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. 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.
Dr. James Pipas is the Herbert W. and Grace Boyer Chair in Molecular Biology and Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. Jim's lab studies how viruses work, how they interact with us, and where they come from. They also use viruses as tools to understand how our own biology works. For example, they study viruses that cause cancer. Outside of science, Jim's passions include entertaining and exploring. He composes music, sings, and produces shows with his brother all over the world. The other activity that brings him great joy is immersing himself in nature in remote forests and mountains. He received his PhD in Molecular Biophysics from Florida State University and completed his postdoctoral training at Baylor College and the John Hopkins School of Medicine. Jim has been a faculty member in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh now for over 30 years. Jim joined us for an interview to tell us more about his life and science.
Dr. Autumn-Lynn Harrison is Program Manager of the Migratory Connectivity Project and a Research Ecologist at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. She is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Duke University and an Affiliate Professor at George Mason University. Her research focuses on the migration of marine animals such as seabirds and seals. In order to help manage and conserve these animals, she uses data from small tracking tags to understand where these animals go, the habitats they depend on, and the places that are important to them. When she's not working, Autumn-Lynn loves to be out on the water paddling in a canoe or kayak. She also enjoys watching college football as well as playing the flute and piccolo in a community band. Autumn-Lynn received her B.S. degrees in Environmental Science and Fisheries and Wildlife Science from Virginia Tech, a Graduate Diploma of Science in Tropical Marine Ecology and Fisheries Science from James Cook University in Australia, and her Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She worked for the Society for Conservation Biology for 11 years prior to accepting a postdoctoral fellowship with the Institute for Parks at Clemson University. Next, Autumn-Lynn joined the team at the Smithsonian Institution in 2014. In our interview, she shares more about her life and science.
Dr. Jennifer Grandis is a Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, Director of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute, and Associate Vice Chancellor of Clinical and Translational Research at the University of California, San Francisco. She is also an American Cancer Society Professor. Jennifer is a Cancer Biologist as well as a head and neck surgeon. Her research revolves around understanding the key features of head and neck cancer that can be used to develop more effective treatments. Jennifer and her husband like to go running every morning with their dogs near their home in San Francisco. She makes sure to dedicate time in her day for reading, and she also listens to books on her phone when traveling. Reading and cooking are two activities that bring Jennifer great happiness. Jennifer received her B.A. in Biology and Art History at Swarthmore College and was awarded her M.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She completed her residency and an Infectious Disease Fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and went on to serve on the faculty there for over 20 years before accepting her current position at UCSF. Jennifer has received many honors and awards during her career, including the Peggy Wheelock Award for Excellence in Research, Mentoring, and Promotion of Women in Science from the University of Nebraska, as well as the University of Pittsburgh's Provost's Award for Excellence in Mentoring, Philip Hench Distinguished Alumnus Award, Chancellor's Distinguished Research Award, Scientific Leadership Award, promotion to Distinguished Professor of Otolaryngology, and more. Jennifer is also an Elected Member of the Association of American Physicians, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. Jennifer joined us in this interview to tell us all about her journey through life and science.
Dr. Robert C. Malenka is the Pritzker Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Director of the Pritzker Laboratory, and Deputy Director of the Stanford Neurosciences Institute at Stanford University. Rob's research focuses on how brain cells communicate with each other through chemical and electrical signals. They examine how the connections between neurons (synapses) work at a molecular level. He also studies the molecular mechanisms involved in changes to our nervous system (plasticity). Rob is an avid tennis player, and he likes to get out on the court 2-3 times per week. He also spends his free time watching sci fi and spy thriller movies, as well as sampling and collecting wines. Travel is a big part of Rob's life, and he enjoys immersing himself in different cultures, meeting people, and navigating public transportation systems. He received his Bachelor's degree from Harvard College and his MD and PhD in Neuroscience from the Stanford University School of Medicine. Rob conducted postdoctoral research at the University of California, San Francisco and completed his residency in Psychiatry at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He served on the Faculty at the University of California, San Francisco for 10 years before joining the faculty at Stanford where he is today. Rob is a recipient of the Medical Research Award in Neuropsychiatry from the Pasarow Foundation, the Julius Axelrod Mentorship Award from the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, and the NARSAD Goldman-Rakic Prize for Outstanding Cognitive Neuroscience Research. In addition, Rob is a Member of the National Academy of Sciences, a Member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Fellow of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. In our conversation, Rob tells us more about his journey through life and science.
Dr. Wendy Chung is the Herbert Irving Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine and Director of Clinical Genetics at Columbia University. As a human molecular geneticist, she seeks out rare and unexpected causes behind health problems in people. Her laboratory works to identify genes that cause human diseases and use this information to inform the creation of novel treatments in the future. Wendy spends most of her free time with her family. She has two sons, and they like to get outside to go hiking, swimming, and bicycling. They can also frequently be found working through puzzles and going on mystery scavenger hunts together. She received her undergraduate training at Cornell University and went on to receive her PhD in Molecular Genetics from Rockefeller University and her M.D. from Cornell University. Afterward, Wendy completed her Internship and Residency in Pediatrics, a Fellowship in Clinical Genetics, and a Fellowship in Molecular Genetics at the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center. Wendy is the recipient of an American Academy of Pediatrics Young Investigator Award, the Charles W. Bohmfalk Award for Distinguished Contributions to Teaching in the Clinical Years, the Medical Achievement Award from Bonei Olam, as well as the Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching from Columbia University. In our interview, Wendy discusses her journey through life and science.
Dr. Randi Martin is the Elma Schneider Professor in the Department of Psychology at Rice University and an Adjunct Professor of Otorhinolaryngology and Communicative Science at Baylor College of Medicine. Randi's lab studies how the brain carries out language and memory functions. To do this, they work with people who have had damage to specific areas in the brain (a stroke, for example) to see what abilities are affected and unaffected. This allows them to map problems in language and memory function to the specific areas of the brain that have been injured. Randi loves to dance when she's not hard at work in the lab. She and her husband go out to to dance country western, swing, salsa, ballroom, and other styles. However, she also enjoys a quiet evening with a good mystery novel. She received her Master's Degree and PhD in Psychology from Johns Hopkins University. Randi served as a Visiting Lecturer at the University of California, Santa Cruz and an Associate Research Scientist at Johns Hopkins University before joining the faculty at Rice. She has received many honors and awards during her career, including being named a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, a Fellow of the American Psychological Society, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as election to the Society of Experimental Psychologists. In our interview, Randi shares more about her journey through life and science.
