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48 minutes | Oct 12, 2020
This episode is supported by Toshiki’s Patreon patrons. Alix Deymier is an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering in the School of Dental Medicine at UConn Health. Initially interested in science through art conservation and ceramics, Alix is a materials scientist whose lab examines dental ceramics (or bones) and acid-base diseases that affect those materials. She chronicles her training and emphasizes the importance of negotiation. Thanks to a mutual understanding with her advisers, Alix was able to pursue her intellectual interests at every turn, and when it came time to start her independent research career in 2017, she continued the types of projects she started during her postdoctoral position. Located in Farmington, Connecticut, UConn Health provides a beautiful and interdisciplinary environment where Alix can learn from experts from medicine, dentistry, and engineering. Encouraging other faculty members to include their preferred gender pronouns in email signatures, Alix Deymier is also passionate about diversity and inclusion in academia and scientific research, and she draws from her own experiences as part of the LGBTQ community to become an advocate for others. Alix says that she’s too proud of her interests outside of work not to share them publicly, so on the first day of class to her students, she gives a presentation called “I Have a Life,” where she shows her involvement in political protests and hobbies like dance. Her message is that it’s OK to be a scientist who loves other things in life besides science.
52 minutes | Oct 5, 2020
This episode is supported by Toshiki’s Patreon patrons. Luciano Marraffini is a Professor at The Rockefeller University and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. A microbiologist interested in how bacteria function, he heads the Laboratory of Bacteriology. His research group examines CRISPR-Cas systems that help bacteria and other microbes acquire immunity against invading viruses. Comprising six types and found in various bacterial species, these systems employ diverse mechanisms to capture and degrade viral DNA and RNA. The acronym CRISPR stands for clustered, regularly interspaced, short palindromic repeats. Emphasizing the “regularly interspaced” characteristic of these systems, Luciano delves into the importance of the intervening sequences between the repeats called spacers and explains that these snippets of viral genomes contain information about bacterial evolution. Luciano’s efforts to understand the mechanisms of CRISPR at the molecular level spans more than a decade, and he shares his experiences following his instincts and performing experiments on a staphylococcal CRISPR system during graduate school. With the support of his PhD and postdoctoral advisers, he went on to author seminal publications in the field, and his contributions have led to a gene-editing revolution. A native of Argentina, Luciano reflects on how his family life has intertwined with his scientific career, and continuing to conduct research at the frontier of the CRISPR field, he expresses that he’s happy that he gets to do what he loves to do every day.
50 minutes | Sep 28, 2020
Daniel Mindiola is a Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania. He is an organometallic chemist and leads a research group studying organometallic catalysts involved in various industrially relevant chemical transformations. One of the subjects of his research is the activation of the molecule methane, the major component of natural gas, and the long-term application of this research area is to harness methane as a carbon source via non-combustion processes. In addition to the functionalization of methane, his work has highlighted the use of Earth-abundant, early transition metal catalysts in dehydrogenation reactions of linear alkanes that form terminal olefins. Dan views himself as a fundamental chemist, focusing on understanding the mechanism of a given reaction and using that information to optimize the catalytic activity of new compounds. Because his students receive a well-rounded chemistry education throughout their training, he is proud to say that graduating from the Mindiola group leads to successful career prospects. After moving to Michigan from Venezuela with his family, Dan found a passion for the sciences in high school and in college at Michigan State University. Thanks to the encouragement of his undergraduate research adviser, he was a recipient of an ACS Scholars Program fellowship, and he continues to give back to the program, mentoring underrepresented minority students and serving on the Minority Affairs Committee of the American Chemical Society. Dan earned his PhD from MIT, completed a postdoctoral research position at the University of Chicago, started his independent career at Indiana University in 2002, and moved to Penn in 2013, where he established a lab outfitted with a custom nitrogen purification system. He reflects on how his Venezuelan heritage has influenced his career and hopes to encourage young people that a humble background doesn’t preclude them from becoming participants in the scientific workforce.
2 minutes | Aug 24, 2020
Welcome to Scientist
Scientist is a podcast about people who do science. Hosted and produced by Toshiki Nakashige. Listen to the trailer featuring interview guests from Season 2 of the podcast.
