KYTOS Biology

KYTOS Biology

By KYTOS
Biology-related podcasts as part of the KYTOS Enrichment Programme.

Visit: www.kytosbiology.org.uk for full details
Visit: www.youtube.com/mriexplains for Science video tutorials

'KYTOS Biology' podcasts and the 'mr i explains' YouTube channel are proudly sponsored by Curriculum Press - producers of global education resources for over 25 years. Visit curriculum-press.co.uk/ for details.
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HeLa Cells and The Legacy of Henrietta Lacks

KYTOS Biology

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Understanding Coronavirus (COVID-19)
In December 2019, the city of Wuhan in Hubei province China, became the centre of a suspected outbreak of pneumonia. At first, no-one was able to establish a cause. Health authorities immediately investigated the nature of the disease and ways to control its spread. In January 2020, Chinese scientists isolated a new coronavirus from the patients in Wuhan; this we now refer to as SARS-Cov-2, the causative agent of COVID-19. It is the seventh virus from this family known to infect humans. In this podcast, I will explain why the virus has been able to spread so rapidly, how viruses in general cause damage to cells and tissues, and will review how patients are tested for viral infections. I'll also examine the 'SOLIDARITY' initiative set up by the World Health Organisation (March, 2020), that aims to overcome COVID-19 by investigating the efficacy of current drugs and vaccines, and the potential for developing new ones. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
22:23
July 13, 2020
The Consequences of Liver Damage
A human liver is estimated to carry out over 500 different functions, including metabolism, detoxification and the synthesis of key proteins and other biological molecules. If the liver is damaged, it can regrow parts given its' regenerative capabilities, however, if the damage is too extensive, the cells will not regenerate and this can have a major impact on one's health. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
18:18
July 13, 2020
Statins - The Widespread and Controversial Use of Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs
Statins are designed to lower cholesterol levels in those deemed at risk of developing cardiovascular disease. In this podcast, I'll discuss how statins work and the biological importance of 'good' cholesterol in our bloodstream. Moreover, I'll explain why the use of these so-called 'miracle drugs' has proven controversial, with some clinicians citing the poor correlation between statin intake and reduction in CVD risk in certain individuals. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
15:36
July 13, 2020
The Return of Rickets
Rickets is a condition characterised by a curvature of the spine, bowed legs, thickened ankles, knees and wrists - such skeletal deformities arise because the bones become softer and therefore more brittle. Rickets was just about eliminated after WW2, but recently doctors have warned that its incidence is increasing rapidly. In this podcast, I discuss the possible reasons why. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
07:29
July 4, 2020
An Introduction to Embryology
The human body is made up of about 30–40 trillion cells. Each cell is specialised to carry out a particular job. Cells work together to form co-ordinated units called tissues, organised into organs. This complicated organisation of cells that makes up a human being all originated from a single fertilised cell – the zygote. Embryology is the study of the development of the zygote in the first trimester - this podcast is deigned to be a short introduction to this fascinating area of Biology. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
10:34
June 4, 2020
The Pentadactyl Limb - Evidence for Evolution
Scientists use the concept of homology to identify evolutionary relationships among organisms. Homologies are characters shared between different species that were also present in their common ancestor. Homologies can be structural, biochemical, developmental, physiological or behavioural. In this podcast, I focus on homologous structures and, in particular, the pentadactyl limb. This bony arrangement is thought to provide irrefutable evidence for evolution. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
08:03
June 4, 2020
Zika Virus - Origins, Pathology and Prevention
Zika virus was first identified in 1947, having originated in rhesus monkeys in the Zika forest in Uganda. In this podcast, I examine how the virus spread, the effects of its outbreak, and assess the evidence implicating Zika as a cause of microcephaly. I'll also describe the measures used to attempt to control transmission of the disease. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
13:01
June 3, 2020
The Neurobiology of Ecstasy (MDMA)
In this podcast, I'll be exploring a number of issues around the use of Class A drug, Ecstasy. Ecstasy is the street name for a version of MDMA, or 3,4 methylenedioxy-methamphetamine. It is an illegal, synthetic drug classified as a stimulant with potentially hallucinogenic properties. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
17:40
May 31, 2020
The Biology of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is the commonest cancer in women, whilst it accounts for just 1% of cancers in men. The incidence of breast cancer in women is increasing, but, encouragingly, the mortality rate from it is falling. In this podcast, I will discuss the causes, which are thought to be both genetic and environmental in nature, the current trends in breast cancer detection and the different methods of treatment. This podcast will explore how oestrogen may stimulate breast cancers to develop and will outline the ethical issues associated with screening. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
18:31
May 30, 2020
Immune Defences Part 2 - The Specific Response to Disease
Long lasting immunity to disease is provided through memory cells and the production of antibody-secreting plasma B lymphocytes. These come about through our cell-mediated and humoral responses to invading pathogens, forming part of our specific response to disease. This podcast is the second in a two-part series examining our immune defences.
18:20
May 30, 2020
Immune Defences Part 1 - The Non-Specific Response to Disease
Our bodies have the innate ability to prevent harmful pathogens from infecting them; namely through physical barriers to infection and the process of phagocytosis. These form part of our non-specific response to disease, the focus of this, the first in a two-part series on our immune defences. 
