Are you searching for great stories to ignite your curiosity, teach you to perform better in life and career, inspire your mind, and make you laugh along the way? In this science podcast, Dr. Marie McNeely introduces you to the brilliant researchers behind the latest scientific discoveries. Join us…
Listeners of People Behind the Science Podcast - Stories from Scientists about Science, Life, Research, and Science Careers that love the show mention: mcneely, well done dr, get a behind the scenes, marie, people behind, science geek, science nerd, interested in science, cosmos, scientists, scientific research, love science, love to get, cool show, findings, sciences, nicely done, bio, researchers, science podcast.
Dr. Karen James is a staff scientist at the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory in Maine. She is trained in genetics, and she applies her skills to environmental, conservation, and restoration research. In particular, Karen uses DNA to identify animals and plants, including those collected by citizen scientists for conservation and restoration projects. Karen spends her free time outside on the trails of Acadia National Park near where she lives. She does a lot of gardening, hiking, biking, and cross country skiing to get as much time outdoors as possible. She received her PhD in Genetics from the University of Washington and conducted postdoctoral research at the Natural History Museum in London before joining the MDI Lab. Karen is also Co-Founder and Director of UK-based charity The HMS Beagle Trust which is working to rebuild the HMS Beagle and retrace the journey of Charles Darwin with a new generation of students and scientists. In this interview, Karen shares more about her life and science.
Dr. Olaf Andersen is a Professor of Physiology and Biophysics at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University and Director of the Tri-Institutional MD-PhD Program in New York City. His research aims to understand all of the mechanisms by which small molecules can manipulate the functions of cells or whole organisms. How do these molecules work and what are they doing? These questions are particularly relevant for pharmacology and toxicity. When he's not doing science, Olaf keeps busy reading and brewing beer. His ambition as a brewer is to make a beer with a deep beer flavor but really low alcohol percentage. Olaf keeps a brewing diary that holds 20 years worth of notes on each batch he has ever brewed. He was awarded his MD from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and completed postdoctoral research at the University of Copenhagen and Rockefeller University before joining the faculty at Cornell University. Olaf has received many awards and honors including being named a Foreign Member of The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, receipt of the K. S. Cole Medal from the Biophysical Society, being named an Honorary Fellow of the Cornell University Weill Medical College Alumni Association, receipt Distinguished Service Award from the Biophysical Society, and receipt the Inaugural Bruce Ballard Mentoring Award. In this interview, Olaf shares more about his life and science.
Dr. C. Robin Buell is a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar Chair in Crop Genomics in the Department of Crop & Soil Sciences and the Center for Applied Genetic Technologies at the University of Georgia. Robin studies the DNA of plants to better understand how plants do things like grow, respond to stress, reproduce, and evolve. Her work spans a wide variety of plants including crop plants (corn, potatoes, and sweet potatoes), medicinal plants (those that make anti-cancer drugs), and other plants with interesting properties (basil, oregano, catnip, and cat mint). In her free time, Robin enjoys tending to the vegetables in her garden, watching college basketball and football games, and spending time with her two rescue dogs. She received her BSc in biology from the University of Maryland, her MSc in plant pathology from Washington State University, and her PhD in biological sciences/molecular biology from Utah State University. Afterwards, she conducted postdoctoral research at Michigan State University and at the Carnegie Institution of Washington (Stanford University). She served on the faculty at Louisiana State University, The Institute for Genomic Research, and Michigan State University before joining the faculty at UGA last year. Robin has been elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement for Science and the American Society of Plant Biologists. In addition, she was awarded the 2022 McClintock Prize for Plant Genetics and Genome Studies by the Maize Genetics Cooperation Advocacy Committee. In our interview, she shares more about her life and science.
Dr. Rupal Patel is a Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders as well as the College of Computer and Information Science at Northeastern University. She is also Director of the Communication Analysis and Design Laboratory and a Co-Founder and Core Faculty member of the interdisciplinary doctoral program in Personal Health Informatics there. Her research focuses on understanding normal speech production as well as problems that can interfere with speech production. She works to help people with speech impairments communicate better and investigates ways that computers can be used to mediate communication. Rupal likes to spend her free time with her family. Her two kids are a great source of inspiration and ideas, and Rupal loves hearing about how they interpret the world. She received her B.Sc. in Neuropsychology from the University of Calgary and her M.H.Sc. and Ph.D. in Speech Language Pathology from the University of Toronto. Afterwards, Rupal completed postdoctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and served as a faculty member at Columbia University before joining the faculty at Northeastern University where she is today. In this interview, Rupal shares more about her journey through life and science.
Dr. Michael Clegg is a Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences, Ecology, and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California, Irvine. He is also the past Foreign Secretary of the US National Academy of Sciences, and just recently finished serving in his third consecutive term. Mike studies how genes change through time and uses that information to understand the historical relationships between organisms. When not engrossed in science, Mike likes to likes to read history books. He also has a fascination with airplanes that goes all the way back to his youth. Currently, he owns and flies two different airplanes. Some of Mike's other favorite activities are traveling and spending time with his family. Mike received his PhD in Genetics from the University of California, Davis. He served on the faculty at Brown University, the University of Georgia, and the University of California, Riverside before accepting a position at UC, Irvine. Mike has a long list of career and research accolades. He was elected as a Member of the US National Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Member of the American Philosophical Society, a Fellow of the Global Academy of Sciences, an Honorary Member of the Palestinian Academy of Sciences, a Foreign Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Science, and a Corresponding Member of multiple other international Academies. He is also a Senior Fellow of the California Council on Science and Technology and has been awarded the Darwin Prize from Edinburgh University. In this interview, Mike shares more about his life and science.
