associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh in The Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. Her lab recently made an important discovery in a microbiology study that may help combat chronic bacterial infection due to biofilm formation in Cystic Fibrosis patients by the Pseudomonas aeruginosa and staphylococcus aureus bacteria. First, she explains some basic tenants of microbial pathogenesis, such as whether healthy lungs have microbiomes and how respiratory tracts might expel bacteria. Then, she establishes why patients with Cystic Fibrosis lack these mucosa latory elevator actions and how the composition of their mucus is also a barrier to the fight. Eventually, the toxic substances their immune system emits is ineffective and the toxins end up scaring the lungs instead. She then describes the nutrient sequestering the immune system undergoes in healthy patients, how cells may "hide" nutrients like iron from bacteria to fend off the microbial pathogenesis. She explains other processes the body undergoes to protect itself and the mechanics of various bacterial and viral infestations. Finally, she explains that in her lab's particular microbiology study, they examined why patients with Cystic Fibrosis tend to get the decade-long bacterial infections soon after a viral infection. They found that the viral infection process disturbs the body's ability to undergo this nutrient sequestration. Now, they continue to study why and how this happens. For more, see her lab's web page at

Gut Bacteria Diversity and Health: Dr. H.J. M. Harmsen Offers Listeners a Solid Explanation
Mar 20 2020 25 mins  
Dr. Harmsen exemplifies the importance of medical microbiology by describing the mechanics and vital nature of gut microbiome diversity. When you listen, you'll learn how aerobic and anaerobic gut bacteria have different functions and effects, how anaerobic bacteria presence translates to the upkeep of anti-inflammatory compounds, and what eating habits we can maintain to feed those important anaerobic bacteria. Dr. H.J.M. Harmsen is an associate professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology at the University of Groningen in The Netherlands. In this discussion he tells listeners about gut bacteria, microbes, and bacteria ecology. He begins by explaining exactly what diversity means in terms of the gut microbiome and correlating health. He articulates the need for a balance of bacteria species, and more specifically, short chain fatty acid-making anaerobic bacteria like faecalibacterium. In fact, a proliferation of aerobic bacteria can bode bad news for bodily health and lead to an increase in pathogens. These short chain fatty acids like acetate, propionate, and butyrate have important functions in our body such as energy sources and anti-inflammatory effects. They help maintain the important gut mucin, which is a type of mucus our gut needs to function. He then explains that these anaerobic gut bacteria, which exist further down in our colon, feed off of fresher foods that are harder to digest and therefore able to make it that far into the digestive process. This includes fresh fruits and vegetables that provide fibers, pectin, and cellulose, foods our gut microbiome depends on for sustenance. Dr. Harmsen is exhibiting the importance of medical microbiology by using these digestive mechanics to better understand Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, which has an inflammatory component. When patients have low butyrate, one of these short chain fatty acids, doctors see leaky gut syndrome for example, when the gut barrier is not functioning properly. He explains how this research may also help cancer patients as they understand how to remove and retransplant a patient's gut micobiome post chemotherapy. For more, see Dr. H.J.M. Harmsen's faculty page at and search for his publications at PubMed and other research publication listings by his name: H.J.M. Harmsen .

The Bat Microbiome: Part of the Bacterial Ecology Puzzle with Dr. Jack Gilbert
Mar 19 2020 22 mins  
Dr. Gilbert studies microbes and recently examined an element of the bat microbiome. In this podcast, he explains what the size of a bat's gut has to do with their different relationship with bacteria and what that implies about their evolution, how humans and bacteria have coevolved, and why this information may help manipulate microbiomes to further our health. Dr. Jack Gilbert is a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California, San Diego. He specializes in microbial ecology and recently published a paper specific to the bat microbiome. He explains what is significant and interesting about the ecology of the bat and bacteria, namely that unlike human animals, their short gut disallowed for coevolution with bacteria in the same manner as humans. Rather the microbes that live on bats depends on their external environment. He explains more about how this is similar to birds and what the implications are. He carries this into a larger picture of what goal scientists may have when studying microbial ecology. Dr. Gilbert and his colleagues would like to gain a closer understanding of how we can shape bacterial proportions by altering their food. They are trying to understand how we can selectively choose the growth of certain organisms by what we feed them—how we can change the course of a human infection by selectively promoting the growth of specific microbes that might make the human host less susceptible to the harm the infection causes. For more, search research collections such as Google Scholar for his name and see his laboratory web site at

Fascinating Fungi—Nicholas P. Money—Professor, Author, and Expert on Mycology and Microbiology
Mar 18 2020 41 mins  
Nicholas P. Money is a professor, author, and expert on mycology and microbes. He joins the podcast today to discuss a number of fascinating topics. Tune in to learn about them all, including the following: How fungi move so successfully without musculature In what ways the reproductive lives of fungi are so unique What role serious fungal infections play in human health each year, and the search for new forms of antifungal medications How genetically modified fungi is used to develop some of the most common drugs in medicine, as well as industrially useful chemicals As a first-year undergraduate attending the University of Bristol in the UK, Nicholas P. Money was captivated by descriptions of a vast group of organisms he’d hardly even heard of: fungi. Since then, he’s passionately pursued a knowledge and understanding of how these organisms work, and has authored a number of books on microbes in general. His area of expertise is in the biomechanics of fungi, which deal with the ways in which fungi move, grow, and reproduce. He dives into the details of his expertise on fungi and shares insights he’s gained from a variety of research he’s carried out in the field. This includes the distance and hydrostatic pressure with which spores are released by fungi, how microscopic filaments on fungi manage to penetrate some of the toughest material that exists, and so much more. Learn more at

Toxoplasma Gon ‘n Did It Again (A Microscopic Look at the Behavior of Toxoplasma Gondii)—William J. Sullivan, PhD—Showalter Professor of Pharmacology & Toxicology at Indiana University School of Medicine
Mar 17 2020 38 mins  
Professor and author of Pleased to Meet Me: Genes, Germs, and the Curious Forces That Make Us Who We Are, joins the show for a second time today to discuss parasites, focusing on one in particular that affects a significant number of people: Toxoplasma gondii. By tuning in, you’ll discover the following: How Toxoplasma gondii enters a cell and then replicate exponentially Why brain tissue is a common place for Toxoplasma gondii to end up, how the parasite behaves once in neurons and nuclei, and how these locations protect it from the host’s immune system and drug interventions How Toxoplasma gondii initiates a starvation response in a host cell in order to obtain even more food without further effort As a graduate student at University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Sullivan had already had a longstanding interest in microbiology when he began doing lab rotations that would ultimately help him develop his PhD thesis. It was during that time that he discovered toxoplasma gondii, microscopic banana-shaped organisms squirming their way through fibroblast cells and growing exponentially until blowing apart the host cell. At the time, Dr. Sullivan was absolutely fascinated by these organisms, and decided to pursue research on them from there on out. He wanted to know the details of how Toxoplasma gondii functions and how it could be impacting human health, so he was particularly excited to learn that a professor in the lab was working on turning Toxoplasma gondii into one of the first model systems for all of parasitology. This would allow for modern-day cell and molecular genetic techniques to be employed—a feat impossible for most other parasites. This would pave the way for avenues of unprecedented research in parasitology. “Toxoplasma gondii is pretty remarkable…many people call it the most successful parasite on the planet because it can infect any nucleated cell in virtually any warm-blooded vertebrate…most parasites have a single host, maybe two hosts,” he explains. Among many topics, Dr. Sullivan explains what type of evidence suggests that Toxoplasma gondii is able to recognize what type of host cell it is in, how the active invasion process works, how long it takes before a host immune response is initiated by the presence of Toxoplasma gondii, how this parasite can affect host behavior and personality, how long the latent stages of the infection can last, and what’s being done to address human health concerns posed by this parasite. Check out for more information.

On the Current and Future State of Organ Transplantation Technology and Medicine—Professor David Mulligan, MD—Yale University
Mar 16 2020 26 mins  
David Mulligan, MD from Yale University joins the show to discuss organ transplantations. Tune in to learn the following: How kidney and liver transplantations currently work and the potential of growing livers and other organs from a patient’s stem cells What kind of progress has been made with regard to limiting immunosuppression and minimizing side effects of immunosuppressive drugs How robotic transplantation programs could improve transplantation success rates in at-risk patient populations Aside from trying to develop technologies and techniques for successful transplantations, Dr. Mulligan has helped implement robotic transplantation programs for kidney transplants, which have shown great success in reducing the risk of post-surgical infections that impede the healing process and overall success of the transplant. He is also working on research involving normothermic and hyperthermic perfusion of solid human organs on ex vivo machines to assess their function and determine whether they can be sufficiently repaired or rejuvenated for use as transplants for human patients in need. “Transplantation…is truly a field that embodies almost every aspect of healthcare,” says Dr. Mulligan. He discusses details about kidney and liver transplants, how immunosuppression works and what’s being done in an attempt to mitigate its negative consequences, as well as what type of research is being done to determine what type of patients may actually do well without the use of side effect-inducing immunosuppressive medications. He talks about the differences between acute and chronic rejection of transplants, the extent to which the liver and gut microbiome may be related to immune system performance, how the choice of which antibiotic to use could be affecting the microbiome and immune system’s ability to recover post-transplantation, and what he believes will happen in the near and long-term future of organ transplantation. Learn more about the work being done at Yale University by visiting and visit for more general information about transplants.

Mini-Brains: The Cutting Edge of Neurological Disorders Treatment Research
Mar 15 2020 23 mins  
Dr. Paula Barreras and her colleagues create spheres of living brain cell tissue from skin cells. They are proving that these brain organoids can offer testing and research platforms normally reserved for animals. This podcast explores the process of growing the organoids, from skin cells to spherical clumps, the brain cell structures these spheres have been able to produce, such as myelin-wrapped axons, and the possible neurological disorders treatment and neurotoxicity issues they will be able to research with these organoids. Pursuing a postdoc at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Dr. Paula Barreras talks about the research involved in creating BrainSpheres. Their mission is to create approximations of the brain to use for testing to predict how a real brain might work. They create small sphere of human cells that they then manage to convert to neurons and glial cells in a cold culture in vitro process, an extremely challenging process to uphold. Applications for this breakthrough include studies into neurotoxicity and neurological disorders treatment. Most brain studies are on animal models, which is an inherently problematic model because of the different biology. Because the organoids are human-based models, they can improve scientists' understanding of brain function and treatment. Dr. Barreras explains that these models have shown evidence of synapses (neurons are talking to each other), myelination, and spontaneous electrical activity. She explains the creation process to listeners, including the move from adult skin cells to stem cells and then to neuro progenitor cells. These then develop into neurons and other brains cells. After explaining additional technical nuances, she articulates some of the most pivotal aspects of this work. For example, because these organoids produce myelin, scientists may use this research to make inroads into treating diseases like multiple sclerosis, which is a demyelination disease. There's also potential for virus treatmenst, such as the Zika virus and a better understanding of the JC virus, which as a human-only virus, has no animal model study possibility. For more, see this Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health web page, which includes a video about the mini-brain:

Finding the Rhythm: Dr. Lee Bartel Talks Neuroscience Music Therapy
Mar 14 2020 43 mins  
Dr. Lee Bartel is a leading researcher and expert on how our cells are affected by sound. In this podcast, he discusses the intellectual journey that brought his music therapy focus to this point, how different soundwave frequencies affect different goals for the patient, from achieving deep sleep to helping attention issues, and how these methods are backed up by research, including for treatment for Alzheimer's, back pain, and depression. Lee Bartel is a Professor Emeritus of Music and a former Associate Dean of Research with the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto. He's also Founding Director of the Music and Health Research Collaboratory. He begins by telling listeners about his road to this point in his career. His graduate work explored the basics of music therapy. As he moved into clinical work, he interacted with kids who'd undergone brain injuries, using music to rehabilitate various cognitive functions. He became more interested in music in relationship to brain circuits and functions. He then began working with Summerset Entertainment, using specific rhythmic structures for brain training, entering further into neuroscience music therapy. These steps in his career expanded his own ideas of how music affected people. He intensified this concept of music as a sound vibration or a pulse stimulus that might affect states like Delta brain waves (our deepest sleep state). In fact, researchers found they could document brain cells firing at the frequency of the stimulus. Therefore, they could use a stimulus to bring about desired brain states like Delta sleep, which measures at about 40 hertz. Dr. Bartel and fellow researchers explored other cell reactions. They found that when blood vessels were exposed to a certain stimulus rates, the vessels would repeat that rate, which had implications for more medical conditions. He explains how these stimulus pulses affect multiples levels of bodily functions and brain patterns, even to the point of intra brain communication, helping one side of the brain synchronize with the other. Such neuroscience music therapy was shown to help kids who'd gone through cancer treatments help renew gamma activity. As the conversation continues, Dr. Bartel gets more specific about the various ways music therapy treats sleep disorders. He notes that typical sleep studies focus on oxygen levels and less on brain cell frequency. But when Dr. Bartel and researchers worked with people who had reported not sleeping well, they found that patients rated their sleep as deeply improved after playing them recordings of pulse rates conducive to brain waves for deep sleep. Dr. Bartel says, however, that what he's most excited about and what's most newsworthy are the studies in pain alleviation and sleep with fibromyalgia patients. They used a pulse stimulus of 40 hertz and saw a dramatic change in sleep, pain, depression, and quality of life ratings for these patients. The implications are substantial: he says this means that we can reregulate brain circuits and cellular function rather than just brain states. He goes on to explain how these studies and methods are also applied to patients who experience depression with satisfying results as well as Alzheimer's patients. He describes the methods for each and includes details about longevity, how the results are cumulative yet need consistent exposure to the pulse stimulus for the treatment to continue holding. Finally, he points listeners to resources, including his website at, which has a link to his popular Tedtalk, a link to buy four of his soundtracks, and a link to buy the tactile and sound device called The Sound Oasis VTS1000, which was used in his research. He notes that his CDs are available on ITunes and Amazon.

Metal Metabolism – Svetlana Lutsenko, PhD, Professor of Physiology at Johns Hopkins Medicine – Human Disorders Associated With Copper Metabolism
Mar 13 2020 30 mins  
In this podcast, Svetlana Lutsenko, PhD, Professor of Physiology, Associate Director for Basic Science and Clinical Relations, Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences, Johns Hopkins Medicine, discusses monogenic human diseases, Wilson's disease diagnosis, and copper’s effects on the body. Podcast Points: Does copper play an important role in the body? An overview of metals, and how copper in animal diets has an effect on fat Should I be worried about getting enough copper in my diet? Dr. Lutsenko talks about her interest in human disorders that are associated with copper metabolism. Copper plays a vital role in the production of neurotransmitters as well as in the maintenance of bones, nerves, and blood vessels. Dr. Lutsenko discusses imbalances in the body, genetic disorders, and copper’s role. The PhD continues her discussion of copper deficiency disease and the treatment of genetic disease, with an emphasis on drugs that can remove copper from the body. Dr. Lutsenko’s research has delved into many important areas of science, such as Menkes disease; animal models for Wilson’s disease; proteomics; metal biology (iron, zinc and copper); as well as membrane proteins biochemistry, etc. Dr. Lutsenko discusses the many things they have observed in animals that exist on a high copper diet. As the PhD states, these animals absorb more fat. She goes on to explain that more copper in the diet can actually end up producing less fat in the body. Additionally, Dr. Lutsenko discusses various treatments and therapies, and the balance that the body needs overall, discussing drugs for treatment, and improvements that could benefit the liver.