14:37
May 30, 2020
Medical Imaging - What Diagnostic Scans Can Reveal
Medical imaging includes all of the non-invasive techniques used to create images of the human body for medical purposes. It is used to diagnose or monitor the progress of disease, and for medical science in the study of anatomy and physiology. Imaging techniques involve the detection of how different structures in the body, for example the brain, change or produce electromagnetic, sonographic or radioactive signals. The data collected is used to produce images of the structures under investigation. In this podcast, I will explain the physics behind these imaging techniques, with reference to their applications and limitations. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
13:48
May 28, 2020
Bringing Back a Species From Extinction
More than 99% of the species that ever existed have become extinct. The concept of de-extinction, therefore, seems to hold so much promise. Scientists are using cutting edge technology to make breakthroughs that may result in extinct species appearing once more in their natural habitats. However, this may still take some time. Critics of de-extinction programmes will point to the fact that the first resurrected mammoths, for example, will be more elephant-like than mammoth or that perhaps the first aurochs, more cattle-like than the originals. Scientists are edging closer to their goals, and for some, it really is just a matter of time before species are brought back from extinction. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
14:23
May 28, 2020
Doping in Sport - How Natural and Synthetic Drugs Enhance Performance
Through doping, we now fully understand the use by athletes of substances prohibited by the anti-doping agencies in order to gain a competitive advantage. Since sport plays an important role in physical and mental education and in promoting international cooperation, the widespread use of doping products and methods has consequences not only on health of the athletes, but upon the image of sport more generally. Depending on the sport practiced and the physical attributes it requires, athletes will always be looking to increase body recovery capacity after training or injury, to increase muscle mass and strength or endurance, or simply decrease fat tissue. In this podcast, I will discuss how athletes can enhance their performance by injecting natural and synthetic substances - and the very real dangers of using these substances. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
13:38
May 26, 2020
Should Doctors Be Allowed To Kill People?
In this podcast, I'll be discussing the controversial issues surrounding euthanasia and assisted suicide, asking whether medical professionals have the right, or even the responsibility to partake in either. Both active euthanasia & assisted suicide are illegal under English law, with the latter illegal under the terms of the Suicide Act (1961). Irrespective of the legal ramifications, the question remains: would 'killing someone' in this context be a breach of one's Hippocratic Oath?
10:58
May 26, 2020
What's Killing the Honey Bees?
75% of our leading global food crops require insect pollination, and bees are the major pollinators. In this podcast, I'll be discussing whether a group of insecticides called neonicotinoids are responsible for the drastic decline in the honey bee population and incidences of Colony Collapse Disorder. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
09:10
May 26, 2020
The Biology of Multiple Sclerosis
The term ‘Multiple Sclerosis’ refers to the replacement of myelin, a fatty substance that forms a protective sheath around neurones, with scar tissue. It is thought that MS is an auto-immune disorder, where cytotoxic T lymphocytes have essentially attacked molecules in the myelin, although recent studies suggest that both a genetic predisposition and environmental factors are important in determining whether someone develops MS. In this podcast, I will explore the underlying pathology behind the condition, the signs and symptoms sufferers experience, and the current treatments available. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
13:55
May 25, 2020
Animal Testing In Medical Research
Animal testing, also known as vivisection, normally elicits strong responses from people, both for and against the procedures. The role of animal experimentation in medical research is controversial, but the British Medical Association is adamant that animal experimentation is necessary to develop a better understanding of diseases and how to treat them. In this podcast, I will explore the reasons why animals are used (in comparison with 'in vitro' studies and computer modelling), how Home Office regulations prevent the abuse of animals, and will describe some of the medical advances made using animal research. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
24:15
May 24, 2020
Dietary Fibre - The Superfood That Prevents Chronic Disease
We all understand the importance of a healthy balanced diet, but how many of us truly appreciate the role that dietary fibre plays. It has been clinically proven to aid normal functioning of the digestive system, but this 'superfood' has also been shown to prevent a number of debilitating chronic conditions. In this podcast, I will explain the essential role of fibre in our diet, identify useful sources of fibre and evaluate the scientific evidence linking a deficiency of this vital nutrient to several life-threatening diseases. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
10:14
May 23, 2020
Tips and Tricks for Exam Revision Success
In this podcast,  I give my 'Top 10 Tips and Tricks' for when it comes to revising for exams. Everyone has their own learning style and method of working, and the way we revise and consolidate material depends very much on individual needs and personalities. There are, however, simple core concepts, ideas and techniques that anyone can employ, and in my own teaching career, I've seen them used incredibly effectively!
14:23
May 23, 2020
Bad Clots - The Biology Behind Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is the development of a blood clot in a major deep vein in the leg, thigh, pelvis, or abdomen. They may be asymptomatic; however, there may be asymmetrical leg swelling, unilateral leg pain, dilation or distension of superficial veins, and red or discoloured skin. If part of the clot breaks off it can lead to significant complications, including a pulmonary embolism. In this podcast, I'll describe the causes, various risk factors and treatment for these so called 'bad clots'. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
12:15
May 23, 2020
What Makes a Good Parasite?