Dr. Howard Rosenbaum is a Senior Conservation Scientist and Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Ocean Giants Program, which aims to secure the future of whales, dolphins, and other marine species. He is also a Senior Scientist at the American Museum of Natural History, core faculty member at Columbia University in the Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology Department, a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Cetacean Specialist Group and Important Marine Mammal Areas Task Force, and a member of the International Whaling Commission's Scientific Committee. In addition, Howard is a member of New York's (NYSERDA) Environmental Technical Working Group and on the Specialist Committee for Best Management Practices related to Offshore Wind Development. He has also been a subject matter expert for two past BOEM workshops related to marine mammals and Offshore Wind Development, an invited member of the Regional Wildlife Science Entity's Marine Mammal subcommittee, and he recently served on IUCN's panel on Mitigating Biodiversity Impacts to Wind Energy Development. When he's not working, Howard loves spending time outdoors. Some of his favorite outdoor activities are skiing in the winter, cycling, kayaking, sailing, going for walks with his dog, and spending time with his wife and kids out in nature. Howard is a conservation biologist who uses novel scientific approaches and techniques to better understand marine mammals and their environments with the ultimate goal of improving conservation of these animals and environmental practices. Howard received his undergraduate degree from Hamilton College and afterwards spent two years conducting research as a recipient of a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship. Next, he enrolled in graduate school at Yale University where he was awarded his Ph.D. in biology. Upon graduating, Howard began a postdoctoral fellowship with the Wildlife Conservation Society and the American Museum of Natural History where he would ultimately continue working for over 20 years. In this interview, Howard shares more about his life and science.
Dr. Suzana Herculano-Houzel is a Professor of Psychology and Biological Sciences at Vanderbilt University. In the lab, she compares brains to find out what they are made of and what difference that makes for the organism in terms of its abilities. She is interested in finding out how many neurons and other cell types brains have, determining whether brain size matters, and examining how numbers of cells correspond to cognitive abilities. Suzana is not only a scientist, but also a musician. From an early age, she received formal training in classical music, including the piano and flute. While Suzana was a graduate student in Cleveland, she decided to learn to play the cello. In addition, Suzana also previously self-taught herself to play classical guitar and just recently started taking formal lessons. She received her B.S. in Biology from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and completed her M.S. in Neuroscience at Case Western Reserve University. She was awarded her PhD in Neuroscience from Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris, and conducted part of her graduate work at the Max-Planck Institute for Brain Research. Suzana served on the faculty of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro before joining the faculty at Vanderbilt where she is today. She is the recipient of the Scholar Award in Understanding Human Cognition from the James S. McDonnell Foundation, as well as the José Reis Prize of Science Communication. In addition, Suzana has authored seven books for the general public on neuroscience, including her recently published book The Human Advantage: A New Understanding of How Our Brain Became Remarkable. She has written and presented the TV series Neurológica, has contributed over 260 to the Folha de São Paulo newspaper, and has written for the Scientific American Brazil magazine. In our interview, Suzana shares stories from her life and science.
Dr. Stanley Maloy is Dean of the College of Sciences, Associate Director of the Center for Microbial Sciences, and Professor in Biology at San Diego State University. Stanley's lab is working on a new approach for delivering vaccines that may be beneficial for the development of new types of vaccines. They are also collaborating with colleagues in the biotech industry to investigate new approaches for developing antibiotics. When he's not working, Stanley loves traveling, reading, cooking, hiking, and enjoying the ocean. He received his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from the University of California, Irvine and conducted postdoctoral research in Genetics at the University of Utah. Stanley then served on the faculty at the university of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign for about 18 years before accepting a position where he is today at San Diego State University. Stanley is a former President of the American Society for Microbiology, is an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, has authored several books on microbial genetics, and has been widely recognized for his excellence in teaching. In this episode, Stanley tells us more about his journey through life and science.
Dr. Tara Alvarez is Professor of Bio-Medical Engineering at New Jersey Institute of Technology and Chief Scientific Officer at OculoMotor Technologies. Tara's research focuses on how we move our eyes, how visual information is brought in through our visual system, and how the brain changes. In particular, she studies a condition called convergence insufficiency. In this condition, people have difficulty and discomfort when reading or maintaining focus on near objects. She is working to better understand convergence insufficiency and how the brain changes during visual therapy, resulting in reduced symptoms. In her free time, Tara loves spending time with her kids, doing renovation projects at home, cooking, and gardening. She was awarded her B.S. in Electrical Engineering and her Ph.D. in Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering from Rutgers University. Afterwards, she conducted postdoctoral research at Bell Labs before joining the faculty at New Jersey Institute of Technology. She has received numerous awards and honors in her career, including an NSF Career Award, the Founding Members Award for Science from the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association, an Edison Patent Award, the NJIT Excellence in Research Award, and Augmented World Expo's Auggie Awards for Women XR Laureate and for Most Innovative Breakthrough. She has also been named an Outstanding Woman Scientist of NJ, a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, and a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. In this interview, Tara shares more about her life and science.