Treating Ankylosing Spondylitis – Dr. Scott A. Johnson, Author of Beating Ankylosing Spondylitis Naturally – Why Essential Oils May Be Just What You Need to Treat Your Condition
Mar 12 2020 32 mins  
Dr. Scott A. Johnson, a health and wellness advocate, and author of Beating Ankylosing Spondylitis Naturally, discusses his personal battle and ankylosing spondylitis causes. Podcast Points: What is ankylosing spondylitis? Common treatments for ankylosing spondylitis How can essential oils help? Dr. Johnson discusses his personal journey and he explains in detail the symptoms and issues that come from the condition known as, ankylosing spondylitis, such as significant neck and back pain, especially after resting. The condition can also affect the heart, lungs, and eyes, and reduce overall quality of life. Dr. Johnson is a bestselling author, natural health expert, and naturopath. Dr. Johnson’s book provides valuable information on the connections that link AS, eating, and gut health. Additionally, it teaches sufferers how this knowledge can help reduce their AS symptoms. The doctor’s book looks at evidence-based natural remedies as a means to quiet inflammation, combat and ease pain, as well as manage the difficult complications typically associated with AS. The doctor explains that ankylosing spondylitis is considered to be an autoinflammatory condition, slightly different than autoimmune diseases. He discusses the genetic pathways, and modern treatment techniques, as well as some negative effects of various medicines used to treat the condition. He talks about drugs, injections, and surgery, and how each treatment can be used to help people maintain a higher quality of life. Dr. Johnson explains how he came to the current methods that he utilized to heal his own ankylosing spondylitis condition. He talks about the published papers that he studied, as well as clinical trials for essential oils and what he learned about the significance of them. Engaging in an informative conversation about lavender specifically, he extols the virtues of it, discussing physical and emotional improvement possibilities. As he states, most natural solutions are not designed to stop something as much as they are designed to simply promote natural health balance. Wrapping up, Dr. Johnson talks about case studies and how essential oils have been shown to improve conditions for many, but not necessarily all, patients.

Oral Appliances with Sleep Apnea Dentist Dr. Mark Abramson
Mar 11 2020 35 mins  
Dr. Abramson is a dentist who specializes in sleep apnea and created a specific oral appliance called the Oasys. In this discussion, he explains the health risks associated with sleep apnea, the differences between success rates for CPAP machines and oral appliances, and the three zones oral appliances need to manage and why that makes a difference with sleep apnea. As someone who has researched and applied various techniques to treat sleep apnea through dentistry, Dr. Mark Abramson is able to discuss the process and benefits of oral appliances with effective clarity. In this conversation he explains first why it is important to seek solutions to sleep apnea, from general health issues to a correlation between lack of deep sleeping and dementia. He then describes the blocking that causes apnea and the mechanics for different treatment approaches. He highlights the success rate of oral appliances for several reasons, including the rates at which people stop using or won't even try CPAP machines because of the discomfort and difficulty of wearing the device. He then articulates the approach through dentistry in more detail, describing how oral appliances bring the jaw forward and can also treat other areas that may need addressing such as nasal dilation and small pads that reposition the tongue. His Oasys system is able to mechanically treat all three issues with one device. Finally, he answers additional questions about oral appliances and dentistry such as effects on TMJ, the efficacy of over-the-counter products, and more. For more information, see his practice website: Dr. Mark Abramson DDS in Redwood City, CA, at You can learn more about the Oasys device at Dream Systems Dental Lab in Rosewood, CA: and at Dr. Abramsons' office can also help locate dentists in your area that offer oral appliance treatment.

A Discussion with Leading Expert on Adrenal Gland Surgery, Dr. Tobias Carling
Mar 10 2020 33 mins  
Dr. Tobias Carling performs more adrenal gland surgeries than any other surgeon in America. In this podcast, he offers an overview of the basic functions of the adrenal system, the types of tumors and cancers in the adrenal glands as well as adrenal tumor diagnosis, and the difficulties and goals for adrenal gland surgery as well as ways for patients to educate themselves. Dr. Tobias Carling left his position as Chief of Endocrine Surgery at Yale in 2020 to open the Carling Adrenal Center in Florida. Early in his medical schooling he found the endocrine system worthy of advanced study. Eventually the challenges and diverse array of tumors the adrenal gland presents kept his interest and he made it his specialty. After being at Yale for almost 18 years, he started the Carling Adrenal Center in Tampa to continue giving patients exceptional care. In this podcast he begins by explaining the biology of the glands, such as the three hormones they produce: aldosterone, cortisol and catecholamines. He explains how common it is for tumors to form in the glands and what risks they pose. Primarily, different tumors produce different degrees of hormone levels in the body in excess, which can be toxic. This, he adds, is why adrenal tumor diagnosis is important and sometimes tricky. Some cases, like Conn's Syndrome, can be a silent disease hidden by the presentation of symptoms attributed to high blood pressure. Finally, he explains various issues related to adrenal gland surgery such as when cortical-sparing surgery is advisable and when it's not. Such decisions take into account issues such as the risk of spilling tumors into the body as well as the state of the other gland. He comments that the surgery must be done as quickly as possible yet as precisely as possible because of the vital nature of the surrounding area. To learn more, see the Carling Adrenal Center Website at, which includes a lot of information to help readers better understand everything from lab numbers to different issues to consider. They've made a concerted effort to help patients educate themselves.

How Your Dad’s Environmental Responses Could Be Impacting Yours—Oliver Rando—Rando Lab, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Mar 09 2020 37 mins  
Oliver Rando is a professor and head of the Rando Lab at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He joins the show to discuss his research on epigenetic inheritance. You’ll learn the following: How the research being done in Rando’s lab has shown that in mouse models, a father’s environment can influence some phenotypes in children When the first example of epigenetic inheritance was discovered in mammals, and how it adds to the understanding of both Prader-Willi syndrome and Angelman syndrome Whether or not the evidence suggests that changes through epigenetic inheritance may be additive in nature or have the ability to be “locked in” after multiple generations are exposed When data that doesn’t belong to the DNA sequence itself affects the phenotype of an organism in some way, and when that phenotypic change is passed on from a parent to a child, epigenetic inheritance is said to occur. It was only two or three decades ago that there was near consensus in the scientific community that epigenetic information could not be passed between generations. However, a growing number of research studies are now showing that that’s simply not the case. One such study is taking place in Oliver Rando’s lab, where he and his team are using mouse models to demonstrate that the environmental conditions of a father can impact the phenotype of the father’s offspring. In addition to discussing the details of his research, Rando touches on the nature of some other interesting types of research going on in the area of epigenetic inheritance. He also talks about the limitations and gaps in this type of research, and what he aims to accomplish in the coming years. Tune in for the full conversation and learn more at

The Fat Burning Man Opens Up about His Process: A Conversation with Abel James
Mar 08 2020 36 mins  
Health coach, author, and top-ranking podcast host Abel James discusses his journey towards health and fitness. When you listen in, you'll hear How a health crisis in his twenties led to today's healthy approach, What his personal daily eating habits are in terms of interval fasting, and Tips on starting a similar path for your own health and fitness goals. Abel James hosts the popular podcast Fat Burning Man, writes a blog, and has published several books including The Wild Diet. In this conversation, he shares why he first decided to shift away from popular eating trends towards a direction that made more sense for what his body was telling him. As he turned away from the carb-loading habit runner's magazines were advising and embraced whole foods, he found a dramatically different health and fitness level. He talks about the fear-based approach mainstream voices lend to eating choices as well as the circular nature of eating processed foods and experiencing increased cravings for more unhealthy foods. Abel notes that when we step back and eat more as our grandparents might have with a focus on less processed ingredients and more substance, we end up healthier. He also brings in how this different eating emphasis lends itself to interval fasting. By eating more satisfying foods that don't induce craving, ultimately he's able to spend less time eating and more time being active and productive. For more, see his web page at, which links to his blog, podcasts, and books. It also provides a way to contact him for coaching opportunities and links to courses.

The Latest in Liver Regeneration Research: DR. Sanjeev Gupta Zeros in on Liver Diseases
Mar 08 2020 40 mins  
Dr. Gupta, a leading expert on liver processes and gastroenterology, explains both the science behind how the liver works and the latest efforts towards treating liver diseases. He discusses: The types of damage that preclude liver regeneration, such as Tylenol overdoses, and why doctors then turn to liver transplants, How liver transplants work across different liver damage scenarios, and Additional new treatments and research such as tissue engineering, liver regeneration through drug-based approaches, and therapy through cell transplants. Dr. Gupta is a professor of medicine specializing in gastroenterology and liver diseases at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and serves as the Eleazar and Feige Reicher Chair in Translational Medicine. In this podcast, he answers questions about how the liver works, what makes it stop working, and the many ways doctors can then approach medical treatments. He explains that understanding how the liver is divided, from lobes and sub-compartments to drainage ducts and blood vessels, is important in how a successful transplant and then regeneration can move forward for both the donor and the patient with the damaged liver in cases of liver diseases. But he also explains the immense variety of approaches therein, such as some patients having a "temporary liver" implanted for use until their native liver has more time to regenerate and heal. Dr. Gupta also explains how the gastroenterology system initiates liver regeneration in conditions of liver diseases. He describes the two pathways toward self-regeneration: hepatocyte division and stem cell or progenitor cell activation. But he also explains how these pathways are connected to liver cancers alongside additional risk factors. Finally, Dr. Gupta comments that researchers can learn from how the liver functions and apply this activity to cures for other organ diseases such as diabetes when the cells stop making insulin. There's hope that the liver regeneration system can lead to the successful regeneration of the insulin-making cells. He finishes the conversation by discussing recent breakthroughs in treating liver diseases such as drug-based therapies to enhance liver regeneration. For more, including links to his papers, see his web page at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine:

Magnifying the Genome: Dr. Prashanth N. Suravajhala Takes a Closer Look
Mar 07 2020 36 mins  
Dr. Suravajhala works as a dry biologist in next-generation genome-sequencing research. In this podcast, he explains what we still don't know about the human genome despite the first sequencing in 2003, the difference between introns and exons, and what exactly next-generation sequencing offers scientists in locating mutations that lead to disease. Dr. Suravajhala is a Senior Scientist of Systems Biology in the Department of Biotechnology and Bioinformatics at Birla Institute in Jaipur, India. He works on next-generation sequencing to better-identify disease-causing mutations. Specifically, this means he works with the protein-coding exome, which makes up about 1.8% of the genome in an arrangement of exons. As a dry biologist working in systems biology and clinical exomes, he utilizes the newest technology to get a closer look at these exons for sequencing, separating out what is called exon "chunks." To explain next-generation sequencing compared to the initial sequencing, he uses an aerial view analogy, likening the next-generation work as akin to 100x while the 2003 view is more of a 10x magnification. He explains this in more detail and describes how this larger map of about 150 bases at a time can help identify disease-causing mutations, such as a case he worked on that involved the rare disease pouch colon. He and his team were able to identify the mutations that were only present in affected family members. For more information, search pub med and google scholar for papers by Dr. Prashanth N Suravajhala.

A Conversation About the Building Blocks of Life with Roy A. Black, PhD
Mar 07 2020 35 mins  
Roy A. Black holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry and is a professor at the University of Washington. His research expertise has to do with something that almost every human being has wondered at one point or another: how did life as we know it comes to be? On today’s podcast, Dr. Black talks about the following: What explanation might account for the development and survival of cells despite harsh environments in early life How the relationship between complexity and stability might explain the aggregation of the building blocks of life (e.g. RNA, proteins, fatty acids) How it comes to be that forces like natural selection act upon a molecule Before diving into the field of research on the origin of life, Dr. Black spent many years in biotechnology and the pharmaceutical industry. Having always felt a drive toward understanding our history, he became increasingly compelled to research something that’s been largely unaddressed by scientists: how life began. Answering this question or at least getting closer to an answer will not only satisfy human curiosity but allow for us to say with more confidence what probability there is of other forms of simple or complex life in the universe. Among a number of interesting topics, Dr. Black talks about his hypothesis as to how the building blocks of RNA and protein first came together, and how the answer might explain cell division and molecular stability. He explains the component parts of a cell, similarities between the biochemistry of different species on earth, and what he wants to answer as a researcher on the origin of life.

The Latest in Genomic Data Analysis and Bioinformatics—Simon Sadedin—Victorian Clinical Genetics Services
Mar 06 2020 29 mins  
Over the course of the past decade or so, there’s been a huge influx of genomic data due to better and more affordable sequencing technologies. How does anyone make sense of it all? Simon Sadedin joins the show to answer this question and explain his role as a bioinformatician at Victorian Clinical Genetics Services. He talks about the following: How useful bioinformatics is and why it’s become increasingly necessary in recent years What types of difficulties and philosophical dilemmas are encountered by clinical geneticists How short-read sequencing differs from long-read sequencing in important ways Victorian Clinical Genetics Services perform genetic and genomic testing for patients who have or are at risk of developing rare genetic disorders. The amount of data that can be gathered in this field of work is significant, which can complicate the process of providing patients with easy-to-understand, useful information that applies to their lives and the lives of their loved ones. This is where bioinformatics aims to be most useful. Sadedin explains the three primary roles of the bioinformatic work he carries out at Victorian Clinical Genetics Services, and explains that the ultimate goal is to improve patients’ experiences and the quality of healthcare on the whole. He also talks about the ways in which it can be a challenge or even impossible to elucidate what a certain genetic or genomic result means for a specific person, the advantages and drawbacks of current versus emerging sequencing technologies, and how useful it is to obtain genomic data from people who are unaffected by certain rare genetic disorders. For more, visit and

Understanding and Treating a Food Allergy Epidemic—Dr. Onyinye Iweala—University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology
Mar 06 2020 32 mins  
Dr. Onyinye Iweala is a professor of medicine in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine whose expertise lies in environmental allergies, including allergic rhinitis, chronic hives, and food allergies. She joins the show to talk about a number of interesting topics, such as: What factors might be causing or contributing to a food allergy epidemic in developed countries The relationship between microbiota and food allergy, allergic rhinitis, and chronic sinusitis Hypotheses as to why some food allergies can be outgrown by a certain percentage of those affected, and why others cannot How the new and only FDA-approved treatment for food allergy works What happens physiologically during an alpha-gal allergy As a junior in college, Dr. Iweala took her first basic immunology class and pretty much knew that that was the path she wanted to pursue as a doctor. Not only did she find it complicated and fascinating, but also very relevant to human health. In recent years, food allergy has been on the rise, particularly in industrial countries like the U.S. This has caused concern for many people, especially since there has only very recently been a food allergy treatment on the market. Dr. Iweala discusses how this new drug functions in the body, and how it is based on the principles of oral immunotherapy. She also explains the standard understanding of IgE-mediated allergy responses, and how a non IgE-mediated allergy response prompted by an alpha-gal allergy is unique and challenging to detect. She touches on a number of other interesting subjects, such as how multiple food allergies in a single person might be treated, the goal of recent and ongoing studies in the field, and much more.

Obesity Issues – Dr. Holly Kramer, Professor of Public Health Sciences and Medicine, Loyola University – Obesity and Disease Overview
Mar 05 2020 34 mins  
In this podcast, Dr. Holly Kramer, Professor of Public Health Sciences and Medicine at Loyola University, Chicago, talks about her research in nephrology, and the links between obesity and kidney disease. Podcast Points: What is the kidney’s primary function? What exactly is nephrology? An overview of obesity-related diseases and problems Dr. Kramer discusses the alarming escalation of obesity in America, and its association to kidney disease, diabetes, hypertension, and other health problems. Dr. Kramer focuses her research on important areas that have an affect on public health. She talks about the interconnections between nutrition and obesity and kidney disease. Dr. Kramer talks in detail about her current research, and why she is so intensely interested in the role obesity plays in so many diseases. Throughout her career she has worked with many other nephrologists and focused her attention on new ways to treat health ailments, such as kidney stones, kidney failure, and hypertension. Dr. Kramer explains how we lose kidney function as we grow older. She provides a wealth of information on muscle movement and creatine. As she details, when creatine gets old it loses an important water group and thus becomes creatinine, which is actually a waste product produced by muscles from this breakdown. When creatinine leaks into the bloodstream it is then filtered by the kidney. Dr. Kramer states that by looking at levels of creatinine in the blood, they can get a sense of how well the kidney is actually functioning. Continuing, the research doctor provides extensive information on diabetes, discussing insulin, medication, and how ketones are created.

