People Behind The Science Podcast - Stories From Scientists About Science, Life, Research, And Science Careers



Are you searching for 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 discoveries in science. Join us as they share their greatest failures, most staggering successes, candid career advice, and what drives them forward in life and science.


  • 588: An Algorithm for Success! Using Computational and Imaging Approaches to Study Cognitive Science - Dr. Aleix Martinez

    18/01/2021 Duración: 50min

    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 res

  • 587: Engineering Solutions to Improve Global Healthcare Quality and Access - Dr. Rebecca Richards-Kortum

    11/01/2021 Duración: 37min

    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

  • 586: Combining Chemistry and Biology in Search of the Solution for How Cell Surface Interactions Contribute to Human Health and Disease - Dr. Carolyn Bertozzi

    04/01/2021 Duración: 54min

    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 Ann

  • 585: Using Models to Zoom in on Microscopic Aggregation Events in Nature and Man-Made Materials - Dr. Talid Sinno

    28/12/2020 Duración: 42min

    Dr. Talid Sinno is a Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering as well as Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also Director of Graduate Admissions. His lab develops computer models and simulations focused on how very small, microscopic objects come together or aggregate to form larger structures in both man-made materials or in natural situations. In his free time, he enjoys cycling and visiting beaches, particularly beaches of the Caribbean.

  • 584: Studying Smart Slime Molds and Collective Intelligence in Ant Colonies - Dr. Audrey Dussutour

    21/12/2020 Duración: 37min

    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 an

  • 583: Applying Learning Principles to Improve Language Rehabilitation in Aphasia - Dr. Erica Middleton

    14/12/2020 Duración: 32min

    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 Un

  • 582: Spreading Enthusiasm for Research on Dengue and Influenza Viruses to Improve Global Health - Dr. Eva Harris

    07/12/2020 Duración: 45min

    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 n

  • 581: Unraveling the Mechanisms Behind Memory in the Human Brain - Dr. Rodrigo Quian Quiroga

    30/11/2020 Duración: 41min

    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 Universi

  • 580: Dedicating His Attention to Cognitive Disorders in the Clinic, the Classroom, and through Conducting Research - Dr. Kenneth Heilman

    23/11/2020 Duración: 47min

    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 retu

  • 579: Untangling the Mechanisms and Mysteries of Alzheimer’s Disease - Dr. David Holtzman

    16/11/2020 Duración: 41min

    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

  • 578: Identifying Factors that Contribute to Cognitive Decline to Predict and Prevent Dementia - Dr. Sudha Seshadri

    09/11/2020 Duración: 47min

    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. 

  • 577: A Remarkable Researcher Progressing towards Understanding and Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease - Dr. John Morris

    02/11/2020 Duración: 35min

    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

  • 576: Changing How We Think About Cancer by Revealing the Critical Role of Context in Tissue Specificity - Dr. Mina Bissell

    19/10/2020 Duración: 01h09min

    Dr. Mina Bissell is a Distinguished Scientist in the Life Sciences Division of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Mina is working to understand why the cells in a particular part of your body form the structures they do and not something else. Tissue and organ specificity are fundamentally related to cancer. When cells forget their tissue-specific functions, they can begin to pile up, form tumors, and travel elsewhere in the body. In her free time, Mina loves to exercise, spend time with her family, watch theatre performances, read, go hiking, and work in her garden. She received her B.A. in Chemistry from Radcliffe College and a M.Sc. in Bacteriology and Biochemistry as well as a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics from Harvard University. Afterward, Mina was awarded a Milton Postdoctoral Fellowship at Harvard University followed by an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley. She started off at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory to study cell b

  • 575: Conducting Research to Help Communities Better Support People With Disabilities - Dr. Kerri Morgan

    12/10/2020 Duración: 36min

    Dr. Kerri Morgan is an Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy and Neurology at Washington University in St. Louis and a certified Assistive Technology Professional (ATP). In addition, Kerri is an accomplished Paralympic and World Champion athlete. Through her research, Kerri is working to better understand how to better support people with disabilities in the community. Studies in her lab investigate the needs of people with disabilities, their goals, available community interventions and programs, what is working, and how communities can ensure that people are able to do the things that they would like to do. When she’s not doing science, Kerri loves spending time with family, including her twin boys. In addition, Kerri enjoys playing wheelchair rugby and racing, and she finds that having other activities gives balance to her life and in turn makes her a better researcher. Kerri received her Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Texas Christian University and her MS degree in occupational therapy from Wa

  • 574: Researching Flood Resistance in Rice and Other Plants - Dr. Julia Bailey-Serres