Dr. Malia Gehan is an Assistant Member at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. Her research examines how to improve crops in terms of their response to temperature stress and other abiotic stresses. She is does this through examining natural variation in plants. There are many plants that are highly resilient in different environmental conditions but are not edible. Malia is investigating how to take useful traits from these hardy, weedy plants and incorporate them into crops. Outside of science, Malia spends her free time with her two cats and her husband, who is also a scientist. They enjoy lounging around at home, as well as walking around their neighborhood near the Missouri Botanical Garden. Malia also has fun cooking, going to the movies, and watching TV. She received her undergraduate training in Biology from Willamette University and her PhD in Plant Biology from Michigan State University. Afterwards, Malia was awarded a National Science Foundation Plant Genome Initiative Postdoctoral Fellowship working at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, and she subsequently worked as a Research Scientist there before accepting her new position. Malia is with us today to tell us all about her journey through life and science.
Dr. Aruni Bhatnagar is the Smith and Lucille Gibson Professor of Medicine, Director of the Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute, Co-Director of the American Heart Association Tobacco Regulation and Addiction Center, and a Distinguished University Scholar at the University of Louisville. Much of Aruni's work has focused on understanding how the heart and blood vessels work and how they become diseased. He developed a new field called environmental cardiology where he examines how exposure and environmental conditions may impact heart function and heart health. When he's not at work, Aruni enjoys exploring his creativity through art, reading, and writing. He has spent a lot of time painting, and lately, he has been writing songs and poems. He was awarded his PhD in Chemistry from the University of Kanpur in India and he conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston before joining the faculty at the University of Louisville in 1998. Aruni has received numerous awards and honors over the course of his career, including being named a Fellow of the American Heart Association in 2005. He also received the President's Award for Outstanding Scholarship, Research and Creative Activity from the University of Louisville, the Partner in Healthcare Award, the Outstanding Faculty Mentor of Graduate Students and the Outstanding Mentor Award from the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools, and he was designated Research Exemplar by Washington University in St. Louis. In our interview, Aruni shares more about his life and his science.
Dr. Franck Polleux is a Professor of Neuroscience and member of the Zuckerman Mind, Brain, Behavior Institute at Columbia University. Franck's research focuses on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie brain and neuronal development, how neural connectivity may be different in the human brain compared to other mammals, and signaling pathways affected in the early stages of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease. Outside of his research, Franck is an outdoor enthusiast who enjoys bicycling, playing tennis, and shooting hoops on the basketball court. Franck has two children, and he spends most of his free time with his family riding bikes, going to the theater, and reading together. He completed his undergraduate degree as well as his PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Claude Bernard in Lyon, France. Afterward, he travelled to Johns Hopkins University for his postdoctoral fellowship. Franck served on the faculty at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA before joining the faculty at Columbia University where he is today. Franck is here with us today to tell us all about his journey through life and science.
Dr. Pat Hutchings is a Senior Principal Research Scientist at the Australian Museum Research Institute. She is a marine biologist who studies sea worms called polychaetes. Pat describes new species and works to understand where they live, what they do, and how diverse they are. These worms play an important role in the food chain and she has been devoted to studying them her entire career. Outside of science, Pat tries to spend her free time outdoors with activities like sailing and gardening. She also enjoys cooking with fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as spending time with friends. She received her B.Sc. with Special Honors from Queen Mary's College of the University of London and her Ph.D. and D.Sc. in reproductive biology of a sea worm from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. Pat is a Fellow and Senior Vice President of the Royal Zoological Society of New South Whales. She is Past president of the Australian Coral Reef Society, Former Councillor of the Australian Marine Sciences Association, Past President of the International Polychaete Association, and Former Vice President of the Coast and Wetlands Society. In addition, she was the recipient of the Silver Jubilee Medal from the Australian Marine Science Association for her contributions to marine sciences. In this interview, Pat shares more about her life and science.
Dr. Nicholas Oberlies is the Patricia A. Sullivan Distinguished Professor of Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG). Nick's lab is working to discover compounds in fungi that may be able to be used for medicines, particularly new therapeutics to treat cancer in humans. Outside of research, Nick's interests include exercising, playing soccer, and playing guitar. He also enjoys reading a wide variety of books. Nick was awarded his B.S. in Chemistry from Miami University (of Ohio) and his Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy from Purdue University. Afterwards, he completed a postdoctoral fellowship at American Cyanamid. He then joined the Natural Products Laboratory at Research Triangle Institute, rising through the ranks to become Director of the Natural Products Laboratory. He joined the faculty at UNCG in 2009. Nick has received various awards and honors throughout his career including the Matt Suffness Young Investigator Award from the American Society of Pharmacognosy, the 40 Under 40 Leadership Award from the Triangle Business Journal, and the North Carolina Distinguished Speaker Award from the NC Section of the American Chemical Society. He was also recently the president of the American Society of Pharmacognosy. In our interview, he shares more about his life and science.