Psychology, Sleep, and Treatment – Michelle Mullaley, PhD, Child Psychology Expert – Modern Psychology, and Why We Sometimes Suffer from Sleep Problems
Mar 05 2020 23 mins  
In this podcast, Michelle Mullaley, PhD, Licensed Clinical Psychologist, discusses sleep issues, psychology, child psychology, and the techniques and tools she utilizes to help people at her clinic. Podcast Points: Do kids have different sleep problems than adults? Can ADHD impact sleep? Which cognitive tools can help with calming, relaxation, and anxiety relief? Dr. Mullaley is a seasoned clinical psychology expert. She specializes in child and family psychology. She earned her doctorate at Catholic University in Washington, DC. Dr. Mullaley discusses her background and current focus. As an active researcher, Dr. Mullaley does a lot of testing in addition to her regular schedule of therapy. Dr. Mullaley talks in detail about sleep problems, specifically sleep deprivation that kids and teens struggle with. As she states, falling asleep can be difficult for some, especially in kids who have ADHD. She provides a wealth of information on circadian rhythms and how they can shift through our lives. As a result of this shifting, some teens tend to feel very awake even late at night, but when they have to get up early to get to school, their bodies feel sleep deprived because they are craving that full nine hours of relaxing sleep but aren’t getting it. Dr. Mullaley discusses cases she deals with, in regard to sleep problems and issues. The clinical psychologist discusses multiple techniques and treatments—including cognitive challenging, which is a cognitive behavior technique used to bring on calming and relief from anxiety. Continuing, Dr. Mullaley discusses breathing, yoga, various imagery techniques, and even some apps that can help kids, and adults, to relax and calm themselves, which can assist with falling asleep, and getting better sleep. Expanding her discussion on sleep issues, Dr. Mullaley talks about melatonin and how it can play a role in sleep and why we have different issues as we get older. Wrapping up, she talks about the impact of technology, and how smartphones are one thing we should detach ourselves from when we want to fall asleep, and get quality sleep.

On How to Age Healthfully—Brendan Egan, PhD—School of Health and Human Performance and the National Institute for Cellular Biotechnology at Dublin City University
Mar 04 2020 42 mins  
Associate professor of sport and exercise physiology, Brendan Egan, PhD has studied physiology and nutrition since he was an undergraduate student. On today’s episode, he discusses how training and nutritional interventions can help slow the loss and decline of muscle mass, function, and strength in ageing adults. Tune in to learn the following: At what ages muscle mass, muscle strength, and aerobic fitness tend to start decreasing, and what types of exercise and diet-related interventions can help Why it can be challenging for adults to consume the recommended amount of protein per meal, and some innovative ideas for addressing this What Dr. Egan has learned from working with elite athletes, and how it’s translated to his work with older adults “I don’t think there’s an example of a society or a population that’s physically inactive and healthy. We have to acknowledge that physical activity is imperative to health when it comes to the human condition,” says Dr. Egan. He explains that while an adult—without the appropriate interventions—can lose 30 to 50 percent of their muscle mass between the ages of 40 to 80, it is a process that ultimately tapers out. In contrast, muscle strength and function can decline until a person is rendered unable to take care of themselves or even walk. For this reason, he and his group are primarily focused on interventions that address and slow the decline of muscle strength and function that occurs with age. Dr. Egan talks about the importance of resistance and strength-based training and extra protein intake in slowing the decline of muscle function and strength. He explains that some people can benefit even from a single hour of strength training per week, while others might require more frequent training sessions. Press play for the full conversation and view Dr. Egan’s profile at

Researching the Role of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Physical and Mental Health—Dr. Alex Richardson—Food and Behavior (FAB) Research
Mar 04 2020 50 mins  
Without long chain omega-3 fatty acids, the development of the brain and nervous system would be impossible. This begs the question: what effects arise from long chain omega-3 fatty acid deficiency? Dr. Alex Richardson joins the show to discuss the following: What has caused nutritional imbalances globally and particularly in those who consume a Western diet In what ways omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids differ How short chain fatty acids differ in important ways from long chain fatty acids What the data suggests about the use of long chain omega-3 fatty acids as antidepressants Dr. Alex Richardson is a research associate in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy, and Genetics at the University of Oxford, and founder of Food and Behavior (FAB) Research. Her interest in researching the role of nutrition in physical and mental health was triggered during her postdoctoral studies when she discovered how impactful long chain omega-3 fatty acids are on vision. Since then, she’s been investigating how this essential nutrient may be related to conditions like ADHD, dyslexia, and disorders that fall on the autism spectrum. Dr. Richardson published her first study about two decades ago, which demonstrated that omega-3 fatty acids could lower impulsivity, inattention, and hyperactivity in children with above average levels of these. Through a second study, she showed that omega-3 fatty significantly improved reading, spelling, and symptoms of ADHD in children. Dr. Richardson already has protocols set for two more studies: one that will look at the effects of omega-3 on sleep, and how sleep may be associated with ADHD and autism, and a second that will look at the relationship between omega-3 and sleep health, and common mental health conditions like stress and depression. Tune in for a compelling show that’s full of eye-opening and powerful information. Learn more by visiting

Sleep Disturbance – Richard J. Schwab, MD, DABSM, Head of Sleep Medicine, University of Pennsylvania – Why Does Sleep Apnea Exist, and How Can We Correct It?
Mar 03 2020 34 mins  
Richard J. Schwab, MD, DABSM, Head of Sleep Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, and the Co-Medical Director, Penn Sleep Center, discusses the pathogenesis of obstructive sleep apnea, and obstructive sleep apnea treatment. Podcast Points: What is obstructive sleep apnea? What causes sleep apnea in some, when others seem to avoid it, and what can you do about it? How do soft tissues impact sleep? Dr. Schwab provides some background on his work and the various sleep problems that exist. He talks about sleep apnea, and why there is so much left to understand. Why does it happen when we sleep? He discusses soft tissue structures and lateral walls and other factors that can lead to airway paths collapsing. Dr. Schwab’s extensive research seeks to target the pathogenesis of obstructive sleep apnea by using advanced upper airway imaging techniques. His studies help further explain the motion of various key structures of the upper airway and the role they play in airway closure. Dr. Schwab talks about the biomechanics of apneic events. He provides information on how they utilize magnetic resonance imaging and electronic beam computed tomography during sleep, as well as wakefulness, to study patients. Dr. Schwab talks about abnormal craniofacial structures as well as soft tissue, and how they can potentially impact sleep apnea occurrences. He discusses mouth breathing, studies they conducted on tongue fat, and how it all could impact breathing issues. As he states, if you naturally have a narrow airway, as movement occurs when you sleep, apnea could be initiated. He provides an in-depth discussion of how tissues move, and studies they have done on wakefulness. But he states there are more studies on sleep and breathing that they plan to do in the near future. Dr. Schwab, through his exhaustive research annually, collaborates regularly with members of the Departments of Radiology and Biomechanical and Computer Engineering. And together, the scientific researcher/developers have designed an extremely advanced, computer graphics-based analysis software that can assist with modeling, in three dimensions, of the biomechanical interrelationships that exist between soft tissue structures and the upper airway.

Functional RNA Types and Their Many Roles: Dr. Nils Walter Discusses Discoveries
Mar 03 2020 43 mins  
Dr. Walter studies the many functions of RNA, which combines into the most copious enzyme on our planet. RNA research is catching up with the rest of our genetic findings after DNA dominated the field for so long. Dr. Walter plows into this knowledge by discussing how the extra base oxygen in RNA gives it different abilities than DNA; the many different functional RNA types, from general assembly instructions to specialized directions for unique adjustments; and how RNA may have been the first spark igniting life at the bottom of the oceans. Dr. Nils Walter is the Francis S. Collins Collegiate Professor of chemistry, biophysics, and biological chemistry at the University of Michigan. He's also the founding codirector of the Center for RNA Biomedicine. The center researches foundational biological RNA discoveries and translates them for use towards future medicines. Dr. Walter has been researching at the University of Michigan for 20 years; for the most part, his work has been focused on functional RNA types. In this conversation he offers a non-coding RNA review and recounts numerous discoveries, such as the structure and function connection and why it’s important that RNA has a more transient nature than DNA. He expands on this review by reminding listeners that when the human genome was sequenced in 2003, researchers discovered that just 1.5% of the genome codes for proteins while the rest is transcribed into RNA. These RNAs form multiple structures that become functional RNA types. As he continues with his non-coding RNA review, he explains that RNA folds into intricate 3D architectures, which enables them to take on complex functions such as the formation of ribosomes. Dr. Nils describes additional jobs of the RNA molecule and articulates how these discoveries will lend themselves to future medicines. For more, see his lab page at as well as the Center for RNA Biomedicine page at

Biology Basics – Larry Simpson, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, UCLA – Thoughts on the Molecular Biology of the Mitochondrial Genome
Mar 02 2020 27 mins  
In this podcast, Larry Simpson, PhD, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, UCLA, provides an overview of his long career in scientific research. Podcast Points: A discussion of RNA editing What’s in a genome? How does RNA modification occur? Dr. Simpson has long been interested in the molecular biology of the mitochondrial genome of trypanosomes. He was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, and throughout his extensive and celebrated career, Dr. Simpson was elected as a Foreign Member of the Brazilian Academy of Science, as well as a distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, and as a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Simpson provides some information about his background, past work, and current research. He talks about his career studying the molecular biology of the mitochondrial genome of trypanosomes, and why this area of study interested him so intently. Continuing, Dr. Simpson discusses the types of molecules he studied in past research. Throughout the years of research, Dr. Simpson spent a fair amount of time investigating a novel type of RNA modification phenomenon known as ‘RNA editing,’ which occurs in the single mitochondrion. Dr. Simpson goes on to discuss DNA molecules, modification, translation, gene sequences, bacteria and function, and ‘guide RNAs.’ He provides an overview of enzymes within the mitochondrion, discussing types of gene editing. And he goes into an in-depth discussion of how mRNA transcripts of the mitochondrial maxicircle DNA molecules are modified, after transcription, by the insertion, and deletion, of uridine residues at exact sites within coding regions to form a translatable sequence. A list of web sites where people can get information on the parasites and the diseases: Information on kinetoplast DNA with some micrographs of the network: Larry Simpson's lab home page: List of published papers: Larry Simpson's online course on Molecular Parasitology: One of Larry Simpson's lectures on molecular parasitology: A database for U-insertion/deletion RNA Editing: A web site with information on the research in Larry's laboratory:

Clinical Psychology Answers – Babak Govan, PhD, MAOB, Psychologist at Integrative Northwest – Accelerating Change in Moderative Psychotherapy, Thoughts on Insomnia Treatment and Psychopathology
Mar 02 2020 44 mins  
Bio: A Los Angeles native, Babak holds a clinical doctorate in clinical psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology, where he also obtained a master’s in organizational behavior. He is the originator of the moderative psychotherapy. Currently living in Portland, Oregon with his wife and children, he is in private practice at Integrative NW as a clinical and health psychologist. Babak is also a fiction author and, as Secret Arcade, a music artist. Babak’s writing debuted in North American Review (“Fighting Fish”), and he was a finalist for a Glimmer Train award. His story “Glow,” published in Palo Alto Review, was deemed “flawless” and “brilliant” by Shenandoah literary review. His book, a dystopian psychological novel, A-Void, examines accelerating (exponential) change and information overload, and was selected as a Top Ten Book of 2018. Secret Arcade’s debut electronic rock album, Quarter Century, skyrocketed on college radio. A popular docu-series on A&E/Lifetime recently offered him a role, but he turned it down to focus on his theory, his writing, his music, and his family. In this podcast, Babak Govan, PhD, MAOB, psychologist at Integrative NW, provides an overview of insomnia treatment, psychopathology, and more. Podcast Points: Could too much ‘bad’ news in our daily feed be bringing on depression? Can insomnia be cured? Treatment options An overview of psychological issues Dr. Govan is actively engaged in helping people manage their anxiety and depression, ADHD, self-defeating behaviors, and substance abuse. Dr. Govan talks about his background and discusses health psychology, the interface of medical and psychological issues. Going deeper, Dr. Govan explains how his practice subspecializes in treating insomnia. Dr. Govan explains just how common depression is today in America, and he discusses the various sociogenic factors that may be exacerbating the rise in depression cases nationally. Dr. Govan discusses tools to manage psychological issues, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, but he stresses that cognitive behavioral therapy, CBT, is only one possible avenue for treatment. The PhD elaborates on the importance of limiting our negative influencers, such as the preponderance of negative news that is seemingly always breaking. He discusses his thoughts on the relative impact of modern technology that delivers news 24/7, and ways we can limit our exposure to negative influences. Continuing, the doctor discusses the concept of loneliness, and how technology may be severely disconnecting us. Dr. Govan talks about the kinds of clients they work with. He discusses the problem of insomnia, which can be a psychodynamic, deeper issue. He discusses abrupt insomnia versus cases in which people have had chronic sleep problems for a long period, and how the latter understand that it could be a long term issue for them to solve over time. Dr. Govan reiterates the importance of taking control of the environments in which we exist. He talks about time management, as well as journalistic errors, and how so often in our modern society, things fall through the cracks. Wrapping up, Dr. Govan provides information on the specific types of cases they deal with at Integrative NW, and how they seek to help people manage their many and varied issues.

Chiropractic Care – Dr. Ty Carzoli, Chiropractor at Denver Upper Cervical Chiropractic – The Current State of Chiropractic Care
Feb 28 2020 25 mins  
In this podcast, Dr. Ty Carzoli, chiropractor at Denver Upper Cervical Chiropractic, discusses his facility and their work, providing information on chiropractic orthospinology, treatment, and care. Podcast Points: What are some of the reasons we have neck or back pain? Too much sitting: not a good thing! Overview of the kinds of testing used to assess who should receive cervical chiropractic care Denver Upper Cervical Chiropractic provides chiropractic care to people who suffer from pain and discomfort. Dr. Carzoli earned a doctorate of chiropractic and he holds a master’s degree in sports health science. Dr. Carzoli discusses neck and back problems, explaining the many issues his team treats at their facility, such as migraines and headaches, post-concussion syndrome, neck and back pain, seizures, and more. Dr. Carzoli explains how they exam new potential clients, starting with a complete and thorough digital x-ray analysis to fully assess the current structure, position, and motion of their spine. Testing motor skills and grip strength, Dr. Carzoli makes an assessment and decides if the incoming potential client would benefit from treatment. Further, Dr. Carzoli talks about adjustments, and discusses how the body keeps us aligned, and why alignment issues may happen. He talks in detail about the unnatural forces we can experience at times, from high-impact collisions to excessive sitting, etc. These events, activities, or non-activities, can definitely cause damage to our bodies, and it is Dr. Carzoli’s mission to assist everyone with their pain and discomfort.

Mental Mindset – Marni Amsellem, PhD, Psychologist – Implementing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Techniques
Feb 28 2020 25 mins  
In this podcast, Marni Amsellem, PhD, psychologist, talks about her work treating clients with cognitive behavioral therapy tools and techniques. Podcast Points: How can cognitive behavioral therapy help with anxiety issues? Can cognitive behavioral therapy help combat negative thoughts? The anxiety/insomnia connection Dr. Amsellem works with many clients, helping them to develop tools to manage their anxiety, depression, health-related challenges and life changes. Dr. Amsellem talks about her areas of focus in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). She discusses insomnia, and explains how anxiety is sometimes the reason for poor sleep. CBT, she states, can help with underlying anxiety. Continuing, Dr. Amsellem discusses the triggers that can bring on anxiety in some people. There are multiple factors that can impact us negatively, and Dr. Amsellem discusses the many statements and thoughts that we communicate to ourselves, sometimes far below our conscious level even. Dr. Amsellem provides an overview of various themes she hears from her clients regularly, such as concerns over failure, concerns over rejection, to feelings of worthlessness, and others. She breaks down some of the techniques she utilizes and explains how cognitive behavioral therapy can assist with those negative thoughts we sometimes have by helping us reframe them and overcome them. She talks about the importance of increasing our awareness of thoughts and triggers, and the patterns we gravitate toward. Wrapping up, Dr. Amsellem explains CBT in detail, and how it can be applied to real world situations and problems and help us create changes in our lives, for the better.