    05/10/2020 Duración: 37min

    Dr. Julia Bailey-Serres is Director of the Center for Plant Cell Biology and Distinguished Professor of Genetics at the University of California, Riverside. She also holds the University of California John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Chair and is Professor of Rice Physiology at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. A major focus of Julia’s lab is to investigate how plants survive water extremes with the goal of improving the ability of crops to survive a temporary flood. When she’s not working, Julia enjoys gardening, hiking, traveling, and spending time with her friends and family. She also has fun baking and cooking with fresh vegetables from her garden. She was awarded her B.S. in biology from the University of Utah and her Ph.D. in botany from the University of Edinburgh. Afterwards, Julia conducted postdoctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley before joining the faculty at UCR. She has received many awards and honors over the course of her career, including being named an

  • 573: Investigating the Physics of Ultra-Fast Movements in Animals and Developing Low-Cost Scientific Tools - Dr. Saad Bhamla

    28/09/2020 Duración: 41min

    Dr. Saad Bhamla is Assistant Professor in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Research in Saad’s lab spans two different focus areas. Some of his projects are dedicated to developing very low-cost scientific tools and medical devices to make these items more accessible and affordable worldwide. Another area of research examines questions in biology and organismal physics. In this area, he is investigating how animals are able to move very rapidly, as well as how organisms can form aggregates that can sense their environment and share information. In his free time, Saad loves to go running. Whether he is training for his next marathon or just taking his dogs out for some exercise, running has been a great way for him to think through problems and brainstorm new ideas. Saad received his bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras and his PhD in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University. Afterwards, he conduc

  • 572: Studying Signal Transduction in Taste Cells - Dr. Kathryn Medler

    21/09/2020 Duración: 35min

    Dr. Kathryn Medler is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at The State University of New York at Buffalo. Her lab is dedicated to understanding how the taste cells in our tongues are able to detect the chemicals in our food and send this information to the brain so that we can decide whether to eat something or spit it out. The sense of taste is critical for survival, and there are many complex signaling mechanisms involved. In addition to spending time with her family, one of Kathryn’s passions outside of work is travel. While she hasn’t been able to travel as much lately, she has managed to escape the city and spend some long weekends hiking and enjoying nature in the Finger Lakes Region of New York. Kathryn was awarded her B.S. in biology from Texas A&M University, her M.S. in physiology from San Diego State University, and her PhD in neuroscience from Louisiana State University. Afterwards, Kathryn conducted postdoctoral research at Louisiana State University and subsequent

  • 571: Shedding Light on the Nature of Dark Matter and the Mysteries of Our Universe - Dr. Katie Mack

    14/09/2020 Duración: 37min

    Dr. Katie Mack is Assistant Professor of Physics at North Carolina State University and member of the Leadership in Public Science Cluster there. In addition, Katie is an avid science communicator and author of the recently released book The End of Everything (Astrophysically Speaking). Her writing has also been published in popular publications including Scientific American, Slate, Sky & Telescope,, and Cosmos Magazine. As a cosmologist, Katie studies the universe as a whole over the full scale of time, including how the universe evolved, what it is made out of, and how it works. When Katie isn’t doing research or science communication, she enjoys traveling and exploring new places, playing basketball, rock climbing, trail running, reading science fiction books, and watching science fiction shows and films. Katie received her undergraduate degree in physics from the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) and her PhD in astrophysics from Princeton University. Afterwards, she accepted a Scie

  • 570: Researching Rehabilitation After Traumatic Brain Injury - Dr. Amanda Rabinowitz

    07/09/2020 Duración: 45min

    Dr. Amanda Rabinowitz is an Institute Scientist and Director of the Brain Injury Neuropsychology Laboratory at Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute (MRRI), as well as a Research Assistant Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University. Amanda is a clinical psychologist who studies rehabilitation after brain injury. There are often cognitive and emotional changes after brain injury, and Amanda is interested in characterizing these changes and developing treatments to help people cope with them. She is also interested in understanding the impacts that having a brain injury earlier in life may have on people later in their lives. Much of Amanda’s free time is spent with her family, including her two young kids. In addition, she loves cooking everyday meals and experimenting with more ambitious recipes. Over the past year, Amanda has really enjoyed exploring the art of sourdough baking. Amanda received her B.A. in Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. Af

  • 569: Developing Stem Cell and Extracellular Vesicle Therapies to Treat Stroke and Traumatic Brain Injury - Dr. Franklin West

    31/08/2020 Duración: 38min

    Dr. Franklin West is an Associate Professor in the Regenerative Biosciences Center at the University of Georgia. In the lab, Franklin and his team are developing and testing stem cell therapies to treat stroke and traumatic brain injury (TBI). They use induced pluripotent stem cells, which are cells that can be reprogrammed to develop into any kind of cell in the body. Traveling is a passion for Franklin. Though he had to cancel his trip to Seoul, South Korea planned for this summer, he is looking forward to his next big travel adventure. In the meantime, Franklin has been having fun taking care of his garden at home. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Morehouse College and was awarded his Ph.D. in stem cell biology from the University of Georgia. Franklin then worked as an Assistant Research Scientist at the University of Georgia for a few years before joining the faculty there in 2010. He received the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Science’s Young Alu

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