Scientist the Human Podcast

A laid-back conversation with research scientists engaged in exciting work. Will we discuss their research? Of course! But we will also attempt to explore the path these individuals took in getting to where they are today. My goal is to get to know the human behind the scientist. Join in!

The Podcasts

Laura Valente is a PhD student in the Department of Pathology at Duke University School of Medicine. She conducts research in the lab of Dr. Anthony Filiano, who is a faculty member in the Neurosurgery, Immunology, and Pathology departments at Duke. Laura's work focuses on developing mouse models of thymus transplants done in patients to understand the underlying mechanisms of thymus transplant efficacy. Recently, Laura took part in a science advocacy workshop called Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering (CASE), held by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). In this episode, we discuss Laura's research and her recent crash course in science advocacy. For more information on Laura's research, please visit the Filiano Lab website. For more information on the CASE workshop, please visit the AAAS CASE website.

Direct download: STH_-_E25_Laura_Valente.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:41am EDT

Dr. Kris Wood is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology and the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Duke University. The Wood Lab utilizes functional genomics approaches to uncover targetable vulnerabilities in different types of human cancers. Much of this work is driven by investigation of the complex signaling networks that drive tumor formation and progression. Dr. Wood's research also leads to identification of combinatorial treatment strategies for cancers that evolve to develop resistance to monotherapies. For more information visit his lab page: Wood Lab

Direct download: STH_-_E24_Dr._Kris_Wood.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:49am EDT

Dr. Herman Staats is a Professor and the Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Pathology at Duke University School of Medicine. Broadly, the Staats Lab focuses on vaccines and immunity. The lab's main projects include identifying and characterizing new adjuvants, and optimizing nasal immunization for use in humans. An adjuvant is any substance co-administered with a vaccine to enhance the immune response to the vaccine, and we discuss this topic in detail in this episode. For more information visit his lab page: Staats Lab


Direct download: STH_-_E23_Dr._Herman_Staats.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:04pm EDT

Katie Stember is a PhD candidate in the lab of Dr. Ronald Falk at the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine. Broadly speaking, Katie works on a family of autoimmune diseases called antineutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibody (ANCA) vasculitis, which affects blood vessels throughout the body. Her research focuses on the interaction between autoreactive T cells and known self-antigens in this disease, which we discuss in detail in this episode. In addition to being a biomedical researcher, Katie is the founder and curator of Scientists of North Carolina, a Facebook page dedicated to bringing the public closer to scientists and their stories.

Direct download: STH_-_E22_Katie_Stember.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:37pm EDT

Eric Wang is a PhD candidate in the lab of Dr. Iannis Aifantis at the NYU School of Medicine. Broadly speaking, Eric's research focuses on transcriptional regulation during leukemia initiation. To this end, he recently conducted a pooled CRISPR screen on about 500 target genes, from which a gene involved in RNA splicing emerged as a top candidate as being required for leukemia cells to live. In addition to this screen, we discuss Eric's unique path to his current position and his recent PhD qualifying exam. For more information on Eric's and Dr. Aifantis' research, visit his lab page: Aifantis Lab

Direct download: STH_-_E21_Eric_Wang.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:01pm EDT

Dr. Aristotelis Tsirigos is an Associate Professor of Pathology and the Director of the Applied Bioinformatics Center at the NYU School of Medicine, where his group uses computational methods to study biology. In particular, his work has centered around using computer science to elucidate epigenetic alterations in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, also known as T-ALL. Prior to joining NYU as a faculty member, Dr. Tsirigos worked as a Research Scientist at IBM, which we discuss in this episode. For more information visit his lab page: Tsirigos Lab

Direct download: STH_-_E20_Dr._Aristotelis_Tsirigos.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:57pm EDT

Dr. Yiping He is an Assistant Professor of Pathology at Duke University, where his lab focuses on exploiting genetic alterations for cancer treatments, particularly for glioblastoma (GBM), a type of brain tumor. Another area of focus in the He Lab is medulloblastoma, which is a type of malignant pediatric brain tumor located in the cerebellum, the lower-rear area of the brain. One of the ways Dr. He conducts this research is using patient-derived tumor tissue, which we discuss in this episode. For more information visit his web page: He Lab