Dr. Christine McCarthy is the Lamont Assistant Research Professor at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University. She studies the mechanical and geological features of ice and rocks. Even though on the surface rocks appear static, deep within the earth they undergo dynamic deformations, and she studies these processes, as well as how ice moves and flows. Outside of work, Christine enjoys visiting zoos, museums, and playgrounds with her family. Some of her other favorite pastimes have been rock climbing, camping, and other outdoor activities. She received her B.S. in Geophysics from the University of Oregon and went on to receive her M.Sc. and PhD in Geological Science from Brown University. Afterward, Christine conducted postdoctoral research at the Earthquake Research Institute at the University of Tokyo in Japan. She was awarded a Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Postdoctoral Fellowship, followed by a NASA Early Career Fellowship, before joining the faculty at Columbia where she is today. Christine is with us today to tell us all about her journey through life and science.
Dr. Nathan Smith will soon be starting his new roles as Associate Dean for Equity and Inclusion in Research and Research Education as well as Associate Professor of Neuroscience in the School of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Rochester. Currently, Nathan is Director of Basic Neuroscience Research and a Principal Investigator in the Center for Neuroscience Research at Children's National Research Institute as well as an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Pharmacology & Physiology at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Nathan studies a type of cell in the brain that helps the brain perform certain tasks like managing blood flow. These cells also help other cells in the brain, such as neurons, communicate with each other. Nathan focuses particularly on interactions between neurons and glial cells in healthy brains and in models of diseases like ADHD, Depression, and epilepsy. When he's not working in the lab, Nathan enjoys practicing martial arts. He is a black belt in Seidokan Karate, and this has been a passion for Nathan since graduate school that helps him keep his life in balance. He received his B.S. in Biology from Xavier University and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. When he graduated in 2013, Nathan was the first African American to receive a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Rochester. Afterwards, Nathan conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Utah and Boston University, as well as at Children's National Hospital. Nathan has received numerous honors and awards in his career including being named a 2021 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), receipt of the 2019 Neuroscience Alumni Award from the University of Rochester, and receipt of the 2018 Children's National President's Award for Innovation in Research. In our interview, Nathan shares more about his life and science.
Dr. Louis Schipper is a Professor in the School of Science at the University of Waikato. Research in Louis's group focuses on how we can work with the land to achieve the food and other things we need while minimizing negative environmental impacts. To do this he looks at microorganisms in the soil and the cycling of nutrients in soil. Louis likes to spend his free time with his family. He and his wife are involved in Cub Scouts with their two kids, and they enjoy getting outdoors, hiking, and camping with the group. Louis also works outside restoring native vegetation and gardening at home. He received his undergraduate, Master's, and PhD degrees in biology from the University of Waikato. Afterward, he accepted a postdoctoral position at the University of Florida before returning to New Zealand to work as a scientist for Landcare Research. Louis joined the faculty at the University of Waikato in 2005. Louis is a Fellow of the Soil Science Society of America as well as a Fellow of the New Zealand Soil Science Society, and is an author on two patents. In this episode, Louis shares more about his life and science.
Dr. Verónica Di Stilio is a full Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Washington. As a plant evolutionary biologist, Verónica is interested in understanding how the diversity of plant life came to be. In particular, she studies the evolution of plant innovations, like fruits and flowers. She is working to identify how the gene networks for these innovations evolved as well as how specific innovations related to fruits and flowers have evolved. When she's not at work, Verónica enjoys tending to the beautiful flowers in her garden, going on walks with her husband and her dog, cooking, and dancing to music while she cooks. She attended the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina where she completed her undergraduate studies in biology, specializing in plant ecology. After graduating, Verónica worked for two years there as a teaching assistant and pollination biologist. Next, she pursued her Ph.D. degree in plant biology at the University of Massachusetts (Amherst). Verónica conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Massachusetts and Harvard University before joining the faculty at the University of Washington in 2003. In this interview, she shares more about her life and science.
Dr. Bonney is a Professor and Director of the Research Division in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at the University of Vermont. She studies the immune systems of pregnant women. Dr. Bonney is trying to understand why the female body doesn't reject the growing baby, even though it carries unfamiliar proteins from the father. Elizabeth is an enthusiastic gardener in her spare time. She has been cultivating carrots, radishes, herbs, mint, and more in her garden. She received her Bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota and went on to earn her MD from Stanford University. Afterward, Dr. Bonney completed her Residency at Harvard University followed by a Fellowship in Immunology at the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Bonney served on the faculty at Emory University before joining the faculty at the University of Vermont. She recently received her MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Bonney is a Fellow of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and has been awarded the Association of Professors of Obstetrics and Gynecology Teaching Award. Dr. Bonney joined us to talk more about her life and her work.
Dr. Angelique C. Johnson is Founder and CEO of the startup company MEMStim LLC which is dedicated to reducing the cost of cochlear implants to treat hearing loss. She is also an adjunct faculty member in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Louisville. Angelique develops microfabricated arrays of wires for use in cochlear implants that can restore hearing loss and speech recognition. When she has free time, she loves engaging in great conversations with friends, enjoying a cup of coffee together, and hanging out. She also spends her free time salsa dancing, going out for morning runs, competing in marathons, relaxing, and listening to music. Angelique received her undergraduate training in computer engineering and mathematics from the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Angelique completed her MSE and PhD in Electrical Engineering at the University of Michigan (NSF Center for Wireless Integrated MicroSystems, which is now the Center for Wireless Integrated MicroSensing and Systems). She has received many awards and honors for her work, including the Pryor-Hale award for Best Business at the Michigan Business Challenge, funding from the NSF Innovation Corps program, as well as NIH phase I and phase II SBIR grants. In this interview, Angelique shares more about her life and science.
