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Discovery Matters

Discovery Matters

By Discovery Matters
A collection of stories and insights on matters of discovery that advance life sciences. Brought to you by the curious people at Cytiva.
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31. Discovery Makers: Robert "Bob" Lefkowitz
This episode almost became a 3 hour long one - Robert "Bob" Lefkowitz, PhD., is a phenomenal, infinite source of knowledge. Dodi and Conor are still an awe and deep appreciation for the time spent with the 2012 Nobel Prize laureate for Chemistry (shared with Brian Kobilka).  Dive in and listen to the #discoverymakers story of Bob Lefkowitz talking about humor, creativity and resilience in science discoveries. 
April 1, 2021
31. Discovery Makers: Molly Stevens
In this episode of Discovery Matters, Dodi and Conor meet a professor of biomedical materials and regenerative medicine at Imperial College, a brilliant #DiscoveryMaker who heads the Stevens Group: a diverse band of researchers working at the frontier between living and non-living matter. Meet Molly Stevens. A scientist exploring the frontier between living and non-living matter. Molly works at the nanoscale, a million times beyond the range of the human eye, to boost the body’s powers of repair. In this strange world, a million times beyond the range of the naked eye, Molly and her team design materials that help the body heal itself. 
March 11, 2021
30. Oligos part 2
Remember our first episode on oligonucleotides, telling the story of Roy living with spinal muscular atrophy? We were so amazed by this technology, we promised to follow up at a later date - and today is the day! Listen to find out how Roy is doing today, and hear from Harvard medical doctor and researcher, Tim Yu and Nikki Reyes-McIntosh, mother of Miles who also lives with SMA and is treated by oligos.
February 25, 2021
29. The science of science denial
Longer episode than we're usually used to, but we think it's worth it. Why does science denial exist, how does it work and what's the antidote?  Join Conor, Dodi and their guests: Haafizah Hoosen, Ask for Evidence Ambassador at Sense about Science +  Dr. Danna Young, Associate Prof Communication & Political Science at University of Delaware.  Looking for further reading? Conor recommends this article from VOX. This is a first-person essay with a unique perspective on a complicated issue. Enjoy, share and remember to rate us on your favorite podcast player!
February 5, 2021
28. The magical world of fungi (part 1)
Conor finally brings the 15 minutes of fame to fungi - mushrooms being second only to his "microbiomania". We invite you to the beginning of the journey to understand the importance of fungi and mushrooms.  Guests are Clare Blencowe, an amateur mycologist and manager at Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre, and Merlin Sheldrake, a biologist and a writer with a background in plant sciences, microbiology, ecology, and the history and philosophy of science. If you want to go down the rabbit whole yourself, follow the #MycoBookClub on Twitter
January 7, 2021
27. Best of 2020
2020 wasn't all bad!  We met some fascinating scientists during the year who helped us understand topics like quantum biology, how baking bread helps us make medicines, and why we embrace the very, very cold.  We hope you have enjoyed Discovery Matters in 2020 and that you'll let us know what you want to hear in 2021!  As Conor says, "every day is a school day."
December 11, 2020
26. Mapping tissues and tumors
How do we find our way? Consulting a map is the age-old answer, at least geographically.  But the art of mapping - considered a superpower by one of this episode's guests - extends to anything we want to understand better.  Join Conor and Dodi on this exploration of data visualization.  Your challenge at the end of the episode - spend time on these sites: thanks to our guests Paul Goodwin from Cytiva and Katy Borner at the Indiana University.
December 3, 2020
25. It all adds up: mathematical simulations in biopharma research
This episode is easily one of our favorites: everything from design of experiments, to AI-powered math simulations, to existential questions. Conor and Dodi welcomed Tobias Hahn from GoSilico, alongside two of their colleagues from Cytiva - principal scientist Gunnar Malmquist and advanced chromatography specialist, John Scibetta.  Have a listen, share this gem and rate us on your favorite podcast.
October 23, 2020
24. Breast cancer research during COVID19
With the arrival of October we notice the (re)arrival of pink ribbons - it is Breast Cancer Awareness month.  In this episode of Discovery Matters, Dodi and Conor talk to dr. Margaret Flowers who is the director of research at The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, BCRF. They discuss cellular nutrition,  hormone positive breast cancer, chemo prevention, and the state of breast cancer research during COVID times. Enjoy the episode, and if you want to find out more about the amazing work that BCRF is doing, simply go to 
October 1, 2020
23. Chill out: from cryotherapy to cryopreservation
Popular science and cell biology collide in this episode as Dodi and Conor discuss the science of cryogenics and its diverse applications.  They are joined by Cytiva Senior Scientists and cryobiologists, Peter Kilbride and Julie Meneghel, as well as Fernanda Fonseca, Research Director at the French National Institute for Agriculture, Food, and Environment (INRAE).  Executive Producer and PopSci enthusiast, Andrea Kilin, kicks off the discussion by sharing her experience with cryotherapy!
September 3, 2020
Discovery Matters ... because it does!