Direct download: STH_-_E19_Dr._Yiping_He.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:33pm EDT

Dr. Bryan Field is an Assistant Professor of Physics at SUNY Farmingdale on Long Island, New York. He is a theoretical particle physicist, and his work focuses on understanding results from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN and in the past he has actively collaborated on experiments involving ATLAS, which is one of two general-purpose detectors at the LHC. In particular, Dr. Fields is interested in the properties of the recently discovered Higgs Boson in the Standard Model of particle physics, as well as a concept known as supersymmetry, which is discussed at length in this episode. For more information visit his web page: Dr. Bryan Field

Direct download: STH_-_E18_Dr._Bryan_Field.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:37pm EDT

Dr. Vanja Sisirak is a Research Associate in the department of Pathology at the NYU School of Medicine. He is a member of the Reizis Lab, where he studies the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus, an autoimmune disease in which the the body's immune system attacks "self" rather than foreign pathogens. Although lupus is difficult to diagnose, an interesting marker of this disease is the presence of antibodies against one's own double-stranded DNA, which is among the topics discussed in this episode. For more information, visit the Reizis Lab web page.

Direct download: STH_-_E17_Dr._Vanja_Sisirak.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:12pm EDT

Dr. Sarah LeBoeuf is a postdoctoral researcher in the department of Pathology at the NYU School of Medicine. She is a member of the Papagiannakopoulos Lab, where she uses genetically engineered mouse models to study the role of mitochondria and reactive oxygen species stress in the development and progression of lung cancer. Among the goals of Dr. LeBoeuf's research is to elucidate the metabolic rewiring of cancer cells of specific genetic backgrounds so that they can be targeted therapeutically with small molecule drugs. For more information, visit the Papagiannakopoulos Lab web page.

Direct download: STH_-_E16_Dr._Sarah_LeBoeuf.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:51pm EDT

Joey Verdi is a PhD candidate in the lab of Dr. Jayne Raper at CUNY-Hunter College, where he is conducting research on the apolipoprotein L-1 (apoL1) gene and its variants across multiple species of primates and monkeys. The apoL1 protein produced by this gene is a part of a larger complex of proteins termed trypanosome lytic factors (TLFs), which contribute to the innate immunity of primates against African trypanosomes, a flagellated parasite. Joey's work lends itself to the Transgenic Cattle Project and in this episode we discuss his involvement in this endeavor.

Direct download: STH_-_E15_Joey_Verdi.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:14pm EDT

Dr. Andrew Hill is a cognitive neuroscientist and lecturer at UCLA. He conducts research on attention and cognitive performance, and he is the Lead Neuroscientist for truBrain, a start-up that offers nootropic supplements, in the form of capsules and drinks (nootropics are drugs that may enhance memory and focus, however much of the research elucidating mechanisms of action of these drugs remains to be done). Dr. Hill is also a cofounder of Alternatives Addiction Treatment, a start-up that offers addiction treatment on the basis of biofeedback, discussed in this episode. For more information, visit the websites of truBrain and Alternatives Addiction Treatment.

Direct download: STH_-_E14_Dr._Andrew_Hill.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:20pm EDT

Dr. Ernest Davis is a professor of computer science at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University. He is an expert on artificial intelligence - he studies the problem of representing commonsense knowledge (basic knowledge about the real world that is common to all humans) and expressing it in a form that is systematic enough to be used by a computer program. Dr. Davis' research includes topics such as the problem of reasoning about containers and the ontology of matter, both of which are discussed in this episode. We also go into detail about potential applications and whether or not artifical intelligence poses a threat. Visit his website for more information here.

Direct download: STH_-_E13_Dr._Ernest_Davis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:09pm EDT

Dr. Adric Riedel is a postdoctoral researcher in astrophysics and astronomy at the College of Staten Island in the City University of New York, focusing on local galactic kinematics and low mass and nearby stars. Paige Godfrey is an astrophysics and astronomy PhD student at the City University of New York, interested in studying the formation and evolution of low mass substellar objects. Among the topics both these researchers are interested in are brown dwarfs, discussed in this episode.

Follow Dr. Adric Riedel's astronomical research here.

