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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT






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