Dr. Sarah Bergbreiter is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering with a joint appointment in the Institute for Systems Research at the University of Maryland. Spending time with her family is a big part of Sarah’s life outside of work. She has two kids who are two and four years old, and they enjoy swimming, playing with legos, and building things. Sarah also spends her free time swimming and playing water polo. Sarah’s research involves building and conducting experiments with tiny mobile robots that are about the size of ants. They also use the same technologies in their tiny robots to build better sensors and actuators for bigger robots to help improve performance of these robots. She received her B.S.E. degree in electrical engineering from Princeton University and was awarded her M.S. and Ph.D degrees in electrical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley where she focused on microrobotics. Sarah has been the recipient of multiple awards for her outstanding work including the DARPA Young Faculty Award, an NSF CAREER Award, the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, and Sarah gave a TED Talk in 2015. Sarah joins us for an interview to discuss her life and work.

Direct download: 417_Sarah_Bergbreiter_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Dr. Steve Ramirez is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Boston University. Steve was born and raised in the Boston area, so accepting a faculty position at Boston University meant reuniting with his family, friends, and beloved New England Patriots. He spends his down time watching Netflix with friends and hanging out with his family. Steve appreciates all that his parents have endured and the positive influence they have had on his life, and he has brunch with them every Sunday and chats with them twice each day on the phone. In his research, Steve is studying learning and memory, and he is interested in discovering whether it is possible to artificially turn memories on and off. His research focuses on understanding the brain and what we can do when processes in the brain break down. They are working on turning on positive or negative memories in animal models to gain a better understanding of how the brain and memory work. In addition, they use animal models of conditions like depression, anxiety, and PTSD to study whether artificially manipulating memories may alleviate some of the symptoms of these conditions. He attended Boston University for his undergraduate studies in neuroscience, was awarded his PhD in Brain and Cognitive Sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, served as a Visiting Lecturer of Neuroscience at Tufts University while a graduate student, and spent two years at the Center for Brain Science at Harvard University as a Junior Fellow of the Society of Fellows before returning to Boston University as a faculty member. Steve has received many awards and honors thus far in his career, including an NIH Early Independence Award, a NARSAD Young Investigator Award, the Gordon Research Conference Travel Award, the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology Travel Award, Smithsonian Magazine’s American Ingenuity Award in the Natural Sciences, the Walle Nauta Award for Continuing Dedication to Teaching at MIT, and the Angus MacDonald Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching at MIT. Steve has also been named among Forbes Magazine’s 30 Innovators Under the Age of 30 in the area of Science and Technology, a National Geographic Breakthrough Explorer, one of Science News’s Top 10 Bright Young Minds, Pacific Standard Magazine’s Top 30 Thinkers Under the Age of 30, and the MIT Technology Review World’s Top 35 Innovators Under the Age of 35 Award. He has also given two TED talks. Steve has joined us today to talk about his experiences in life and science.

Direct download: 416_Steve_Ramirez_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST

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. Sudha’s work is a big part of who she is and her purpose in life, but when she’s not at work, she loves to read. She has been an eclectic reader, devouring everything from poetry, novels, and nonfiction, since she was a kid. Reading has been an escape, as well as a source of information and inspiration. Sudha occasionally writes her own poetry as well. In addition, she likes to spend her free time walking, trekking, going for short runs, and being a parent to her daughter. She divides her time at work between being a clinical neurologist who sees patients with memory problems and being a researcher. In her research, Sudha is trying to determine why the brain and cognitive function decline with age and what are the modifiable factors that determine this decline with the hope of better predicting and preventing it. Sudha attended medical school at the Christian Medical College of Madras University in India. Afterwards, Sudha completed residencies in Internal Medicine and Neurology at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi. Fellowship in the Neurobiology of Aging and Alzheimer Disease at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Sudha previously worked as an Assistant Professor of Neurology at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. She also completed a residency in Neurology at Boston University School of Medicine and she joined the faculty at Boston University in 2001. Sudha is the recipient of the E. Merck Gold Medal in Neurology and Allied Sciences, the Jack Spivack Excellence in Neurosciences Research Award from Boston University, and she is also a Member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honors Society. Sudha joined us for an interview to discuss life, science, and medicine.

Direct download: 415_Sudha_Seshadri_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Dr. Edwin "Ted" Bergin is Professor and Chair of Astronomy at the University of Michigan. When he’s not pondering the origins of life, Ted loves to spend time with his family. Recently, he began a quest to fulfill his lifelong dream of learning to play the guitar. Ted enjoys old school 1970s rock and roll music, and he is slowly working his way up to playing pieces like George Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun”. Ted is an astrochemist who is interested in understanding how and why stars, planets, and living organisms came to be. He is examining the formation of stars and planets to gain a better understanding of the origins of Earth and life on Earth. Since the newly forming stars and planets he studies are so far away, Ted uses astronomical techniques to determine the presence and abundance of the molecules needed to form living things. He completed his undergraduate training in Astronomy at Villanova University. He was awarded his PhD in Astronomy from the University of Massachusetts. Before joining the faculty at the University of Michigan, Ted worked as an astronomer/astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Ted has been awarded the University of Michigan Henry Russel Award for his exceptional scholarship and teaching. This is the highest award given to Assistant Professors. Ted joins us to talk about his experiences in life and science.