Dr. Gabriella Vigliocco is Professor of Psychology and Language Sciences in the Department of Experimental Psychology at University College London. There, she is also Director of the Cognition and Language Laboratory and Director of the Leverhulme Doctoral Training Programme in the Ecological Study of the Brain. In addition, Gabriella is a Scientist in Residence at the Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute in Philadelphia. Gabriella's lab studies how children learn language and how adults use language. She is interested in determining the mechanisms in the brain that allow us to produce language, understand language, and represent knowledge and ideas in our thoughts. Her work spans spoken languages and sign language, and she also works in various populations to better understand how language abilities break down after brain damage. When she's not working, Gabriella enjoys spending time with her 15 year old son, cooking delicious Italian and fusion dishes for family and friends, reading science fiction and fantasy books, and listening to classical music concerts. Gabriella completed her Bachelor of Science at Padua University and Ph.D. degree at the University of Trieste in Italy. Afterwards, she conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Arizona. Before joining the faculty at UCL, Gabriella served as a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin and a visiting scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. Throughout her career, Gabriella has received various awards and honors, including being awarded a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award, being named a Fellow of the Cognitive Science Society, and being named a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Sciences.
Dr. Jim Hudspeth is the F.M. Kirby Professor at The Rockefeller University, and he leads the Laboratory of Sensory Neuroscience there. In addition, he is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. In the lab, Jim studies hearing to address common hearing problems and to understand how the ear is able to accomplish impressive feats such as allowing us to hear very high frequencies, sensing extremely small vibrations, and detecting sounds across a large range of amplitude or power. As a resident of New York City, Jim enjoys spending his free time taking in the spectacular art work at the Metropolitan Museum, the Neue Galerie, and the Museum of Modern Art. He and his wife also like to sample great restaurants in the city and indulge in excellent theater performances. Jim received his bachelor's degree in biochemistry, as well as his MD and PhD, from Harvard University. Afterward, he completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. Jim has since served on the faculty at California Institute of Technology, the University of California, San Francisco, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center before joining the faculty at Rockefeller. Jim has received the Charles A. Dana Award for Pioneering Achievements in Health and the W. Alden Spencer Award from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Additionally, he is a recipient of the Ralph W. Gerard Prize from the Society for Neuroscience, the K.S. Cole Award in membrane biophysics from the Biophysical Society, the Award of Merit from the Association for Research in Otolaryngology, and the Guyot Prize from the University of Groningen. He is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In our interview, Jim shares more about his life and science.
Dr. Vic Arcus is a Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Waikato in New Zealand. In the lab, Vic works as a biochemist to understand the function of enzymes both within and outside of cells. Lately, he has also been studying the evolution of enzymes. Vic's interests outside of science include music and exercise. He is an amateur triathlete and also takes a piano lessons once a week. He received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Organic Chemistry from the University of Waikato and his PhD in Molecular Biology from Cambridge. Afterward, Vic became a fellow of Trinity College, and then served on the faculty at Auckland University before returning to Waikato where he is today. Vic joined us for an interview to tell us more about his journey through life and science.
Dr. Jennifer Graham-Engeland is an Associate Professor in the Biobehavioral Health Department at The Pennsylvania State University. Jennifer investigates how psychological stress affects physical health. Though there are some instances where stress can be beneficial, severe or chronic stress can be harmful and debilitating. Jennifer's research has focused on how people with chronic pain respond to stress and how psychological, behavioral, and physiological changes may explain the connection between stress and chronic pain. Jennifer believes that it is very important to have balance in your life as a scientist. She spends much of her time with her two children, renovating her home, hiking in the mountains, and getting out of the house to enjoy her town and explore other cities. She graduated from Cornell University majoring in Psychology and English and went on to receive her M.A. and Ph.D. in Social and Health Psychology from Stony Brook University. Jennifer then conducted postdoctoral research at The Ohio State University before joining the faculty where she is today at Penn State. She has been awarded the American Psychosomatic Society Scholar Research Award as well as the Psychoneuroimmunology Research Society Scholars Award. In our interview, Jennifer shares more about her journey through life and science.
Dr. Fan-Gang Zeng is Director of the Center for Hearing Research and Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Biomedical Engineering, Cognitive Sciences and Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at the University of California, Irvine. The goal of Fan-Gang's work is to help people with hearing impairments hear better. He does this using an electronic device (cochlear implant) that can stimulate a nerve to allow people with hearing loss to hear again. He also works to solve a hearing problem on the other end of the spectrum called tinnitus where people hear sounds that are not present in the environment. In his free time, Fan-Gang likes to get outdoors, play basketball, hang out with his kids, and cook. He received a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Science and Technology of China and his Master's degree in Biomedical Engineering at the Institute of Physiology Academia Sinica in Shanghai. Fan-Gang then went on to earn his PhD in Hearing Science from Syracuse University. He served as a research Associate at the House Ear Institute and an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland before joining the faculty at UC, Irvine where he is today. Fan-Gang is a member of the Acoustical Society of America, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the Association for Research in Otolaryngology, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Fan-Gang is here with us today to tell us all about his journey through life and science.
Dr. Hélène Morlon is a Research Scientist with the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) at the Institute of Biology at the Ecole Nomale Supérieure in Paris. She is also affiliated to the Interdisciplinary Center for Research in Biology at the Collège de France. Hélène studies biodiversity and is interested in understanding questions like why there are more species in certain regions of the planet and why some groups of organisms are more diverse than others. She studies a variety of organisms to elucidate the general principles underlying evolution and biodiversity.When Hélène is not hard at work in the lab, she enjoys rock climbing, scuba diving, surfing, skiing, snowboarding, and particularly kitesurfing. These challenging extreme sports keep her connected with nature and give her a sense of freedom. She received her M.S. in Ecology from the University of Paris and her Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences from the University of Bordeaux. Helene conducted postdoctoral research at the University of California, Merced, the University of Oregon, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of California, Berkeley. She was hired by the CNRS afterwards and worked at the Center of Applied Mathematics at Ecole Polytechnique before accepting her current position. Hélène is the recipient of the 2012 CNRS Prize for Outstanding Research and the 2015 CNRS Bronze Medal. In our interview, Hélène shares more about her journey through life and science.
