Dr. R. Douglas Fields is Chief of the Nervous System Development and Plasticity Section at the National Institutes of Health and Adjunct Professor in the Neuroscience and Cognitive Science Program at the University of Maryland, College Park. In addition, Doug is the author of numerous books and magazine articles about the brain, including the recently released book Electric Brain: How the New Science of Brainwaves Reads Minds, Tells Us How We Learn, and Helps Us Change for the Better. Doug studies how the brain develops and the mechanisms involved in changes to the brain’s structure and function (plasticity). He is particularly interested in how experience regulates development and plasticity in the brain as well as the mechanisms at a cellular level that are involved in learning. When he’s not doing research or writing about science, Doug enjoys rock climbing, mountain climbing, building acoustic guitars, and making his own beer and wine. He received his B.A. in biology from the University of California, Berkeley, his M.A. degree in marine biology from San Jose State University, and his Ph.D. degree in marine biology from the University of California, San Diego, working jointly in the Medical School and Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Afterwards, Doug conducted postdoctoral research at Stanford University, Yale University, and the NIH before starting his research laboratory at the NIH in 1994. Doug is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and he is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of the scientific journal Neuron Glia Biology. In our interview, Doug tells us more about his life and science.

Direct download: 548_Douglas_Fields_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Dr. Ayanna Thomas is Professor of Psychology and Director of the Graduate Program in Psychology at Tufts University. Ayanna conducts research to answer a wide variety of questions related to memory. She aims to better understand how our memories work, how our memories fail, how we perceive our memory function (metacognition), how memories change over time, and what are the impacts and implications of these aspects of memory for our everyday lives. In her free time, Ayanna loves watching movies. She and her husband have a tradition where they watch a different horror movie every night throughout the month of October to celebrate Halloween. Ayanna was awarded her B.A. in psychology from Wesleyan University and her Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from the University of Washington. Afterwards, Ayanna conducted postdoctoral research at Washington University in St. Louis. She worked as an Assistant Professor at Colby College before joining the faculty at Tufts in 2007. In our interview, Ayanna tells us more about her life and science.

Direct download: 547_Ayanna_Thomas_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Dr. Michael Hochella is a University Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Virginia Tech. Michael’s research is at the intersection of nanoscience and environmental geochemistry. He studies very small things that can impact the health of the planet and the health of humans. Since childhood, Mike has been fascinated by airplanes and flying, and he received his pilot’s license as an undergraduate student. Over 45 years later, Mike still delights in seeing Earth from the pilot’s seat thousands of feet above ground. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Geological Sciences from Virginia Tech, and was awarded his Ph.D. in Earth Sciences from Stanford University. Michael served on the faculty at Stanford University before joining the faculty at Virginia Tech. He has been the recipient of many awards and honors throughout his career. Michael is an elected Fellow of the Geological Society of America, the Mineralogical Society of America, the American Geophysical Union, the European Association of Geochemistry, the Geochemical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the International Association of GeoChemistry, the Royal Society of Chemistry, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. He has also been awarded a Senior Fulbright Scholar Award, an Alexander von Humboldt Award, the Dana Medal of the Mineralogical Society of America, the Department of Energy Outstanding Research Award for Geosciences, the Virginia Tech Alumni Award for Research Excellence, the Virginia Scientist of the Year Award, the Distinguished Service Medal from The Geochemical Society, the George W. Brindley Lecture Award from the Clay Minerals Society, and most recently the Virginia Outstanding Faculty award in 2016. In addition, Michael is a former President of both the Geochemical Society, as well as the Mineralogical Society of America. In our interview, Michael shares more about his life and science.

Direct download: 546_Michael_Hochella_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Dr. Rodolphe Barrangou is the Todd R. Klaenhammer Distinguished Professor in the Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences at North Carolina State University. He is also Editor-In-Chief of The CRISPR Journal and co-founder of Intellia Therapeutics, Locus Biosciences and TreeCo. Rodolphe’s research is focused on CRISPR gene editing technologies that allow us to modify the DNA in organisms ranging from bacteria to trees to humans. His lab primarily works to study and apply CRISPR technologies in bacteria to make food healthier, promote beneficial gut microbes, and help us be healthier. When he’s not working, Rodolphe enjoys spending time with his wife and three teenage children. He typically wakes up early and gets energized to greet each day with high intensity cardiovascular exercise as well as yoga. Rodolphe received his B.S. degree in biological sciences from Rene Descartes University in France, a M.S. in biological engineering from the University of Technology in Compiegne in France, a M.S. in food science from North Carolina State University, and his Ph.D. in functional genomics from North Carolina State University. He worked as an R&D Director at Danisco (a company now affiliated with DuPont) before returning to school to earn his MBA in Executive Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has received numerous awards and honors for his research, including the National Academy of Sciences Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences, the Award in Molecular Biology from the National Academy of Sciences, the Warren Alpert Foundation Prize, and the Canada Gairdner International Prize. In addition, Rodolphe is an Elected Member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Inventors. In our interview, Rodolphe shares more about his life and science.

