Dr. Marcie O'Malley is the Stanley C. Moore Professor of Mechanical Engineering, as well as a Professor of Computer Science and Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rice University. Marcie is also an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Departments of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Baylor College of Medicine and at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. In addition, she is Director of the Mechatronics and Haptic Interfaces Lab at Rice University, Director of Rehabilitation Engineering at TIRR-Memorial Hermann Hospital, and co-founder of Houston Medical Robotics, Inc. The goal of Marcie’s research is to use robotic systems to maximize what people can achieve. She creates wearable and interactive robots to rehabilitate and restore function in people after spinal cord injury or stroke. Another area of Marcie’s research focuses on the use of robots for training via surgical simulations. Outside of her scientific interests, Marcie loves to travel and explore new cities. She is also a mom of eleven year old twin boys, so she spends a lot of time working on school projects, attending sporting events, going to art classes, exploring parks, and visiting museums with them. She received her B.S. in mechanical engineering from Purdue University, and she was awarded her M.S. and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Vanderbilt University. Marcie has received recognition for her teaching and research through receipt of the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching at Rice University, an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, and an NSF CAREER Award. She has also been named a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Marcie joined us for an interview to talk about some of her experiences in life and science.

Direct download: 458_Marcie_OMalley_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Dr. Justin Barad is the CEO of Osso VR, a virtual reality surgical training software company. Justin and the team at Osso VR are developing a surgical training platform that uses virtual reality and gaming technology to solve critical training challenges for surgeons and healthcare providers around the world. In his free time, Justin enjoys sipping on a good cup of coffee, going for a run with his dog, and playing the piano and flute. He also enjoys traveling to new places around the world and exploring the local cuisine. He received his bachelor’s degree in bioengineering and biomedical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley and was awarded his MD from the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Afterwards, Justin completed his residency in orthopedics at UCLA and his fellowship in pediatric orthopaedics at Harvard University and Boston Children’s Hospital. Justin was subsequently awarded a Biodesign Innovation Fellowship at the Stanford Byers Center for Biodesign. In addition, Justin has been an editor and contributor for over a decade to the popular medical technology news site Medgadget. In our interview, Justin told us more about his life and science.

Direct download: 457_Justin_Barad_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Dr. Daniel Whiteson is a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California, Irvine. He is also co-author of the book We Have No Idea: A Guide to the Unknown Universe. As a particle physicist, Daniel is working to discover how the universe began and what things are made of at their most fundamental levels. When not in the lab, Daniel engages in experimental baking to create a wide variety of desserts. He’s currently perfecting his recipe for chocolate babka, a type of sweet bread. Regardless of how his kitchen experiments turn out, it’s fun to share them with his wife and two kids. Daniel received his B.S. in Physics and Computer Science from Rice University, he was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to study at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, and he went on to earn his PhD in Physics from the University of California, Berkeley. He conducted postdoctoral research afterwards at the University of Pennsylvania before joining the faculty at UC, Irvine. Daniel has received various awards and honors in his career, including an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship, an Outstanding Junior Investigator award from the U.S. Department of Energy, the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research from UC, Irvine, and a Webby Award in Experimental and Innovation sites for developing a smartphone app called Cosmic Rays Found in Smartphones which uses a cell phone’s camera to detect ultra high-energy cosmic rays. Daniel has also been named a Fellow of the American Physical Society. Daniel joined us for an interview to talk more about his life and science.

Direct download: 456_Daniel_Whiteson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Dr. Lori Hosaka LaPlante is an Associate Professor of Biology at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire. Her research focuses on how and why animals use color signals during communication. In particular, Lori is interested in better understanding color signals used by female fish to communicate readiness to mate, dominance, and health status. When not at work, you can often find Lori doing yoga or playing volleyball. During the winter she plays indoor volleyball three times per week, and in the summer she plays beach volleyball three times per week. Lori also loves spending quality time with her husband, dog, and cat. She received her B.S. in marine biology from California State University, Long Beach, and she went on to receive her Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Connecticut. In our interview, Lori shares some of her experiences in life and science.