Life sciences has a new podcast! A collection of stories and insights on matters of discovery that advance life sciences. Hosts are Dodi Axelson and Conor McKechnie, friends for gloriously long years and colleagues at Cytiva. Enjoy!
September 2, 2020
22. The Molecular Clamp - Perspectives from one team's search for a COVID-19 vaccine
While it may not be here tomorrow, scientists around the world are racing to develop viable COVID-19 vaccine candidates. In this episode, Dodi and Conor share the perspectives of two researchers on the vaccine development team for the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology - Professors Trent Munro and Keith Chappell. Learn how Trent and Keith's team identified their lead vaccine candidate from an initial field of 200 in just over 5 weeks!
August 21, 2020
July bonus - Fun scientific facts
Dodi and Conor welcome colleague Kaycee Palumbo for the Discovery Matters special of "Did you know?" Sources:  Drugged-out hallucinating zombie cicadas zombie ants The human genome About 99.9% of human DNA is the same. It is the other 0.1% that codes for all of the differences that make each person unique. The length of the human DNA compared to the world Each cell contains about 2m worth of DNA, if you stretch it end to end, It would measure up to be twice the diameter of the solar system Small water pools in Mexico can show us the early seas/life on earth How gut bacteria influences us.
July 24, 2020
21. The brewer, the baker and the biotech maker
Without baking and brewing, there'd be no biotech.  Join Dodi and Conor through the discovery of fermentation, bags of wheat at the Stockholm Brewing company, and too much pizza dough on Sundays at The Bakery.  Guest on this episode are: Anna Roswall, Head Baker at The Bakery; Michel Ahlin-Wigardt, Head Brewer at The Stockholm Brewery; Nigel Darby, Senior Advisor at Cytiva and Paul Goodwin, Science Director at Cytiva. Cheers! 
July 1, 2020
20. Seeing things small: what does biology and telecom have in common?
Excited about the combination of biology, engineering  and computing being the 21st century's big leap forward? Do you see biological computing actually becoming a thing? Join Dodi and Conor to discuss how all the lines are blurring: where there used to be separate industries we can all learn from each other.  Guests on this episode are Prachi Bogetto of Cytiva, and Cristian Norlin from Ericsson. 
June 11, 2020
19. The discovery of ProteinA
The Scandinavians have done it again.  In this episode Conor and Dodi are (not really) surprised to find out that, just like chromatography, proteinA has also been discovered in the North of Europe.  What makes protein A special, though? What about protein G or protein L? Surely protein A is not the most popular because of alphabetical order? This episode's hosts are joined by Josefin Bolik, protein A subject matter expert at Cytiva, Glen Bolton, Director of Bioprocess Development at Amgen, and Jonathan Royce, former colleague of Conor's and Josefin's. 
May 29, 2020
18. Quantum biology: going subatomic
How do birds know where to go in the winter? And why are plants so efficient at making food? Conor and Dodi chat with researchers studying whether quantum biology might offer answers.
May 11, 2020
17. How does your brain discover what it wants
In this episode Dodi and Conor take 2 minutes to celebrate the birth of Cytiva, company formerly part of GE Healthcare Life Sciences. Yes, only 2 minutes because they're immediately more interested in the science behind choices our brains make. They are joined by Uma Karmarkar, Assistant Professor in Marketing at UCSD focusing on Decision Neuroscience and Tim Arthur, currently a radio presenter for the BBC and an expert in helping organisations through change. 
April 23, 2020
16. The artistry of vaccine development
"Vaccines are a way to educate our immune system to recognize foreign and dangerous stuff." - says Daria Donati, Director of Business Development and Innovation at Cytiva. Dodi and Conor embark on a journey in this episode of Discovery matters: the journey of a vaccine.  They are joined by Adrian Hill, Professor of Human Genetics at the University of Oxford and Consultant Physician and Rebecca Chandler, Senior Contributor at WHO's Uppsala Monitoring Center. 
March 27, 2020
15. How to: Small biotechs into big companies
How do big companies stay at the forefront of the industry? How do small companies "make it big" ? In this episode of Discovery Matters, Conor and Dodi chat with 3 guests to find some answers.  Please welcome Kath Mackay, managing director at Alderley Park, Steve Bates, CEO of the BioIndustry Asociation (BIA) and Oliver Hardick, board member of the BIA and business leader at Cytiva. 
March 12, 2020
14. The story of oligonucleotides and spinal muscular atrophy
In this episode Conor tells Dodi the story of Roy Muhrbeck. It all started 4 years ago when new parents, Hugo Muhrbeck and Maja Ödmann brought home their first child. They were excited and nervous as so many first time parents are. But after a short while, they started to think that maybe everything wasn’t exactly how it should be. Soon after, their son Roy was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).  Stay tuned to find out how oligonucleotides (oligos) help Roy and where he is today. 
February 27, 2020
13. Scratched knees, smelly yogurt, and speedy wound healing
So, what does yogurt have to do with wound healing? In this episode, Evelina Vågesjö from Ilya Pharma helps Conor and Dodi see the connection. It’s all about getting help from our small bacterial friends, lactic acid, and chemokines. Tune in to learn how it all connects.