Virtually all organisms have some sort of parasite living on or inside them. Fleas, lice and ticks have caused problems for humans for thousands of years. These creatures bite the skin, suck the blood and transmit diseases. Inside the human body, worms live in the gut and protoctists can infect the blood. Plant parasites destroy crops causing substantial economic damage. Humans are constantly battling with such parasites - but why? What adaptations have they developed in order to survive, thrive and reproduce? In this podcast, I will explore one very simple question - what makes a good parasite? (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
15:18
May 19, 2020
The Reintroduction of Wolves
By the 18th century wolves had been hunted to extinction in the UK. Their numbers have declined across Europe and the U.S, although they remain widely distributed across the Northern Hemisphere. Conservation scientists are working to increase wolf numbers but farmers are resisting this as they fear predation on their livestock. In this podcast, I will examine the arguments for and against the reintroduction of wolves, using 'The Yellowstone National Park Wolf Reintroduction Programme' as a case study. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
10:48
May 19, 2020
The Role of Microorganisms in Biotechnology
Politician and first President of Israel, Chaim Wiezmann is less well known for his work on the acetone-butanol fermentation process, but this in fact, is one of the earliest examples of what came to be known as 'Biotechnology' - technology based on Biology, involving the exploitation of living organsisms and biological processes. The aim of Biotechnology is to improve agriculture, animal husbandry, food science, medicine and industry, and in this podcast, I'll be discussing 4 key examples and highlighting the roles that microorganisms play.  
17:53
May 18, 2020
Making Tracks - The Forensic Examination of Footprints and Footwear
In this high tech world of DNA fingerprinting, computerised bloodstain spatter analysis, and video imaging, one might say that it seems a little mundane to discuss something as simple as shoe print analysis. Interestingly, footprints are the third most common type of evidence found at a crime scene.  It is imperative, therefore, that the detection and recovery of footwear evidence, subsequent process of enhancement, production of known impressions via casting and comparison with crime scene impressions are carried out with the utmost level of care. 
14:18
May 17, 2020
How Intergenerational Care Bridges the Age Divide
According to Age UK, more than 2 million people in England over the age of 75 live alone, and more than a million older people say they go for over a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member. In this extended podcast, I discuss how inter-generational learning programmes have been able to bridge the age divide between the elderly and the very young. Moreover, it will serve to highlight the significant benefits they have provided in respect to physical and mental well-being in this vulnerable population. (With thanks to Isobel C for conducting the research and providing the content for this podcast)
21:41
May 17, 2020
Digging Up The Dirt - How Soil Analysis Can Solve Crimes
Forensic Scientist Georg Popp is credited with being the first to use soil evidence to solve a crime; the 1904 murder of Eva Disch. Since then, forensic analyses of soil samples have been able to identify victims of mass killings, the location of grave sites and place perpetrators at scenes of crime. 
16:45
May 15, 2020
Detecting Deception - What Body Language Reveals
According to recent research, facial expressions do not reveal our emotions, but instead, our intentions and social goals. It is possible to hide behind them, however? Can we learn to read body language to detect deception? In this podcast, I’ll discuss the work of prominent figures in the field, namely Eckman, Nevarro, Freud and Nietzsche to help explore this idea.
17:01
May 12, 2020
Toxicological Testing for Aspirin
In this podcast, I describe the various techniques employed, including mass spectrometry to confirm aspirin toxicity. Toxicology is the study of poisons and the detection of foreign substances in the body that can have a toxic effect such as illicit and legal drugs, industrial chemicals and poisonous gases. Forensic toxicology is the use of toxicology and disciplines such as analytical chemistry, pharmacology and clinical chemistry to aid medical or legal investigation of death, poisoning, and drug use.
15:39
May 10, 2020
Letters, Lies and Ransoms - The Art of Handwriting Analysis
Every person’s handwriting is unique and personalised. It is difficult to disguise or forge, but analysis can provide a useful tool in forensics in excluding persons when determining a match between known material. In this podcast, I outline the characteristics that experts look for in a handwritten sample, with reference to evidence seized in a number of high profile cases, including the 'Lipstick Killer' William George Heirens and Jack The Ripper. 
13:44
May 9, 2020
Wounds and Weapons – Analysing Impression Evidence and Injuries caused by Tools
Tool marks refer to cuts, gouges or abrasions caused by tools or other such instruments. They can leave striations on softer surfaces that match marks on the surface of the tool, and in this podcast, I will discuss the forensic significance that such marks may have. 
13:47
May 9, 2020
Understanding the Transmission of Nerve Impulses
The brain receives huge amounts of information from outside our body via our sense organs, and it has to integrate all of this information, and direct parts of our body to respond, and take action. It does so via nervous impulses, and the generation of action potentials. What exactly are these impulses - and what does a Mexican wave have to do with things?!
14:03
May 9, 2020
How Oral Rehydration Therapy became a Low-tech Life Saver
The Medical journal 'The Lancet' called Oral Rehydration Therapy (ORT) "the most important medical advance of the 20th Century". This simple, low-tech, low-cost treatment is able to prevent death stemming from diarrhoeal diseases. Incredibly, they account for 1 in 9 child deaths worldwide, making diarrhoea the second leading cause of death among children under the age of 5.
10:09
May 9, 2020
Are some humans born evil? (with Charlotte S)
What makes something, or more specifically someone, evil? Is it down to nature, or nurture - can some humans really be born with evil intent? In this podcast, I'm joined by Year 10 Biologist Charlotte S who will give her take on this widely debated subject. 