Direct download: 545_Rodolphe_Barrangou_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Dr. Natalia Vergara is an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at the Sue Anschutz-Rodgers Eye Center, University of Colorado School of Medicine on the Anschutz Medical Campus. Natalia uses stem cells to understand how the retina forms during development and how it degenerates during disease with the goal of developing therapies to help patients who suffer from vision loss. In her free time, Natalia loves hanging out, cooking, and enjoying food with friends and family, including her husband and two young kids. Natalia is also an avid traveler, and she delights in the thrill of discovery that comes along with exploring new places. Natalia received her B.S. in biochemistry from the National University of the Litoral in Argentina. She worked as an instructor and research intern at the National University of Entre Rios for about three years before beginning graduate school. Natalia was awarded her PhD in retinal regenerative biology from Miami University in Ohio. Afterwards, she conducted postdoctoral research at the Wilmer Eye Institute of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She served as a Research Associate Faculty member at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine for about two years before joining the faculty at the University of Colorado. Natalia has received awards for research and for mentoring, including the Ruben Adler Research Award from the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 2012, and she was selected as an Emerging Vision Scientist to participate in the Third Annual EVS day on Capitol Hill by the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research in 2017. In our interview, Natalia tells us more about her life and science.

Direct download: 544_Natalia_Vergara_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Dr. David Sedlak is the Plato Malozemoff Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Co-Director of the Berkeley Water Center, Deputy Director of the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Reinventing the Nation's Urban Water Infrastructure, and Director of the Institute for Environmental Science and Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. In addition, he is author of the book Water 4.0: The Past, Present, and Future of the World's Most Vital Resource. David is working to create technologies that will allow future generations to have access to adequate amounts of clean, safe water. When David isn’t working, he enjoys long-distance running. He often runs along the many trails that go through and around the city of Berkeley, and he participates in an annual local trails marathon. David earned his Bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Cornell University. After college, he worked as a Staff Scientist at Environ Corporation in Princeton, New Jersey. David then attended graduate school at the University of Wisconsin, Madison where he was awarded his Ph.D. in water chemistry. Prior to joining the faculty at UC, Berkeley, David conducted postdoctoral research at the Swiss Federal Institute for Environmental Science and Technology in Dübendorf, Switzerland. Throughout his career, David has received numerous awards and honors, including a National Science Foundation CAREER Development Award, the Paul L. Busch Award for Innovation in Applied Water Quality Research, a Fulbright Senior Scholar Award, a Fulbright Alumni Initiative Award, the U.S. National Academy of Engineering Gilbreth Lecture Award, and the Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke Prize for Excellence in Water Research. He has also been named an Elected Member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, as well as a Rydell Distinguished Visiting Professor at Gustavus Adolphus College and the Francqui Foundation Chair, Ghent University. In our interview, David shares more about his life and research.

Direct download: 543_David_Sedlak_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Dr. Jonathan Toner is a Research Assistant Professor in Earth and Space Sciences at the University of Washington. Jon conducts research on planetary surfaces, such as Earth, Mars, and the icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn. He is interested in identifying and better understanding sources and potential of water in these environments. This work has important implications for future exploration endeavors and the search for possible life. In addition, Jon studies how the environmental conditions on Earth and other planetary systems may have contributed to the origins of life. When he’s not working, John enjoys being outdoors, hiking, climbing, mountaineering, traveling, and spending time with his wife and daughter. They recently bought a house in Seattle, and Jon has been dedicating a lot of time to renovating their new home. He received his B.S. degree in Physics from The College of New Jersey and his PhD in Geophysics from the University of Washington. Jon next conducted postdoctoral research in three postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Washington, including a NASA Astrobiology Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship. In 2017, he accepted his current faculty position there. During our interview, Jon tells us more about his life and science.