Direct download: 414_Ted_Bergin_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Dr. Ayanna Howard is a Professor and the Linda J. and Mark C. Smith Endowed Chair in Bioengineering in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She is also the Associate Chair for Faculty Development in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Director of the Human-Automation Systems Lab. In addition, Ayanna founded and is the Chief Technology Officer of the company Zyrobotics which provides mobile therapy and educational products for children with differing needs. Ayanna likes to exercise and do Zumba in her free time. She has been a certified Zumba instructor now for about eight years, and it has been a fun way for Ayanna to unwind from her work. In terms of her research, Ayanna is a roboticist who builds, designs, and programs robots that interact with people in the real world. Ayanna completed her undergraduate studies in engineering at Brown University, received her master’s degree and PhD in electrical engineering from the University of Southern California, and earned her MBA from Claremont University, Drucker School of Management. Before joining the faculty at Georgia Tech, she worked as a Senior Robotics Researcher and Deputy Manager in the Office of the Chief Scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology. Ayanna has been the recipient of many awards and honors, including the Brown Engineering Alumni Medal, the Computer Research Association A. Nico Habermann Award, the Anita Borg Institute A Richard Newton Educator ABIE Award, The National Society of Black Engineers Janice Lumpkin Educator of the Year Award, the IEEE Early Career Award in Robotics and Automation, the California Women in Business Award for Science and Technology, Engineer of the Year Award from the Los Angeles Council of Engineers and Scientists, the Allstate Insurance Distinguished Honoree for achievement in science, the NASA Space Act Award for Fuzzy Logic Engine for Space Applications, the NASA Space Act Award for Path Planning Graphical User Interface, the NASA Honor Award for Safe Robotic Navigation Task, the NASA Lew Allen Award of Excellence for significant technical contributions, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Technology and Applications Program Honor Award. She has also been awarded the Georgia Tech Electrical and Computer Engineering Outreach Award, Faculty Woman of Distinction Award, Class of 1934 Outstanding Interdisciplinary Activities Award, and the Residential Life Cornerstone Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Community. In addition, Ayanna has been named an Honoree of The Root 100 and among the MIT Technology Review Top 100 Young Innovators of the Year. Ayanna joined us for an interview to discuss her life and science.

Direct download: 413_Ayanna_Howard_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Dr. Camron Bryant is an Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and Psychiatry as well as Director of the Laboratory of Addiction Genetics at Boston University. In recent years, Camron has rekindled his interest in snowboarding and skateboarding. He also started cycling more seriously as a postdoctoral fellow, and cycling to work has become part of his regular routine, even in the winter. Another passion for Camron is going out to eat and enjoying the many awesome restaurants in his neighborhood. Camron’s lab is investigating the genetic basis of addiction using behavioral neuroscience and genetic approaches. They try to locate regions of the genome in model organisms that are associated with changes in behavior that they think are important for addiction. Next, they narrow the regions of interest down further and further until they can identify a single gene that influences a particular behavior. Once they discover the relevant gene, they can start to understand the function of that gene using different genetic tools such as genome editing. The disorders Camron is studying range from binge eating to addiction to opioids and psychostimulants like methamphetamine. Camron received his undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and he was awarded his PhD in neuroscience from the University of California, Los Angeles. He conducted postdoctoral research in genetics and worked as a Research Associate at the University of Chicago before joining the faculty at Boston University in 2012. Camron is the recipient of the Achievement Award for College Scientists, the International Behavioral and Neural Genetics Society Outstanding Young Investigator Award for Postdocs, and the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology Travel Award. Camron joined us for an interview to discuss his experiences in life and science.

Direct download: 412_Camron_Bryant_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EST

Dr. Lynne Maquat is the J. Lowell Orbison Distinguished Alumni endowed Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Professor within the Cancer Center, and Director of the Center for RNA Biology at the University of Rochester. Lynne has a Labrador retriever who she loves taking on walks through the lovely parks and woods in Rochester, New York. She also enjoys exercising through yoga, lifting weights, and doing cardio. Research in Lynne’s lab focuses on human diseases and what causes diseases in our cells. She is working to understand how cells function normally, determine what causes diseases, and develop treatments for diseases. In particular, she has been studying a process in cells that causes about one third of all inherited diseases, like cystic fibrosis and Duchenne muscular dystrophy, as well as one third of all acquired diseases, including cancer. She received her BA in Biology from the University of Connecticut and her PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Lynne conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and she worked as a faculty member at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute for 19 years before joining the faculty at the University of Rochester. Lynne has received numerous awards and honors during her career, including the International RNA Society Lifetime Achievement in Science Award, the Canada Gairdner International Award, the William Rose Award from the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the Athena Award from the Womenen’s Council of the Rochester Business Alliance, a MERIT Award from the NIH, the Presidential Diversity Award from the University of Rochester, the RNA Society Lifetime Achievement Award in Service, and many others. She was also named a Member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Batcheva de Rothschild Fellow of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Lynne discusses her experiences in life and science with us in this interview.