Game Over – Niles Eldredge, Evolutionary Biologist and Renowned Paleontologist – Thoughts on Biological Issues, Global Problems, and Extinction Event Causes
Feb 27 2020 29 mins  
In this podcast, Niles Eldredge, evolutionary biologist and renowned paleontologist, discusses parallel causation in oncogenic and anthropogenic degradation and extinction, his thoughts on biological theory, and other topics. Dr. Eldredge holds a PhD from Columbia University. He is the Curator Emeritus, Division of Paleontology, American Museum of Natural History. Podcast Points: How does overpopulation impact the environment? Does evolution occur gradually? What can we do about environmental damage and species extermination? Dr. Eldredge discusses his long background, and his noted career in the fields of biology and paleontology. Dr. Eldredge has contributed significant work in the study of mid-Paleozoic phacopid trilobites, and along with Stephen Jay Gould of Harvard, formulated an interesting theory that challenged Darwin's very premise that evolution occurs gradually. The theory they put on the table was known as Punctuated Equilibria, and it states that evolution occurs in dramatic spurts mixed in with extended periods of stasis. Dr. Eldredge says there isn’t much evolution really unless, and until, the ‘clock’ is turned over, such as what occurs when an extinction event happens. Evolution, in fact, is a rebound from an extinction event. When all is working properly, he states, things tend to stay the same. Dr. Eldredge provides information on climate change and the recipe for stability. He discusses some of the grave environmental dangers, discussing disruption and degradation, and the terrible damage being done to various species globally. He discusses how we have changed the environment considerably, and how more people globally will ultimately lead to more damage. Dr. Eldredge talks about urban environments and how they relate to the natural world, and the real possibility that we are on a track toward extinction.

How Spirituality Lends Itself to Quality of Life Healthcare: Donnie Yance Explains
Feb 27 2020 49 mins  
This is a follow-up interview with Natura-brand founder and Mederi Foundation leader Donnie Yance. He offers a closer glimpse into the spiritual side of his journey. When you listen, you will her Donnie explain how liturgy, attitudes, and theology differ in the East and West, from an approach that is more comfortable with mystery in the East to a more brain-centered process in the West; the extensive variety of the prayer process and what different approaches can mean, from one style that's particularly healthy for the vagus nerve to what theologians mean when they say being quite enough to hear "God's whisper; and how the Mederi Foundation is able to bring the spirit and body together to treat the whole person. Donnie Yance is the founder, president, lead clinician, and chairman of the Mederi Foundation. The foundation works with cancer patients in conjunction with oncologists, but also teaches quality of life healthcare and provides tips to live longer. Earlier in life, Donnie spent time at a Franciscan monastery and other spiritual centers. This time informs his current healing practice. Still a Franciscan monk of the third order, he has extensive knowledge of numerous religious practices and explains some of the more meaningful elements. He recounts details like Eastern orthodox street greetings during the Easter season to how the Beatitudes differs from the Ten Commandments. Finally, he describes his approach at the Mederi Foundation, how he delivers a handout to clients that explains his spiritual approach and what it means to heal the whole person. For more, such as tips to live longer, see his website and a blog at and the Mederi Foundation site at

Dr. Li Discusses a New Treatment for Allergy and Immunology Diseases
Feb 26 2020 35 mins  
Allergic airway disease treatment may get better results from the use of antifungals. Dr. Li explains how this treatment seeks to eradicate fungi that may be accountable for some allergic symptoms. He describes how fungi in airways can cause allergic inflammation and increase reactions to pollen, the pervasive nature of these fungi and what methods the clinic uses to diagnose the conditions, and issues antifungal treatments in themselves can cause but how at a certain point such risks are worth the relief for some patients. Dr. Evan Li, faculty member at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas specializing in allergy and immunology diseases, treats patients in their clinic who have severe asthma symptoms. He discusses the nature of these fungi—how easy it is to take them in yet only certain patients have these stronger reactions. For example, people are exposed to these fungi just by walking outside yet all don't have extreme reactions and infections. For some, however, these fungi can produce infections that reveal themselves as allergy and immunology diseases. While antihistamines are the standard issue for allergic airway disease treatment, they don't address the root cause of the fungal infection. Dr. Li explains further that they only use this type of treatment for more severe cases, or what's termed severe persistent asthma. Because these patients come to the clinic with symptoms that are barely relived by standard treatment, the risks associated with antifungal treatment are outdone by the benefits. For more such as a listing of papers he's authored, search for his name in pubmed and see his page at the Baylor College of Medicine: Email him with questions as well at [email protected]@edu. Finally, his lab accepts sputum samples in a clean cup or zip lock bag, frozen and delivered to: The Baylor College of Medicine Clinic8th Foor, Suite 8A7200 Cambridge St.Houston, TX 77030

A Pediatrician's View of California's Wildfires: Allergy and Immunology Specialist Dr. Sydney Leibel Shares His Concerns
Feb 26 2020 24 mins  
Dr. Leibel and colleagues investigated what California's wildfire's meant in terms of health effects. He explains more by discussing why we need to put more energy into preventative efforts, what can be down about small particulate matter once it has entered the lungs, and additional allergy concerns such as theories on prevention. Board-certified pediatric allergist and immunologist at Rady's Children's Hospital in San Diego and Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at UC San Diego School of Medicine, Dr. Sydney Leibel is an allergy and immunology specialist. His work brings his interest in pediatrics and immunology together. In this conversation, he recounts a group study on health effects and wildfires in southern California. Researchers gathered population-level information on hospital visits and combined it with the timing of the fires. In most cases with fire in a close area, no matter how small the fire, they noted an increase in hospital visits, particularly in patients 0 to 12 years old. Dr. Leibel talks about the challenge of removing the small particulate matter from the lungs that comes from smoke. He notes that the best way to protect these kids is with prevention. This means keeping allergy suffers inside when conditions are bad, but also we need to do better work on mitigating effects of wildfires before they even start. He also describes different reasons for why allergies seem to be a larger issue today and offers theories for how to change this. He comments that we now have better asthma medicines available, but need to reach more patients: he and other allergy and immunology specialists are working to reach under-served populations. To learn more and find links to his research, see his web page profile at Rady's Children's Hospital, San Diego: Find him on twitter as well: @saleibel.

Is Your Gut Microbiome Healthy, and Is Your Baby’s?—The Latest in Microbiome Research from Hein Min Tun, PhD, Public Health Veterinarian
Feb 25 2020 26 mins  
Hein Min Tun, PhD, is a public health veterinarian and researcher who is currently leading research efforts at the University of Hong Kong School of Public Health. He discusses the details of his work, including the following: What methods are used by bacteria in order to resist antibiotics How changes in gut microbial communities are correlated with the presence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the gut What factors might influence microbiome development trajectories during the first three years of life How the gut microbiome may be affected by the health of the mother and the way in which the child is birthed (i.e. vaginally v. C-section) After obtaining his PhD at the University of Hong Kong, Dr. Hein Min Tun conducted post-doctoral research on the microbiome and resistome in food animals, humans, and the environment at the Gut Microbiome Laboratory of the University of Manitoba. Following that, he joined the team at SyMBIOTA, where he studied gut microbiota during infancy. His latest work has two main focuses: understanding how the gut microbiome is related to the colonization of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and what early microbiome development might reveal about the characterization of “healthy” microbiomes. He is the head of a team of researchers at the University of Hong Kong School of Public Health who aim to investigate these topics. With the use of several statistical and machine learning approaches, Dr. Tun is analyzing population data on different cohorts of infants in order to tease out what factors are at play in the development of early microbiome trajectories and disease outcomes. For example, how does the health of the mother affect the health of the baby? How does the gut microbiome differ between a baby born vaginally and by cesarean section? Does exposure to chemicals or toxins in the environment influence the development of the microbiome? These are just a few of the questions Dr. Tun and his team are exploring. On today’s podcast, he shares what they’ve discovered thus far, which areas need the most attention, and what’s on the horizon for the field of microbiome research in general. Learn more and view Dr. Tun’s publications at,-hein-min.

Exploring Loops in the Human Genome: Dr. Erez Lieberman Aiden Explains His Research
Feb 25 2020 36 mins  
Dr. Aiden works on analyzing the bending of our human genome, a 3-D complex arrangement that, in part, regulates our cells. This conversation explores how each chromatid forms unique loops and bends while patterns emerge across similar cell types, the mechanism that forms these loops—a protein complex that works almost like a lariat knot of a lasso, and why a better understanding of this molecular genetics architecture is important for medical treatments. Dr. Erez Lieberman Aiden is an assistant professor of molecular and human genetics at Baylor College of Medicine. Over the course of the podcast, he describes how this architectural feat of our cells' genome is formed and the accompanying implications of the nature of this formation. As he explains the complexity of molecular genetics, he begins with a description of how this two-meter-long DNA strand fits inside each of our nuclei. Further, because the sequencing of the human genome is such a recent scientific accomplishment, our understanding of these bending twists and loops is growing almost daily. He explains that this intricate packing of the human genome is not just a storage mechanism. Rather, as is the case with proteins, shape is essential to function—these physical loops form and bring enhancer elements in relation to a significant gene, for example. He adds that typically loops bring promoters of genes in contact with other elements in the genome to exchange information. All this gives rise to genetic regulation, which includes turning genes on and off. Dr. Aiden also explains the practicalities of how these molecular genetics studies are accomplished, such as what microscopy enables them to see. Finally, he discusses some of the implications of this research: scientists ask why we have the same genome in the brain and the heart yet the cells do different jobs. It's clear the gene changes how it folds in different organ systems and that fold changes how each cell functions. For more, see his lab page at , which includes links to all the data from their research, and a recent article he published in Scientific American that explores aspects of these themes:

Working to Better Understand the Genetics of Endocrine Tumors—Dr. Lawrence Kirschner—Clinical Endocrinologist and Scientist
Feb 24 2020 23 mins  
Dr. Lawrence Kirschner has over 20 years’ worth of experience as a physician-scientist and clinical endocrinologist, which has allowed him to see directly how research impacts patients on an individual level. On today’s podcast, he shares the details of his work. Tune in to learn the following: What types of adrenal tumors and diseases exist and how they manifest in patients Why an understanding of the genetics of endocrine tumors is important in order to understand how cancers develop and/or how tumors produce excess hormones Why it’s been difficult to conduct clinical trials involving adrenal cancers, and what’s been happening on a national scale in recent years to address this Dr. Kirschner’s sub-specialty is on diseases of the pituitary gland, with particular emphasis on the adrenal glands. Only about one in one million people will eventually develop malignant adrenal tumors, but it’s an aggressive and difficult-to-treat type of cancer. In part, the absence of a good treatment approach for adrenal cancer is due to the fact that it’s so rare, because this makes it difficult to conduct clinical trials. In recent years, however, a national collaborative effort to address this has been set in motion, which Dr. Kirschner sees as very promising for those who currently suffer from adrenal cancer or those who will in the future. He discusses the details of his research, which aims to develop a better understanding of the genetics of endocrine tumors in order to determine how these genes function, and what particularly allows them to cause cell proliferation and/or the excess production of hormones. He talks about the many types of tumors and disease that can affect the adrenals, and the ways in which they can wreak havoc on the body. He dives into the science behind what his research has already discovered and where it’s headed in the near future. Tune in for all the details. For general information about ongoing clinical trials, visit

On the Latest in Single-Molecule Research—Markita Landry, PhD—University of California, Berkeley, College of Chemistry
Feb 24 2020 25 mins  
Assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at UC Berkeley, Markita Landry, joins the podcast to discuss her latest research on nanoparticles and single molecule fluorescence methods. She explains the following: How nanoparticles can be used as DNA, RNA, or protein-delivery vessels in a way that confers important advantages to crops What is fluorescence, why it’s useful, and why some materials are naturally fluorescent What dopamine imaging studies using nanoscale probes have revealed about the way individual neurons respond to a certain psychoactive drug In Dr. Landry’s lab, she and her team are researching the uses and advantages of being able to control molecules that are on the scale of the building blocks of life—single nanoparticles the size of a single molecule of water. She discusses the two primary focuses of her research, the first of which uses nanoparticles to deliver DNA, RNA, and protein into plants to improve their ability to resist pathogens and drought conditions. She explains that the technology they’ve created is different than conventional approaches which genetically modify plants, and as a result, the plants they alter will not be subject to lengthy and strict regulatory processes. In turn, this means that they will be easier to bring to market. The second focus of her lab involves chemically altering nanoparticles in a way that will make them responsive to dopamine, an important signaling molecule in the brain that is a target for antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs. Dr. Landry and her team have created probes that fluorescently image dopamine in healthy and diseased brains, and this has led to surprising findings about the way in which individual neurons respond to certain substances. Tune in for the full conversation and visit to learn more.

Evolutionary Partners: Dr. Ryan Explains How Symbiont Viruses Engage in Our Development
Feb 21 2020 53 mins  
For close to 30 years, Dr. Frank Ryan has investigated theoretical evolutionary biology. In this conversation he discusses the genomic creativity of virus-host coevolution. Listeners will hear Dr. Ryan recount findings that prompted our current concepof symbiont viruses, including hantavirus –rodent research, how AIDs and the coronavirus evolve alongside human survival rates and what that implies about immunity, and how animals have adapted some of the abilities of viruses down to how the placental membrane protects itself from the maternal immune system. Author Dr. Frank Ryan is Honorary Senior Lecturer of the Department of Medical Education at the University of Sheffield, UK, and an emeritus consulting physician with the affiliated Sheffield Teaching Hospitals. He's also a Fellow of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of England and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine and the Linnaean Society of London. He recounts incidences of genomic creativity from his research into symbiont viruses and host coevolution. Early in his academic career, he studied bacteria phages in rabbits, and thus began a lifelong interest. He discusses relevant findings such as the mechanics of the coronavirus and its use of the host's ribosomes to replicate itself. As he discusses the behavior of symbiont viruses, he explains how a virus like AIDS uses a selective pressure on its hosts through survival rates. He explains that if there were no medical involvement, Aids would have changed the human genome to benefit itself. Finally, he talks about such controversial issues as the consideration of viruses as living vs. nonliving and explains what the ocean would like without viruses to keep the bacterial population in check. For more information, see some of Dr. Ryan's books including Virolution and his most recent book, Virusphere.

Helminths Treatment and Resistance: Dr. Nielsen Talks Equine Parasites
Feb 21 2020 41 mins  
Dr. Martin K. Nielsen works as an equine veterinarian researching parasites. He talks about his mission to control parasites in horses through helminths treatment. In this podcast, he explains anthelmintic resistance in horses and what it means regarding a horse's health; why a parasite's life cycle still holds a great deal of mystery for scientists, but what they might think is significant; and why pharmaceutical companies haven't released new anthelmintic products for years and why they need to. Dr. Martin K. Nielsen is an associate professor with the Gluck Equine Research Center at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. The center takes on key issues regarding horse biology, but he specializes on helminths treatment, which means he also researches anthelmintic resistance in horses. Dr. Nielsen affirms the ubiquitous nature of parasites in animals and also emphasizes that there's no such thing as eradication. Rather, he says, it's important to seek means of control and balance. When a healthy equilibrium is lost, the host animal suffers. Because today's veterinarian faces the challenge of anthelmintic resistance in horses, researchers are working on finding new means of controlling the parasite population. This podcast also offers Dr. Nielsen an opportunity to discuss some of the mysteries of parasites, such as their ability to release compounds that deescalate their host's inflammatory immune response. Parasites also exhibit a dormant state over their lifecycle and researchers are trying to understand if this is triggered by the parasite or the host, and in either case, what benefit it may offer the organism. He also describes some new detection technology his lab has created to identify parasite counts through a special app. Dr. Nielsen is active in social media and encourages listeners to find him on Twitter (@MartinKNielsen) and at his YouTube channel (Martin K. Nielsen Equine Parasitology), where he takes on parasite myths among other topics. His lab page at the university also has more information:

The Fungi Factor – Nicholas P. Money, Professor, Western Program, Department of Biology, Miami University – Fungi and the Future of the Earth
Feb 21 2020 26 mins  
Nicholas P. Money, professor and director, Western Program, Department of Biology, Miami University, Ohio, discusses mycology and microbes. Podcast Points: What important information can we learn by observing fungi? The important points about climate change How does overpopulation impact the environment? Money, an expert in mycology, is the prolific author of multiple books and articles that detail the microbial world. Money’s latest book titled, The Selfish Ape: Human Nature and Our Path to Extinction, has created a buzz in the scientific community. In the book, he set out to counter many of the dominant narratives that exist in regard to homo sapiens. Money talks about the damaging effects humans have upon the environment as well as our negative impact on various species. Money discusses carbon footprints, and he talks about his reasons for penning The Selfish Ape. Humans need to treat species more sensitively, and that’s the bottom line. Money outlines many of the actions that have taken place in our time, and historically, that have impacted the environment overall. He discusses population growth, and comments on how little we hear about it when leaders talk of climate change. Continuing, Money explains how fungi relate to our existence as humans. He discusses his career spanning more than 30 years, studying fungal reproduction. Money explains how fungi are different, and how they move, and he talks about the various qualities they have that typically do not exist in other places in the natural world. We can learn a lot about our own problems, as humans, by looking at, and studying, how fungi have solved theirs.