Dr. Cullen Buie is an Associate Professor and the Esther and Harold E. Egerton Career Development Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In Cullen's lab, they are working on a variety of projects that involve putting new nucleic acids or DNA into cells. For the most part, they use bacteria or other microbial cells and insert DNA that allow the cells to produce different things. When he's not working, Cullen likes spending time with his wife and three kids. He takes advantage of down time to catch up on sleep and also to indulge in watching stand-up comedy. One of his favorite comedians is Jim Gaffigan. Cullen is also a big college football fan, and he is always rooting for the Ohio State Buckeyes. He received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from The Ohio State University and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University. Afterwards, Cullen was awarded a University of California President's Postdoctoral Fellowship to conduct research at the University of California-Berkeley. Cullen joined the faculty at MIT in 2010. He has received many awards and honors in his career, including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the DARPA Young Faculty Award, the DuPont Young Professor Award, and the NSF CAREER Award. Cullen was also named a Stanford Distinguished Alumni Scholar, and, in 2016, Cullen was named one of the 100 Most Influential African Americans by The Root. Cullen is joining us to give us an inside look into his life and science.
Since recording this episode, Dr. Karmella Haynes has joined the faculty in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech School of Engineering and Emory University School of Medicine. At the time of recording, Karmella was an Assistant Professor in the Ira A. Fulton School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering at Arizona State University. She was also a senior judge for the International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition. Karmella studies synthetic biology, which involves synthesizing DNA outside of a cell and designing those new pieces of DNA so that they can be used for different purposes like stopping cancer cells from growing or helping stimulate tissue regeneration. She enjoys engaging her creative side within the lab as well as outside of the lab. When she is not working, Karmella likes to look at art and to paint paint with oil or acrylic on canvas. She received her Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics from Washington University in St. Louis. Prior to joining the faculty at ASU, Karmella was awarded a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Teaching and Research fellowship at Davidson College, followed by an NIH postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School. Karmella joined us for an interview to tell us all about her journey through life and science.
Dr. Laurie Santos is a Professor of Psychology and Director of the Comparative Cognition Laboratory at Yale University. She studies the cognitive abilities, strategies, and decision-making processes we use to see if any non-human species share these, or whether they are uniquely human. In her free time, Lori enjoys nature through leisurely hikes. She is also fascinated by celebrity autobiographies and memoirs, and she likes singing karaoke. Laurie received her B.A. in Psychology and Biology from Harvard and Radcliffe College, and went on to complete her M.A. and Ph.D. in Psychology from Harvard University. Among Laurie's many awards and honors, she has received the American Psychological Association's Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contributions to Psychology, the Lex Hixton Prize for Teaching Excellence in the Social Sciences, the Arthur Greer Memorial Prize for Outstanding Junior Faculty at Yale, the Stanton Prize from the Society for Philosophy and Psychology, and she has been named one of TIME Magazine's “Leading Campus Celebrities”. Laurie and her research have been featured by The Today Show, BBC News, NPR News, NBC News, The New York Times, and many other media outlets. She is with us today to tell us all about her journey through life and science.
Dr. Lewis Cantley is the Director of the Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medical College as well as the Stanton Clinical Cancer Program at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. In addition, he is Co-Founder of Petra Pharma and Agios Pharmaceuticals. His research investigates signal transduction. He has spent most of his career trying to improve our understanding of cell signaling pathways at a molecular level since many diseases, such as cancer, involve defects in signaling. Outside science, he is an avid reader of science fiction, mystery, and history books. He received his B.S. in Chemistry from West Virginia Wesleyan College and his Ph.D. in Biophysical Chemistry from Cornell University. Lewis conducted postdoctoral research at Harvard University, and served on the faculty at Harvard University, as well as Tufts University before joining the faculty at Cornell. Lewis has received many awards and honors during his career, including the 2005 Pezcoller Foundation-American Association for Cancer Research International Award for Cancer Research, the 2013 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, the 2015 Ross Prize in Molecular Medicine, the 2015 Wolf Prize, the 2015 Association of American Cancer Institutes Distinguished Scientist Award, the 2015 Canada Cairdner award, and he was named one of “The World's Most Influential Scientific Minds” in 2015 by Thomson Reuter. Lewis is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as a Member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, and the European Life Sciences Academy. Lewis is here with us today to tell us all about his journey through life and science.
Dr. Jon Butterworth is a Professor of Physics at University College London. He works on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva. They are smashing particles together at extremely high energies and measuring what happens. Collecting data on these particle collisions provides information about the smallest and most basic components of our universe. Outside of science, Jon has two kids, and he spends most of his leisure time hanging out with them. He is also an avid writer and finds that writing is a good way to relax. At the same time, Jon enjoys activities like skiing and giving guitar performances. He received his B.A. in Physics and his Ph.D. in Particle Physics from the University of Oxford. Afterwards, Jon was hired by Pennsylvania State University to conduct postdoctoral research at the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY) in Hamburg, Germany before joining the faculty at UCL where he is today. John is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and recipient of their Chadwick Prize. He has also been awarded a Wolfson Research Merit Award from the Royal Society, an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship, and a Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council Senior Research Fellowship. In addition, Jon is the author of the book Most Wanted Particle and author of a blog for The Guardian called Life and Physics. In this interview, Jon shares more about his journey through life and science.