08:16
May 4, 2020
The Science of Shakespeare – Could Romeo really have fallen in love 'at first sight' with Juliet? (with Felicia Isaacs)
'Love is heavy and light, bright and dark, hot and cold, sick and healthy, asleep and awake - its everything except what it is' - the real question we need to ask ourselves, is whether love can happen at first sight. According to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, love can indeed be instantaneous. Felica Isaacs explores this concept, to see if it has any biological basis. 
11:58
April 28, 2020
The Science of Shakespeare – Was Othello’s jealousy in his genes? (with Felicia Isaacs)
'Oh, beware, my lord, of jealousy! It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock' - This is the second instalment in the series looking at 'The Science of Shakespeare', and rather fittingly, was recorded during the week of his birthday. English teacher Felicia Isaacs considers whether the jealousy displayed by Othello was predetermined - could, as the title suggest, it have already been hardwired into his genes?
15:24
April 26, 2020
The Science of Shakespeare – Did Macbeth’s insomnia lead to paranoia? (with Felicia Isaacs)
'Macbeth does murder sleep' - is this the reason why Shakespeare's character has delusions and paranoid thoughts? In this podcast, I'm joined by English teacher Felicia Isaacs, who gives her perspective on whether Macbeth's paranoia can be attributed to his insomnia. This is the first instalment in a series of podcasts on 'The Science of Shakespeare'. 
10:47
April 22, 2020
Understanding Karyotypes
Karyotyping is a laboratory procedure that allows your doctor to examine your set of chromosomes.  The karyotype of a living organism refers to the number and appearance of the chromosomes, and allows for both the determination of sex and identification of abnormalities and structural problems.
06:45
April 20, 2020
Water - The Molecule of Life
In this podcast, I discuss the cohesive, thermal and solvent properties of one of the most crucial biological molecules there is - water. By understanding the polarity of the molecule and the nature of hydrogen bonding, one can appreciate why this really is 'the molecule of life'.
10:08
April 20, 2020
A Matter of Life and Death – The Dilemma of the Nazi Book of Anatomy
The Pernkopf Topographic Anatomy of Man, an anatomy reference book published in 1937 by a Nazi doctor, continues to be the most widely used anatomy book by surgeons. Its' gruesome history, however, has forced people to question the ethics of using such a resource. Can something so tainted ever be viewed in a positive light? (With thanks to English teacher Felicia Isaacs for conducting the research and providing the content for this podcast)
11:48
April 15, 2020
Detecting Body Fluids - An Introduction to Forensic Serology
If you're a fan of true crime stories or detective novels, you might think that gunshot residue, or a carelessly left fingerprint on a surface would be the keys to solving a big mystery. In reality, when combined with DNA analysis, it's Forensic Serology, and the detection of body fluids that often provides the indisputable piece of evidence that places a suspect at the scene of a crime - and ultimately secures a conviction!
20:09
April 14, 2020
Is Cosmetic Surgery worth the risk?
Despite the several thousand cosmetic surgery operations performed each year in the UK, research carried out by the British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons suggested that 65% of former patients regretted going under the knife. In addition, only 28% admitted to being completely happy with the results, with complications and unexplained side effects among the most common complaints. Given these shocking statistics, I explore in this podcast whether cosmetic surgery really is worth the risk.
13:53
April 12, 2020
What can you do with a Biology Degree?
Biology is cited on the HESA website (the central source for statistics about UK higher education) as one of the most valuable courses to study at university. The aim of this podcast is to introduce just some of the fascinating career paths that a biology-related degree might lead to - whether you are studying for GCSE's or A-Levels/IB, or even if you're already enrolled in a higher education institution, this podcast will certainly provide food for thought. 
14:31
April 12, 2020
Diseases and Disorders of the Eyes
In this podcast, I describe the nature of several general defects of the eyes, including Myopia and Hypermetropia, Astigmatism, Presbyopia, Strabismus or Misaligned eyes and Amblyopia (lazy eye). I also describe numerous external conditions that affect the eyes, namely Blepharitis, Hordeolum (stye), Preseptal and Orbital Cellulitis and Conjunctivitis, along with internal conditions such as Retinal detachment, Glaucoma, Cataracts and Macular Degeneration. The podcast will finish by mentioning some systemic conditions that affect the eyes.
34:01
April 11, 2020
The Biology of Finding Nemo (with Yasmin O)
I'm thrilled once again to be joined by Year 13 Biology student Yasmin, who, in a very similar vein to the podcast about The Lion King, takes a fascinating look at one of her favourite Pixar films, Finding Nemo - just how accurate is the depiction of life in the big blue ocean?
20:32
March 27, 2020
LGBT Youth and Eating Disorders - Is modern society to blame? (with Roz P)
In this thought-provoking podcast, Year 11 biologist Roz P explores the notion that modern society is responsible for the development of eating disorders in LGBT youth.
10:13
February 25, 2020
Angioplasty and Bypass Surgery - Treating Coronary Heart Disease
In this podcast, I’ll discuss the two main surgical methods of treatment for CHD; angioplasty and Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG). The term ‘angioplasty’ refers to the use of a balloon to stretch open a narrowed or blocked artery. Most modern angioplasty procedures involve the use of a stent, a small, metal mesh-like device that acts as a support or scaffold, in keeping the vessel open. CABG is a surgical procedure in which arteries or veins from elsewhere are grafted to the coronary arteries to bypass atherosclerotic narrowing and improve blood supply to the myocardium.
