Dr. John Kress is a Distinguished Scientist and Curator of Botany at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. John’s research involves exploring the natural world and all the organisms that make up the natural world. Since graduate school, he has been exploring different areas, particularly tropical areas, to determine what grows there now, what grew there in the past, and how the plants and animals there interact. Not only does John enjoy investigating the natural world at work, he also enjoys spending his free time outside exploring nature. John often goes on walks or hikes with his wife and dog to see nature in action. In addition, John is an avid gardener. Among the plants he cultivates in his own yard are some of the ginger and banana plants that he studies. John received his B.A. in biology from Harvard University and his Ph.D. in botany from Duke University. John formerly served as the Interim Undersecretary for Science for the Smithsonian Institution, Executive Director of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation, and Director of the Consortium for Understanding and Sustaining a Biodiverse Planet, which is one of the four grand challenges of the Smithsonian Institution’s strategic plan. He is also Chairman of the Board of the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) and an Affiliate Faculty member at George Mason University. He has previously served as an Adjunct Professor at George Washington University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Among John’s awards and honors are receipt of the Parker-Gentry Award for Biodiversity and Conservation from the Field Museum of Natural History, the Lifetime Achievement Award from Heliconia Society International, and the Edward O. Wilson Biodiversity Technology Pioneer Award for Co-Development of Leafsnap – the First Mobile App for Plant Identification. John is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and an honorary Fellow of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation. In this interview, he discusses his experiences in life and science.

Direct download: 723_John_Kress_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Dr. Young-Hui Chang is a Professor of Biological Sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology where he directs research in the Comparative Neuromechanics Laboratory. Research in Young-Hui’s lab aims to examine how the control of movement by the nervous system is influenced by mechanics and physics during locomotion. He is interested in broad mechanisms for behaviors like walking, running, and hopping that apply within and across species. Young-Hui likes to spend his free time with his family. He, his wife, and his two boys enjoy exploring the outdoors, hiking, and camping together. Though Young-Hui was not always a particularly outdoorsy person, enrolling his sons in the Scouts program has provided an avenue for him and his family to learn more and get outside. Young-Hui received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and his M.S. in Animal Physiology from Cornell University. Next, he conducted his doctoral studies at the University of California, Berkeley, earning his PhD in Integrative Biology in 2000. Prior to joining the faculty at Georgia Tech, Young-Hui was a postdoctoral researcher at Emory University. While at Emory, he was awarded the Association of Korean Neuroscientists President Outstanding Research Hanwha Award. Young-Hui has also been awarded an NSF CAREER Award. In this interview, he discusses his experiences in life and science.

Direct download: 722_Young-Hui_Chang_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Dr. Sonia Mayoral is the Robert J. and Nancy D. Carney Assistant Professor of Brain Science at Brown University. In the lab, Sonia studies glial cells, the cells in your brain that aren’t neurons. These cells perform a lot of different functions and could hold promise for developing therapies for neurologic diseases. Outside of work, Sonia loves spending as much time as possible with her four-year-old son. Lately, they’ve been enjoying playing Plants vs. Zombies on the iPad and also acting the game out around the house. She received her bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from San Jose State University and her PhD in neuroscience from Stanford University. Afterwards, she conducted postdoctoral research at the University of California, San Francisco. She joined the faculty at Brown University in 2021. In this interview, she shares more about her life and science.

Direct download: 721_Sonia_Mayoral_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Dr. Steve Ramirez is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Boston University. 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. 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. 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. In this interview, Steve talks about his experiences in life and science.

Direct download: 720_Steve_Ramirez_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT






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