Direct download: 542_Jonathan_Toner_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Dr. Crystal Marconett is Assistant Professor of Research Surgery in the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. Crystal’s work centers around understanding the molecular origins of lung cancer. She is interested in how cancer arises in the lungs, what types of cells are involved, what genetic mutations may be happening, and the causes of these mutations. In addition, Crystal’s lab is working to develop new cures for lung cancer and determine which patients will respond best to these treatments. Beyond being a scientist, Crystal loves spending time with her two young children, crocheting, and skiing. Another one of her hobbies is painting houses. For Crystal, painting is a relaxing, rhythmic activity, and she really enjoys how you can step back and enjoy a finished product at the end of just one day. She received her B.S. degree in molecular, cell, and developmental biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Crystal next earned her Ph.D. in molecular and cell biology from the University of California, Berkeley where she was awarded the Chancellor’s Predoctoral Award and the California Breast Cancer Research Program Dissertation Fellowship. Afterwards, Crystal was awarded an American Cancer Society and Canary Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship to conduct research at the University of Southern California before joining the faculty there. In our interview, Crystal tells us more about her life and science.

Direct download: 541_Crystal_Marconett_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Dr. David Weiner is Executive Vice President, Director of the Vaccine & Immunotherapy Center, and the W.W. Smith Charitable Trust Professor in Cancer Research at The Wistar Institute. He is also Emeritus Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. In the lab, David and his colleagues are creating drugs using the same DNA codes and signals that our bodies use naturally. The drugs they are creating are natural compounds that can be given to people to prevent them from getting sick or to help them be healthier. One area of David’s research focuses on developing DNA vaccines to prevent illness. These DNA vaccines are designed to create specific proteins that trigger the immune system to respond to fight particular pathogens. David and his wife enjoy reading and going on walks with their dog Ruby. Ruby is a Shih Tzu Yorkie mix that they rescued after a recent hurricane in Puerto Rico. David received his B.S. in biology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, his M.S. in biology from the University of Cincinnati, and his  Ph.D. in developmental biology from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. Afterwards, David worked as a research fellow in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania before joining the faculty there. He held a joint position as Assistant Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at The Wistar Institute and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine from 1990-1993. David returned to The Wistar Institute in 2016 to accept his current positions. Among his many awards and honors, David has been elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the International Society for Vaccines. He has also received the NIH Director’s Transformative Research Award, the Vaccine Industry Excellence Award for Best Academic Research Team, the prestigious Hilleman Lectureship from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, a Stone Family Award from Abramson Cancer Center for his groundbreaking work on DNA vaccines for cancer immune therapy, and the Scientific Achievement Award from Life Sciences Pennsylvania. In addition, David was named a "Top 20 Translational Researchers" in 2016 by Nature Biotechnology.

Direct download: 540_David_Weiner_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Dr. Ana Spalding is Assistant Professor of Marine and Coastal Policy and Affiliate Faculty at the Pacific Marine Energy Center at Oregon State University. She is also a Research Associate at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama as well as at the Coiba Research Station in Panama. As a social scientist who works in marine and coastal policy, Ana’s research is focused on the intersections of people, the environment, and policies. She is interested in understanding people’s perceptions of the ocean and coast, policy and management frameworks surrounding resource use in these areas, and the major cares, concerns, and conflicts that people have related to coastal areas. Recently, Ana has been having an amazing time participating in the Corvallis Rowing Club. She used to row in college, and it has been fun to get back into the sport with people from a variety of ages and backgrounds. Ana received her B.A. in Economics and International Studies from the University of Richmond, her M.A. in Marine Affairs and Policy from the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami, and her Ph.D. in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Afterwards, Ana conducted postdoctoral research at the STRI in Panama before joining the faculty at Oregon State University.

Direct download: 539_Ana_Spalding_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Dr. Simon Sponberg is Dunn Family Professor and Assistant Professor in the School of Physics and the School of Biological Sciences, as well as Adjunct Assistant Professor in Biomedical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). Through his research, Simon is interested in understanding how the brain works with muscles to make bodies move. Animals move gracefully in nearly all environments on Earth, and many types of movement can be difficult to perform in robotics and other created systems. Simon uses animal models to study how the body and the muscles inform the brain in terms of the information we take in and how we react to the environment. He received his B.A. in physics and biology from Lewis & Clark College and his Ph.D. in Integrative Biology from the University of California, Berkeley. Afterwards, Simon conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Washington before joining the faculty at Georgia Tech. He has been the recipient of an NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship in Biological Informatics, the University of Washington Postdoctoral Mentoring Award, the Young Investigator Award from the International Society for Neuroethology, an NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award, a Klingenstein-Simons Fellowship in the Neurosciences, and a Hertz Fellowship. In our interview, Simon shares more about his life and science.