Dr. Ed Belbruno is a professional artist, specializing in abstract expressionist paintings, Clinical Professor of Mathematics at Yeshiva University, a Visiting Research Associate in the Astrophysics Department at Princeton University, and President and Founder of the company Innovative Orbital Design. Ed is a mathematician who applies his work to answer questions in celestial mechanics, the branch of astronomy that examines how rockets, asteroids, moons, and other objects move in space. In particular, he focuses on delicate, complicated motions called chaos motions (based on chaos theory). Calculations of chaos motions are relevant for studying trajectories of spacecraft to the moon and other destinations, how the moon was created, the origins of the universe, and other questions in astrophysics. Art is one of Ed's passions outside of math and science. Since his first serious oil painting of a view of Saturn from the moon of Titan at the age of seven, Ed has created a large portfolio of paintings, and he continues to be a prolific professional artist today. Ed received his associate degree from Mitchell College and his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in mathematics from New York University. He then worked as a faculty member at Boston University for about five years before accepting a position as a trajectory analyst at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). After leaving JPL, Ed held positions at Pomona College and The Geometry Center at the University of Minnesota. Throughout his career, Ed and his work have been recognized with various awards and honors. He received Germany's Humboldt Research Award in Mathematics, received the Laurels Award from Aviation Week Space and Technology Magazine, was named one of the "Top 10 Most Influential Space Thinkers" by New Scientist, and was the subject of a feature documentary movie entitled "Painting the Way to the Moon". In our interview, Ed shares more about his life and research.
Dr. Andrea Califano is the Clyde and Helen Wu Professor of Chemical Systems Biology in the Departments of Systems Biology, Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics, and Biomedical Informatics at Columbia University. He is Founding Chair of the Department of Systems Biology, Director of the JP Sulzberger Columbia Genome Center, and Associate Director for Bioinformatics of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center. In the lab, Andrea is trying to develop what we can think of as a blueprint or assembly manual for cells. He is using genetic and genomic information to reconstruct models of regulatory systems in normal cells and cells in disease states. They are learning about the proteins that regulate cellular changes in diseases like cancer and neurodegenerative disorders. Andrea and his family enjoy family outings to the botanical gardens, the zoo, and musical events. He also spends his down time playing tennis, skiing, watching movies, and reading. He completed his doctoral studies in physics at the University of Florence in Italy and his postdoctoral studies at MIT. Afterward, Andrea worked at the IBM TJ Watson Research Center, and he subsequently became Program Director of the IBM Computational Biology Center. In 2000, Andrea co-founded First Genetic Trust, Inc and founded another company called Therasys in 2008 before joining the faculty where he is today at Columbia University. Andrea is with us today to tell us all about his journey through life and science.
Dr. Sharon Antonucci is a clinical researcher, speech-language pathologist, and Director of the MossRehab Aphasia Center. She works primarily with people who have a language impairment called aphasia as a result of a stroke. Sharon is particularly interested in understanding how information related to the meaning of words can be accessed in people with aphasia and how this may influence a person's ability to retrieve words. Another line of research she is working on examines word retrieval in the context of conversation. In addition, Sharon is excited about the animal-assisted therapy work they have been doing in people with aphasia. When she's not at work, Sharon loves to spend her time reading, watching TV, singing, and volunteering with shelter dogs, and hanging out with her two dogs Maggie and Hulk. She was awarded her B.A. in child development and Italian from Connecticut College, her master's degree in speech-language pathology from Columbia University, and her Ph.D. in speech and hearing sciences from the University of Arizona. Prior to accepting her position at MossRehab, Sharon served on the faculty at Worcester State University. She has received the Tavistock Trust for Aphasia Distinguished Scholar Award for her excellence in aphasia research, and in our interview today, she shares more about her science and her life.
Dr. Jan Westpheling is a Professor of Genetics in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Georgia. In the lab, Jan is dedicated to her research on biofuels. Her lab works to engineer bacteria that help convert non-food crop plants like switchgrass into useful fuels like ethanol. Jan lives on eight acres of old-growth forest and loves gardening. She has been planting specific trees to attract birds and also putting out bird feeders. As a result, her property is like a bird sanctuary, with owls and migratory birds coming through each year. Jan loves spending her time outside enjoying nature and the wildlife around her. She received her B.S. degree in Microbiology from Purdue University. Jan worked as a Research Technician at Eli Lilly before going back to graduate school to earn her Ph.D. in Genetics from the John Innes Institute. She worked for a year for Biogen in Geneva, conducted postdoctoral research at Harvard University, and served on the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School before joining the faculty at the University of Georgia where she is today. Jan is a two-time recipient of the Creative Research Medal from the University of Georgia, and she served as a Member of the National Research Council Committee on the Development and Acquisition of Medical Countermeasures against Biological Warfare Agents in 2005. During our interview, Jan shares more about her life and science.
Dr. Ricardo Araneda is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Maryland. In the lab, Ricardo is dedicated to studying the sense of smell. Smells are important for communication for a lot of animals, and there is a strong link between smell and taste. He studies the cells in the brain that help us determine what we are smelling and make decisions about how to respond to it. Ricardo has a variety of hobbies outside of science, including painting, photography, and bicycling. He also likes taking his dog out to the beach for a run. He completed his undergraduate studies in Biochemistry at the University of Concepcion in Chile and his undergraduate thesis project at the Catholic University in Santiago. Afterward, he came to the U.S. and conduct research at St. Louis University. Ricardo received his PhD from Albert Einstein College of Medicine and served as a postdoctoral fellow and then Associate research scientist at Columbia University before joining the faculty of the University of Maryland. Ricardo is here with us today to tell us all about his journey through life and science.
