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KYTOS Biology

KYTOS Biology

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

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'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 for details.
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Why dogs are so loving - A Genetic Explanation

KYTOS Biology

How will doctors practice medicine in 2031? (with Ellie MH)
2020 proved to us all that health is unpredictable. The pandemic, not only catalysed a global crisis as services were strained and lives were lost, but also forever altered the way we practice medicine. We saw a 50% drop in A&E visits, whilst more importantly a great proportion of appointments were moved online. This shows the great adaptability and resilience of our healthcare system, which will see doctors adapt the way they practice medicine in 2031 to overcome future challenges. In this podcast, Year 12 biologist Ellie MH discusses how exactly this might look.
November 29, 2021
Therapies and Treatment for Autism
Autism is lifelong developmental disorder with no known cures. A significant amount of research has been conducted into the causes of autism and research is increasing into the treatment of autism. Given that research has indicated there appears to be functional and structural differences in the brains of individuals with autism as well as the fact the main symptoms of autism are displayed behaviourally; drug therapy and behaviour interventions, such as ABA have been cited as the two main recognised and proven treatments. It is important to state that treatment for autism is not a one size fits all approach. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
October 30, 2021
Killing Wildlife - Should we ever cull animals?
Culling is defined as the killing of animals in order to reduce population numbers. Culls can happen for various reasons, including health and disease control and prevention, or to protect other species. However, the ethics make the subject a strongly polarising one, and while culling in some cases may be necessary, it can be unclear when culling should take place, as there can be unforeseen consequences, both ecologically and economically. (With thanks to U6 Biologist Alice W for conducting the research and providing content for this podcast)
October 30, 2021
Great Biologists of Our Time - Gregor Mendel
There's no doubt that Gregor Mendel is one of the great biologists of our time. His findings on inheritance led to multiple new fields of research, most notably genetics, in which breakthroughs have revolutionised biology and medicine. His work helped to create the modern understanding of how evolution and selection works, and his mathematical methods of analysis inspired a new approach to experiments, involving models and statistics. In this podcast, I'll explain the significance of his work, how he went about his initial research, and why the 'father of genetics' really is one of the greats. (With thanks to U6 Biologist Alice W for conducting the research and providing the content for this podcast)
October 29, 2021
Mapping the Mind - Reviewing Famous Case Studies of Brain Injury
Sometimes, scientists can take advantage of real-world incidents to help us understand the function of particular parts of the brain. Psychologists can carry out case studies on people who have experienced bran injuries. They are not interested so much in the actual injury, but what that injury can tell us about the normal functions of the brain. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
October 25, 2021
Explanations of Near Death Experiences
There will always be elements of near death experiences (NDE's) that are difficult to explain scientifically. This is partly because researchers are entirely dependent on the reports people provide of their individual experience, which means the data is received second-hand and there is no way of verifying that the report given is accurate. Some researchers have tried to address this by artificially simulating NDEs in laboratories, using drugs. Even here though, the researchers are still not able to directly experience the NDE for the participant. However, by using a mixture of different methods which explore real-life experiences as well as laboratory-induced ones, it becomes possible to triangulate these findings in order to increase our understanding. Nonetheless, it is unlikely that research will give us a full understanding of NDEs and, even if it did, it is unlikely that everyone would accept these insights; whatever causes NDEs, the effect of having one seems to be highly profound, meaning people are likely to formulate their own explanations of what they experienced in order to draw meaning from their own vivid experience. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
October 24, 2021
The Stanford Prison Experiment
Are ‘ordinary’ people capable of carrying out wicked and immoral acts against other individuals, if the context suggests that is what is expected of them? These are the questions that Philip Zimbardo was trying to answer in his infamous study, 50 years ago. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
October 24, 2021
The Hidden Dangers of Vaping
Just one week before I recorded this podcast, the FDA, the Food and Drug Administration authorised e-cigarette products for use in the US for the first time ever, claiming that...'the benefit to adults trying to quit smoking outweighs the risk to young'. Vaping is often seen as the 'safer' alternative but research suggests that this is simply not the case; in fact, inhalation of vapour is leading to irreversible lung damage, malignant transformation (cancers) and increasing the risk of CHD and other neurological conditions in those who vape. In this podcast, I'll explore these 'hidden dangers', and consider what options we have for protecting society - given the relentless advertising targeting young adults, and the sale of unregulated vaping devices, is this even possible?