13:40
February 16, 2020
Astrobiology - How Life Started (with Yasmin O)
The unique blend of Astronomy and Biology can provide an insight into how life may have started here on Earth. That knowledge would be crucial in our ongoing hunt for extraterrestrial life. In this podcast, Year 13 Biology student Yasmin O discusses the likelihood of life on other planets by comparing their environment to that of our own.
16:08
January 10, 2020
An Introduction to Quantum Biology (with Yasmin 0)
In this podcast, Year 13 Biology student Yasmin 0 explores the connections between Quantum Physics and Biology. One might not immediately appreciate the overlap between these two fields, but life would have struggled to come into existence without the mystery that is quantum mechanics.
10:39
January 10, 2020
Sickle Cell Anaemia - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
It is estimated that there are between 12,500 and 15,000 people with Sickle Cell Disease in the UK. In this podcast, I will describe the autosomal recessive mutation that lies at the heart of the condition, the signs and symptoms that suffers experience, and the current and future treatments that are available.
14:58
January 1, 2020
All about MMI’s – How to prepare for the Medical School Mini Interviews
The MMI, or Multiple Mini Interview is a relatively new way in which universities select entrants on to their medical and dentistry courses. In this podcast, I talk through the full MMI process, what exactly is involved in the various stations one might encounter, and what prospective applicants should be doing right now to boost their chances of success. 
25:32
December 28, 2019
Misconceptions about Blood and its’ circulation
If we know that blood is red, why do textbooks still perpetuate the idea that deoxygenated blood is blue? When one looks down at their wrists, we see ‘blue veins’, but why? I decided to conduct my own study into misconceptions about Blood and its’ circulation a number of years ago with a Key Stage 3 cohort, and in this podcast, I'll be sharing my findings. 
15:12
December 28, 2019
The Intramuscular Architecture of the Axillary Nerve within the Deltoid Muscle
When giving an intramuscular injection into the Deltoid muscle, it is important to understand how the Axillary nerve and its’ branches are anatomically arranged. This will ensure that shoulder function is maintained. This more technical podcast is specifically designed for undergraduate students and those already working as medical professionals.
17:52
December 28, 2019
The Biology Behind Tattoos - Can they really boost our health?
In this podcast, I’ll be taking a look at the Biology behind tattoos, from the anatomical arrangement of skin layers and how the ink is retained, to the healing process and the mechanisms of tissue repair. I’ll also be discussing whether there is any merit to the claim that tattoos promote health and well-being, and do so by priming the immune system.
17:22
December 21, 2019
Private Healthcare vs. The NHS
Why would anyone want to pay for private medical services, when they could be treated on the NHS for free? Is one really better than the other? In this podcast, I’ll be asking whether the NHS and private healthcare systems can co-exist and actually benefit one another, or whether the existence of both is simply causing more harm than good.
14:58
December 16, 2019
A Summary of the Mechanisms of Reproductive Isolation
In this short podcast, I summarise the different forms of reproductive isolating mechanisms, by looking at those that occur before fertilisation (prezygotic - including pre and post-mating barriers) and those that occur after fertilisation (postzygotic). 
06:00
December 16, 2019
Social Media and Depression in Adolescents - Is there a link?
Ever since the emergence of social media back in the early 2000’s, questions have been raised about the potentially harmful effects it has on mental health, particularly in adolescents. In this extended podcast, I discus why people would use social media, and which aspects of it have been a cause for concern. (With thanks to Zoe B for conducting the research and providing the content for this podcast)
31:59
October 30, 2019
Superheroes – A work of fiction, or do they really exist?
Could superheroes live among us?... perhaps not heroes, but what about super-humans? Do people exist who possess extraordinary abilities, or could we soon start to genetically engineer organisms with capabilities far in excess of average? (With thanks to Lottie L for conducting the research and providing the content for this podcast)
17:18
October 29, 2019
Understanding Huntington's Disease
The majority of genetic disorders have a recessive inheritance pattern, but Huntington's Disease is an autosomal dominant condition. In this podcast, I discuss the cause (expanding CAG nucleotide repeats) and the associated symptoms sufferers experience.  
07:50
October 29, 2019
Oogenesis and Spermatogenesis - The Production of Egg and Sperm
From evolutionary theory to IVF and fertility, a number of podcasts I have recorded mention aspects of reproduction. In this podcast, I take it back to basics to describe how egg and sperm cells are produced, and make direct comparisons between these two biological processes. 
07:57
October 28, 2019
The Origin of Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes
Why would an animal cell contain mitochondria with 70S ribosomes, organelles typically found inside prokaryotic cells? This podcast aims to answer that question, by discussing the origin of both eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells, the development of the early atmosphere and the fascinating endosymbiotic theory.
06:57
October 28, 2019
Evolution of Animal Behaviour
In this podcast, I discuss three key aspects of animal behaviour, namely social organisation, the evolution of altruistic behaviour and the expression of exaggerated traits. 
08:33
October 28, 2019
Diagnosing medical conditions from an ECG
An ECG (electrocardiogram) is a medical test that records the electrical activity of the heart (or more specifically, the depolarisation and repolarisation of the myocardium). In this podcast, I describe what a normal ECG trace looks like, and then explain how an atypical one may appear. The ECG is just one diagnostic tool that medics can use to form a differential diagnosis.