Nature, Nature, and Genetics: Author Dr. Sullivan Explores Our Complicated Determinates
Feb 21 2020 35 mins  
Dr. William J. Sullivan, featured on several media outlets including National Geographic and CNN, talks about his latest book Pleased to Meet Me: Genes, Germs, and the Curious Forces that Make Us Who We Are. In this interview, he explains his designation of the four major themes that operate as hidden forces in our biological makeup, why his "Meet Your Demons" chapter speaks to trends in our criminal system, and why readers find more empathy for addiction sufferers after gaining a better understanding of genetics and epigenetics. Dr. Sullivan is the Showalter Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the Indiana University School of Medicine where he studies infectious diseases and genetics. His new book stems from research in his university lab that studies Toxoplasma gondii, which can affect the brains and behavior of several organisms. He began investigating how microbes we don't know about might affect our own brains and personalities in undiscovered ways. Over the course of the podcast, he describes the many ways that human personality and behavior is extraordinarily complicated. He explains some of the genetics and epigenetics that make our reactions to our environment more outside of our control than we’d like to believe. Our DNA, the effects of epigenetics, microbes that live inside and on us, and our evolutionarily-derived brain reactions all have different influences on our behavior, from how we vote to our eating habits to our ability to control impulses. In addition, his web site links to articles that take a deeper dive into some of the science he explores in his book. See more at

New Discoveries about the Life Cycle of Toxoplasma Gondii—Laura Knoll, PhD—Department of Medical Microbiology & Immunology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
Feb 21 2020 40 mins  
Professor Laura Knoll is a parasitologist who joins the podcast today to discuss some of her research on a type of parasite called toxoplasma gondii. She explains the following: Where toxoplasma gondii is found and why the sexual stage of its life cycle is only found in cats How humans can become infected with toxoplasma gondii, and why most people will never know they are affected and may never need toxoplasma gondii treatment How toxoplasma gondii has evolved mechanisms to manipulate the host, such as a rodent that loses its fear of predator urine and actually becomes attracted to it Toxoplasma gondii is a parasite that can infect every warm-blooded animal on the planet, including humans. This parasite has the fascinating ability to enter muscle tissue and neurons in the brain to enact behavioral changes in the host. For example, a rodent infected with toxoplasma gondii will be attracted to the scent of predator urine rather than fearful of it, thereby exposing themselves to predation and allowing the parasite to continue thriving in other hosts—such as the cat. Interestingly, the cat intestine is the only place where the sexual life cycle stage of toxoplasma gondii is found, which means the cat can shed infectious oocysts which can potentially put humans at risk of contracting toxoplasma gondii. However, Dr. Knoll explains that the vast majority of people who are chronically infected with this parasite have no idea, and suffer no negative consequences. She explains how it can become a problem in people who have compromised immune systems, and the mechanism of host-parasite interaction that can occur in non-human animals and pregnant women who have never before been exposed to the parasite. Until this past year, there was no way to research the sexual life cycle of toxoplasma gondii without using cats as research subjects, but thanks to Dr. Knoll and her team, the specific reason that the sexual stage only occurs in cats has been identified, which has enabled them to induce the sexual stage in mice. With a mouse model, the opportunities for research have increased significantly and paved the way for the potential development of vaccines that could be administered to cats and livestock that carry and can pass on infectious oocytes. For more, visit

The Vast Diversity of Parasite Cell Biology: Dr. Lilach Sheiner Talks Variety and Utility
Feb 21 2020 24 mins  
Because the parasites that cause toxoplasmosis and malaria are somewhat similar and are accessible, they offer researchers important information. Dr. Sheinber explains her work by discussing why the untapped variety of parasite cell biology might offer further understanding, how different types of mitochondria—human versus parasite—keep cells alive in very different ways and why that's important, and how parasites have maneuvers that could improve medicine, such as the toxoplasmosis parasites' ability to cross the barrier between blood and brain. Senior lecturer at the Royalty Society of Edenborough, research fellow in parasitology, and leading expert in eukaryotic cell biology, Dr. Lilack Sheiner runs a lab that closely studies the parasites responsible for toxoplasmosis and malaria. This close examination of parasite cell biology has revealed a better understanding of how they function and how we might better prevent disease caused by these parasites. Her incentives for this study is twofold: the diversity in parasite cell biology itself is an important part of understanding organisms in the larger picture of biology. Additionally, because parasites are responsible for some human diseases, a better understanding of parasite cell biology may lead to disease prevention. She describes numerous examples that reveal this diversity and explains how useful the knowledge is in turn. For example, because mitochondria have different mechanisms for different organisms, doctors can implement a drug that kills the malarial parasite by mitochondrial harm while leaving the human cell alive. Dr. Sheiner also talks about abilities parasites have that may help us create new drugs. For example, she describes scientists studying how the toxoplasmosis parasite is able to do something scientists haven't been able to implement in drugs: crossing the blood/brain barrier. If scientists could create drugs that can do this, they might make headway into treating many neurological conditions. Therefore, if researchers learn more about this parasite's ability, they may discover a drug-delivery technology. For more, see her website: She's also on twitter: @SheinerLab

Discussing Disease – Dr. Daniel Griffin, Associate Research Scientist at Columbia University – Studying and Treating Infectious Diseases
Feb 21 2020 29 mins  
Dr. Daniel Griffin, physician, and associate research scientist/instructor (clinical medicine) Columbia University, provides an overview of infectious disease research and treatment, and his career in clinical medicine. Podcast Points: Treatment and research for infectious diseases An overview of parasitic diseases found in the United States and around the world The current state of the HIV epidemic Dr. Griffin discusses his important work and research in infectious diseases, including HIV, tropical medicine, and especially parasitic diseases. Dr. Griffin has a long history in the field of medical and clinical research and he has a particular interest in HIV, stem cells, and malignancies. As a medical doctor he provides care for patients with infectious diseases, in addition to his role as an educator, teaching medical students, residents and fellows in NYC. Dr. Griffin discusses New York City as the center of the developing world, and as he explains, people come in from all over the world, for tourism, but also for treatment and ongoing medical care. The research doctor talks about his experiences and cites examples of patients he sees regularly through the year, who come to NYC for their healthcare treatment. Dr. Griffin discusses tropical diseases, and he speaks about the many cases of malaria, Zika, and more, and the ill patients that find their way to his office seeking treatment. Dr. Griffin talks about public health issues, how they are handled, detailing specific diseases such as TB and others. He discusses the types of therapies that are effective and how some nations handle disease management better than others seemingly. The research physician continues his discussion, providing information about the impact of HIV in the United States versus abroad. And he explains how many parasitic diseases exist right here in the United States, and how they can be recognized and subsequently treated.

Dr. Richard J. Johnson Talks about the Role of Fructose in Obesity and Diabetes
Feb 21 2020 36 mins  
Researcher and author Dr. Richard J. Johnson has looked into the role fructose plays in many modern disease epidemics. He discusses this by describing. what fructose can do to help some animals survive harsh conditions, how those assets turn into dangers in our modern world of plenty, and what alternatives we might use to ease the cravings and replace fructose in our daily diet. Dr. Richard J. Johnson is a professor of medicine at the University of Colorado. He researches how fructose causes diseases like hypertension, kidney disease, and obesity and diabetes. He's written two books about this epidemic—The Fat Switch and The Sugar Fix—and has written numerous papers on fructose as well. Dr. Johnson discusses the role fructose plays in the excessive obesity and diabetes rates in our society. He talks about how hard to avoid, from an ingredient in table sugar to the ubiquitous high fructose corn syrup, an easy addition for manufactures looking for something cheap and appealing to put in processed foods. He also explains why it is so dangerous by first explaining it evolutionary role. Dr. Johnson discusses how it can be helpful to animal systems in dire survival mode. He uses an analogy to explain its function, commenting that it's akin to an alarm system for our body: it sends a signal to our system that we're in trouble .In order to protect ourselves, we become insulin resistant to guard our brain and increase inflammation to protect our physiology. Of course these measures completely undermine our health in times of plenty and increase risks for obesity and diabetes. He finishes the discussion with suggestions for ways to ween ourselves, from more effective ways to eat fruits to what alternatives to fructose are best. For more, find his papers in pub med, his books and, see his lab web site at

Understanding Biological Soil Crust and the Problem of Algal Blooms—Aaron Kaplan—The Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Science
Feb 21 2020 38 mins  
Professor Aaron Kaplan studies ecological processes in photosynthetic organisms, and is looking particularly close at green algae—the fastest growing photosynthetic organism on the planet. On today’s podcast, he talks about the “crust” that this cyanobacteria helps form, called biological soil crust. He explains a number of interesting topics, including the following: How biological soil crust is formed, why it varies in thickness, and what it’s composed of Why it is so important to understand cyanobacteria in order to eliminate toxic algal blooms that are destroying ecological systems What mechanisms organisms acquire in order to grow in the harshest environments on Earth What is meant by saying that organisms use “languages” Professor Kaplan discusses a range of compelling, technical details about some of the most unique habitats on Earth characterized by biological soil crust, which is a complex system comprised of many organisms which thrive off the metabolites produced by cyanobacteria or green algae. He talks about the effects of algal blooms on ecological systems—particularly lakes in parts of China, why he aims to better understand the biological role of toxic secondary metabolites, oxidative stress and signaling between different organisms, and how one toxin can actually bind to and protect proteins from oxidative stress. Professor Kaplan expounds on the technical aspects of the science behind his work, and emphasizes the importance and relevance of it to the health of both humans and the environment.

The Mission of Microbes – Eugene B. Chang, Department of Medicine, University of Chicago – The Microbiome, What We Know Thus Far
Feb 20 2020 43 mins  
In this podcast, Eugene B. Chang, Department of Medicine, University of Chicago, discusses his team’s research studying the microbiome and microbes. Podcast Points: How does the microbiome impact health? What is the mission of microbes? How do probiotics work, and are they effective? Chang’s lab is interested in the important connection between intestinal microbiota and their human host, and what happens when there is conflict. Chang was an important voice in the Human Microbiome Project, a US National Institutes of Health (NIH) research initiative created to increase understanding of the microbial flora that play a pivotal role in human health and disease progression. Chang discusses the uniqueness of a person’s microbiome. But he states that we all actually share some types of microbes. Chang explains core microbiomes, and their important functions. He provides examples of how the microbiome works, and the role of microbes. Continuing, Chang discusses stability issues regarding the microbiome, and their need for resiliency. He talks about the many factors that are involved, outlining and detailing how select microbial communities function, in regard to networks and stability. And he explains that the interplay between dietary and environmental issues can certainly affect the stability of the microbiome. He talks about diversity within the microbiome, and how it may not be as important as many have proposed. Chang talks about immune disorders and he provides an overview of what microbial communities can do to maintain stability. He continues, discussing probiotics, and why they may not stay around as long as we’d like because nonresident microbes often have trouble breaking into very established microbial communities.

Extracellular Vesicles Might Cause Prostate Cancer Cell Growth: Dr. Soekmadji's Explains Her Research
Feb 20 2020 19 mins  
Dr. Carolina Soekmadji studies different types of extracellular vesicles, specifically trying to understand their connection to prostate cancer. In this discussion, she describes how different types of extracellular vesicles seem to react differently to the same substance, why the CD9 vesicle's proliferation under different androgen conditions is important, and what this means in how doctors can individualize prostate cancer treatment. Dr. Carolina Soekmadji works as a senior research officer at the University of California, Irvine. She studied for her Master's in Japan and completed her PhD work in Australia, where she studied the exocytosis and endocytosis of synoptic vesicles. She discusses the typical therapy for prostate cancer where doctors decrease the androgen presence, also called ADT. While this usually has the desired effect, there's always a group of patients that don't seem to show an effective response. While cancer cells initially die in this group, the cancer cells return and start growing again. Dr. Soekmadji has located a specific vesicle that appears to grow under both conditions: androgen presence or absence. She thinks that this vesicle may make the difference between these two populations and their response. Dr. Soekmadji covers general causes of prostate cancer as well. She continues to study the activity of extracellular vesicles, and how and why this particular vesicle responds as it does and why this happens in some patients but not others. Dr. Carolina Soekmadji offers a general course on extracellular vesicles and health issues through Coursera and the University of California that's open to the general public. For more about her work and contact information, see

On the Study of Parasitic Diversity and Life Cycles—Stephen Greiman, PhD—Department of Biology at Georgia Southern University
Feb 20 2020 30 mins  
Stephen Greiman, Ph.D., is an assistant professor at Georgia Southern University where he studies diverse groups of parasitic organisms. He discusses the following: How a pork or beef tapeworm could find its way into the brain, spinal cord, organ, or a body cavity of a human being What the difference is between the parasite’s role in an intermediate host and a final or definitive host What types of treatments are available to humans who have been invaded by a parasite Dr. Greiman focuses on the study of tapeworms and flukes, which have complex life cycles and use at least one intermediate host before reaching the final or definitive host. He explains the difference between parasitic function in intermediate versus definitive hosts and the pathologies that can be caused by parasites in both types of hosts. He gives an example of how parasites change the behavior of intermediate hosts as a way of making them more susceptible to predation, such as parasitic flukes which cause a snail’s tentacles to pulsate and change colors, making them look more like maggots. In other cases, a fluke may cause a snail to crawl on vegetation and thereby become more visible by predators. Dr. Greiman also talks about how the consumption of undercooked beef or pork can cause a human to become an incidental intermediate host for tapeworm larvae which can cause all kinds of diseases and pathologies, such as seizures. Currently, there is a lot of interest in host-microbiome and parasite microbiome interactions, and this research is being aided by genomic sequencing and transcriptomics. For more information about Dr. Greiman’s research, visit

Extracellular Explorations—David Greening—Molecular Proteomics at the Baker Institute
Feb 19 2020 30 mins  
As Head of Molecular Proteomics at the Baker Institute and Senior Research Fellow at La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science, David Greening brings a significant amount of insight to the podcast today, discussing the following: How proteomics can lead to a better understanding of the role of proteins in disease and health statuses, key regulators in biology, and what components might be found in extracellular vesicles (EVs) Whether EVs appear to be active or passive, and whether there might be some level of EV agency involved The promising field of imaging using fluorescently tagged proteins, vesicles, and RNA Greening’s molecular proteomics group focuses mainly on two areas: the study of extracellular vesicles, the components they contain, and the role they serve in cell communication and signaling, and proteomics, which is a field of study that looks at thousands of proteins in the body at a particular time, seeks to identify where they are located, and how they are expressed in states of health and disease. Greening expounds on the many ways in which proteomics can advance our understanding of key regulators in biological processes, diseases such as cancer, what types of proteins are packaged in different EVs released by different cell types, and which components are secreted all at once from particular cells. He also discusses one of the main challenges in the field of proteomics, which is how to identify and analyze low expressed vesicle components. When it comes to EVs and proteomics, Greenings is a wealth of knowledge. Tune in for all the details. For more, visit

Epigenetic Inheritance in Humans: Studies with Nematodes
Feb 19 2020 20 mins  
Dr. Rechavi's lab studies C elegans nematodes to explore the heritability of memories-- how reactions to encounter could be passed down through multiple generations. In this podcast, you'll hear him explain: New revelations about heritable capabilities for response behaviors. Why researchers believe a small RNA molecule is a foundation for this heritable behavior and how they've tested heritability of responses to starvation, temperature stress, bacteria pathogenic stress, and more. Where this small RNA message must travels to make it into the gametes' coding and how they've traced the inheritance of such traits for three to five generations. University of Tel Aviv professor Oded Rechavi details his research with C elegans worms to discover more regarding epigenetic inheritance in humans. He clarifies that generally we think of memories as encodings that stay in our brain rather than being passed along. It had been thought that parental responses to some environmental stresses such as starvation wouldn't mark their offspring's reaction. But studies show this notion was incorrect and these responses do travel and make their mark in the germline, being passed down for at least three more generations. He discusses why they believe small RNAs are responsible for this heritable process. He also explains generally the different types of small RNAs and how this involves a particular type with this specialized behavior. What they don't understand but are attempting to further research is the process by which the environment changes the small RNAs. These studies may change the way we understand epigenetic inheritance in humans. For more, including links to papers they've written, see his lab's web site at .

