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Decoding Life

Decoding Life

By Kathryn Murie and Sophie Belman
Stories of the science at the Wellcome Genome Campus and the people behind it.
With this free podcast, we aim to provide access to conversations we are privileged to have every day on campus. If you like science, but don't know the career options available or where they could lead you, this is the podcast for you!

If you have enjoyed listening to Decoding Life head over to 'Your Digital Mentor Podcast', also from the Wellcome Sanger Institute, available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. Follow them on Twitter @mentor_podcast to find out more!
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Socialising Genomics with Professor Anna Middleton
For the final episode of this season, we spoke to Professor Anna Middleton. Anna is Head of Society and Ethics Research at the Sanger Institute and has spent her career investigating the ways in which genomics research impacts society. It was amazing to hear about the groundbreaking research that Anna has done, from her PhD research into attitudes of the deaf community to genetic testing to embedding the ethics research group into the Wellcome Genome Campus, Anna has led the way and is now dedicating her career to figuring out the best way to socialise disconnected public audiences with genomics.  If you are looking to find out more, Anna has recommended the following TED talk: Music: 'Lion' by Sapajou Free download:
June 28, 2021
Connecting Communities: Inclusive Science Communication with Em Dixon
This week we had the opportunity to speak with Em Dixon. Em loved science growing up, but discovered that it was seeing the benefits of communicating the research that got her really excited. We had a lovely conversation covering the paths into science communication, why it is so important, and how it can be used to improve diversity and inclusion in STEM. If you want to learn about the ways in which you can use sci comms to both engage the public and improve your ability to communicate your research, this is the episode for you! Some  Genomics Lite: Gender-inclusive biology: Scicomm101 Twitter thread: Scicomm guide: Becoming a STEM ambassador:  Music: 'Lion' by Sapajou Free download:
June 14, 2021
Manning the Lifeboats with Lindsey Crosswell
Lindsey Crosswell is Head of External Relations at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), an organisation that sits on the Wellcome Genome Campus alongside The Wellcome Sanger Institute and many others. Lindsey has had an extensive career spanning many industries, this vast experience is something she has brought to her current role. It was really interesting to talk about such a different aspect of working in science. Lindsey also reflected on how things have changed for women in the workplace over the years. We tend to focus on the present when pushing for equality and how much there still is to do, but it was lovely to think about how far we have come! If you’re interested in learning more about EMBL-EBI, how they adapted to the pandemic, and their work on public engagement and EDI then this is the episode for you! Find out more about EMBL-EBI here: Music: 'Lion' by Sapajou Free download:
May 31, 2021
Exploring the Single Cell Universe with Dr. Sarah Teichmann
Dr. Sarah Teichmann is a group leader at the Wellcome Sanger Institute in cellular genetics, and co-founded the Human Cell Atlas. We start with the science of protein structure and move into single cell genomics and the human cell atlas. We discuss the global perspective that has motivated her research from her PhD to now. We also dive into what it’s like to go from mentee to mentor and championing those that come after you. It was a really enjoyable conversation, in which we learned a huge amount of biology as well as what it takes to be an impactful and inspirational female leader. Resources! The Human Cell Atlas - The Teich Lab Webpage - One thousand families for the molecular biologist by Cyrus Chothia - SARS-CoV-2 entry factors are highly expressed in nasal epithelial cells together with innate immune genes - Music: 'Lion' by Sapajou Free download:
May 17, 2021
Transcription of a Life in Science with Dr Alena Pance
Dr Alena Pance has had an incredible career traversing neuroscience, cancer, and tropical parasite research. She has always had a focus on transcriptional regulation and it was incredible hearing about how she adapted to these very different fields. Alena was very honest in this interview about her two very different experiences of having children in research. It was very interesting to hear how these fed into policy changes that women on the Wellcome Genome Campus were driving and, although there is still work to be done, how much better these women made it for the parents coming after them. Some Resources! Alenas Sanger Page: Alenas LinkedIn: Alenas ResearchGate profile Some of her most recent papers include: Pance, A. The Stem Cell Revolution Revealing Protozoan Parasites’ Secrets and Paving the Way towards Vaccine Development. Vaccines 9, 105 (2021). Pance, A. Diversify and Conquer: The Vaccine Escapism of Plasmodium falciparum. Microorganisms 8, 1748 (2020). And one of her landmark research papers: Bentrari, F., Chantôme, A., Knights, A., Jeannin, J.-F. & Pance, A. Oct-2 forms a complex with Oct-1 on the iNOS promoter and represses transcription by interfering with recruitment of RNA PolII by Oct-1. Nucleic Acids Res. 43, 9757–9765 (2015). She’s also been part of a great series called as part of public engagement called Talking Cells taking you through the life of a cell. I’ve linked below “The Life of a Cell”, “The Odd Neighbor Best”, and  “A Tumultuous Affair”: Music: 'Lion' by Sapajou Free download:
April 19, 2021
GWAS, Serendipity, and Female Leadership with Dr Gosia Trynka
Dr Gosia Trynka is a group leader at the Sanger Institute and Experimental Science Director at Open Targets. Her group works on immune genomics as they study how human genetic variation impacts the immune system and predisposes people to develop autoimmune diseases. In today's episode we hear not only about this science, but also about her transition into leadership and the people she has held as role models along the way.  Below are some resources that you may find useful after listening to our conversation with Gosia:  Information about Gosia's group: Publications surrounding GWAS studies: Open targets website: Music: 'Lion' by Sapajou Free download:
April 5, 2021
Microbes to mentors: the more the merrier with Dr Christine Boinett
Dr Christine Boinett is a bioinformatician at the Sanger institute who started her career as a wet lab scientist studying antimicrobial resistance. She is incredibly passionate about ensuring equitable access to bioinformatics training across the globe. This passion has spilled over into the making of a podcast, along with colleagues, called Your Digital Mentor Podcast. It aims to provide access to conversations around mentoring and other aspects of research and career development, with a focus on LMICs. Below are some resources that you may find useful after listening to our conversation with JUNO; Global genomics survey of Streptococcus agalactiae:  GPS; Global pneumococcal sequencing project: or follow them on twitter @JunoSeq Bioinformatics training: Advanced Courses and Scientific Conferences (ACSC): FutureLearn - ACSC bioinformatic courses: Your Digital Mentor Podcast: or follow us on twitter @mentor_podcast More information on the African Pathogen Initiative: More information about genomic surveillance including training available through Public Health Alliance for Genomic Epidemiology: Music: 'Lion' by Sapajou Free download:
March 22, 2021
The talent of technicians with Burcu Bronner-Anar
Burcu made a brave career change recently into management, as leader of the technician commitment at Sanger. It was great to hear about how her experience as a wet lab technician has helped her in this role, tackling the issues that technicians and technical experts face throughout their careers. Plentiful experience in the malaria lab at Sanger definitely aided this, and we got to hear about one of the fascinating projects that she worked on.  Below are some resources that you may find useful after listening to our conversation with Burcu:  Technician Commitment Description of the technician commitment at Sanger: An article drawing a realistic picture about the importance of the technical roles and skills in UK: Malaria The malaria genetic modification project: Malaria fact sheet: Music: 'Lion' by Sapajou Free download:
March 8, 2021
Asking for what you want with Dr. Anne Bishop
Anne joined us to talk about her incredible research career and her experience of returning to research after an 8 year break, through the Janet Thornton fellowship. She also shares incredible insights into life with twins and the balance she has found.  Here are some resources that you might find useful after listening to our conversation with Anne: Returning to Research The Janet Thornton Fellowship, facilitating a return to research for people who took a career break of a year or more for family, health or caring reasons: The Daphne Jackson Fellowship, which is a national University-based scheme that, like the Wellcome Sanger Institute Janet Thornton Fellowship, offers opportunities to return to research after a career break (of at least two years in this case) again for family, health or caring reasons. Literature Anne's only microbial genomics paper so far supported by other members of Gordon Dougan's lab and colleagues at the Wellcome Genome Campus at the time, as well as Salmonella strains provided by Jeremy Farrar when he was in Vietnam and lots of Southern blots by a talented undergraduate project student Sara Jenks, who went on to study medicine: Putting Salmonella onto Anne's precious tissue culture cells resulted in this publication comparing adhesive properties of Salmonella enterica subspecies I Typhi, the causative agent of typhoid, and Salmonella enterica subspecies I Typhimurium, which causes gastroenteritis in immun-competent humans: Anne's research into in vitro phenotypes of Citrobacter rodentium from mouse stool, which was a joyful collaboration with Dr Siouxsie Wiles in Gad Frankel's lab: Anne's work in the Camilli lab in the USA on Vibrio cholerae outer-membrane vesicles as a cholera vaccine tested in mice, in collaboration with Dr Stefan Schild and wonderful colleagues at the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh where she spent a month working with rice water stool from patients: Anne's foray into immunology in the infant mouse model, work carried out with support from a talented technician Bharathi Patimalla: Multiples Advice for people with multiples - Anne recommends finding a local Club for peer support, some of which are listed by the National Charity Twins Trust, which has loads of brilliant resources: If you have premature births or sick children the charity Bliss is an amazing support: Music: 'Lion' by Sapajou Free download:
March 8, 2021
From pirouettes to programming with Harriet Craven
Harriet started her career in software development peering over the shoulder of her flatmate. This seems to be a beginning that resonates with many women in coding. Harriet is passionate that it shouldn't fall to luck for girls to find out about coding, like it did for her. In this episode we explore life as a software developer while studying part time, and the different projects she champions to try and improve accessibility and visibility of coding for young girls. Below are some resources that you might be interested in after listening to our chat with Harriet: Resources to learn to code Coding bootcamp in London Short coding challenges in different languages Code and other Open Saturdays Code Club Code academy, learning resources For educators running activities Tech in the Lab activities on your genome A great online festival for women in tech Music: 'Lion' by Sapajou Free download:
March 8, 2021
Subscribe now to Decoding Life, a brand new podcast series Launching on Monday 8th March. Kathryn and Sophie will be joined by some incredible women from a range of different careers, all contributing to the science being carried out at the Wellcome Genome Campus. From software developers to researchers, each one of these amazing women have all contributed in some way to advancing equality in science.  Music: 'Lion' by Sapajou Free download:
March 1, 2021