18:24
October 27, 2019
Do animals have beneficial effects on autistic children?
ASD, or autistic spectrum disorder is a developmental disorder that affects communication and behaviour. Animal-assisted therapy is a therapeutic intervention for patients with ASD, that incorporates animals as part of their care plan. In this podcast, I will examine how effective this has been. Current research suggests that animal exposure enhances both mental health and physical well-being, not only in autistic children, but for the general population. (With thanks to Laureanne H for conducting the research and providing the content for this podcast)
13:24
October 27, 2019
Can dementia patients have independence?
Dementia is an umbrella term that describes a group of symptoms associated with a decline in mental ability, severe enough to affect daily life. The key question that this podcast wishes to raise, is to what extent sufferers can live independent lives; both the pharmacological and non-pharmacological components of dementia care will be discussed. (With thanks to Jhyni R for conducting the research and providing the content for this podcast)
13:28
October 27, 2019
ATP - An Important Biological Molecule
In this podcast, I describe the structure of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and the important roles this macromolecule performs. 
12:18
October 26, 2019
Gunshot Residue and its Forensic Significance
How much value can we place on GSR evidence? With reference to past criminal cases, I describe what GSR (gunshot residue) is, the methods we employ to detect it, and why GSR evidence has, on occasion, been inadmissible in a court of law. 
18:27
October 22, 2019
Epigenetic Control of Gene Expression
Epigenetics is the study of heritable changes to gene function and expression that are a result of environment factors, and not the result of altering the base sequence of DNA itself. In this podcast, I discuss how acetylation and methylation alter the chemical tags that make up the epigenome, and how, despite being part of normal development, they may trigger diseases such as cancer.
16:40
October 20, 2019
The Functions of The Thyroid Gland
In this podcast, I’ll describe the location of the thyroid gland with reference to key anatomical landmarks, discuss the significant and rather diverse roles the thyroid hormones T3 and T4 play in our body, and consider diseases and disorders of the gland, including hyper/hypothyroidism and cancer. 
19:26
September 10, 2019
The Science of Sleep (with Poppy GT)
In this podcast, I'm joined by Year 9 student Poppy GT, who discusses what really goes on in our brains when we sleep. She will also explain the science behind some of the most fascinating concepts, including REM sleep and how to achieve a lucid dream state. 
11:50
September 9, 2019
Seizures and Epilepsy
In this podcast, I discuss the nature of partial and generalised seizures, and explain how a diagnosis of epilepsy is made. With reference to clinical cases in my own family, I describe how the condition can be managed through surgery and anticonvulsants, and highlight the need for greater awareness and education, on what is generally thought to be a poorly understood condition. 
22:04
July 24, 2019
Seizures and Epilepsy Part 2 - A Patient Interview
My mother-in-law (Lesley) has a clinical diagnosis of epilepsy, and experiences complex partial seizures. The condition has had a profound effect on her day to day life – not just in terms of the medication she takes, but the activities which she can involve herself in. Lesley suffered a major head trauma, but following MRI scans, doctors were unable to find any physical damage or injury relating to her seizures, which only began after the injury...perhaps the accident induced them? This podcast is of a telephone interview that I conducted with Lesley, where she discusses her diagnosis and management of the condition. 
16:47
July 24, 2019
CRISPR - The Science behind the hype (with Emma Thornton)
In this podcast, I'm joined by former A-Level Biology student Emma Thornton, who describes the CRISPR gene editing technique and its possible future applications. 
20:32
June 25, 2019
First Aid Essentials - Carrying out a Primary Survey
In this podcast, the first of a series on First Aid Essentials, I discuss how to ascertain the level of responsiveness in a casualty, how to carry out checks for open airways and normal breathing and explain the technique of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). 
26:48
June 11, 2019
To Speak the Truth - The Role of Forensic Voice Analysis
How well do you know your neighbour? Well enough to recognise the sound of their voice - even in a crowded room...well enough to testify in a court of law to that effect? In this podcast, I discuss the key areas of Forensic Science where voice and audio analysis is utilised, and discuss high profile criminal cases where voice evidence has been used to wrongly convict the innocent.
18:10
June 9, 2019
Comparing Ventilation Mechanisms in Humans, Fish and Insects
Imagine that you can design your own respiratory airways – what would they look like? This is a question I ask my own students, to see if they bring in ideas about Fick’s law, and the factors that increase the rate of diffusion. That’s what ideal airways would do – maximise diffusion, specifically of oxygen from the air to our blood. In this podcast, I discuss the gross structure of the human respiratory system and compare it to that of fish and insects – there are surprising similarities between all of these organsisms, and in each case, diffusion of oxygen remains the key goal. 
19:42
June 6, 2019
How to write the perfect Synoptic Essay in A-Level Biology
This podcast is aimed at those students sitting their Biology A-Levels, or more specifically, those sitting the AQA Paper 3 at A2, with the synoptic essay question. In this podcast, I give an overview of the essay in terms of general structure and marking policy, then give some tips and advice about how best to approach it, including a more detailed look at the planning aspect.
25:30
June 6, 2019
Is the vast amount of money spent on wildlife conservation worth it?