October 23, 2021
Sniffing out the Truth with Forensic Odorology
How keen is your sense of smell? Well, according to new research published in Frontiers in Psychology, people who witnessed a crime are able to identify criminals by their smell. Police line-ups normally rely on sight, but nose-witnesses can be just as reliable as eye-witnesses. It's not quite time to replace the sniffer dogs, however; the 2010 America Vs Wade case highlights the significance of human scent evidence from canine trails and its importance to forensic investigations. In fact, understanding the pattern of change of the chemicals that make up the scent during the process of decomposition could be of huge benefit to forensic science. Not only could it help determining the time of death of a victim, it could also lead to more scientifically rigorous training of cadaver dogs. All of these ideas are explored further in this fascinating podcast about Forensic Odorology and the Science of smells. 
October 21, 2021
Spotting the Fakes - Forensic Document Analysis
Forensics labs are frequently asked to examine documents to determine if they have been altered or forged. An altered document is an original, valid document that has been changed in some way. For example, one common type of altered document is a cheque in which the numbers have been changed to increase the amount drawn. A forged document is one that is created from scratch to masquerade as a valid document, or a valid document to which a page or pages has been added to alter the meaning or intent of the original document. Forensic document examiners use several methods to determine the validity of a questioned document. The first step is always to examine the document with the naked eye and under low magnification. A surprisingly large percentage of forgeries are so crudely done that the forgery is obvious even on cursory examination. If the document passes this first “sniff test,” forensic document examiners have many other tools available.
July 25, 2021
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) - A Short Introduction
COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is the term given to a group of diseases which affect the lungs. These include emphysema and chronic bronchitis. They are inflammatory diseases and will obstruct air flow to and from the lungs. There is no cure for COPD as it causes permanent lung damage. Treatment can slow down the progression of the condition. However, people with COPD are also at increased risk of developing heart disease, lung cancer and other chronic illnesses. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
July 25, 2021
Obesity as a Genetic Problem
Obesity is rising dramatically across the world. Since 1975 it is estimated that the number of obese people has almost tripled. One of the chronic diseases that is linked to obesity is type 2 diabetes. The dramatic rise in individuals suffering from this disease is causing a global medical emergency. In a world where our knowledge of the importance of diet and exercise is at a peak, the battle against being overweight is being lost. Scientists worldwide have attempted to find a link between obesity and genotype. Individuals vary greatly in their tendency to lay down fat in the body. This suggests that there is a genetic predisposition to fat storage. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
July 23, 2021
The Dirt Hypothesis, Allergies and Autoimmune Disease
By not being exposed to agents that stimulate our immune system in infancy, we are at greater risk of developing inflammatory responses and autoimmune diseases in later life. Some scientists vigorously reject the hypothesis, arguing that the term hygiene hypothesis was potentially dangerous. This is because it might lead people to believe that they were too clean and would neglect their cleanliness. The simple message is that neglecting personal hygiene will not reduce allergies or autoimmune diseases but could lead to an increase in infectious diseases. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
July 23, 2021
Sepsis - The Hidden Killer
Sepsis is a condition which results from an uncontrolled and disorganised reaction of the body to an infection. If it is caught at an early stage, a combination of treatments can help to cure it. However, sepsis has the power to kill if left either undiagnosed or untreated. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
July 18, 2021
Medicine Through Time: Part 1 - Prehistory, Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece
How did people in the past treat illness, injury and disease? What medicines or 'magic' did they use? In this first of a series of short podcasts, I explore the concept of natural illness vs the supernatural in prehistoric times, the healers and priests of Ancient Egypt and their meticulous medical records on papyri, and how the Ancient Greeks moved from Asclepion medicine to Hippocratic medicine as their knowledge and understanding developed.  