Direct download: 538_PBTS_Simon_Sponberg.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:01am EDT

Dr. Kristen Lani Rasmussen is Assistant Professor in the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University. Research in Kristen’s lab focuses on studying extreme events, particularly weather events such as heavy rainfall, thunderstorms, hail storms, and other events that have a big impact on humans and society. She is interested in examining these extreme event systems in the context of our current climate and how they may change in the future. In addition to spending quality time with her fantastic family, Kristen enjoys playing jazz trumpet. She has played jazz and bluegrass music with various bands in Colorado. Kristen received her bachelor’s degree in meteorology and mathematics as well as music from the University of Miami. She then attended the University of Washington where she was awarded her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Atmospheric Sciences. Afterwards, Kristen conducted postdoctoral research at the National Center for Atmospheric Research before joining the faculty at Colorado State University. She has received a number of awards and honors in her career, including the Peter B. Wagner Memorial Award for Women in Atmospheric Science from the Desert Research Institute, the College of the Environment Outstanding Community Impact Award from the University of Washington, and the Very Early Career Award from the American Meteorological Society’s Mesoscale Processes Conference. In addition, she was recently awarded the Graduate Mentoring and Advising Award from Colorado State University as well as the George T. Abell Outstanding Early Career Faculty Award from the College of Engineering at Colorado State University. In our interview Kristen tells us more about her life and science.

Direct download: 537_Kristen_Rasmussen_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Dr. Laurel Buxbaum is Associate Director of the Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute, Director of the Cognition and Action Laboratory, and Research Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University. Laurel’s research examines how the brain controls perception and action. She studies people who have had strokes in particular parts of their brains to uncover where in the brain strokes may cause certain difficulties or impairments. She also uses a wide variety of techniques including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), eye tracking, and electroencephalography to further understand how we perceive and interact with our environment. When she’s not at work, Laurel enjoys reading, taking walks around the beautiful arboretum near her house, attending dance fitness classes at a local studio, spending time with friends, and going out to listen to her husband’s funk band play live music. Laurel received her BA in Biological Bases of Behavior from the University of Pennsylvania and her PhD in Clinical Psychology (with specialization in Neuropsychology) from Hahnemann University. Afterwards, she completed an NIH National Research Service Award Postdoctoral Fellowship at Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute and the University of Pennsylvania. Over the course of her career, Laurel has received numerous awards and honors, including the Kenneth M. Viste Award of the American Society of Neurorehabilitation, the Arthur S. Benton Mid-Career Award of the International Neuropsychological Society, the Widener University Graduate Award for Excellence in Professional Psychology, the Maimonides Society Manuscript Award, and the Cohen Award for Research Excellence from the Einstein Healthcare Network. In our interview Laurel shares more about her life and science.

Direct download: 536_Laurel_Buxbaum_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Dr. Tim Long is Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Macromolecules Innovation Institute at Virginia Tech. Tim’s lab is working on a wide variety of research projects that are focused on novel macromolecular structures to tailor the properties and processing of polymers. His work has applications across many industries, including the development of chemotherapy treatments and electro-active devices important for prosthetics in medicine. In his job, Tim spends a lot of time in his office, in front of computers, in the lab, and inside at conferences, so he likes to spend his free time outside. There are beautiful mountains near his home in Virginia, and Tim has fun going hiking, riding mountain bikes, and enjoying nature with his family. He was awarded his B.S. in Chemistry from St. Bonaventure University and his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Virginia Tech. Prior to joining the faculty at Virginia Tech, Tim worked as an Advanced Research Scientist and subsequently a Senior Research Scientist at Eastman Kodak Company, an Advanced Technical Program Research supported by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and a Principal Research Chemist with Eastman Chemical Company. Tim has received numerous awards and honors over the course of his career, including the Virginia Outstanding Scientist of the Year Award, the Robert L. Patrick Fellowship Award, the ACS POLY Mark Scholar Award, the Carl Dahlquist Award from the Pressure Sensitive Tape Council, the American Chemical Society Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering (PMSE) Cooperative Research Award, the Virginia Tech Alumni Award for Research Excellence, the Collano Innovation Award, the Interdisciplinary Research Team Fellowship Award, the Faculty Research Award from the Virginia Tech Department of Chemistry, the IBM Faculty Award, and the 3M Company Faculty Award. Tim has also been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Fellow of the American Chemical Society, and a Fellow of the American Chemical Society Polymer Division. In our interview, Tim shares more about his life and science.

Direct download: 535_Tim_Long_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

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