Dr. Maria Marco is an Associate Professor in The Department of Food Science & Technology at The University of California, Davis. Research in Maria's lab focuses on understanding the good bacteria in the food that we eat. People tend to only think of the bacteria that can make us sick, but there are a lot of useful microbes in foods like yogurt and sauerkraut. Maria tries to identify the bacteria that are present in food and understand how they help change our food and contribute to our health. Maria likes to go for camping and backpacking with her family in the Sierra Mountains in California. She has also spends her free time jogging, doing yoga, and watching her two sons play soccer. She received her BS at The Pennsylvania State University and her PhD in Microbiology at the University of California, Berkeley. She went on to work as a postdoc and then as a project scientist at NIZO food research and TI Food & Nutrition in The Netherlands before accepting a faculty position at UC, Davis where she is today. Maria is with us today to tell us all about her journey through life and science.
Dr. Sandra Encalada is the Arlene and Arnold Goldstein Associate Professor in the Department of Molecular Medicine and a Dorris Neuroscience Center Investigator at Scripps Research Institute in California. Sandra is a cell biologist whose research focuses on how proteins and other materials travel from the cell bodies of nerve cells all the way to the tips of the nerve cells. This process (called “transport” or “trafficking”) is critical for proper function of nerve cells, and it is highly regulated by a set of nonomachines called molecular motors. Sandra's lab studies transport in healthy neurons and also how failures in transport may be related to or contribute to neurodegenerative disease. Lately, Sandra has been enjoying reading, playing games, and bonding with her 5 year old daughter. She also likes to spend her free time swimming in the ocean with her “pod” of fellow swimmers and practicing jazz improvisation on the piano. She received her bachelor's degree in physics from Earlham College, her M.S. in population genetics from the University of Florida, and her Ph.D. in molecular genetics from the University of Oregon. Afterwards, she was awarded a Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship to conduct research at the University of California, San Diego. Next, Sandra worked as an Assistant Project Scientist and Neuroplasticity of Aging Fellow at the University of California before joining the faculty at Scripps Research. She has received numerous awards and honors over the course of her career, including The Glenn Foundation's Glenn Award for Research in Biological Mechanisms of Aging, The Baxter Foundation Young Faculty Award, and The Ellison Medical Foundation New Scholar in Aging Award. In our interview, Sandra shares more about her life and science.
Dr. Russell Foster is Professor and Chair of Circadian Neuroscience, Supernumerary Fellow in Circadian Neuroscience, Head of the Department of Ophthalmology, a Nicholas Kurti Senior Fellow, Head of the Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology and Head of The Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute at Brasenose college at the University of Oxford. Research in Russell's lab focuses on how body clocks, circadian rhythms, and sleep/wake cycles are are generated within the central nervous system, how they are regulated, and how these systems are regulated by light. He examines these questions related to normal functioning, as well as in the context of disease. Russell spends his free time enjoying the company of his family and listening to music. He is particularly fond of opera and Mozart's symphonies. In addition, Russell likes to escape the hectic hustle and bustle of life in science by visiting his cottage by the sea in Lyme Regis. While there, he enjoys swimming and sea kayaking. Russell received his PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Bristol. He worked at the National Science Foundation Center for Biological Timing at the University of Virginia, and afterward served on the faculty at Imperial College before accepting a position at the University of Oxford. Russell is a Fellow of the Royal Society, and in 2015, he received the honor of an appointment of Commander of the Order of the British Empire. Russell has received many other national and international awards for his accomplishments in science including Japan's Honma Prize, the USA's Cogan Award, Harvard University's Farrell Prize in Sleep Medicine, as well as the UK's Zoological Society Scientific Medal and Edridge-Green Medal from the Royal College of Ophthalmologists. In addition, Russell is the author of the popular science books Rhythms of Life, Seasons of Life, and Sleep: a very short introduction. In this interview, Russell shares more about his life and science.
Dr. Spencer Barrett is the University Professor, Canada Research Chair, and Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto. He is an Evolutionary Biologist who specializes in ecological and evolutionary genetics, as well as plant reproductive biology. He also considers himself a plant explorer because he is able to go out to exotic places to find cool plants. Spencer loves exploring new places. When he's at home, he enjoys spending time in his garden with his wife. He completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Botany from the University of Reading in England and received his PhD in Botany from the University of California, Berkeley before joining the faculty at the University of Toronto. Spencer has received many awards and honors during his career, including being named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and an Extraordinary Professor by the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. He has also received the Lawson Medal from the Canadian Botanical Association, Premier's Discovery Award for Life Sciences and Medicine from the Ontario Government, and the Sewall Wright Award from the American Society of Naturalists, among others. Spencer is here with us today to tell us all about his journey through life and science.
