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.


  • 608: A Neuroscientist Following His Nose to Exciting Discoveries in Neuromodulation of Olfactory Circuits - Dr. Ricardo Areneda

    07/06/2021 Duración: 44min

    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

  • 607: Unraveling the Roles and Therapeutic Potential of the Enzymes that Translate our Genetic Code - Dr. Paul Schimmel

    31/05/2021 Duración: 41min

    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

  • 606: Treating Bone and Soft Tissue Tumors - Dr. Wakenda Tyler

    24/05/2021 Duración: 32min

    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 al

  • 605: Conducting Research on Bimanual Coordination and Arm Use After Stroke - Dr. Shailesh Kantak

    17/05/2021 Duración: 41min

    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 atte

  • 604: Not Wasting Any Time in Search of Genetic Treatments for Muscular Dystrophy - Dr. Kay Davies

    10/05/2021 Duración: 32min

    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 Res

  • 603: Exploring Extreme Environments and the Emergence of Life - Dr. Charles Cockell

    03/05/2021 Duración: 50min

    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

  • 602: A Researcher with an Eye for Great Science Studying Retinal Cell Rewiring After Damage - Dr. Rachel Wong

    26/04/2021 Duración: 33min

    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, Ra

  • 601: Sensorimotor Neuroscientist Studying the Cerebellum's Role in Motor Control - Dr. Amanda Therrien

    19/04/2021 Duración: 41min

    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 posit

  • 600: Seeking Clues to Climate Change Using Deep Sea Corals - Dr. Jess Adkins

    12/04/2021 Duración: 50min

    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

  • 599: Growing Excitement for Research in Potential Treatments for Spinal Cord Injury - Dr. Herbert Geller

    05/04/2021 Duración: 42min

    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 S

  • 598: Conducting Research on Old Stars that has Universal Appeal - Dr. Anna Frebel

    29/03/2021 Duración: 43min

    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 t

  • 597: Chemical Compounds as Protectors of Plants! - Dr. Jack Schultz

    22/03/2021 Duración: 48min

    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

  • 596: Studying the Science of Sound and How Building Acoustics Affect Performance - Dr. Lily Wang

    15/03/2021 Duración: 46min

    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 Scienc

  • 595: A Botanist Who Rose to Prominence Studying the Evolution and Diversity of Flowering Plants - Dr. Peter Crane

    08/03/2021 Duración: 38min

    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

  • 594: Paving Pathways to Success Studying Substance Abuse and the Brain - Dr. Yasmin Hurd

    01/03/2021 Duración: 41min

    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 ret

  • 593: Sinking His Teeth in to Exciting Research Questions in Periodontal Disease - Dr. George Hajishengallis

    22/02/2021 Duración: 38min

    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. Ge

  • 592: Researching Human Function and Rehabilitation after Traumatic Brain Injury - Dr. John Whyte

    15/02/2021 Duración: 38min

    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.

  • 591: Science on Stress in Single-Celled Organisms - Dr. Amy Vollmer

    08/02/2021 Duración: 57min

    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.

  • 590: Investigating Inflammatory Diseases and Developing Novel Therapeutics - Dr. Luke O'Neill

    01/02/2021 Duración: 29min

    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 scient

  • 589: Researching the Role of Genes in the Evolution and Development of Reproductive Systems - Dr. Cassandra Extavour

    25/01/2021 Duración: 59min

    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 Camb

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