Direct download: 455_Lori_Hosaka_Laplante_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Dr. Samarth Swarup is a Research Associate Professor working in the Network Dynamics and Simulation Science Laboratory at the Biocomplexity Institute of Virginia Tech. In the lab, Samarth studies human behavior by making computer models of people moving and interacting. These are called social simulations, and they can be used to forecast outcomes and mitigate risks in a wide variety of applications from epidemic outbreaks to disaster scenarios. In his free time, Samarth enjoys reading, watching professional basketball, and spending time with his wife and daughter. Lately, he and his daughter have been having fun learning how to play chess together. Samarth received his Bachelors of Engineering degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Bombay and his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Afterwards, Samarth conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign before joining the faculty at Virginia Tech. Samarth was part of a team from Virginia Tech that won first prize in the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences’ Climate Change and Environmental Exposures Challenge for the Populations, Infrastructures, and Exposures Visualization tool they built. In our interview, Samarth told us more about his life and science.

Direct download: 454_Samarth_Swarup_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Dr. Nicole Garneau is a Curator of Human Health, the Department Chair of Health Sciences, and Principal Investigator of the Genetics of Taste Laboratory at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. In addition, Nicole is Co-Founder of Beer Flavor Map and DraughtLab Brands, a company that creates accessible, affordable, and powerful sensory systems to help ensure quality and consistency of products for craft brewers. She also has her own speaking and consulting company called Dr. Nicole Garneau LLC. As a taste scientist and geneticist, Nicole is interested in understanding how the subtle differences in people’s DNA determines how we taste and choose foods. Taste is one of the main contributing factors to how we choose food, so our sense of taste can have large impacts on overall nutrition, health, and well-being. Nicole has a variety of hobbies and interests outside of science, including gardening, yoga, learning Spanish, visiting the mountains and rivers of Colorado, and enjoying the outdoors with her family. She received her B.A. in Genetics as well as Comparative Literature from Rutgers University. While in college, Nicole worked as a Research Assistant at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, an Assistant Research Scientist at PTC Therapeutics, Inc., and an In-Field Marketing Specialist for Pierce Promotions. Afterwards, Nicole attended graduate school and was awarded her PhD in Microbiology from Colorado State University. During graduate school Nicole Co-Founded the company Alexandra’s Baggage, LLC and she also completed a Technology Transfer Internship at Colorado State University. Before accepting a position at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Nicole worked on the as a consultant for MicroRx Company Promotions for CSU Ventures, Inc., and she also worked as an Investment Services Coordinator for CSU Management Corporation. In this interview, Nicole chats about some of her experiences in life and science.

Direct download: 453_Nicole_Garneau_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Dr. Douglas Futuyma is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at Stony Brook University. He also holds an appointment as a Research Associate at the American Museum of Natural History. Throughout his career, Douglas has been fascinated by evolution and how species adapt to their environments. Much of his research has examined the ways in which insects that eat plants have evolved (or failed to evolve) in their ability to eat different kinds of plants. Beyond his specific research area of expertise, Douglas has taught courses on evolution and evolutionary ecology, as well as served as a general spokesperson for evolution. Douglas is a passionate naturalist who loves being outdoors and expanding his knowledge of natural history. He has also been an avid birdwatcher for the past 25 years. In addition, Douglas is an opera and classical music enthusiast. Douglas received his B.S. in Conservation from Cornell University and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Michigan. After receiving his Ph.D., Douglas joined the faculty at Stony Brook University where he has worked for most of his career. He served on the faculty at the University of Michigan for a few years from 2002-2004 before returning to Stony Brook. Douglas has written one of the most popular textbooks on Evolution and has received numerous awards and honors over the course of his career. He is an elected Member of the National Academy of Sciences, as well as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was also awarded the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Fulbright Senior Scholarship, the Sewall Wright Award from the American Society of Naturalists, the Joseph Leidy Award from the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, and an Honorary Doctoral Degree from the National University of Mongolia. In our interview Douglas shared stories from his own life and science.

