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

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