Extracellular Vesicles Vantage Point – Andreas Baur, Fairmont State University, College of Science & Technology – The Role of Extracellular Vesicles
Feb 19 2020 24 mins  
Andreas Baur, of the College of Science & Technology at Fairmont State University, talks in detail about his interesting research studying extracellular vesicles (EVs). Podcast Points: What is the role of extracellular vesicles in the progression of neurodegenerative disease and cancer? What is protease? Looking at enzymatic activity. What can be learned? Dr. Baur earned his doctorate in organic chemistry from the University of Regensburg before settling into his current duties, and lab work, at Fairmont State. Dr. Baur talks about his research, past, and present. Some of his current work in the lab focuses on the systematic analyzation of vesicles in patients (in plasma). And as a medical doctor, Baur has the kind of access to patients that is necessary for this work. Dr. Baur discusses his past work studying HIV and proteins, considering in vitro studies and the pivotal role of vesicles. He discusses his curiosity, and the questions about why certain proteases were found within, why are certain vesicles in plasma, and why are there even more in HIV, that drove him to dig deeper into his research to find the answers. The research investigator and medical doctor talks about various types of cancers, discussing relapse factors, select patterns, and the continuing role of vesicles. Dr. Baur explains how they use purified vesicles for two types of important diagnostic tests—measuring enzymatic activity as well as looking at proteases, and also in the analysis of factors found in these vesicles. Wrapping up, Dr. Baur discusses coronavirus, transmission, and disease conditions. He talks in-depth about neurodegenerative diseases, other types of diseases, and the various connections, pertaining to vesicles.

EV Conversations – Dr. Mehdi Soleymani-Goloujeh of the Royan Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Technology, ACECR in Tehran, Iran – Learning About Extracellular Vesicles and Their Important Roles in the Body
Feb 19 2020 24 mins  
In this podcast, Dr. Mehdi Soleymani-Goloujeh, Department of Stem Cells and Developmental Biology at Cell Science Research Center, Royan Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Technology, ACECR, in Iran, discusses regenerative medicine, types of extracellular vesicles and the current state of extracellular vesicles research. Podcast Points: What are exosomes? What are the most important roles of extracellular vesicles within the body? An overview of insulin-producing cells Dr. Soleymani-Goloujeh discusses exosomes. Exosomes are membrane-bound extracellular vesicles (EVs), produced in the endosomal compartment of nearly all eukaryotic cells. EVs, unlike cells, cannot replicate. Dr. Soleymani-Goloujeh talks about the roles that extracellular vesicles can play in the body, and he expounds upon issues regarding insulin and discusses how the pancreas utilizes EVs. Dr. Soleymani-Goloujeh’s work covers multiple areas. His work has included research in the area of diabetes, cell-penetrating peptides, extracellular vesicles, and stem cells, cell therapy, nanotechnology, and tissue engineering. Dr. Soleymani-Goloujeh provides an overview of the process of insulin delivery and the delivery of drugs throughout the body. He continues by discussing EV engineering and the various factors that are involved to facilitate efficient delivery. Dr. Soleymani-Goloujeh talks in detail about multiple technologies that pertain to type 1 diabetes, discussing the important roles of exosomes, as well as signaling, and the power of nature.

Improving Coping Mechanisms, Treating All Forms of Addiction—Cali Estes, PhD—Addictions and Recovery Professional
Feb 19 2020 23 mins  
For 23 years, Cali Estes, Ph.D. has been working with all types of people struggling from all kinds of addictions—from heroin or cocaine or alcohol to food or shopping or pornography. She discusses the following: What type of signs to look for in yourself or others in order to determine whether there is likely a problem with addiction What is meant when someone is said to have an “addictive personality” Why traditional methods of treatment and recovery often fail or don’t work for people Dr. Estes works with a wide range of individuals, from the ordinary person to the NFL athlete to some of the most popular celebrities, all of whom struggle in one way or another with some type of addiction. It is her belief that addiction cannot be resolved simply by getting a person to remove the addictive substance or behavior from their life, but by digging deeply until the root cause of addictive behaviors is uncovered; only then can an addiction truly be addressed. She discusses why many conventional approaches to recovery don’t work for a lot of people, and what’s wrong about the fundamental assumptions such programs rely upon. Dr. Estes’ approach is a combination of several methods, including talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, life coaching, addiction coaching, motivational interviewing, and techniques that address brain damage from years’ worth of substance use. She discusses how she helps people with her Sober On-Demand program, and proprietary uses of a machine which repairs damaged receptors in the brain. Dr. Estes truly takes a holistic approach to each and every client, addressing their personal and unique needs and goals. In her opinion, the goal isn’t just to be sober or free from addiction: the goal is to be happy while sober, and happy while free from addiction. For more information, visit and

Healthy Living Without Compromising Christian Values—Dr. Eric
Feb 19 2020 27 mins  
From a business perspective, the Christian market is one of the most underserved markets in the natural health space. Eric Zielinski (commonly called Dr. Z) is a doctor of chiropractic, public health researcher, best-selling author, and producer of the Hope for Breast Cancer documentary, and he joins the podcast to discuss a number of interesting topics, such as the following: How and why essential oils, energy healing practices, yoga, CBD, chiropractic therapy, aromatherapy treatment, and even massage therapy can cause concern for many Christians How the lack of emphasis on physical health among Christians is leading to sickness and impeding the ability to fulfill people’s missions for God What Dr. Z sees as a double standard regarding religiously-driven avoidance and acceptance of certain substances Biblical health is about healthy living without violating Christian beliefs, and if you ask Dr. Z, he’ll tell you it’s being severely overlooked and undervalued by many Christians. He argues that this is in large part due to the many concerns and lack of awareness surrounding certain practices and substances becoming increasingly popular in the natural health sector, such as aromatherapy, CBD, essential oils, yoga, and energy healing. One of the biggest problems he sees in this regard is a detrimental double standard: “This is the double standard: I don’t see a lot of folks…Mormons, or Jews or Christians or Muslims concerned about opioids or concerned about chemotherapy or highly addictive, potentially damage-causing pharmaceutical drugs, so I’m trying to put things into perspective for people. Why are you so concerned about a plant…an essential oil, when you’re going to take a pharmaceutical without a second thought?” he says. He goes on to explain that the key is in educating people and raising awareness about a variety of practices and substances used in health and wellness, and modern medicine. Press play for more.

Alejandro Reyes, Associate Professor at Universidad de los Andes, Microbiologist and PhD in Computational Biology
Feb 19 2020 37 mins  
Alejandro Reyes, Associate Professor, Microbiologist and MSc in Biological Sciences, the University of the Andes, discusses microbes and the importance of gut health. Podcast Points: How do viruses affect the gut? What is a phage? How does the microbiome impact our health? Reyes holds a Ph.D. in Computational and Systems Biology at Washington University in San Luis, MO, United States. Reyes discusses his background and work, and his more than ten years of research studying the microbiome. Reyes’s work is focused on Applied Computational Biology, in the development of many tools that can be used for the analysis of data that is derived from current technologies of optical studies, such as genomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics, etc. for the characterization and classification of microbial communities and their interactions with the environment. He is interested in applications that can be applied to human health outcomes. He discusses viruses and the microbiome in detail, touching on the many viruses that may not make you sick, but stay with you nonetheless, over time. The microbiologist discusses what he specifically studies, regarding the microbiome, detailing information on phages. Bacteriophages, commonly referred to as simply, phages, are the most plentiful organisms within the biosphere. They are an ever-present feature of prokaryotic existence. A bacteriophage, specifically speaking, is a virus that infects a bacterium. Viruses, as we know often infect bacteria, are perhaps the most diverse components of the biosphere, genetically speaking. And the characterizing of phage diversity within the human gut is creating a buzz in the science community in regard to how we view ourselves as supra-organisms. Reyes discusses phage therapy in detail, and he talks about how phages are triggered, providing information on bacteria and how they sacrifice themselves. Reyes continues his discussion by providing information on his thoughts regarding cell attachment. Additionally, he discusses phage population and some other studies they conducted, and he states there is so much that they still must learn about viruses, genes, and phages.

Understanding Animal Foraging Habits Dr. Carolyn Kurle Discusses Tropic Interactions Ecology
Feb 19 2020 29 mins  
Dr. Carolyn Kurle describes how a biogeochemical tool can explain the foraging patters and locations of animals to improve ecosystem management strategies. She explains: How stable isotope analysis looks at ratios of stable nitrogen and carbon isotopes in animal tissues to understand where that animal is foraging. Why this knowledge can be passed to wildlife managers to increase animal conservation success. Why understanding animal foraging is even more important now because of the effects of climate change. Associate professor in the ecology and behavior and evolution sections at UC San Diego, Dr. Carolyn Kurle works with animal foraging data to improve wildlife management efforts. In this conversation, she explains in particular how stable isotope analysis presents ratios of light to heavy nitrogen and carbon isotopes that tell researchers where an animal has eaten and what they have eaten. She elucidates this complex system by first explaining trophic interactions ecology—a level system from producers up to herbivores, than omnivores, and finally to top predator carnivores. The heavier isotope accumulates at each level and the resulting ratio of heavy to light gives specific-enough information to make foraging inferences. Wildlife managers can create ecosystem management strategies by using this data to understand, for example, how essential the white bark pine needle tree is to grizzly bears. Therefore as this tree is facing disease and pest infestation with reduced numbers, managers know to plan for more effective and specific grizzly bear management. Dr. Kurtle discusses many other examples, including those that show how troubling biomagnification issues for California Condors might be better managed by understanding which populations depend on marine life with high toxic levels. For more, see her website at

Morphogenetic Fields – Rupert Sheldrake, PhD, Biologist & Author – Plant and Animal Development, Morphic Resonance, and Form Development
Feb 19 2020 43 mins  
Rupert Sheldrake, PhD, biologist, and author, known for his hypothesis of morphic resonance, discusses morphogenetic fields, morphic resonance, evolutionary biology, and much more. Podcast Points: What is morphic resonance? Does the brain store memory? A discussion on developing structures and collective memory During his tenure at Cambridge University, Dr. Sheldrake worked in developmental biology as a Fellow of Clare College. Dr. Sheldrake discusses his background and his lifelong love of biology, starting out as a young boy—cultivated through his connections to animals and interest in plants. He discusses his thoughts on science throughout his studies at Cambridge and Harvard. He talks about form development, and the many questions of science, detailing some of his research in cells and cell death. He provides a detailed analysis of his thoughts on morphogenetic fields. A morphogenetic field, simply defined, is a group of cells that are able to respond to separate, local biochemical signals that lead to the development of precise morphological structures, or organs. Continuing, Dr. Sheldrake talks about plant and animal development, and modules that are organized by morphogenetic fields. Expanding his discussion, he explains how fields work, discussing electromagnetic fields and gravitational fields. As he explains, fields are spread out, in and around, a developing plant or animal, and they contain a formal structure, which is what molds or shapes the developing structures. He cites examples that substantiate his theories, regarding fields and the wholly integrative nature of those fields. He discusses his theories on morphic resonance, and how individual organisms can draw on collective memories of the form of their ancestors. Going further, Dr. Sheldrake explains his other thoughts on form and other hypotheses regarding memory, and the brain’s memory storage abilities, detailing morphic resonance and how the evidence, he states, points to the fact that the brain actually tunes in to memory, but that memory is not actually ‘stored.’

Holistic Health Approaches to Thyroid Conditions: Dr. Shames Discusses More Treatment Alternatives
Feb 19 2020 30 mins  
Many suffers of thyroid issues that are only offered one medicinal choice, but Dr. Shames says there are several natural supplements that provide meaningful holistic wellness. In this conversation, you'll hear: His personal experience through his wife's struggles with treatment and how that opened his eyes to a vacuum in the medical community for thyroid care. The degree to which these thyroid conditions are an epidemic and what environmental conditions may be causing them. What connections between thyroid conditions and mental health exist and how treating our hormone glands with holistic health measures can achieve balance. Author Dr. Richard Shames has been in private practice for 25 years but shifted his focus after witnessing his wife's search for relief from symptoms due to irregular thyroid measures. The Synthroid prescription the endocrinologists she first saw did not ease her symptoms, but after being connected with a university research group, she found relief from holistic health treatment. They wrote the book Feeling Fat, Fuzzy, or Frazzled? to educate readers about better options to treat and balance our three hormone-producing glands: the thyroid, adrenal, and reproductive glands. He discusses why the diabetes epidemic may have overshadowed thyroid treatment's need for fuller attention. Because the medical system is less apt to look at hormone balance from a broader perspective, often the standard T3 medicine lacks the holistic wellness available from natural thyroid medicine. Furthermore, he explains how the thyroid, adrenal glands, and reproductive glands make for a hormone system that needs to be balanced in concert with each other. For example, women are often prescribed estrogen, which actually increases thyroid-binding agents in your bloodstream. By treating patients through a holistic wellness lens, these three hormonal-producing systems can work more effectively together. For more information such as recommended doctors, see the Top Docs list at He also recommends seeking out a nutritional practitioner in addition to supplemental information. Dr. Shames also has a website at

Finding a Way to Turn Back Time—Vittorio Sebastiano—Turn Biotechnologies
Feb 19 2020 40 mins  
At Turn Biotechnologies, the team is attempting the seemingly impossible: the reversal of ageing. On today’s podcast, you’ll learn the following: What role epigenetic drift plays in the process of ageing at the cellular level, and what can trigger it How the team at Turn Bio is reprogramming the epigenetic signature of age, and the promising results that have already been shown in mouse models How the process of extracting, rejuvenating and returning cells to tissue works How the work being done could eventually address the effects of ageing and/or prevent age-related diseases “It is possible to reverse the epigenetic landscape of the cells and bring it back in time so that a cell, which by the process of aging becomes dysfunctional with time, can actually be reprogrammed or reversed in a way that it becomes more youthful and more functional, and this could have repercussions on the cell itself, but also broadly speaking, systemically in the individual,” says Vittorio Sebastiano, explaining the premise of Turn Bio, a company for which he serves as both co-founder and scientific advisory board chairman. Sebastiano expounds on a number of interesting subjects, including what causes genes to express certain types of cells and what types of environmental stimuli may disrupt this programming, leading to the creation of dysfunctional cell types (i.e. what he calls the process of ageing), various methods of epigenetic regulation, the hallmarks of cellular ageing, the important distinction between ageing and senescence, and what he sees in terms of both short-term and long-term goals with this work. Visit to learn more.

Breaking into Biology – Denis Noble, CBE, PhD, FRS, Celebrated and Outspoken British Biologist, Physiologist, and Prolific Author – Concepts in Genetics and the Level of Causation in Biology
Feb 19 2020 50 mins  
Denis Noble, CBE, Ph.D., FRS, the celebrated and outspoken British biologist, physiologist, and prolific author, discusses his incredible, noteworthy career in biology, exciting concepts in genetics, and the level of causation in biology. Podcast Points: What is the current state of evolutionary theory? What do we know about cells and how they work? Issues regarding the genome and how diseases might originate British biologist, Noble has long been a major voice in modern biology. Dr. Noble was the Burdon Sanderson Chair of Cardiovascular Physiology at the University of Oxford for more than two decades. He was later named Professor Emeritus. Additionally, Dr. Noble was appointed the Co-Director of Computational Physiology. Dr. Noble is one of the earliest researchers in systems biology and he played an integral role in the development of the first mathematical model of the human heart. His thoughts on evolutionary theory have been part of a growing movement, a sort of revolution in evolutionary biology. Dr. Noble discusses his background and talks about what got him interested in his areas of research and study. As a self-described ‘card-carrying reductionist scientist,’ Dr. Noble was interested in the concept of a privileged level of causation. And as he states, it was really always about, and is about, simply molecules. He recounts some early experiments he engaged in, attempts to reproduce the rhythm of the heart, with differential equations representing the molecular event. Which molecules are involved? This was an important question for the research. After much experimentation and study, he came to the conclusion that the cell itself is partially causing what happens. Rhythm only occurs by something that is constrained by the cell membrane. He explains the complex details of how the process works and how differential equations will not lead to answers unless the appropriate information is added into the mix. The research scientist discusses how DNA is produced, and how cells have mechanisms for controlling errors. Cells, in short, have great control over what happens within systems. Dr. Noble goes on to discuss other important experiments, in the nervous system and other systems such as the immune system. Continuing, the Ph.D. expert talks about the genome. He discusses the origin of diseases and the fact that we know very little about biology above the level of the genome, in contrast to what we know about molecular biology in general. But remarkably, we still don’t know exactly how cells work.