Dr. Jill Pruetz is a Professor of Anthropology at Iowa State University and a National Geographic Society Emerging Explorer. In addition, Jill is the founder of the non-profit organization NeighborApe that she founded in 2008. Jill is an anthropologist who studies chimpanzees as a model system to understand behaviors in species that are related to us that existed millions of years ago. Jill loves being outdoors, whether it's spending time with chimpanzees in the field or hiking near home. She also enjoys traveling traveling to tropical places, reading books, and spend time with her three dogs. She received her BA in Anthropology from Texas State University and her PhD in Anthropology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Jill then conducted postdoctoral research at Miami University before joining the faculty at Iowa State where she is today. Jill and her excellent research have been featured by NPR, BBC, CBC, National Geographic, New Scientist Magazine, The Today Show, and others. She is with us today to tell us all about her journey through life and science.
Dr. Sophia Hayes is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Washington University in St. Louis. In the lab, Sophia studies the chemistry, physics, and engineering of materials we encounter in daily life like plastics and semiconductors. As a materials scientist, she is using a technique called nuclear magnetic resonance to learn more about these materials.Sophia's time away from science is spent with her family and her two newly adopted dogs. She enjoys sailing and skiing with her husband and daughter. Sophia received her Bachelor's degree in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley and worked for a few years afterward as an associate for a management consulting firm specializing in energy efficiency, environmental assessments, and energy generation. Sophia interned at the Sandia National Laboratories before entering graduate school. She received her PhD in Chemistry from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She then completed a Directorate Postdoctoral Fellowship with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and UC Berkeley. She also served as an Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Physics at the University of Dortmund in Germany before joining the faculty at Washington University. Sophia has received a number of awards and honors during her career, including, an NSF CAREER Award, a Washington University Graduate Student Senate Excellence in Mentoring Award, an Alfred Sloan Research Fellowship, and the Regitze R. Vold Memorial Prize from the Alpine Solid-State NMR Conference. Sophia is with us today to tell us about her journey through life and science.
Dr. Glenn Rall is a Professor at the Fox Chase Cancer Center. He is also the Leader of the Inflammation Working Group there and Co-Leader of the Immune Cell Development and Host Defense Program. In addition, Glenn is the Associate Chief Academic Officer and Director of the Postdoctoral Program. Glenn also serves as an Adjunct Professor in the Microbiology and Immunology departments at Temple University, the University of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson University, and Drexel University. Glenn's lab studies viruses in the brain. His goal is to understand how our immune system recognizes and tries to get rid of those infections. Glenn enjoys spending his free time doing community service with his wife and getting involved in their neighborhood. He is also a big fan of listening to classical music. Glenn received his PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from Vanderbilt University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at The Scripps Research Institute before accepting a position at the Fox Chase Cancer Center. Glenn is here with us today to tell us all about his journey through life and science.
Dr. Stephanie Wear is a Senior Scientist and Strategy Advisor at The Nature Conservancy, as well as a Visiting Fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and a Visiting Scientist at Duke University Marine Lab. Stephanie's career has been dedicated to conservation, and her work has spanned a variety of threats to marine ecosystems, including overfishing and management, the impacts of climate change, and sewage pollution. When she's not at work, Stephanie enjoys spending time out in nature with her husband and two kids, and lately they've been spending a lot of time hiking and searching for salamanders. Stephanie received her B.A. in Environmental Sciences from the University of Virginia and her M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Marine Sciences from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She began working with The Nature Conservancy in 2001. Stephanie and her work have been featured in numerous media outlets, and she has been named one of Women's Health Magazine's "Clean and Green Pioneers" and Babble.com's "Moms Who are Changing the World". In addition, she was selected as a member of the inaugural class of NatureNet Science Fellows—a program sponsored by The Nature Conservancy and six leading universities that brings new approaches to solving global challenges surrounding sustainable provision of food, energy, and water. In our interview, Stephanie shares more about her life and science.
Dr. Eric Green is the Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health. Eric works in the field of genomics. Everything from cars to houses has a blueprint of information that defines its creation and operation. The field of genomics studies DNA, the information molecule of living cells, to understand how living organisms are created and operate. While his research can be time consuming, Eric loves digital photography because of the technological science involved. His two teenagers also keep him busy, and he is a diehard Cardinals baseball fan. He received his B.S. in Bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and his M.D. and Ph.D. in Cell Biology from Washington University in St. Louis. Afterward, Eric completed his residency at Washington University in Laboratory Medicine and as part of his residency he did a postdoctoral research in genetics. Eric served on the faculty and as co-investigator in the Human Genome Center at Washington University School of Medicine before accepting a position at the National Institutes of Health where he has been now for over 20 years. Eric has been the recipient of many awards and honors during his career, including the NIH Director's Award (multiple times), the Alumni Achievement and the Distinguished Alumni Awards from Washington University School of Medicine, as well as a Ladue Horton Watkins High School Distinguished Alumni Award. He is also a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians. Eric is here with us today to tell us all about his journey through life and science.