Follow Paige Godfrey's thoughts on space here.

Direct download: STH_-_E12_Dr._Adric_Riedel__Paige_Godfrey.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:31am EDT

Dr. Andrew Darwin is a bacteriologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology at the NYU School of Medicine. His research focuses on bacterial cell envelope functions that prevent or respond to cellular stress occurring as pathogens infect their hosts. His lab use genetics, molecular biology, and biochemistry, along with various infection models, to study the human pathogens Yersinia enterocolitica and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Visit his lab page for more information: Darwin Lab

Direct download: STH_-_E11_Dr._Andrew_Darwin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:08pm EDT

In this episode we chat with students who have taken the first big steps in their scientific careers. Included are PhD students and a master's degree student to provide different points of view on the research process, as well as varying pieces of advice for those interested in taking the scientific path. Featured on this episode (in order of appearance):

Liza Miller, Research Assistant @ Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Master's student @ CUNY Hunter College

Stefan Evans, PhD candidate in physics @ University of Arizona

Joe Giovinazzo, PhD candidate in biology @ CUNY Hunter College

Jyoti Panta, PhD candidate in biology @ CUNY Hunter College

Charles Schaub, PhD candidate in biochemistry @ CUNY Hunter College

Joey Verdi, PhD candidate in biology @ CUNY Hunter College

Direct download: STH_-_E10_Graduate_Experience.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:58pm EDT

In this episode we hear from some folks who are essentially at the beginning of their scientific careers - undergraduate students and research assistants. Representing several institutions, for the most part in New York City, these students give some insight into their experiences as scientific researchers at their respective levels. Featured on this episode (in order of appearance):

Mary Tajiri, Dr. Rae Silver's Lab @ Columbia University

Vicky Papagermanos, Dr. Rae Silver's Lab @ Columbia University

Habib Zahir, Dr. Jayne Raper's Lab @ CUNY Hunter College

Anibelky Almanzar, Dr. Jayne Raper's Lab @ CUNY Hunter College

Izzy Abdurakhmanov, Dr. Jayne Raper's Lab @ CUNY Hunter College

Rachel Rosengard, Dr. Anissa Abi-Dargham's Lab @ New York State Psychiatric Insitute & Columbia University Medical Center

Direct download: STH_-_E9_Undergraduate_Experience_Plus.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:58pm EDT

Dr. Bo Shopsin is an Assistant Professor in the departments of medicine and microbiology at the NYU School of Medicine. His research focuses on adaptive changes in the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus that take place during infection. One of his studies addresses the within-host variation in the agr (accessory gene regulator) locus, a global regulator of virulence in S. aureus. In genetics, a locus is a specific location of a gene or genes that work together. Dr. Shopsin's work is motivated by practical questions in infectious diseases (such as the best use of antimicrobials that target agr and virulence), as well as more basic yet closely intertwined questions, such as how to explain the alterations that are responsible for adaptive changes at different stages of S. aureus infections. Visit his lab page for more information: Shopsin Lab

Direct download: STH_-_E8_Dr._Bo_Shopsin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:51pm EDT

Dr. Nathalie Scholler is the Director of Cancer Immunology at the Center for Cancer and Metabolism at SRI International, a nonprofit research institute in Menlo Park, California. Her research is centered around studying the role of the immune system in tumor development and designing novel diagnostic and immunotherapeutic approaches against cancer. She has studied cancer biomarkers of ovarian cancer and tumor immunity for more than a decade. Prior to working at SRI, Dr. Scholler was a tenure-track assistant professor in the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. There, her laboratory investigated the role of innate immunity in ovarian cancer and identified novel recombinant antibodies (which are antibodies created in the lab using yeast or viruses) for targeted imaging and therapy of cancer. In addition to her cancer and antibody research, in this episode we discuss zombie films and mad scientists as portrayed by Hollywood. Visit her web page for more informaiton: Scholler SRI

Direct download: STH_-_E7_Dr._Nathalie_Scholler.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:36am EDT