February 18, 2021
'Death Of A Naturalist' - The Biology of Inevitable Change in Heaney's Seminal Poem (with Felicia Isaacs)
English teacher Felicia Isaacs joins KYTOS once again, to discuss the Biology behind one of her favourite poems, 'Death of a Naturalist', by renowned Irish poet Seamus Heaney. In this seminal piece of work, small tadpoles undergo metamorphosis into frogs, and this inevitable change causes a young Seamus to question his love for nature, and the destiny awaiting all living things. 
February 18, 2021
Hormones and Their Influence on Emotion and Behaviour
Hormones are chemical messengers that have a specific physiological effect in the body. Research suggests that hormones also have considerable influence on behaviour and emotion in both human and non-human animals. This supports the notion that behaviour and emotion have physiological origins. It is not appropriate, however, to say that hormones cause behaviour but that hormones influence behaviour. Research highlights the interaction between physiological factors and environmental stimuli, supporting a correlational effect. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
February 18, 2021
The Drugs Don't Work - Will viruses replace antibiotics in the fight against superbugs?
In the hope that it might provide a solution to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance, a new treatment is currently receiving a lot of attention. Based on a naturally occurring phenomenon this potential solution lies with a group of viruses called bacteriophages. When most people think of viruses, they usually imagine the ones that infect humans and cause diseases like flu, measles, rabies or Ebola. However, humans are not the only organisms that suffer from viral infections. Viruses can also infect plants, fungi and more crucially - bacteria. Bacteria infected by phages are turned into virus-making factories, producing and releasing huge numbers of new bacteriophages when they burst open (lyse) and die. Incredibly, Bacteriophages cannot infect human cells. Scientists are interested in the potential use of phages as an alternative to antibiotics for treating bacterial infections. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
February 13, 2021
Is Earth the only living planet?
There is evidence that, when the solar system was young, conditions on Mars and Venus may have been suitable for life. The surface of Mars has clearly been altered by water in the past and it may still exist deep underground. Venus is the nearest planet to Earth and is almost identical to Earth in both size and geological composition. Recent research has suggested that, long ago, Venus could have been Earth’s sister planet, complete with rivers and life. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
February 13, 2021
Coral Reef Ecology - Formation, Threats and Conservation
Coral reefs are widely regarded as some of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. They provide habitat for approximately 25% of all marine species but surprisingly account for a microscopic 0.1% of the world’s ocean surface. Coral reefs are continually under threat from both natural and anthropogenic (human) factors. In this podcast, I will explore the different types of coral along with their specific growth requirements, the various and very real threats they face, and more importantly, the wide-ranging conservation efforts underway to protect these valuable resources. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
February 12, 2021
Dissociative Identity Disorder - A Research Case Study
In this podcast, I discuss the characteristics of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), also known as Multiple Personality Disorder and review the evidence presented in Thigpen and Cleckley’s’ (1954) case study of a person with three distinctly different personalities. It is called a dissociative disorder because there is a division , or dissociation between areas of the person’s conscious awareness. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
December 27, 2020
The Biology of Prostate Cancer
The prostate gland grows in men at puberty and secretes the fluid that carries the sperm. It remains a constant size until about the age of forty, then it begins to grow again. About 50% of men aged 60 have some enlargement of the prostate gland and this rises to 90% at the age of 80. This  enlargement may be benign – effectively harmless. However, it may be a sign of prostate cancer, the most common type of cancer in men. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
December 27, 2020
Making a Monster - The Biology behind Shelley's Frankenstein
The biology behind Shelley's Frankenstein in an unquestionably fascinating subject. Since the bicentenary of the novel, Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus, the field of Medicine has progressed beyond recognition. Yet the overwhelming message that comes across to the reader, and indeed the world, is that we can never allow our egos to presume that we, mere mortals, can play God; this was Victor's terrifying downfall. In this thought-provoking podcast, I explore ideas such as tissue preservation, decay prevention and stimulation of tissues using electrical currents. (With thanks to English teacher Felicia Isaacs for conducting the research and providing the content for this podcast)
December 24, 2020
That Gut Feeling – Maintaining a Healthy Microbiome and The Possible Benefits of Probiotics