Research suggests that conservation investment will become inconsequential as the human population grows. Why is that? In this podcast, I try to provide some answers to one of the biggest questions, we as a society, must ask ourselves - is the vast amount of money spent on wildlife conservation actually worth it?  What is clear, is that conservation must be focused on crucial organisms that maintain environments and our efforts must be redesigned to better protect these species in a more economically efficient way. 
18:11
June 3, 2019
The Biology of The Lion King
On the face of it, you can look at this movie as a coming of age story, or perhaps one about family, redemption and even power struggles. If we take a slightly different approach, however, you might be surprised at just how many key biological concepts and principles are in this film. 
21:11
June 1, 2019
Miscarriages of Justice and The CSI Effect
Do shows like CSI have a negative influence on peoples’ interpretation of the criminal justice system, and on forensic science practices? In this podcast, Mr I discusses what the latest research suggests is the case.
18:13
May 30, 2019
The Aspirin Story - From Willow to Wonder Drug
In this podcast, I delve into the story behind Aspirin, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory that scientists often hail as a wonder drug. Quite astonishingly, there are thought to be over 1000 clinical trials involving Aspirin conducted every single year - in 1950, it was declared the biggest selling painkiller in the world.
13:51
May 24, 2019
Courtship, Birdsong and The Biology of Flirting
Why is it important to breed with members of the same species? Is there any benefit to forming a committed pair bond with your partner...and what exactly are birds saying to one another through their birdsong? Discover the answer to all of these questions in this podcast on courtship behaviours and 'flirting'.
12:47
May 7, 2019
Understanding how vaccines work
A vaccine is the administration of a weak or dead pathogen, designed to stimulate a primary immune response. What exactly does that response entail, and why would anyone deliberately inject a pathogen into themselves? In this podcast, Mr I will answer these questions by explaining how vaccines work in controlling the spread of infectious disease.  
24:53
April 15, 2019
UCAT and BMAT – Admissions tests for Medical Schools
Thank you for listening to this special podcast on the UCAT (formerly known as UKCAT) and BMAT – these are the two big entrance exams that students must sit to get onto certain Medical, Dental, Veterinary and Biomedical undergraduate courses. In this podcast, I describe what both tests entail, but more importantly, give tips on what candidates should be doing to maximise their chances!
19:55
April 8, 2019
‘Make no bones about it!’ – The Role of Forensic Anthropology
As the title suggests, this podcast is all about bones – why study them, what can they tell us about their owners, and how can that information be applied in a court of law. Forensic anthropology is a special sub-field of physical anthropology that involves applying skeletal analysis and techniques in archaeology to solving criminal cases.  
17:42
April 8, 2019
Hair Fibre Analysis and the secrets it can reveal
In this podcast, Mr I will discuss hair structure and morphology, and how forensic analysis of fibres can help bring about a conviction, or simply be used as a means of identification.   
13:01
April 8, 2019
Are girls 'better' than boys? (with Mr Dan Wilkinson)
In this thought-provoking, and perhaps controversial podcast, Mr I sits down with the Head of Psychology at Tormead, Mr Dan Wilkinson, to explore the arguments for a world without males. 
29:11
March 27, 2019
Is making your own light the key to survival? (with Emma T)
In this podcast, Year 13 Biology student Emma T discusses bioluminescence, a phenomenon in which organisms produce their own light. She will describe the mechanisms through which light is produced, and how this form of chemiluminescence aids the survival of different species.   
18:21
March 26, 2019
Breaking Bad News - Why is it so difficult?
Studies have suggested that there are 3 key reasons why medical professionals struggle to deliver bad news. In this podcast, I discuss what those reasons are, and the significant impact they potentially have on clinical outcomes. 
13:45
March 23, 2019
The Discovery of Insulin as a treatment for Diabetes
The development of insulin for the treatment of Diabetes mellitus by Banting et al, is regarded by many as one of the greatest biological discoveries of our time. In this podcast, I’ll put forward the argument as to why, and give some background into the discovery. As Hume stated in his biography of Banting, ‘no single event in the history of medicine had changed the lives of so many people, so suddenly’.
11:41
March 23, 2019
The Fruit Fly - An unsung hero of 20th Century Science
The common fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) has been the test subject from which some of the 20th century's greatest biological discoveries have arisen. In this podcast, I outline the reasons why this rather simple being is regarded as a ‘model organism’ for scientific research. 
12:07
March 23, 2019
Blood Pattern Analysis
In this podcast, I discuss how blood pattern analysis can aid forensic investigators make sense of a crime scene, and reveal why the technique is viewed by some professionals as controversial. 
17:45
March 21, 2019
Living with OCD - A study into psychopathology
In this personal study of psychopathology, I describe the nature of obsessive compulsive disorders. This podcast will outline the key characteristics of these conditions, and provide some biological explanations for them. 
15:01
March 17, 2019
Fingerprints and their Forensic significance
In 1901, Sir Edward Henry provided the foundations on which modern day fingerprint classification systems are based.  In this podcast, I refer to a number of high profile criminal cases where fingerprint evidence has been used, and talk about the biology behind the fingerprint itself – what exactly causes the distinct ridges and grooves that we see?
14:49
March 17, 2019
HeLa Cells and The Legacy of Henrietta Lacks
The contributions that HeLa cells have made in the fields of Science and Technology are vast. In this podcast, I'm joined by Year 13 Biology student Anoushka D, who will argue that the HeLa cell is one of the greatest biological discoveries of the 20th Century. 