Dr. Carmen Melendez-Vasquez is an Assistant Professor of Biology at Hunter College of the City University of New York. Her research focuses on actomyosin regulation and the mechanism of myelin formation. Actomyosin is a protein complex crucial for cell motility and contractile force in muscle and other tissues. Myelin is a highly specialized membrane, which wraps around nerve fibers in the peripheral (PNS) and central (CNS) nervous systems, facilitating rapid propogation of nerve impulses. The overall goal of Dr. Melendez-Vasquez's research is to provide novel insights into the mechanisms that regulate myelin morphology and formation in the PNS and CNS. She believes that a basic understanding of the molecular machinery of myelination should aid in the development of new therapeutic strategies to promote remyelination in pathological conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS), which we discuss in this episode. Visit her lab page for more information: Melendez-Vasquez Lab

Direct download: STH_-_E6_Dr._Carmen_Melendez-Vasquez.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Dr. Maryam Modjaz is an Assistant Professor in Astrophysics at the Center for Cosmology and Particle Physics at New York University. Her research addresses forefront problems in stellar death astrophysics through extensive and panchromatic observations of various types of massive stellar explosions, specifically Gamma Ray Bursts and Supernovae, which are among the most powerful explosions in the universe. In this episode we discuss both of these stellar death events, as well as how stars are born. Visit her lab page for more information: Modjaz Lab

Direct download: STH_-_E5_Dr._Maryam_Modjaz.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:33pm EDT

Dr. Kirk Deitsch is a microbiologist/immunologist and professor of microbiology and immunology at the Weill Cornell Medical College. His research focuses on Plasmodium falciparum, the most virulent of the parasites that cause malaria in humans. P. falciparum infects red blood cells, causing disease through anemia resulting from red cell destruction, and also through modifications that are made to the surface of infected red cells. Two of the processes Dr. Deitsch studies in this parasite are its cytoadhesion and antigenic variation, which are among the reasons P. falciparum is so deadly - we discuss both in this episode. Visit his lab page for more information: Deitsch Lab

Direct download: STH_-_E4_Dr._Kirk_Deitsch.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:28pm EDT

Dr. Matthew Kleban is a theoretical physicist and professor of physics at New York University. His research focuses on the intersection between string theory, cosmology, and particle physics. He is interested in the physics of black holes and gravitational thermodynamics, early universe cosmology and its implications for fundamental physics, and in formal aspects of string theory and quantum gravity. Dr. Kleban has done some fascinating research into cosmic wakes, which we discuss in this episode. Visit his web site for more information: Kleban NYU

Direct download: STH_-_E3_Dr._Matthew_Kleban.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:35pm EDT

Dr. Jayne Raper is a Professor of Biological Sciences at Hunter College of the City University of New York. Her research focuses on trypanosome lytic factors (TLFs), which are antimicrobial high-density lipoproteins that contribute to the innate immunity of primates. TLFs have the ability to to kill African trypanosomes, a parasite, via their unique protein components, such as apolipoprotein L-I. Dr. Raper’s research is at the center of the Transgenic Cattle Project, discussed in this episode. Visit her lab page for more information: Raper Lab

Direct download: STH_-_E2_Dr._Jayne_Raper.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:53pm EDT

Dr. David Amodio is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Neural Science at New York University. His research examines the psychological and neural mechanisms of intergroup relations and self-regulation, considering the roles of social cognition, emotion, and motivation as they relate to implicit processes and mechanisms of control in social behaviors. He is the director of the NYU Social Neuroscience Lab. Visit his lab page for more information: Amodio Lab

Direct download: STH_-_E1_Dr._David_Amodio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:59am EDT

I'm Simranjit (Sim) Singh, currently a college student (almost a college graduate). Economics major, with a "minor" in basic sciences, with particular interests in biochemistry and neuroscience. Also a research assistant in a social neuroscience lab for quite some time. Additionally, will be working as an EMT in the coming weeks. Somewhat all over the place but that's a good thing. Huge fan of podcasts. The accessibility of quality on-demand content is at an all time high, definitely some shows out there worth checking out.

I was searching for a podcast that regularly interviewed scientists, discussing not only their research but their lives as related to their work as well. Couldn't find one! And that's how you ended up on this page, sort of.

Please join me in casual conversation with scientists from a variety of disciplines, as I discuss with them their work and their path to their current position.

Stay breezy!

Category:general -- posted at: 10:57pm EDT