All about Sleep with Dr. Dholakia: A Neurologist for Sleep Disorders Explores Concerns
Feb 19 2020 28 mins  
One-third of our population faces some type of sleep disorder. Dr. Dholakia strives to increase awareness. In this podcast, he explains: The differences between disorders such as narcolepsy, insomnia, idiopathic hypersomnia, obstructive apnea, and more, and how sleep apnea treatments might improve. Connections researchers are making between Parkinson’s disease and sleep disorders, as well as other health concerns. The mechanics of how our body functions during REM sleep and how some disorders affect this with potentially dangerous outcomes. Board-certified neurologist and sleep specialist Dr. Swapan Akhilesh works as a physician at the Atlanta VA Medical Center and is the medical director of the Atlanta VA sleep laboratory as a neurologist for sleep disorders. He focuses on the whole spectrum of sleep disorders from snoring to sleep apnea to insomnia. He discusses that while obstructive sleep apnea and insomnia are the most common disorders, there are numerous other disorders worthy of study because their effects can be dangerous. Because of the overlap of neurology and sleep, Dr. Dholakia is able to bring the science of each together for better understanding. As a neurologist for sleep disorders, he is able to explain neurological complications that lead to these disorders. For example, the inability of some brains to decompartmentalize waking versus sleeping states causes narcolepsy. Because these lines are blurred for the brain, sleeping intrudes into wakeful times. He also explains many of the mysteries in sleep disorders such as idiopathic hypersomnia: they don't understand why these patients are constantly sleepy and are undergoing research to try and understand this better. Finally, Dr. Dholakia explains possible improvements into more common issues like sleep apnea treatments but also warns of the commonness of sleep disorders that can affect our health. Therefore, he's working to educate and encourage the public to seek treatment. He advises veterans who want to learn more to seek out the VA's specialized sleep centers. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the American Alliance of Healthy Sleep are also good resources.

Watching for Eye Disease – Dimitra Skondra, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Science Director, The University of Chicago Medicine – Understanding the Connections—the Microbiome, Eye Disease, and the Future of Treatment
Feb 19 2020 31 mins  
Dimitra Skondra, MD, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Science Director, J. Terry Ernest Ocular Imaging Center at The University of Chicago Medicine, discusses the microbiota, diseases of the eye, macular degeneration, and eye health. Podcast Points: Is there a connection between the microbiome and eye health? Does diet play a role in macular degeneration? What do we now understand about the gut microbiome that we didn’t in past years? Dr. Dimitra Skondra is a sought-after and respected, board-certified retina specialist, and she primarily focuses on medical and surgical treatments of vitreoretinal diseases. Dr. Skondra talks about why she was particularly interested in studying the eye. As she states, it’s a fascinating organ and greatly affects the quality of life. Dr. Skondra provides a thorough overview of the microbiome and eye-specific issues. She explains issues about the sterility of the eye, discussing what is sterile and what is not. Many microbes exist on the surface of the eye, and Dr. Skondra provides an overview of the various diseases and conditions that impact the surface of the eye. Continuing, Dr. Skondra talks about genetic mutations and genetic risks for macular degeneration. As she explains, lifestyle and diet can increase risk factors. She cites examples from her work as a postdoc, and details some of the information she gathered that indicated high-fat diets, especially when combined with a genetic predisposition, could accelerate degeneration. As she states, the microbiota affects disease, but her focus is on how can she and other researchers use that information to help patients? She talks about the promotion of healthy gut microbiome and the connections between the gut and the retina. Her research seeks to understand all these connections and how altering the gut microbiome affects various conditions or risks.

Healing the Mind and Body: Ameet Aggarwal Explains Naturopathy Benefits
Feb 19 2020 33 mins  
Invivo provides diagnostic testing services that analyze the microbiome, host immune status, and genomic data. Humphrey Bacchus joins the podcast to discuss the following: Why it’s important to understand the ways in which the internal microbiome is reflective of or correlated with the wider environment and ecosystems in which we live (e.g. soil, weather systems) What is unique about the approach being taken at Invivo, which includes a look at two microbiome types on which little commercial work has been done How the widely varying data sets in the field of microbiome research require clinicians to be well-read, well-versed, and well-supported to tease out the pertinent information and use it to the benefit of patients on an individual basis How vaginal microbiomes could affect or be related to female infertility, miscarriage, and preterm birth About 10 years ago, Humphrey Bacchus joined Invivo, which at the time was just starting out in the field of microbiome research, testing microbiomes and figuring out how to apply what they were learning to the clinical arena for the benefit of patients. Bacchus quickly came to understand and appreciate the inseparable connection between our internal microbial ecosystems and the ecosystems within which we all live. “If we nurture these microbes rather than treat them as invaders, then we can watch after the wider environment in which we live,” says Bacchus. Ultimately, the focus at Invivo is on trying to help clinicians and patients understand the relationship their bodies have with various microbes in the development of the disease. While quite a lot of attention is being given to gastrointestinal microbiomes, Bacchus talks about the useful data being derived from a look at vaginal and oral microbiomes. He explains what markers are being looked at in order to evaluate host immune responses, and how necessary it is to understand that microbes do not exist in and of themselves but in relation to and in contact with the host’s immune system. Informed by this view, Bacchus and the team at Invivo aim to continue gathering as much data as possible while keeping in mind the dynamic complexity that cannot be ignored. To learn more, visit

Restoring Human Health and Ecology—Humphrey Bacchus—Invivo Diagnostics & Therapeutics
Feb 19 2020 33 mins  
Invivo provides diagnostic testing services that analyze the microbiome, host immune status, and genomic data. Humphrey Bacchus joins the podcast to discuss the following: Why it’s important to understand the ways in which the internal microbiome is reflective of or correlated with the wider environment and ecosystems in which we live (e.g. soil, weather systems) What is unique about the approach being taken at Invivo, which includes a look at two microbiome types on which little commercial work has been done How the widely varying data sets in the field of microbiome research require clinicians to be well-read, well-versed, and well-supported to tease out the pertinent information and use it to the benefit of patients on an individual basis How vaginal microbiomes could affect or be related to female infertility, miscarriage, and preterm birth About 10 years ago, Humphrey Bacchus joined Invivo, which at the time was just starting out in the field of microbiome research, testing microbiomes and figuring out how to apply what they were learning to the clinical arena for the benefit of patients. Bacchus quickly came to understand and appreciate the inseparable connection between our internal microbial ecosystems and the ecosystems within which we all live. “If we nurture these microbes rather than treat them as invaders, then we can watch after the wider environment in which we live,” says Bacchus. Ultimately, the focus at Invivo is on trying to help clinicians and patients understand the relationship their bodies have with various microbes in the development of the disease. While quite a lot of attention is being given to gastrointestinal microbiomes, Bacchus talks about the useful data being derived from a look at vaginal and oral microbiomes. He explains what markers are being looked at in order to evaluate host immune responses, and how necessary it is to understand that microbes do not exist in and of themselves but in relation to and in contact with the host’s immune system. Informed by this view, Bacchus and the team at Invivo aim to continue gathering as much data as possible while keeping in mind the dynamic complexity that cannot be ignored. To learn more, visit

Extracellular Examination – Lesley Cheng Sim, PhD, Research Officer, Biochemistry, at La Trobe University – Can Extracellular Vesicles be the Key to Recognizing Early Stage Diseases?
Feb 19 2020 27 mins  
Lesley Cheng Sim, Ph.D., Research Officer, Biochemistry, at La Trobe University, discusses extracellular vesicles (EVs) and her work as a Molecular Biologist. Lesley received her Ph.D. from Monash University in 2008; she is a postdoctoral researcher. Before attaining her Ph.D., Lesley earned a Bachelor of Medical Science from La Trobe University. She has extensive training as a Cell and Molecular Biologist, specifically in the area of neuronal death and survival. Podcast Points: What are extracellular vesicles? Can exosomes be utilized to deliver therapeutics? New paths to understanding Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Lesley talks about her background and the field of extracellular vesicles. As she states, her lab is one of the early labs to do research in the field. She talks about cellular issues and neuronal death. And she provides information on the methods they use to isolate exosomes from the blood. The research Ph.D. discusses the three primary areas of research in their lab—the role of exosomes in the pathology of degenerative diseases, the isolation of exosomes from the blood to be used as diagnostic tools, and the exploitation of exosomes to be used as a vehicle for the delivery of therapeutics. She goes on to discuss the degenerative diseases they focus a great deal of their research upon, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. She talks about early diagnosis options, and how they use exosomes to find disease indicators. Continuing, the Ph.D. EV expert talks in detail about the detection of RNA changes, their experimentation in the lab, and how this information can provide valuable insight, illuminating important disease indicators and markers. Lesley's innovative research is clearing a path for new and important knowledge of degenerative diseases and various health conditions, to be harvested and implemented as we move forward into personalized medicine.

A Chemist's Approach to Biofilms: Dr. Laura Sanchez Discusses Impeding Bacterial Diseases in Humans
Feb 19 2020 36 mins  
Scientists in multiple disciplines are working on ways to circumvent antibiotic resistance. Dr. Sanchez explains why targeting biofilms requires more study. She describes: The composition and nature of biofilm behavior. What happens to bacteria when they try inhibiting the biofilm. How cheese has its own interesting biofilm study potential. Dr. Laura Sanchez, Assistant Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy with a courtesy appointment in Chemistry at The University of Illinois at Chicago runs her lab to better understand the pathogen-biofilm interplay in order to fight bacterial disease in humans. Dr. Sanchez is attempting to use chemistry as an early warning detection system. The lab uses specialized mass spectrometry to study biofilm behavior and understand the metabolites the pathogens emit in this biofilm state. The lab's state-of-the-art mass spectrometry technique allows them to study other elements of human diseases, such as ovarian cancer, in the hopes that they can create a less invasive ovarian cancer diagnosis tool to enable earlier detection. Their findings of biofilm behavior have indicated that trying to inhibit a biofilm has a negative result in terms of impeding the pathogen. In fact, in a study on moth infection, eradicating the biofilm actually accelerated the disease progression, making the bacteria increase its virulent nature. The lab has also studied the nature of biofilms on cheese rinds and found interesting results regarding the same types of cheeses separated by geography as well as an association between salty brines on cheese and ocean bacteria. For more, see Dr. Sanchez's lab page at

Extracellular Vesicle Heterogeneity and Therapeutic Potential—Scott Bonner—Oxford University
Feb 19 2020 37 mins  
As a Ph.D. student at Oxford University, Scott Bonner’s work aims to examine extracellular vesicle (EV) heterogeneity and what it might teach us about the therapeutic function of EVs. He explains the following: How many EVs one cell can produce, and why it is difficult albeit possible to examine singular vesicle phenotypes How significant a role EVs play in communication between cells, and what other methods cells use for intercellular communication How certain EV purification methods might disrupt the integrity of an EV itself by altering its shape and/or therapeutic potential Extracellular vesicles hold great potential as a therapeutic delivery platform and might provide therapy for everything from broken bones to complicated disease processes like cancer. In addition, they could be used to package and deliver drugs to very specific regions in the body without running the risk of being hindered by the immune system, thereby providing greater efficacy than what’s currently seen with drugs administered conventionally. Scott Bonner shares what compelled him to pursue a career in EV-based research, and how his interest was jump-started by his time as a research assistant for Evox Therapeutics, a company that is now well-known in the field of exosome and EV-based therapeutics. Bonner’s current research aims to better understand vesicle heterogeneity and involves the creation of single-cell clones of a particular cell type that are grown separate from all other cells and cell types. Over time, the expectation is that the phenotypes of these cells will drift apart—even if only slightly—and that this could provide insight into how differences in EV phenotype affect EV function. Ultimately, the findings could provide the industry with valuable information about the physical characteristics of EVs that hold the potential to therapeutically affect specific disease processes, such as breast cancer. A number of interesting topics are explored, so tune in, and email your questions or comments to [email protected]

Gastro Info – Christopher Chapman, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Director of Bariatric and Metabolic Endoscopy, University of Chicago – Gastroenterology, Endoscopic Procedures, and Improved Health
Feb 19 2020 32 mins  
Christopher Chapman, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Director of Bariatric and Metabolic Endoscopy, Department of Medicine at the University of Chicago, provides an overview of his research, specifically detailing the area of gastroenterology and his work with patients. Podcast Points: What are the medical procedures designed to help lose weight? Can I lose weight medically, but without surgery? What does an endoscopic procedure entail? Dr. Chapman has extensive training and experience in Interventional Endoscopy and Gastroenterology. He is a noted gastroenterologist and member of the Center for Endoscopic Research and Therapeutics (CERT), where he regularly treats patients who suffer from various gastrointestinal disorders, through the use of minimally invasive endoscopic techniques. The research doctor discusses his background at Johns Hopkins University, and now at the University of Chicago, and also his current work, which he describes as about 80% clinical and 20% research. As he explains, a good deal of his work deals with endoscopic procedures designed to help people lose weight, so they can improve their health, and reduce or eliminate their obesity-related conditions. He explains how these procedures differ from bariatric surgery. As he states, many of these procedures are done through the ‘natural orifice’ meaning they go in through the mouth while the patient is asleep. He provides an overview of the intragastric balloon procedure, which essentially inserts a balloon-type device inside your stomach that allows you to feel fuller faster; endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG), which reduces the size of the stomach; and then aspiration therapy, which is a bariatric approach that can help to siphon ingested food out of the stomach through an implanted tube and port it to the outside of the body to then be discarded. Dr. Chapman discusses the many ways they, as researchers and doctors, seek to innovate in the space, applying new procedures and techniques to aid their patients with a wide assortment of medical maladies. He talks about clinical trials for their balloon devices, devices that can help people lose more weight and/or make the balloon more tolerable to patients who have difficulty. He talks about other options in clinical trials, that focus on diabetes, and also some that are endoscopy-free. Many new techniques are on the horizon that will be minimally invasive, yet still, provide immense benefits to patients. Continuing, Dr. Chapman talks about the work they are doing to try to get insurance companies to cover certain procedures, which will help those who may be underinsured or facing financial struggles, to get procedures they need for their health.

It’s a 3D World – Greg Paulsen, Director of Applications Engineering at Xometry – Innovations in Manufacturing Processes for Increased Efficiency and Quality
Feb 18 2020 35 mins  
Greg Paulsen, the Director of Applications Engineering at Xometry (, discusses on-demand manufacturing services, materials, trends, and 3D printing processes. Podcast Points: How is 3D printing changing the way we manufacture products? Current trends in manufacturing Can 3D printing utilize all kinds of materials, or just plastics and metals? As the leader of the Applications Engineering team, Paulsen handles special projects pertaining to material selection, design-for-manufacturing, and technical engineering resources as well. The team at Xometry is heavily involved in pushing technology, communication, and integration, and helping clients to improve their manufacturing supply line. Paulsen provides an overview of Xometry, and how they help to make manufacturing easier. Xometry has been innovating in the space for years, and has assisted the established manufacturing industry through the introduction of AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning, just to name a few of the areas they excel in. Paulsen talks about 3D printing technologies in detail. From metals to plastics to composites, the world of 3D printing is expanding and has evolved many times since its introduction in the mid 80s. He discusses the goals of Xometry and their approach to additive technologies, and the maturity of the tech innovations. Paulsen explains molds used in traditional manufacturing versus what new technologies such as 3D printing can do to eliminate a lot of set up work and costs. It’s an accessible technology that can be distributed to localized manufacturing sources, which improves efficiency. Continuing, Paulsen discusses materials in detail, and the processes and post-processes in parts and products manufacturing. He talks about resin-based printers and the finishes that they can deliver versus how robust they are in terms of structure and engineering. The manufacturing efficiency expert continues his discussion by discussing software options in the 3D printing and manufacturing arena, the evolution of the industry, and what’s on the horizon.