Dr. Paul Schimmel is Professor of Molecular Medicine and of Chemistry at Scripps Research Institute. He also holds an appointment with the Institute for Advanced Study at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, is the author of a widely used three volume textbook on biophysical chemistry, and is a co-founder or founding director of eleven biotechnology companies that develop new therapies for human diseases and disorders. Though Paul began his studies intent on becoming a medical doctor, he became fascinated by the fields of biophysics and biophysical chemistry along the way. His research answers fundamental questions about the origin of life and the genetic code. In his work with a variety of biotech companies, Paul is also translating his laboratory research to create new medicines that leverage key processes, mechanisms, and molecules employed naturally by our bodies. When he’s not hard at work, Paul loves getting out on the water on his powerboat. For over two decades, he and his wife have enjoyed exploring the islands and coasts of the Pacific Northwest. Paul earned his B.A. in Pre-Medicine from Ohio Wesleyan University and his Ph.D. in biochemistry and biophysics at MIT. He did a short postdoc at Stanford before joining the faculty at MIT. Paul served on the faculty at MIT for 30 years, and prior to coming to Scripps, he was the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics in the Department of Biology there. Throughout his career, he has received numerous awards and honors, including being named an elected Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Medicine, and the National Academy of Inventors. In addition, Paul received the American Chemical Society's 2020 Kathryn C. Hach Award for Entrepreneurial Success, the 2020 Scientist of the Year Award from the San Diego Chapter of the Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Foundation, the Harvard University Frank Westheimer Medal, the American Chemical Society's Pfizer Award in Enzyme Chemistry, the Biophysical Society’s Emily M. Gray Award for Significant Contributions to Education in Biophysics, the Chinese Biopharmaceutical Association Brilliant Achievement Award, the Stein and Moore Award of the Protein Society, and an Honorary Doctor of Science Degree from Ohio Wesleyan University and the Kellogg School of Science and Technology at Scripps Research. In our interview, Paul shares insights from his life and science.
Dr. Wakenda Tyler is an Associate Professor in Orthopaedic Oncology and Metabolic Bone Disease and Adult Reconstruction at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Wakenda is an orthopedic surgical oncologist. She is an orthopedic surgeon with a clinical and research focus on cancerous tumours found in bones, tendon, soft tissue, ligament, and muscles. Wakenda spends her time outside of the science and medicine doing a wide variety of activities. For her, running is a great way to relax and she enjoys running in races, especially charity events. She also likes to go snowboarding, skiing, hiking, scuba diving, and traveling to new places. She was awarded her M.D. And M.P.H. from John Hopkins University and completed residency in Orthopaedic Surgery at the Hospital for Special Surgery. Wakenda then completed a fellowship in musculoskeletal oncology at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center before joining the faculty at the University of Rochester where she is today. Wakenda is with us today to tell us all about her journey through life and science.
Dr. Shailesh Kantak is a clinician scientist, an Institute Scientist, and Director of the Neuroplasticity and Motor Behavior Laboratory at Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute (MRRI). He is also a recently tenured Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at Arcadia University. Shailesh is dedicated to helping people with neurological injuries recover better and more quickly. He is interested in understanding why some people respond well to treatments and recover more fully, while others do not. Cooking and sharing homemade meals with friends are two things that bring Shailesh a lot of joy. He also enjoys gardening and traveling (though he hasn’t been able to travel much lately). Shailesh received his Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Therapy from Seth G.S. Medical College and KEM Hospital at Mumbai University. He went on to earn his Master of Science degree in Physical Therapy with a specialization in Neurologic Physical Therapy from Mumbai University as well. Afterwards, Shailesh attended the University of Southern California where he was awarded his PhD in Biokinesiology. Next, he conducted postdoctoral research at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and subsequently the University of Maryland, Baltimore. In our interview, Shailesh shares more about his life and research.
Professor Dame Kay Davies is the Dr. Lee's Professor of Anatomy in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics and Director of the MRC Functional Genomics Unit at the University of Oxford. She is also the Honorary Director of the MRC Functional Genomics Unit, a deputy chairman of the Wellcome Trust, and Executive Editor of the journal Human Molecular Genetics. Kay is also a co-founder of a biotechnology company and is a director of another. In her research, Kay uses genetics techniques to help find effective treatments for muscular dystrophy. Much of her work has focused on Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a severe and progressive muscle wasting disease that primarily affects males. When she’s not working, Kay loves taking walks in the English countryside, listening to classical music, and playing the piano. She completed her undergraduate studies at Somerville College and served as a Junior Research Fellow at Wolfson College in Oxford. She then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Saclay Nuclear Research Center, and went on to serve as a research fellow at St. Mary's Hospital Medical School and John Radcliffe Hospital and then as a faculty member at John Radcliffe Hospital and the University of London before joining the faculty at Oxford. Kay has received many awards and honors during her career, and to name just a few, she was elected as a founding Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society. She was also named Commander of the Order of the British Empire and then Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. Kay is also an Honorary Fellow of Sommerville College, and had the honor of giving the inaugural Rose lecture at Kingston University in 2012 and the Harveian Oration at the Royal College of Physicians in 2013. In our interview, Kay tells us more about her journey through life and science.
Dr. Charles Cockell is a Professor of Astrobiology in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Edinburgh and Director of the UK Centre for Astrobiology. In addition, he is the Founder and Chair of the Earth and Space Foundation and also the Co-Founder, current Board Member, and Past President of the Association of Mars Explorers. Charles has also been elected as an International Fellow of the Explorers Club. His work examines how life has emerged and has persisted on our planet and beyond. One of Charles's favorite things to do when he's not at work is go walking out in the hills and wilderness. It's a great way to clear his mind and enjoy the outdoors. He did his undergraduate training in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Bristol University and received his PhD in Molecular Biophysics from the University of Oxford. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Edinburgh, Charles was a National Academy of Sciences Associate with NASA, a visiting Scholar at both Stanford University and the University of Arizona, a Research Scientist with the British Antarctic Survey, and also Professor of Geomicrobiology at Open University. In this episode, Charles discusses, his life, science, and more.
Dr. Rachel Wong is a Professor in the Department of Biological Structure at the University of Washington. In her lab, Rachel is working to understand how neural circuits in the retina (the light-sensitive part of our eye) are assembled during our development and how they can be repaired or rewired in disease. Outside of science, Rachel has a passion for music, and she is currently spending her free time learning to play the violin! She also likes to spend time with her lab members because they have become like family to her. She received her PhD in Vision Neuroscience from Australian National University. Afterward she served as a Research Associate at the National Vision Research Institute of Australia. Rachel then conducted postdoctoral research as a CJ Martin Fellow at Stanford University and then an RD Wright Fellow at the Vision, Touch, and Hearing Research Centre. She served on the faculty Washington University in St. Louis before joining the faculty at the University of Washington. In this interview, Rachel shares more about her life and science.