Dr. Mariana Wolfner is the Goldwin Smith Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics and a Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow at Cornell University. Mariana studies reproduction, focusing on interactions between male and female molecules throughout the reproductive process and how these interactions evolved. Also, how does an egg switch from being a differentiated egg cell to a brand new organism that is going to divide and make every kind of cell in the organism. Outside science, Mariana enjoys spending time with her family including her two grown children. They like to go hiking, birdwatching, and generally being out in nature. When the weather's not cooperating, Mariana stays inside doing crossword puzzles and other kinds of puzzles as well as baking sweet treats. We were also delighted to discover our shared love of terrible puns. She received her BA in Genetics and Chemistry from Cornell University, and her PhD in Biochemistry from Stanford University. She did postdoctoral work at UCSD, before joining the Cornell faculty in 1983. Mariana has received many awards and honors during her career. For example, she is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and was a Lady Davis Fellow. She has given numerous named or distinguished lectures, and has also received awards for her teaching and advising of students. In addition to research, teaching, and advising, Mariana is very active in service to her field, serving on many Society Boards, Editorial Boards and organizing many conferences. Mariana is with us today to tell us all about her journey through life and science.
Dr. Cassandra Quave holds a joint appointment as Associate Professor of Dermatology in the Emory University School of Medicine and Emory Center for the Study of Human Health. She is also Director/Curator of theÂ Emory University Herbarium, CEO of CLQ Botanicals (a company providing consulting services on botanicals for personal care, skin health, and cosmetics), CEO and Chief Scientist of PhytoTEK LLC (a start-up biotech company dedicated to R&D and commercialization of novel anti-infective technologies), host of the Foodie Pharmacology Podcast, and author of the recently released book The Plant Hunter: A Scientist's Quest for Nature's Next Medicines. As a medical ethnobotanist, Cassandra studies how people relate to plants, and how they use plants as medicine. Her research takes her around the world to document traditional medicinal practices and collect plant samples. In her lab, Cassandra and her team analyze plant samples to assess their pharmacological activity against infectious disease targets. When she's not working in the lab or out in the field, Cassandra loves spending time with her husband and their four kids, going to sporting events, hiking, canoeing, swimming, and relaxing with a good book. Cassandra received B.S. degrees in Biology as well as Anthropology and Human Biology from Emory University, and she was awarded her PhD in Biology with a focus in ethnobotany and ethnopharmacology from Florida International University. Next, Cassandra conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at Emory University. She joined the faculty at Emory University in 2013, and she has been awarded the Emory Williams Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award for her excellence in teaching. In our interview, Cassandra shares more about her life and science.
Dr. Michael Dickinson is the Esther M. and Abe M. Zarem Professor of Bioengineering at the California Institute of Technology. His work focuses on the biomechanics and the biophysics of life with a particular focus on how animals fly. He looks at these questions through a neuroscientific lens, trying to understand behavior and flight control. In addition to being an excellent scientist, Michael is quite the enthusiastic musician. He played guitar for many years, and has been strumming on the ukulele for about 10 years as well. Much of his free time is spent gardening native plants and enjoying the company of his family. He received his PhD in Zoology from the University of Washington and afterwards worked briefly at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen, Germany. Michael has received numerous awards and honors during his career, including the Larry Sandler Award from the Genetics Society of America, the Bartholemew Award for Comparative Physiology from the American Society of Zoologists, a Packard Foundation Fellowship in Science and Engineering, a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, and the Quantrell award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching from the University of Chicago. He is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Michael shares more about his journey through life and science in this interview.
Dr. Michael Archer is a Professor of Paleobiology in the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of New South Wales in Australia. Mike is a paleontologist who is fascinated with understanding the continuity of life over billions of years. He spends his free time watching Sci-Fi movies, including classics like Jurassic Park (one of his all-time favorites). Mike received his undergraduate education from Princeton University in Geology and Biology. He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Australia and remained there to earn his PhD in Zoology from the University of Western Australia. Mike has since worked at the Western Australian, Queensland, and Australian Museums, and he joined the faculty at the University of New South Wales in 1978. Mike has received many awards and honors, including being named one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Sydney in 2008, receipt of the Riversleigh Society Medal, the TH Huxley Award from the Australian Museum, and the Australian Centennial Medal from the Federal Government of Australia. He is a Member of the Australia Institute of Biology, as well as a Fellow of the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, the World Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Australian College of Educators, The Australian Academy of Science, the Royal Society of New South Wales, and Australia 21. In this interview, Mike tells us more about his journey through life and science.
Dr. Nancy Mills was a Murchison Professor (2011-2014) at Trinity University. She works at a primarily undergraduate institution as an organic chemist. Typically organic chemists make things like drugs or polymers. When trying to make things, they really focus on making stable compounds. Nancy has actually created a rare unstable (anti-aromatic) compound that does not turn into a stable one. In addition to her love of science, Nancy enjoys reading mystery books, cooking, and ultralight backpacking. She received her PhD in Chemistry from the University of Arizona and she spent a few years teaching at Carleton College in Minnesota before joining the faculty at Trinity. Nancy has received many awards and honors during her career, including selection as a Council on Undergraduate Research Fellow, the Distinguished Achievement Award in Scholarship from Trinity University, the American Chemical Society Award for Research at an Undergraduate Institution, and the Piper Professor state-wide teaching award. She has also been elected as a Fellow of the American Chemical Society, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a Z. T. Scott Faculty Fellow at Trinity in recognition of outstanding teaching. Nancy joined us for an interview to tell us all about her journey through life and science.