06:16
March 17, 2019
The Story of Golden Rice
In this podcast, I outline the steps involved in genetically engineering Golden Rice as a means of preventing Vitamin A (retinol) deficiency. 
10:45
March 9, 2019
Apoptosis - A very orderly cell death
In this podcast, we look at the process of apoptosis, or programmed cell death. What is the exact mechanism behind this self destruction, and when   would the body employ such a tactic?
14:57
March 9, 2019
Forensic Psychology and Offender Profiling
How useful is an offender profile in catching a perpetrator? In this podcast, we look at the field of Forensic Psychology, and discuss how criminal profiles have been used in a number of historic cases, along with other so-called 'disputed' forensic techniques. 
20:06
March 3, 2019
From Patients to Pupils - Why I left Medicine for Teaching
Leaving a career in Medicine wasn't a difficult decision for me to make - the thing is, I never really wanted to do it in the first place! In this podcast, I explain how I ended up down that path, and the reasons why I eventually opted for another. 
22:11
February 21, 2019
The Disease Model of Addiction (with Charlotte Isaacs)
Working as a counsellor in the criminal justice system, Charlotte (Mrs I) has seen first-hand how addiction can transform lives. In this podcast, she will discuss the disease model of addiction, whilst Mr I will delve a little deeper into the mechanisms of action of some of the most potent psychoactive drugs. 
17:21
February 19, 2019
Growing ‘made-to-order’ human kidneys
In this podcast, we takes a look at the current developments in kidney transplantation and discusses the key functions of these vital organs.  
15:08
February 19, 2019
Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection – Is it shaping Human Evolution?
"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change." Did Charles Darwin actually say this, and what exactly does his theory of natural selection mean for human evolution?
13:30
February 19, 2019
Pest Control - An Intensive Farming Practice
In this podcast, Mr I describes how cultural, chemical and biological pest control have all been used to increase yield and productivity. As a means of limiting the ecological damage that intensive farming causes, IMP (or integrated pest management) is now being employed. 
14:19
February 19, 2019
IVF and the Causes of Infertility
In the UK, around 1 in 7 couples experience difficulty conceiving. In this podcast, Mr I explains how the IVF process works, and discusses the causes of infertility in both sexes. 
16:16
February 3, 2019
What makes a heart beat?
The heart beats an incredible 115,200 times a day, but what exactly causes a heart beat? This podcast will discuss how the natural pacemaker (SAN) and AVN, along with the autonomic nervous system regulate heart contractions. 
16:27
January 27, 2019
Teeth and Bite marks - An Introduction to Forensic Odontology
What is it about teeth that makes them such a useful forensic tool? With reference to infamous killer Ted Bundy, Mr I examines the scope of forensic odontology, and what bite mark analysis can reveal.
18:58
January 26, 2019
Genetic drift and the formation of new species
In this podcast, Mr I discusses how the founder effect and genetic bottlenecks (both sub categories of genetic drift) could lead to the formation of new species. 
14:40
January 20, 2019
The development of Cancer and the different types of tumour
What exactly do we mean by cancer? Essentially, cancer is the uncontrolled proliferation of cells which lead to the formation of a tumour. The distinct differences between benign and malignant tumours are explained in this podcast, along with current treatments for both. Mr I also reveals how gene mutations can lead to cancer.
16:10
January 16, 2019
Current HIV Research - Targeting HIV reservoirs and markers for Cardiovascular Disease
In this podcast, Mr I discusses two recently published articles about HIV therapy. CD4 T lymphocytes are known to act as viral reservoirs in those on antiretroviral therapy, but could the use of metabolic activity inhibitors help to destroy them? Equally, could the inflammatory marker GlycA indicate a greater risk of atherosclerosis in HIV patients?
13:34
January 5, 2019
Why dogs are so loving - A Genetic Explanation
As I look into the eyes of my rescue greyhound Luca, I wonder if the connection goes deeper than him simply wanting to be fed. They say that dogs are man's best friend, but why is that? Is there a biological reason why dogs are so loving and trusting? 
11:50
December 30, 2018
Stem Cells - Embryonic vs Adult
What are stem cells, and how can we harvest them to treat disease? Moreover, which type of stem cell should we use?
17:26
December 28, 2018
Pathology - Estimating time of death
What happens to a body after death, and how can an autopsy reveal the exact cause, manner and time of death?
22:26
December 28, 2018
Dementia - Causes and Complications
In this podcast, Mr I describes the group of symptoms that characterises dementia, with focus on Alzheimer's disease.
24:34
December 28, 2018
Could humans ever photosynthesise?
Emma T (Year 13 Biology student) discusses the mechanisms that might allow humans to use photosynthesis.
09:45
December 28, 2018
Forensic Facial identification
Just how unreliable are facial composites based on eyewitness testimony, and how might biometrics help?
20:09
December 28, 2018
How dangerous is fake medical news?
With stories of 'miracle cures' for diseases like cancer being shared thousands of times on social media, Mr I considers the consequences of fake medical news.
15:19
December 28, 2018
What are innate behaviours?
Why do we have innate behaviours, and what distinguishes them from learnt responses?
11:46
December 28, 2018
Counting down the Top 10 Deadly Poisons
The Top 10 Deadly Poisons are revealed in the first KYTOS Biology Podcast - with reference to real life cases!
20:42
December 28, 2018