Dr. Amanda Therrien is an Institute Scientist and Director of the Sensorimotor Learning Laboratory at Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute (MRRI). As a sensorimotor neuroscientist, Amanda studies how the brain integrates incoming sensory information with motor commands to control body movements. She is interested in better understanding how the nervous system works to control movement, how damage to particular areas of the brain may disrupt our control of movement, and what interventions may help improve movement control in clinical populations. Running, knitting, gardening, reading, and cooking are some of Amanda’s favorite ways to spend her time when she’s not doing science. She loves exploring new places through running, and she’s often knitting her way through her next hat or sweater during TV time. Amanda received her B.Sc. in Human Kinetics from the University of Ottawa and her Ph.D. in Kinesiology, specializing in sensorimotor neuroscience, from McMaster University. Before accepting her current position at MRRI, Amanda conducted postdoctoral research at the Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. In our interview, Amanda shares more about her life and science.
Dr. Jess Adkins is a Professor of Geochemistry at California Institute of Technology. Jess is an oceanographer who studies the history of the earth's climate. He is working to understand the inner workings of the earth's climate system by studying long-term shifts in climate that are documented in the chemical, biological, and geological records of the deep sea. When he's not at work, you can find Jess coaching his kids soccer teams, hiking in the mountains near Los Angeles, and cooking with his wife. He received his PhD in Chemical Oceanography from MIT and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He then completed postdoctoral fellowships at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and at the University of Minnesota before joining the faculty at Caltech. Jess has received many awards and honors during his career, including the Houtermans Medal from the European Association of Geochemistry, the Ruth and Paul Fye Best Paper Award from MIT and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the Organic Geochemical Division of the Geochemical Society Best Paper Award. In our interview, Jess shares more about his life and science.
Dr. Herbert Geller is a Senior Investigator in the Developmental Neurobiology Section and Head of the Office of Education at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health. The Geller lab investigates why people don't recover from central nervous system injuries including spinal cord injuries. They are working on developing potential treatments that will help people recover function after spinal cord injury, particularly focusing on how to inhibit the stop signals in the brain that prevent cells from regenerating after injury. When he's not busy in the lab, Herbert stay active with running, skiing, and gardening. We also discovered that he is quite handy and has been hard at work repairing and restoring his old house. He received his PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University and conducted postdoctoral research afterward at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. Herbert served on the faculty at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School for over 30 years before joining the NIH. He is a member of the Society for Neuroscience and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In our interview, Herb shares his journey through life and science.
Dr. Anna Frebel is the Silverman Family Career Development Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). As an astrophysicist, Anna spends her time working with students, reviewing and analyzing data on the computer, and occasionally traveling to telescopes for observing time. Her research focuses on identifying and studying some of the oldest stars in the universe using chemical analyses. Anna loves spending time with her family and young son in her free time. She received her PhD from the Australian National University's Mt. Stromlo Observatory for which she was awarded the Charlene Heisler Prize for the best Australian astronomy PhD thesis of 2006. Afterward, Anna was awarded the McDonald Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Texas, Austin and went on to receive the Clay Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics before joining the faculty at MIT. Anna and her research have been recognized with the Ludwig-Biermann Young Astronomer Award of the German Astronomical Society, the Annie Jump Cannon Award of the American Astronomical Society, and a National Science Foundation CAREER award. She was also named a Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow by the National Academy of Sciences. In this interview, Anna shares more about her journey through life and science.
Dr. Jack Schultz is a Professor in Plant Sciences and Director of the Bond Life Sciences Center at the University of Missouri. Jack is interested in understanding why insects and other animals don't consume all of the plants in the world. In his research, Jack has examined chemical defenses of plants and also chemical signaling in plants that can be detected by the predators that eat the insects that eat plants. Jack loves learning, so it's not always easy to pull himself away from the science. However, for most of his life, he has been an avid guitarist and really enjoyed playing music professionally and for fun. Jack also enjoys photography and landscape gardening. He received his PhD in Zoology from the University of Washington and completed postdoctoral research at Dartmouth College. He was then hired at Dartmouth as a Research Assistant Professor. Jack's next career move brought him to Penn State University where he remained for 25 years, rising to the rank of Distinguished Professor of Entomology before joining the faculty at the University of Missouri. Jack's research has been featured by the New York Times, People Magazine, and Time Magazine. Jack is here with us today to tell us all about his journey through life and science.
Dr. Lily Wang is a Professor of Architectural Engineering in the Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction and the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs and Faculty Development in the College of Engineering at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Lily's research is in the field of architectural acoustics, which helps us understand how sound behaves in buildings, from glamorous concert halls to everyday offices and classrooms. When she's not in the lab, Lily loves to sing and spend some quality time playing with her two young daughters. She received her PhD in Acoustics from Pennsylvania State University. She then worked as a research fellow in the Department of Acoustic Technology at the Technical University of Denmark before accepting a faculty position at UNL. Lily has received many awards and honors during her career, including the R. Bruce Lindsay Award, the top award given by the Acoustical Society of America to a person under 35 years of age. Lily has also been awarded a National Science Foundation CAREER Award as well as numerous awards from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln for teaching and mentorship.
Dr. Peter Crane is the Carl W. Knobloch Jr. Dean of the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and Professor of Botany at Yale University. Much of Peter’s work has involved studying fossil plants, particularly plants from about 130 million years ago, to find out what they tell us about plant evolution and the evolution of flowering plants. Peter also compares fossil plants to those alive today to understand the relationships between historic and present day plants. Peter loves to travel and often gets to explore different places in the world as part of his scientific and other professional responsibilities. He enjoys spending time outside and is delighted to be able to work outdoors in the field for his research. When he has time to relax and pick up a book, Peter gravitates towards reading biographies of interesting people. Peter received his B.Sc. and Ph.D. in Botany from the University of Reading in the United Kingdom. Afterward, he conducted postdoctoral research at Indiana University and worked for about 17 years at the Field Museum in Chicago, rising from Assistant Curator in Paleobotany to Museum Director. Peter then served as Director and Chief Executive of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. He also served as the John and Marion Sullivan University Professor at the University of Chicago before joining the faculty at Yale where he is today. Peter has received many prestigious awards and honors during his career. First and foremost, he was knighted in the United Kingdom in 2004 for his contributions to horticulture and conservation. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, a Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences, a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In addition, Peter has received multiple honorary degrees and fellowships, including an honorary doctoral degree from the University of Cambridge. He was also the recipient of the International Prize for Biology, as well as many other national and international awards. In this interview, Peter shares more about his life and science.