Direct download: 411_Lynne_Maquat_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Dr. Princess I. Imoukhuede is an Assistant Professor in Bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. When Dr. Imoukhuede is ready for a break from the hustle and bustle of research and academic life, you can find her out on the tennis court. She didn’t pick up the sport until she was in the midst of her postdoctoral fellowship in the Washington DC area where tennis is quite popular. Since then, tennis has been a great stress reliever for her. Dr. Imoukhuede conducts research in bioengineering where she uses engineering principles to understand biology. She received her B.S. in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her PhD in bioengineering from the California Institute of Technology. Afterwards, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Imoukhuede has been awarded a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, The Rose Award for Teaching Excellence from the University of Illinois College of Engineering, and was recognized as an Excellent Instructor by the University of Illinois Center for Teaching Excellence. In addition, she was selected as a Young Innovator by Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering. Dr. Imoukhuede joined us in an interview to tell us about her life and science.

Direct download: 410_Princess_Imoukhuede_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Dr. Teresa Woodruff is the Thomas J. Watkins Memorial Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Vice Chair of Research in Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Chief of the Division of Reproductive Science in Medicine at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. She is also Professor of Molecular Biosciences and Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern University. In addition, Teresa is Director of the Center for Reproductive Science, Founder and Director of the Women’s Health Research Institute, and Director of the Oncofertility Consortium. 

Her passions outside the lab include cooking and Chicago Cubs baseball. Teresa is also a former cellist, and she loves listening to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She started playing the cello when she was seven years old, and the last time she ever played a cello was about fifteen years ago. Yo-Yo Ma was visiting Northwestern, and his niece worked in Teresa’s lab, so Teresa had the opportunity to meet him. She was given the opportunity to play Yo-Yo Ma’s Stradivarius Cello, and after that amazing experience, she never played the cello again. Research in Teresa’s lab focuses on understanding how the ovary and the female reproductive cycle work. The ovary contains all of the eggs that women will have for their entire reproductive lifespan. Teresa is interested in understanding how follicles are selected to be part of a particular reproductive cycle throughout a woman’s reproductive life.

She completed her undergraduate studies at Olivet Nazarene University and received her PhD in Biochemistry From Northwestern University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Genentech, Inc. Teresa has received many awards and honors in her career. She has been awarded the Society for Endocrinology Transatlantic Medal, the Journal of Women’s Health Award for Outstanding Achievement in Women’s Health Research, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the American Women in Science Innovator Award, the American Medical Women Association Gender Equity Award, the Speaking of Women’s Health Distinguished Service Award, the Endocrine Society Outstanding Leadership in Endocrinology Award, the Endocrine Society’s Richard E. Weitzman Memorial Award, the Women in Science Award from the Weitzman Institute, the Beacon Award from Frontiers in Reproduction, the U.S. Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Mentoring, and in 2013, she was named in Time Magazine’s Most Influential Persons list. In addition, Teresa has received the Distinguished Teaching, Faculty Mentor of the Year, Distinguished Woman in Medicine and Science, Alumni Association Merit, and Distinguished Alumnae Awards from Northwestern University. She is an elected member of The Economic Club of Chicago and an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Teresa was also recently elected to the College of Fellows at the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. Teresa is with us today to tell us about her life and science.

Direct download: 409_Teresa_Woodruff_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Dr. Peter Campochiaro is the Eccles endowed Professor of Ophthalmology and Neuroscience, as well as Director of the Retinal Cell and Molecular Laboratory at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He attended the University of Notre Dame for his undergraduate training in Preprofessional Studies. Peter was awarded his MD from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and completed his residency in Ophthalmology with the University of Virginia Health System. He completed postdoctoral research fellowships at Johns Hopkins prior to joining the faculty at the University of Virginia where he worked for about seven years before returning to Johns Hopkins as a faculty member. Peter is the recipient of the Research to Prevent Blindness Senior Scientist Award, the Macula Vision Research Foundation Merit Award, the Alcon Research Institute Recognition Award, and the Rosenthal Award from the Macula Society. Peter has also been named a member of the Johns Hopkins University Chapter of the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honors Society. He was also elected to the National Academy of Inventors. Peter joined us to talk about his experiences in life and science.

Direct download: 408_Peter_Campochiaro_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST



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