January 30, 2020
12. School’s never out: Educating the next gen biopharma talents
Education matters for sure. But what is special about biopharmaceutical education? And what does the future hold? Dodi and Conor are about to find out. Their guides in this episode are Killian O’Driscoll at NIBRT, Ireland, and Ron Kander at Thomas Jefferson University, US.
January 10, 2020
11. Fighting fake news in biotechnology: Sense about Science
Can you trust the scientific claims on products you buy?  Conor's curiosity led him down a three-pronged investigation about what you can and should believe, when it comes to statistics and statements about science. 
December 20, 2019
10. Perspectives for health - learning about blockchain
Blockchain is everywhere.  Is it the technology we've all been waiting for? Sometimes, and sometimes not. Dodi and Conor talk with Dr. Catherine Mulligan about what blockchain is, and how it's most useful for us.
December 13, 2019
9. Innovation inside-the-box, cyborgs and jugaad (जुगाड)
Follow Dodi as she dives into the world of innovation. More specifically, the difference between talking innovation and being innovative. Meet Tobias the cyborg that likes thinking inside the box and learn what Gaud has to say about the concept of jugaad in India.
November 29, 2019
8. Microbiome transplant: cooties can cure you
Conor has, what he calls "microbiomania". Whatever the topic, he is able to bring it back to microbiomes in about 3 sentences. So imagine how excited he was to interview Colleen Cutcliffe, CEO of Pendulum whose mission is to make millions healthier through microbiome-targeted medical solutions. Another guest on this episode is Jacques Ravel, professor extraordinaire of The Human Microbiome and Women's Health at the Institute for Genome Sciences, University of Maryland.  Enjoy ! (We sure did!) Interested in Conor's microbiomania? He writes regularly on his LinkedIn account. You can also read more Discovery Matters on our Medium publication. (with the same name).
November 18, 2019
7. Fitness trackers in the 1940s: The Framingham Heart Study
During a lively lunch chat about the popularity of wearable fitness trackers, the curious question came up: with all this data we are generating, what if we were able to do it 50-70 years ago - where would medicine and healthcare be now? Hearing the question Dodi immediately remembered The Framingham Heart Study. Its objective was to identify the common factors or characteristics that contribute to cardiovascular disease (CVD) by following its development over a long period of time in a large group of participants who had not yet developed overt symptoms of CVD or suffered a heart attack or stroke. The research is still ongoing after 70 years and has now added Alzheimers and diabetes to their list. Tune in to listen to Dr. Vasan Ramachandran, Principal Investigator and Director Framingham Heart Study; Professor, Boston University School of Medicine and Tom Gracia, a participant of the study for more than 40 years.
November 1, 2019
6. CAR-T cell therapy: the story of 2 brave young women fighting cancer
This episode is a more immediately serious story than previous topics we've covered.  This story is about a discovery where a number of people had to go through unimaginable pain so that it can become useful for others.  This is the story of Emily Whitehead, the first pediatric patient enrolled in a clinical trial investigating CAR T-cell therapy CTL019, now known as tisagenlecleucel, at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Emily is now a happy, healthy 14 year old in remission for the past 7 years.  This is also the story of Nicole Gularte, the leukemia patient who beat cancer 8 times (!!!) and is the recipient of no less than 3 rounds of CAR-T cell therapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). On Nov 23rd she will walk 8 km ahead of Philadelphia Marathon to raise money and awareness for the Emily Whitehead Foundation. You can help by donating here: 
October 18, 2019
5. A map of humankind from the inside out
We humans have been mapping things since the beginning of time. In our endless quest to figure ourselves and our world out, there are projects galore. Does the 150 year old periodic table ring any bells?  In this episode Dodi takes Conor on an explorer’s journey, destination: Human Protein Atlas project.  Strap on your seatbelt, it’s a bumpy ride connecting the dots between explorers, chemists, geneticists…and even sociologists! 
August 21, 2019
4. The role of AI in pandemics
A pandemic starts with a picnic.  But can pandemics be prevented without cancelling feel-good gatherings? Enter Artificial Intelligence into the world of healthcare and life sciences.  Dodi meets up with an expert panel on the topic and gets examples of the real potential of this very trendy topic.
July 30, 2019
1. Tea and jam and protein separation
Dodi and Conor discover how jam played a part in paving the way for biopharmaceutical drugs. 60 years ago, Swedish scientists happened upon a new method of protein separation through chromatography. The very same technique continues to be the foundation for modern biomedical manufacturing.
July 12, 2019
2. When a hamster rules the biopharma world
Little did you know, but a single hamster has been a force of innovation and massive biomedical production. Scientists devote entire careers to so called CHO cells from this Chinese hamster’s ovary. Dodi and Conor meet a couple of them to figure out why this hamster rules the biopharma world. 
July 12, 2019
3. Kidney surgeon who fixes the plumbing
The list of people needing kidney transplants is tragically long, and donor lists are desperately short. Conor and Dodi find scientists who are coming up with alternative solutions to this problem. Some enable transplantation of less-than-perfect organs, and others dream of 3D printing important organs.
July 12, 2019