Dr. Yasmin Hurd is Professor of Psychiatry, Neuroscience and Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics as well as the Ward-Coleman Chair in Translational Neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine in New York. She is also Director of the Center for Addictive Disorders in the Mount Sinai Behavioral Health System. Yasmin studies the brain and addiction. She wants to know how drugs impact the brain, as well as how genetics and other characteristics shape disease vulnerability. Her work also has applications for developing new therapeutic treatments for substance abuse. Outside of work, Yasmin loves cooking, including the challenge of assembling meals from the random ingredients in her pantry and hosting elaborate dinners for her friends. She has also developed a passion for painting. She received her PhD in Medical Science from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and spent time as a Pharmacology Research Associate Fellow with the NIH and Staff Fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health. Afterward, Yasmin returned to the Karolinska Institute where she remained as a faculty member for 13 years before coming to Mount Sinai. She is also a member of the American Society for Neuroscience, New York Academy of Sciences, and the College on Problems of Drug Dependence. Yasmin shares more about her journey through life and science in this interview.
Dr. George Hajishengallis is a Professor in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. Through his research, George is trying to understand how the immune system interacts with oral bacteria. He is curious about why you see destruction of gums and the bone that supports the teeth in some people. They are also working on treatments to prevent gum disease called periodontists. Outside of his work life, George spends his time watching soccer, reading books, and hiking and swimming with his wife. He received his Doctor of Dental Surgery Degree from the University of Athens in Greece and his PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Following postdoctoral studies in Immunology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University at Buffalo, George served on the faculty at Louisiana State University Health Science Center and the University of Louisville before joining the Faculty at the University of Pennsylvania. George has been elected as a Fellow of the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science and was a recipient of the Distinguished Scientist Award in Oral Biology from the International Association of Dental Research (IADR) in 2012 and the AADR/IADR William J. Gies Award in the Biological Research Category in 2014. In this interview, George shares more about his life and science.
Dr. John Whyte is the Founding Director and Institute Scientist Emeritus at the Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute (MRRI), as well as the Founding Director of the Responsiveness Program at the Drucker Brain Injury Center at MossRehab. The goal of John’s research is to help people perform the tasks and roles they are interested in doing, regardless of any diseases or disabilities. Much of his work has focused on people with traumatic brain injury (TBI), especially more severe traumatic brain injury. He is also dedicated to advancing the field of rehabilitation research through developing novel methods, new assessment tools, and a specification system to more systematically describe and deliver rehabilitation treatments. Beyond science and medicine, John enjoys cooking, music, and going for long walks in the city. In pre-pandemic days, he also enjoyed going to the theater, but he hasn’t been able to do this lately. John was awarded his MD and PhD in cognitive psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. Afterwards, he completed a residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Minnesota followed by a fellowship in traumatic brain injury at Tufts University. Among his many awards and honors, John is a Fellow of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and recipient of their Gold Key lifetime achievement award. In addition, he has received the Distinguished Academician Award from the Association of Academic Physiatrists, the Moody Prize for contributions to brain injury research and practice, and he is an elected Member of the National Academy of Medicine. In our interview, John shares more about his life and work.
Dr. Amy Vollmer is Professor and Department Chair of Biology at Swarthmore College. Amy is interested in understanding how bacteria sense and respond to their environment. In addition to her research, she is passionate about teaching through her classroom lectures and public science literacy efforts. Family is really important for Amy, and she likes to spend her spare time on the phone with her sisters and two grown children. Amy and her husband own a small Italian deli and market, and you can often find her at the store when she's not in the lab. She received her Bachelor's degree in Biochemistry from Rice University and her PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Afterward, Amy conducted postdoctoral research in Immunology at Stanford University and served on the faculty at Mills College before joining the faculty at Swarthmore where she is today, conducting research and teaching students. In this interview, Amy shares more about her life and science.
Dr. Luke O'Neill is Professor and Chair of Biochemistry in the School of Biochemistry and Immunology at Trinity College Dublin. He is also an author of three popular science books, including the recently released book Never Mind the B#ll*cks, Here's the Science: A Scientist's Guide to the Biggest Challenges Facing Our Species Today. In addition, Luke co-founded Inflazome, a company dedicated to developing therapeutics to address unmet needs in inflammatory diseases. Luke is an immunologist. He studies the immune system, focusing mainly on inflammatory diseases like Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease. His lab aims to understand the underlying mechanisms of these diseases and develop new medicines to treat them. Recently, Luke’s lab has also been studying COVID-19 and potential therapeutics. In his free time, Luke enjoys music. He sings and plays guitar in a band called The Metabollix, and they have played a wide variety of gigs over the years, including at scientific conferences. He was awarded his B.A. in Natural Sciences with an emphasis in Biochemistry from Trinity College Dublin and his PhD in Pharmacology from the University of London. Afterwards he accepted a Medical Research Council postdoctoral fellowship to conduct research at Strangeways Research Laboratory in Cambridge. Luke has received numerous awards and honors for his exceptional research, including the Royal Dublin Society & The Irish Times Robert Boyle Medal for scientific excellence, the Royal Irish Academy Gold Medal for Life Sciences, and the European Federation of Immunology Societies Medal. Luke is also an elected Member of the Royal Irish Academy, a Member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation, and a Fellow of the Royal Society. In our interview, Luke shares more about his life and research.
Dr. Cassandra Extavour is a Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard University. Scientifically, Cassandra spends her time examining the evolution of embryonic development. Her lab seeks to understand how genes direct cells during development to become different kinds of cells. They are also interested in the evolutionary origin of these genes. In addition to her passion for science, Cassandra is also passionate about music. She enjoys listening to music and is a professional singer as well. Other activities that occupy her free time are dancing, hosting parties, and cooking for her friends. She received her PhD from the Severo Ochoa Center for Molecular Biology at the Autonomous University of Madrid. Cassandra then conducted postdoctoral research at the Institute for Molecular Biology and Biotechnology in Crete, Greece as well as at the University of Cambridge. Afterward, she worked as a Research Associate in the Department of Zoology at Cambridge before joining the faculty at Harvard. In this interview, Cassandra shares more about her journey through life and science.