Direct download: 452_Douglas_Futuyma_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Dr. Sunny Wong is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Dermatology and the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of Michigan School of Medicine. Sunny’s lab studies skin biology. Skin is a complex organ that covers our entire body and is composed of different cells and systems. He is interested in understanding how skin develops and what can go wrong in skin, particularly in skin cancer. His lab is working on projects examining how basal cell carcinoma tumors form, the genetics of these tumors, and how these tumors respond to drug therapies. In addition to his passion for science, Sunny loves creative writing and reading literature. Lately, he’s also enjoyed learning more about modern art, art history, and various artists. He received his B.A. from Cornell University in Biology and his PhD in Biology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Sunny was awarded American Cancer Society and A.P. Giannini Postdoctoral fellowships to conduct postdoctoral research at the University of California, San Francisco. Sunny is a Member of the Organogenesis Scholars and the Biological Sciences Scholars Programs at the University of Michigan as well. In our interview Sunny told us about his experiences in life and science.

Direct download: 451_Sunny_Wong_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Dr. Francisca Ikuenobe is a Professor of Geology and Geophysics at the Missouri University of Science and Technology. In her research, Franca studies rocks to understand the clues they can reveal about the living things, environments, and climates of the past. Franca is particularly interested in the microfossils of pollen, spores, and phytoplankton that are preserved in rock. She uses these to help determine the age of rocks and what they can tell us about the history of an area. Outside of science, Franca loves reading entertainment magazines like Vogue Magazine and watching entertainment news on TV. When Entertainment Tonight is about to start, she drops everything she’s doing to watch it. She received her B.Sc. in Geology from the University of Ife in Nigeria (now Obafemi Awolowo University). Afterwards, Francisca worked as a production geologist and subsequently a palynologist for Shell Petroleum Development Company for a year before enrolling in graduate school. She received her M.Sc. in applied geology also from the University of Ife where she next worked as an assistant lecturer. Francisca was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship Commission Award for her Ph.D. work in Geology at Cambridge University. Following the completion of her Ph.D., Francisca joined the faculty at Missouri S&T where she is today. Francisca has received various awards and honors for her work, including being named an Honorary Global Counselor by Missouri S&T’s Office of International and Cultural Affairs, an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an African Scientific Institute Fellow, an elected fellow of the Geological Society of America, as well as receipt of the Distinguished Service Award from Goretti Old Girls International, Inc. and receipt of the Science and Technology Award from the Nigerian People’s Forum. In addition, Francisca has been awarded the Outstanding Teaching Award, Outstanding Students Leaders’ Outstanding Student Advocate Award, the Faculty Excellence Award, Sustained Excellence in Teaching Award, and the Woman of the Year Award all from Missouri S&T. Francisca joined us for an interview to talk about some of her experiences in life and science.

Direct download: 450_Francisca_Ikuenobe_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Dr. John Aitchison is President and Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research, the largest independent, non-profit organization in the U.S. that is focused solely on infectious disease research. In addition, John serves as an affiliate or adjunct Professor at the University of Washington, the University of British Columbia, the University of Alberta, and the Institute for Systems Biology. John’s research investigates the systems biology related to infectious disease by using technology, computation, and high throughput biology (“-omics”) to examine molecules in complex biological systems to better understand how the system will react to a new stimulus or perturbation. Their ultimate goal is to predict how effective a drug or vaccine will be against a particular disease and to implement it with high efficiency. When he’s not in the office or the lab, John loves to be out on the water sailing and racing sailboats. He’s also a fan of playing squash, skiing, spending time with his family, and being outdoors. John received his B.Sc. degree with Honors in Biochemistry from McMaster University and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from McMaster University as well. He then conducted postdoctoral research in the Laboratory of Cell Biology at The Rockefeller University. Next, John served on the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Alberta. Afterwards, he became a founding member at the Institute for Systems Biology where he later served as Senior Vice President and Executive Director of Integrative Biology. While working at the Institute for Systems Biology, John also began conducting research at the Center for Infectious Disease Research where he still works today. In our interview John shares his experiences in life, leadership, and science.

Direct download: 449_John_Aitchison_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT



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