Dr. Yolanda Chen is a Gund Fellow in the Gund Institute for Environment as well as an Associate Professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University of Vermont. Through her research, Yolanda is working to understand the origins of insects as pests in agriculture. To do this, she investigates the origins of agriculture and crop domestication, and how these processes have changed biodiversity and the interactions between crops and insects. She is interested in understanding how insect pests have become so successful, including invasive insect pests like the swede midge that impacts local growers in Vermont. Much of Yolanda’s free time is spent with her family, including driving her 10 year old and 14 year old children to their rock climbing competitions, biathlons, and soccer games. Yolanda also enjoys running and cooking. In particular, she has been having fun trying new recipes and exploring the world through food with a local cookbook discussion group. Yolanda was awarded her B.S. in Natural Resource Management from Rutgers University and her Ph.D. in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management from the University of California, Berkeley. Afterwards, she conducted postdoctoral research at UC, Berkeley as a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Fellow. She then worked as an entomologist studying host plant resistance at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines before joining the faculty at the University of Vermont. In our interview Yolanda shares more about her life and science.

Direct download: 534_Yolanda_Chen_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Dr. Andrew Friedman is an Assistant Research Scientist at the Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). He is also a Research Affiliate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). As an astrophysicist and cosmologist, Andy is studying the history of the universe from the Big Bang through present day. Andy and his colleagues use the universe as a laboratory to learn more about how things work. Specifically, Andy uses observations of astronomical objects in other galaxies to learn about fundamental physics and quantum mechanics. When he’s not at work, you can find Andy hanging out with his wife and dog, or enjoying good food and good conversation with friends and family. Andy received his bachelor’s degree in physics and astrophysics from the University of California, Berkeley and his master’s and PhD degrees in Astronomy and Astrophysics from Harvard University. Afterwards, Andy worked as a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at MIT, a National Science Foundation funded Research Associate at MIT, and a Visiting Research Scientist at the MIT Center for Theoretical Physics. He joined the Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences at UCSD in 2017. In our interview, Andy tells us more about his life and science.

Direct download: 533_Andrew_Friedman_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Dr. Sonia Contera is an Associate Professor of Biological Physics at the University of Oxford Physics Department, and a Research Fellow of Green Templeton College. She is also the author of the recently released book Nano comes to Life. Sonia is interested in biology and the mechanics of biology across different space and time scales. She develops experiments and techniques to understand the physics that allow biological systems to build nano-scale molecules into cells, organs, tissues, and organisms.. Projects in Sonia’s lab include studying and treating pancreatic tumors, understanding heart arrhythmias, and the physics of plant growth. When she’s not doing science, Sonia likes to relax and do nothing. She also enjoys spending time with people she loves, talking to people, cycling, walking, exploring art, and learning new languages. Sonia received her bachelor’s degree in physics from the Autonomous University of Madrid. She attended graduate school at Beijing Languages and Culture University and subsequently worked as a researcher at the Czech Academy of Sciences. Sonia was then awarded a Japanese Government Monbushō scholarship to attend Osaka University where she received her PhD in Applied Physics. Next, Sonia was awarded an E.U. Fellowship to Japan at the Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research SANKEN at Osaka University. Prior to coming to Oxford in 2003, she served as a Research Assistant Professor at the Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Centre at the University of Aarhus in Denmark. In 2008, Sonia founded the Oxford Martin Institute of Nanoscience for Medicine at the Oxford Martin School. In our interview, Sonia shares more about her life and science.

Direct download: 532_Sonia_Contera_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Dr. Donovan German is Associate Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of California, Irvine. He studies how guts work, aiming to better understand how materials move through the gut, which enzymes are secreted during digestion, what microbes are present, and what role these microbes play. In particular, Donovan focuses his research on animals with unusual diets, such as fish that eat wood or algae, to understand how these foods are digested and how animals can survive on these lower quality foods. Beyond his interests in science, Donovan loves sports and music. He played football through college, and he now enjoys coaching his kids’ baseball and soccer teams. Donovan played bass in a band during college, and he also plays the guitar and drums. Donovan received his B.A. in Marine Science from the University of San Diego, his M.S. In Biology from California State University in Fullerton, and his Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Florida. Afterwards, he conducted postdoctoral research at UC, Irvine before joining the faculty there in 2011. Donovan’s awards and honors include receipt of the UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship, the UCI School of Biological Sciences Dean’s Award for Postdoctoral Excellence, and the UCI School of Biological Sciences Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Fostering Undergraduate Research. In our interview Donovan shares more about his life and science.

Direct download: 531_Donovan_German_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Dr. Mary E. Power is a Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley as well as Faculty Manager at the Angelo Coast Range Reserve and Director of the California Biodiversity Center. Mary is also a contributing scientist in a new documentary film called The Serengeti Rules. Over the course of her career, Mary has studied the ecosystems of four different rivers. Her work to understand the food webs in those rivers has involved observation and taking field notes, mapping and quantitative observations to identify patterns, developing questions and hypotheses, and then testing her hypotheses with experiments. Mary loves to listen to and play folk and rock and roll music. She has been learning to play Celtic music on the mandolin as well as rock and roll music from the ‘60s and ‘70s on the guitar. She received her B.A. in biology from Brown University, her M.S. in biology from the Boston University Marine Program at Woods Hole, and her PhD in zoology from the University of Washington. Mary is a Member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences. She has been awarded the G. Evelyn Hutchinson Medal from the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, the Kempe Award for Distinguished Ecologists, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and an honorary doctorate degree from Umeå University in Sweden. In addition, Mary is past president of the Ecological Society of America and the American Society of Naturalists. In our interview Mary shares more about her life and science.

Direct download: 530_Mary_Power_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT






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