2 minutes | Aug 8, 2019
Become a Patron for Scientist
A special announcement: Season 2 of Scientist will start in November! In the meantime, please consider supporting the podcast by becoming a patron for Scientist. I am currently a postdoctoral researcher at The Rockefeller University and will be finishing my position in September to pursue science communication and science media full time, and to this end, I'm starting a business that will formalize my creative projects, including this podcast. My motivation to continue interviewing guests and producing new episodes is inspired by my listeners, and I’d like to ask you for listener support. You can become a patron for Scientist by signing up at my Patreon page. Click the “Become a patron” button, and you can choose a monthly contribution. For an independently produced podcast like this one, even a dollar a month goes a long way. I strive to personalize every interview with each guest, and this money goes directly to covering travel and production costs. As a patron, I will send you exclusive updates about this podcast, my Japanese American podcast The Big Root, and a science documentary that I am working on with a filmmaker and a group of scientists! I have some exciting news and collaborations to share, and patrons will be the first to hear about them. Nevertheless, regardless of your patronage, all episodes of the Scientist will be free. Stay tuned for the trailer for Season 2 in your feed soon!
1 minutes | May 21, 2019
I Want Your Feedback
I’m happy to announce that I’m starting to work on a new season of Scientist. I finished the first series of episodes in November 2018, and after producing 31 consecutive weekly episodes, I needed a few months to think about where to go from there. In the meantime, I started a different podcast called The Big Root, which has little to do with science but has been extremely therapeutic in balancing my left and right brain. In March, my live interview with Victor Torres sparked renewed inspiration. I have new ideas, as well as better recording equipment and editing software, and I feel like I have something to say. Science is a human endeavor, and there are so many stories to tell. To make Season 2 meaningful to you (the listener), I want your feedback. I’m looking for new interview guests. Season 1 featured scientists who represented diverse scientific backgrounds, institutions, and professional experiences, and my goal is to highlight the diversity of people who do science in future episodes. They can be your scientific mentor, a colleague, a friend who works in a research lab, or someone you heard on the news. If you have any suggestions for interview guests you want me to interview, please let me know! Send me your suggestions on the contact page or on social media. Please stay tuned!
57 minutes | Apr 1, 2019
Victor Torres is Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology at New York University School of Medicine. We talk about Staph infections, vaccinations, and Puerto Rico. This is a special live episode in collaboration with RockEDU at The Rockefeller University. For more information: Victor Torres’ lab website Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website on Staphylococcus aureus RockEDU Science Outreach website
57 minutes | Nov 19, 2018
Kathryn Ibata-Arens is Vincent de Paul Professor of Political Science and Director of the Global Asian Studies Program at DePaul University in Chicago, IL. We talk about political economy, service to the Japanese American community, and having a family. For more information: Beyond Technonationalism: Biomedical Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Asia by Kathryn C. Ibata-Arens MITI and the Japanese Miracle: The Growth of Industrial Policy, 1925-1975 by Chalmers Johnson Depaul University Global Asian Studies Program website US-Japan Council TOMODACHI Initiative website
53 minutes | Nov 12, 2018
Eugene Chang is Martin Boyer Professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago in Chicago, IL. We talk about the gastrointestinal microbiome, his role in a collaborative research team, and how mentorship shaped his physician-scientist career. For more information: The Microbiome Center website Michael Field, MD (1933–2014) by Eugene B. Chang, Stefano Guandalini, Mrinalini C. Rao, Joseph H. Sellin, Carol E. Semrad, and Howard Worman I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life by Ed Yong
52 minutes | Nov 5, 2018
Kenneth Gillingham is Associate Professor of Economics at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies of Yale University in New Haven, CT. We talk about energy economics, methodology, and the federal government. For more information: Solar power is contagious. These maps show how it spreads. by Brad Plumer White House Council of Economic Advisers website William Nordhaus 2018 Nobel Prize Winner video and article Climate Feedback website
60 minutes | Oct 29, 2018
Gregory Plunkett is Director and Curator of the Cullman Program for Molecular Systematics at the New York Botanical Garden. We talk about phylogenetic analysis, naming plants, and Vanuatu. For more information: Traditional Shelters, Cyclone Houses, and the Temptations of Modern Construction on the New York Botanical Garden website Linguist K. David Harrison to Document Plants, Languages in Vanuatu by Ryan Dougherty