Solutions from Space—Arnaud Runge—European Space Agency ARTES Program
Feb 18 2020 25 mins  
The European Space Agency (ESA) ARTES Program is an optional program for members of ESA that supports a number of projects, products, and applications. Instrumentation Engineer, Arnaud Runge, discusses an ESA business application program line called Business Space Solutions. Tune in to learn the following: What type of devices and products have been created by ARTES-supported companies and how they’ve provided a significant benefit to the wider community In what ways an ARTES-supported laboratory helped to clear an Ebola outbreak in an African village The threat of ice crystals for pilots and air flight, and how predictive satellite data and monitoring can help The Business Space Solutions program line at the ESA is focused on how to go about using all things space-related, such as communications via satellite, positional data, and various technologies to create new products and services for the enhancement of existing services or to meet new needs from different user communities. The types of projects supported by ARTES fall into many categories, including health, telemedicine, insurance, tourism, and precision farming that will help farmers better utilize resources such as water and fertilizer. Runge discusses a few specific examples of the products they’ve supported, which include a product capable of measuring parameters such as heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature that can be placed in aircrafts and connected to medical doctors on the ground. This would eliminate the need for countless and costly flight diversions. He also talks about a laboratory that specializes in taking biological measurements in the context of epidemics like the recent Ebola outbreak. The technology works by utilizing satellite-based communication methods to connect various specialists with experts on the ground, and by facilitating the development of healthcare and treatment for the patients met. This method of communication would prove invaluable in the event that a natural disaster rendered conventional forms of communication impossible. Learn more about the work being done by visiting

Investing in the Mind-Training Field: Bridge Builders' Charlie Hartwell Discusses Trends
Feb 18 2020 23 mins  
Bridge Builders supports companies that work towards accessible mind-training technology through investments. He explains some of these steps from idea to implementation by discussing: How Bridge Builders is a collaborative group rather than a fund and why that makes a difference for investments. Some of the most popular apps they've supported like Headspace to some newer ones with great potential like Insight Timer. Future projects that fit several needs such as mental health support applications. Operating Partner of Bridge Builders, Charlie Hartwell describes the more fluid style of the collaborative investment model. He touches on the 12 companies his group supports and then goes into more detail about some of the applications they've helped bring about, further explaining their steps from idea to implementation. He describes in particular one app that's growing in popularity called Insight Timer. It offers mindfulness inspiration, meditations, and music from over 5,000 teachers around the world. Additional projects include an app that helps with addiction, the Muse headband, and Fabriq, an app that helps organize and enable better intentionality with relationship building, both social and professional. Mr. Hartwell also addresses projects that need more attention and may come under their purview such as research into psychedelic drug potential to treat various struggles such as PTSD. He mentions as well the rise in alternatives to nonwestern medical practitioners—and would like to see the development of that field become more mainstream. For more see He also posts frequently to LinkedIn and publishes Medium articles.

Environmentalist Rick Smith Talks about Indoor Pollutants We All Encounter
Feb 18 2020 24 mins  
From shampoo to carpeting to baby bottles, chemicals are prevalent in our everyday items. Author Rick Smith discusses accompanying concerns such as: The depth of this issue, calling it the second great pollution problem facing humanity. Why the health effects of pollution from such chemicals are prevalent and should be taken seriously. Alternatives for many everyday products that are available. Co-author of Slow Death by Rubber Duck: The Secret Danger of Everyday Things and director of Canada's Broadbent Institute, environmentalist Rick Smith describes the research he and co-author Bruce Lourie underwent to see common results of living in close quarters with chemicals. The prevalence of chemicals such as BPA in eating containers raised alarms and he wondered about the health effects of pollution on our bodies from such chemicals. He tells how he and his co-author experimented on themselves over 10 years with their own blood and urine samples. They would establish a baseline first, and then, for example, cook with plastic and retest themselves to see if there was an increase in chemical levels. In most cases, the answer was yes. Mr. Smith details various other household products to be aware of, from shampoo to cosmetics to paint. He explains the danger and prevalence of phthalates and discusses how it can work as a hormonal disruptor in our body. Finally, he offers good news about the results of consumer pressure and tells the listener about safe alternatives for many of these products.

Intelligently Building Community in the AI and Data Science Space—Dr. Alex Liu—RMDS Lab
Feb 18 2020 16 mins  
Former IBM Chief Scientist, Dr. Alex Liu, discusses the services provided by RMDS Lab, a community-based ecosystem provider in the artificial intelligence (AI) and big data sector. You will learn: Why AI and data-related projects rarely succeed when handled only by a few data scientists and/or one method or approach How the RMDS platform works and what benefits it provides to data scientists and businesses alike Common misconceptions regarding data sets, data analysis, and the usefulness of data, and how RMDS Lab can help For the past 10 years or so, RMDS Lab has been building a data science and AI community using an ecosystem approach, guided by the belief that little can be accomplished in the field of big data and AI without utilizing multiple approaches, multiple methods, considering many algorithms, and combining the minds of more than just a handful of data scientists. Ultimately, the goal is to make data science-driven projects more adaptable and accessible and thereby increase the benefit they can serve to individuals, communities, organizations, and companies. RMDS Lab invites clients and partners to enter the RMDS platform where they can build profiles and explore projects in the field while counting on an RMDS AI algorithm that will select the right data sets, algorithms, coworkers, and data scientists for a particular project-related goal. In essence, the platform intelligently scans all available tools and resources and selects the ones best suited to a particular problem in the AI and data science field. According to Dr. Liu, this ecosystem-based approach is absolutely necessary when dealing with so many possible approaches, and such massive amounts of data—much of which is dirty or fake. In light of this reality, the RMDS platform also provides tools for cleaning and organizing data. Tune in for the full conversation and check out to learn more or sign on to the platform.

Cell Wars – Dr. Gail McIntyre, Chief Scientific Officer, Aravive – Researching Ways to Combat Disease at the Cellular Level
Feb 10 2020 31 mins  
In this podcast, Gail McIntyre, Ph.D., DABT, Chief Scientific Officer of Aravive, delivers a comprehensive overview of her work as CSO developing options to treat an assortment of diseases. Before arriving at Aravive, Dr. McIntyre was a principal and/or consultant at multiple innovative pharmaceutical and biotechnology-oriented companies. Opening the podcast, Dr. McIntyre discusses in detail all the groundbreaking work they are producing at Aravive, developing treatments to stop the progression of life-threatening diseases. Dr. McIntyre explains how the Aravive system is built upon an approach to target influential signaling pathways that sustain the activation, the migration, and eventual invasion of abnormal cells into otherwise healthy tissue. The scientific officer explains how tumors work to survive in less than ideal environments. She discusses the secretion of interleukins that can affect white cells. She provides a thorough analysis of the varied processes that sometimes work to improve multiple factors for tumor growth that allows them to survive in all kinds of conditions. She talks about their current work studying the effects and impact of select oncology drugs, observing GAS6 levels in monkeys. Dr. McIntyre further explains how select particular doses of drugs can suppress GAS6 levels, specifically in regard to their ongoing study of ovarian cancer. Dr. McIntyre has authored many regulatory submissions and she is a board-certified toxicologist with noted expertise in oncology and infectious diseases, etc.

The Sleeping Breath – Dr. Barry Raphael of the Raphael Center for Integrative Education – Understanding How We Breathe and the Disruptions That Can Affect Our Health
Feb 10 2020 48 mins  
Dr. Barry Raphael of the Raphael Center for Integrative Education discusses sleep medicine and breathing issues. Dr. Raphael is a skilled practitioner in the field of orthodontics. He is particularly interested in sleep/breathing issues (airway-centered dysfunction) and malocclusion, and the early treatment techniques that can help to avoid them. Dr. Raphael teaches at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, and at the post-graduate level in the US and abroad, and of course at his center, the Raphael Center for Integrative Education in New Jersey. Dr. Raphael is the president of the New Jersey Association of Orthodontists and is a respected authority in his field at large. As Dr. Raphael states, today we know more about sleep and the reasons behind sleep disruption than ever before. He delves into a detailed explanation of how we take air in during our sleep and the processes that take place as we breathe. He explains the kind of suction activity that the chest creates that helps to pull air in through the nose, and when all is functioning properly this is a fairly effortless process and the diaphragm will distribute air evenly throughout the lungs. However, for some, there is ‘turbulence,’ which is a ‘swirling’ of the air as it moves through the body that causes a significant amount of negative pressure. Dr. Raphael explains that this can cause the sidewalls of the airway to flutter, which makes noise, and this noise is what we have labeled as—snoring. Snoring, he states, is one of the hallmarks of negative pressure in the airway. Dr. Raphael discusses the discomfort that can be created and the ways to deal with these airway issues. The orthodontics expert outlines other ways that turbulence can be created in the breathing process, specifically detailing nasal issues, and ways that a ‘narrowing’ can be created that will impact breathing negatively. Continuing, Dr. Raphael discusses the fields of sleep medicine and sleep dentistry and the innovative progress that is being made in them, offering new hope for sufferers. Dr. Raphael says that eight to fifteen percent of the population has sleep apnea, but of those, many never figure out that this is a problem for them at all, leaving the issue unaddressed. He explains the many ways the body tries to adapt during sleep, in order to get the air that it needs. Dr. Raphael explains how apnea can stress the organs, and how it usually is developed over a long history of intermittent breathing issues that occur during sleep. Additionally, he outlines autonomic responses, and how stress affects breathing and the body.

Track to the Future – Tim Sylvester, CEO & Chief Technology Officer of Integrated Roadways – Digital Roadways: Connectivity and Communication for the Modern Driver
Feb 06 2020 29 mins  
If you’re of a particular age, you may remember watching a Saturday morning cartoon in which drivers blasted through space in levitating vehicles. And if you’re a curious type, you may have wondered when that day would become a reality. While we’re not quite there yet, technology is bringing the future to our highways and byways.Tim Sylvester, CEO & Chief Technology Officer of Integrated Roadways takes us on an amazing journey to the crux of technology-based, next-generation roads. With growing demands for smart cities, 5G cellular, and applications to connect electric-powered and autonomous vehicles, the need for powerful networks based in and around roadways is tremendous.The tech CEO provides an insider look into his company’s strategies to turn physical roads into active digital networks. An obvious and immediate benefit of these digital networks would be in the area of driver safety. Auto accidents could be instantly identified and pinpointed and first responders such as police and EMT would be immediately notified, cutting down on time lag and possibly saving lives. And real time traffic data could modify signal timing and increase traffic flow during periods of congestion.Additionally, analytical data regarding traffic could enable small businesses to get a sense of how much traffic their potential business location might see on average, which could bolster rates of success.The digital network expert also helps to allay some of the misconceptions about the application of this technology. While some may think that building new roads to implement a digital strategy could be an excessive, unnecessary task, Sylvester explains that 50% of American roads are in desperate need of replacement right now. Integrated Roadways has patented a Smart Pavement system, which is created from precast concrete sections that can be embedded with digital technology and fiber optic connectivity that will transform everyday roads into smart roads. By targeting the commercial demands for data and wireless service, Sylvester expects to reinvigorate highway and road funding and step away from the traditional method of funding solely with tax dollars.Sylvester discusses the incredible advances that digital network roads will bring to the autonomous driving industry. The CEO explains that as smartphones go, so should the autonomous vehicle. In that he clarifies that just as the network technology that drives smartphones exists outside of the actual physical phone, autonomous vehicles should follow suit.Autonomous vehicles of the near future should begin to rely on digital network information in the actual roadways, not in the vehicle itself. And with a peek into the near future, the technology expert reveals his company’s current plans for activating this digital system in multiple areas of the country. The future has arrived.

On the Commercialization of New and Promising Technologies For Tackling Climate Change—Stephan Ouaknine—Inerjys
Feb 04 2020 25 mins  
Inerjys is a private equity fund investing in companies and technologies in the clean energy and climate change arena. Founder and managing partner, Stephan Ouaknine, discusses the following: Why the commercialization of technologies is crucial in order for products to make a real impact on climate change, and why commercialization can be difficult What types of new clean energy and agricultural technologies are being developed and how they work What would be necessary in order to lower the cost of solar energy Ouaknine understands that a budding technology company needs more than just the funds to develop its product: it needs early adopters and proof points in order to reach a greater market and actually have a tangible effect. In the world of technological developments designed to tackle climate change, this is even more important, since the cash risk is substantial for early adopters. In order to address this challenge, Inerjys ensures that they not only fund companies but invest in projects that will use the products those companies create, thereby commercializing the products and making them significantly more likely to be used as a feasible climate solution. Ouaknine shares information about some of the products in the Inerjys portfolio, including a new, cost-effective approach to hydropower turbines in the ocean and vertical farming in response to urbanization. He also discusses emerging techniques for carbon capture and conversion, why the price of solar power is still high and how it could be lowered, and the technologies that are becoming increasingly commonplace. He details the ways in which these technologies have a positive impact on the environment, and how to further commercialization of emerging technologies might stave off an otherwise imminent and devastating increase in global temperature. Tune in and learn more by visiting

Lung Life – Robert Quinn, Assistant Professor at Michigan State University – Discussing Bacterial Lung Infections & Cystic Fibrosis
Feb 04 2020 27 mins  
Robert Quinn, Assistant Professor at Michigan State University, discusses his research, detailing information on rare bacterial lung infections, anaerobic bacteria infection, and especially cystic fibrosis. Podcast Points of Discussion: What exactly is cystic fibrosis? How might pure oxygen impact bad bacteria? What are the long term possibilities for a cystic fibrosis patient? Quinn’s education includes: a PhD in Environmental and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in Lafayette, LA, an MSc in Microbiology from the University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada, and a BSc in Microbiology, also from the University of Guelph in Canada. Quinn discusses cystic fibrosis, which he states is a classic genetic disease, and those who are afflicted with it have various mutations in a particular gene. As he explains cystic fibrosis is a hereditary disease that affects the lungs and digestive system. The body produces thick and sticky mucus that can clog the lungs and obstruct the pancreas. He goes on to discuss some of the commonalities that exist between sick people with cystic fibrosis and the healthy. He discusses the issues in detail, discussing the oral cavity and upper airways. Quinn continues his discussion by recounting some experiments he was involved with during his time at San Diego State University. In the experiments, patients would not only breathe oxygen, but they would actually sit in a hyperbaric chamber full of oxygen. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves breathing pure oxygen while inside a pressurized room or tube. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a commonly used treatment for decompression sickness, which is a hazard of scuba diving. While there were potential risks due to the pressurization, the idea was that this environment could possibly kill some unwanted bacteria, such as anaerobic organisms, or anaerobes, which are organisms that do not require oxygen for growth, and thus they may respond negatively or perhaps even die if free oxygen is presented. Quinn goes on to discuss cross-contamination concerns between cystic fibrosis patients due to the fact that they have highly resistant bacteria. He explains broad-spectrum antibiotic use and talks about the pros and cons of various treatments.

More than Meets the Eye: Dr. St. Leger Explains Eye Microbiome and Disease
Feb 04 2020 24 mins  
Most of us have heard about intestinal microbiomes, but researchers found that eyes have their own bacteria presence as well. Dr. St. Leger discusses his findings, such as: The part of the eye that works as a niche for the beneficial bacteria. The roles elements like tears and dry eye play in this micro ecology. Future therapies researchers hope to initiate based on these findings as they better understand eye microbiome and disease. Anthony St. Leger is an assistant professor of Ophthalmology and Immunology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. About three years ago, he and his lab found the presence of bacteria in a mouse’s diseased eye that seemed to serve the same function as the bacteria we have in our intestinal tract. In other words, these bacteria appeared to modulate the susceptibility to infectious disease and immunity. This prompted a more intensive study to understand more fully the purpose for its stable coexistence with the eye. Dr. St. Leger explains that the bacteria is only present under the eyelid. The rest of the eye, especially the center, is bacteria free, but the area under the lid seems to support this niche ecology of beneficial bacteria. After he and his lab were given permission to use isolates from numerous past patients at the university clinic, they found that the mouse and human eye had enough similarity in a bacterium that researchers could apply what they learned from the mouse eye to the human eye. Therefore, these researchers hope to use their studies to see if these bacteria can be beneficial drug carriers and offer other solutions regarding eye microbiome and disease, including pro-biotic-like therapies. For more information and links to Dr. St. Leger’s papers, see his lab’s web page at