Dr. Aleix Martinez is a Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Director of the Computational Biology and Cognitive Science Laboratory at the Ohio State University. He is also affiliated with the Department of Biomedical Engineering and to the Center for Cognitive and Brain Sciences. The work in Aleix's lab focuses on cognitive science. They hold the view that the brain operates like a big (very complicated) computer. To understand the brain, they need to understand the algorithms that are encoded in that computer. His lab uses fMRI and computational methods to understand what areas of the brain are activated or work together to solve certain problems. Some of Aleix's favorite activities are hanging out with his family, reading, and running (he runs 50-60 miles per week!). Aleix received a Master's degree and PhD in Computer Engineering from the Autonomous University of Barcelona and a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Paris. Afterward, he conducted postdoctoral research at Purdue University, and also spent some time working as a Researcher at the Sony Computer Science Laboratory in Paris before joining the faculty at OSU. Aleix and his research have been widely featured in the media by sources like CNN, The Huffington Post, Time Magazine, CBS News, NPR, and The Guardian. During our interview, Aleix discussed his research, his career, and his life outside of science.
Dr. Rebecca Richards-Kortum is the Malcolm Gillis University Professor of Bioengineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rice University. She is also Director of the award-winning Rice 360 Institute for Global Health and founder of Beyond Traditional Borders Program at Rice University. Rebecca and her colleagues are developing technologies to improve healthcare as well as improve access to healthcare. They are dedicated to making medical technology less expensive and finding ways to modify medical technology so it can be used in different environments and settings across the world. When she’s not working, Rebecca loves to spend time with her children. Rebecca also enjoys getting up early in the morning to go running, and she often participates in half marathon and marathon races. Rebecca received her B.S. in Physics and Mathematics from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln and went on to receive her M.S. in Physics and PhD in Medical Physics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She served as a faculty member at the University of Texas at Austin, where she was the Cockrell Family Chair in Engineering, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and a Distinguished Teaching Professor. Rebecca has received many awards and honors during her career, including very recently being named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow. Some of her other recent awards include the Pierre Galletti Award (the highest honor from The American Institute for Medical and Biomedical Engineering), the Lemelson-MIT Award for Global Innovation, and the Michael S. Feld Biophotonics Award from the Optical Society of America. She is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Biomedical Engineering Society, the Optical Society of America, and the National Academy of Inventors. Rebecca is with us today to tell us all about her journey through life and science.
Dr. Carolyn Bertozzi is the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Chemical and Systems Biology and Radiology at Stanford University. She is also an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Carolyn’s research combines chemistry and biology. Her lab develops tools from chemistry that can be used to study biology with the goal of ultimately creating new molecules that can cure diseases and help us live better, healthier lives. She has three young boys, and she keeps busy when she’s outside of the lab taking them to swimming lessons, gymnastics, and out to the movies. Carolyn received her undergraduate training in Chemistry at Harvard University and was awarded her PhD in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. She went on to complete postdoctoral research at the University of California, San Francisco and then accepted a faculty position at UC, Berkeley. Carolyn just recently joined the faculty at Stanford in 2015. She is the recipient of the UCSF 150th Anniversary Alumni Excellence Award, the Hans Bloemendal Award from Radboud University, the Heinrich Wieland Prize, the Royal Society of Chemistry Organic Division Bioorganic Chemistry Award, the Lemelson-MIT Prize for Inventors, a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, and many other national and international awards and honors. In addition, Carolyn is an elected Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. In this interview, Carolyn shares her journey through life and science.
Dr. Audrey Dussutour is a National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) Scientist at Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse, France. Audrey studies animal behavior and collective intelligence in ant colonies and slime molds. In ant colonies, she examines how the ants regulate traffic to avoid traffic jams, and she creates algorithms that may help alleviate our own traffic jams. In slime molds, Audrey investigates the different cognitive abilities they are able to display even though they don’t have brains. Outside work, Audrey loves going out to the movies and watching DVDs. Some of her favorite directors are John Cassavetes and David Lynch, and she gets into sci-fi films as well. Audrey received a Masters Degrees in Ecology from Paul Sabatier University, a Masters Degree in Neurosciences and Ethology from the Free University of Brussels in Belgium, and a PhD in Animal Behavior working in laboratories from both of these universities. She next conducted postdoctoral research at Concordia University in Canada and at the University of Sydney in Australia. Audrey has received numerous awards and honors for her exceptional work, including the Adolphe Wetrems Award of the Belgian Royal Academy, the Young Investigator Award of the French Society for the Study of Animal Behavior, the Outstanding Paper Prize from the Journal of Experimental Biology, Lauréate du Prix Le Monde de la Recherche, and the Young Researcher Prize from the French Society for the Study of Animal Behavior. Audrey joined us for an interview to talk about her experiences in life and science.
Dr. Erica Middleton is an Institute Scientist and Director of the Language and Learning Laboratory at Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute. Many people who have had a stroke experience a long-term impairment in their ability to produce or comprehend language. This impairment is called aphasia. Erica’s research focuses on applying fundamental learning principles to improve language rehabilitation in people with aphasia. Beyond her scientific interests, Erica is passionate about organic gardening and cooking. She and her family have been having fun creating a variety of dishes in the kitchen, including experimenting with different kinds of macaroni and cheese. She received her undergraduate training in psychology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and was awarded her PhD in cognitive psychology with a specialization in psycholinguistics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Afterwards, she conducted postdoctoral research at Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute (MRRI) and the University of Pennsylvania before accepting her current position at MRRI. Her work is supported by the National Institutes of Health, and has been recognized with the Stanley and Helene M. Cohen Prize for Research Excellence from the Einstein Healthcare Network. In our interview, Erica shares more about her life and research.