58 minutes | Oct 22, 2018
Michael Balick is Vice President for Botanical Science and Director of the Institute of Economic Botany at The New York Botanical Garden. We talk about ethnobotany, collaboration, and chewing on ginseng. For more information: Plants, People, and Culture: The Science of Ethnobotany by Paul Cox and Michael Balick Plants and People of Vanuatu project description Category 5 Cyclone Pam Devastates Vanuatu by Alan Taylor Ancient Wisdom, Modern Practices: Three Decades of Studying the Plants and People of Belize on the New York Botanical Garden website 2015 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology lecture by Tu Youyou
53 minutes | Oct 15, 2018
Alexandra Horowitz is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Barnard College in New York. We talk about the umwelt of dogs, teaching nonfiction writing, and what I learned about walking my black lab Jayden. For more information: Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know by Alexandra Horowitz On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes by Alexandra Horowitz Being a Dog: Following the Dog Into a World of Smell by Alexandra Horowitz Watch Shigeru Miyamoto measure things for The Tonight Show by Owen S. Good
55 minutes | Oct 8, 2018
Paula Diaconescu is Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles. We talk about organometallic chemistry, Romanian inorganic chemists, and why she applied to 42 graduate schools. For more information: Ferrocene by Lars Öhrström SoCal Organometallics website
53 minutes | Oct 1, 2018
Christine Shearer is Senior R&D Engineer at Annie’s Homegrown in Berkeley, CA. We talk about food science, socially responsible practices, and innovation. For more information: Annie’s Homegrown website A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution by Jennifer A. Doudna and Samuel H. Sternberg Sporkful podcast BBC’s The Food Chain podcast
59 minutes | Sep 24, 2018
Jason Kandybowicz is an Associate Professor of Linguistics at The Graduate Center of The City University of New York. We talk about linguistic field methods, endangered and fictional African languages, and how Japanese and Yoda’s speech are similar. For more information: Africa’s Endangered Languages: Documentary and Theoretical Approaches, edited by Jason Kandybowicz and Harold Torrence World’s Languages Dying Off Rapidly by John Noble Wilford Endangered Language Alliance website Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages website When Languages Die: The Extinction of the World’s Languages and the Erosion of Human Knowledge by K. David Harrison Linguistics and Pop Culture: Language, Culture, and Black Panther by Clare Harshey Shiritori: a simple game that’s great for practicing your Japanese vocab by Peter Backhaus Khayelitsha, an essay I wrote about my experience in Cape Town, South Africa
56 minutes | Sep 17, 2018
Roger D. Peng is a Professor in the Department of Biostatistics at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. We talk about statistics, podcasts, and responsibilities of the data scientist. For more information: Data Science Specialization on Coursera The Effort Report podcast Not So Standard Deviations podcast Scriptnotes podcast Hello Internet podcast
50 minutes | Sep 10, 2018
Stefano Sacanna is Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at New York University. We talk about colloidal materials, interdisciplinary research, and wearing GoPro cameras in lab. For more information: Micro-particles self-assemble into spinning gears video Colloids and Interface Symposium website Colloid Open Access Library Colloid synthesis tutorials
54 minutes | Sep 3, 2018
Elaine Fuchs is Rebecca C. Lancefield Professor, Howard Hughs Medical Institute Investigator, and Head of the Robin Chemers Neustein Laboratory of Mammalian Cell Biology and Development at The Rockefeller University in New York. We talk about stem cells, grantsmanship, and fearlessness. For more information: Elaine Fuchs: The Drive to Succeed, World Science Festival President Obama Awards National Medal of Science and Medal of Technology, October 2009 Seven Actionable Strategies for Advancing Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine by Kristin A. Smith, Paola Arlotta, Fiona M. Watt, The Initiative on Women in Science and Engineering Working Group, and Susan L. Solomon
58 minutes | Aug 27, 2018
Psyche Loui is Assistant Professor of Music and Psychology at Northeastern University in Boston, MA. We talk about cognitive neuroscience, liberal arts education, and skin orgasms. This episode is hosted by Jeremy Auerbach. For more information: Psyche Loui's website How Our Brains Learn to Like Music by Psyche Loui (TEDxCambridge 2011) Tone Deafness: A New Disconnection Syndrome? by Psyche Loui, David Alsop and Gottfried Schlaug Music, language, and the brain by Aniruddh D. Patel Laurel or Yanny? What science has to say by Amanda Jackson Thrills, chills, frissons, and skin orgasms: toward an integrative model of transcendent psychophysiological experiences in music by Luke Harrison and Psyche Loui The strange phenomenon of musical 'skin orgasms' by David Robinson Psyche Loui's music
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