Dr. Eva Harris is a Professor of Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology as well as Director of the Center for Global Public health at the University of California, Berkeley. She is also the founder and president of the Sustainable Sciences Institute. Eva’s research focuses on dengue and influenza viruses that are major public health problems around the world. She applies a broad, multidisciplinary approach that spans basic science, translational research, and clinical studies. Another line of research in Eva’s lab focuses on building scientific capacities in developing countries, particularly in Latin America. When she’s not doing science, Eva enjoys spending time with her son, dancing, and sitting down to read a great book. Eva received her PhD in molecular and cell biology from the University of California, Berkeley. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship and served as an Assistant Adjunct Professor at the University of California, San Francisco before joining the faculty at UC Berkeley. Eva has received a number of awards and honors during her career, including the McArthur Genius Fellowship, being named a Pew Scholar, receiving a National Recognition Award from the Nicaragua Minister of Health, being named a Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, and being awarded the Prytanean Faculty Award for outstanding women faculty. In our interview, Eva shares more about her life and science.
Dr. Rodrigo Quian Quiroga is a Professor and Director of the Centre for Systems Neuroscience at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom. He is also an author of the books Borges and Memory, Principles of Neural Coding, Imaging Brain Function with EEG, and The Forgetting Machine. Rodrigo is interested in understanding how memory works and how the brain works in general. He conducts experiments to determine how the neurons in our brain make us see, feel, make decisions, and remember the things we experience and learn in our lives. The memory research in Rodrigo’s lab investigates how memories are formed, stored, consolidated, and forgotten. Rodrigo also enjoys getting out of the lab to give his mind a break from thinking about experiments. In particular, he enjoys hanging out with his wife and kids, playing sports, and practicing Judo. Rodrigo received his undergraduate training in physics from the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina and was awarded his PhD in Applied Mathematics from the University of Luebeck in Germany. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Research Center Juelich in Germany and he received a Sloan Fellowship to conduct research at the California Institute of Technology. Rodrigo also worked briefly at RIKEN in Japan and at the University of Nijmegen in The Netherlands. Rodrigo has received numerous awards and honors including the Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award, a Young Investigator Award from the American Epilepsy Society, and Rodrigo was also named one of 10 UK RISE Leaders in Science and Engineering in 2014. Rodrigo spoke with us about his experiences his career, research, and life.
Dr. Kenneth Heilman is the James E. Rooks, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Neurology and Health Psychology at the University of Florida College of Medicine. He is also Director of the Memory Disorders Clinics, the Center for Neuropsychological Studies, and the Behavioral Neurology-Neuropsychiatry Fellowship Program at the University of Florida. Ken's research focuses on learning how the brain works, what is going on when it doesn’t work, and how to fix it when it’s not working well, particularly issues related to cognition and memory. He enjoys spending his free time with his family and out on the golf course. Exercise is also a priority in Ken’s life, and quality time on the treadmill has become part of his morning routine. Ken received his M.D. from the University of Virginia and continued his training in Internal Medicine at the Cornell University Medical Center. Afterward, he served as Captain in the Air Force and was Chief of Medicine at NATO Hospital in Izmir, Turkey during the Vietnam War. When Ken returned, he completed his Neurology Residency and Fellowship at Harvard University an then joined the faculty at the University of Florida. Ken is the recipient of a University of Florida Research Foundation Professorship, the Clinical Research Award from the University of Florida College of Medicine, and the Behavioral Neurology Society Outstanding Achievement Award. He has also authored multiple books including The Believer’s Brain which published in 2014. He is here with us today to tell us all about his journey through life and science.
Dr. David Holtzman is the Andrew B. and Gretchen P. Jones Professor and Chairman of Neurology, Professor of Developmental Biology, Associate Director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, and a Head of the Hope Center for Neurological Disorders at Washington University in St. Louis. Much of the research in David’s lab is dedicated to better understanding the mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration, particularly looking at mechanisms and biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease. In his free time, David loves playing tennis, road bicycling, hiking, going to vineyards, and traveling. He particularly enjoys exploring the culture of different places while traveling with his wife. David received his Medical Degree from Northwestern University and completed Residency in Neurology at the University of California, San Francisco. David has received many awards and honors during his career, including a Paul Beeson Physician Faculty Scholar Award in Aging Research, the Potamkin Prize from the American Academy of Neurology for research on Alzheimer’s disease, a MERIT award from the National Institute on Aging, the MetLife Award for research on Alzheimer’s disease, and two of his research discoveries were listed in the top 50 scientific innovations in 2006 by Scientific American. He is also an elected member of the American Neurological Association, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. In our interview, David tells us more about his life and research.
Dr. Sudha Seshadri is a Professor of Neurology at Boston University School of Medicine and a Senior Investigator at the Framingham Heart Study. She also serves as Co-Director of Medical Education for the Neurology Residency and Clerkship programs. She divides her time at work between seeing patients with memory problems and studying why the brain and cognitive function decline with age, and what modifiable factors determine this decline, with the hope of better predicting and preventing it. When she’s not at work, she loves to read and occasionally writes her own poetry as well. In addition, she likes to spend her free time walking, trekking, going for short runs, and hanging out with her daughter.
Dr. John Morris is the Harvey A. and Dorismae Hacker Friedman Distinguished Professor of Neurology, Professor of Pathology and Immunology, Professor of Physical Therapy, and Professor of Occupational Therapy at Washington University in St. Louis. He also is the Director and Principal Investigator of the Charles F. and Joanne Knight Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, as well as the Memory and Aging Project. Much of Dr. Morris’s research has been focused on understanding the process of the development of Alzheimer’s disease compared to the process of normal brain aging. One of his major goals is to understand the causes of Alzheimer’s disease so that we can develop therapies to treat and prevent this disease. When he isn’t working, Dr. Morris enjoys spending time with family, reading a wide variety of books, and cycling on some of the fantastic bike paths in the St. Louis area. Dr. Morris received his MD from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and completed his Residency in Internal Medicine at Akron General Medical Center and his Chief Residency in Neurology and Residency in Neuropathology at the Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital. He then spent some time in private practice and later as an emergency room physician. Dr. Morris first came to Washington University for a postdoctoral fellowship and joined the faculty soon after. Dr. Morris has received many awards and honors during his career, including the Distinguished Achievement Citation from Ohio Wesleyan University where he completed his undergraduate education, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Alzheimer’s Association, the Potamkin Prize for Research in Pick’s Alzheimer’s, and Related Disease from the American Academy of Neurology, the Carl and Gerti Cori Faculty Achievement Award from Washington University, the Peter Raven Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Science St. Louis, and the Washington University School of Medicine Second Century award. In this interview, he shares stories about his life and science.