Many biologists consider the microbes in our bodies to be, effectively, another body organ. The bacteria in our intestines help to release nutrients from the food we ingest, manufacture crucial vitamins, protect against infection by out-competing other, harmful bacteria and interact genetically with the immune system reducing inflammation, to name but a few examples. These undisputed benefits are the basis for the adverts that claim we should all be taking probiotics - live microorganisms, which when ingested in adequate amounts, improve a person’s heath. In this podcast, I explore how we can all keep our microbiomes healthy (the genetic material of all the microbes - bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses that live on and inside the human body) and critically assess the evidence that probiotics can improve overall gut health. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
December 24, 2020
Arson and Forensic Fire Investigation
Actions taken at the outset of an investigation at a fire and arson scene can play a pivotal role in the resolution of a case. Careful, thorough investigation is key to ensuring that potential physical evidence is not tainted or destroyed, or potential witnesses overlooked. Arthur Conan Doyle’s literary detective Sherlock Holmes is quoted as saying, 'It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly, one begins to twist facts to suit theories instead of theories to suit facts.' As Holmes pointed out, many types of investigations are susceptible to prejudgment, but few as often as fire scene investigations. Fires, by their destructive nature, consume the evidence of their initiation and progress as they grow. Investigations are compromised, and often scenes are further destroyed by the activities of the fire service, whose primary responsibilities are to save lives and protect property against further damage. In this podcast, I explore how cases of arson are determined, the motivating factors for someone to commit such an attack and what fire patters can reveal to the trained eye. I also make reference to a number of high profile cases involving fire investigations. 
December 23, 2020
Forensic Entomology - Using insects to solve crimes
Forensic entomology involves the application of insect and other arthropod biology in legal investigations. Imagine a scenario whereby a dead body has been discovered in a wood - one way of estimating how long it has been there is to identify the insects that have colonised it. The first insects to colonise an above-ground body are true flies (order Diptera). They may arrive within minutes of death and deposit maggots (in the case of flesh-flies) or lay their eggs (blowflies) in wounds or in the mouth, eyes or nostrils; houseflies arrive a little later. Blowflies undergo metamorphosis and their life cycle has four stages; egg, larva (maggot), pupa and adult. The larval stage has three distinct substages, instars, and because we know how long each stage lasts, the presence of any stage can be used to date the arrival of the colonising fly. In this podcast, I explore this process of faunal succession, and give details of two real-life murder cases where entomological evidence proved critical.  
December 20, 2020
Neuroplasticity and Functional Recovery of the Brain After Trauma
Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to alter its structure and function in response to new learning or changes in the environment. Therefore, when it is said that the human brain is ‘plastic’, it means malleable and able to change. This may seem impossible, but our brains are constantly changing from the moment we are born. Each time we learn or experience something new, synaptic connections and neural pathways are formed and the more that we use them, the stronger they become. Functional recovery of the brain after trauma is about how the brain manages to adapt and repair its structure and functioning after suffering damage, including head injuries, strokes, tumours and infections. Through neuroplasticity, the brain is able to change in order to compensate for the loss of function. It is thought that the brain is able to rewire and reorganise itself by activating and taking over existing, but rarely used neural pathways close to the area that has been damaged in order to regain functioning. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
December 20, 2020
The Re-emergence of Whooping Cough
Whooping cough, also called ‘the cough of 100 days’, is an acute and highly contagious disease of the upper respiratory tract caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. It is transmitted via droplets in the air from coughing and sneezing. The main symptoms are severe bouts of coughing, often followed by vomiting. Before the introduction of a whooping cough vaccine in the 1950s, whooping cough was a major cause of infant death, with more than 120,000 infections annually in the UK. Vaccination was incredibly successful and resulted in a 99% fall in incidence. However, worldwide (mostly in developing countries), it still kills nearly 200,000 infants and adolescents annually. In this podcast, I explore why we're now seeing a re-emergence of whooping cough in the UK, particularly in older children and adults. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
December 20, 2020
Understanding Dyslexia
Dyslexia is a learning disorder that can be explained by cognitive psychology and theories of memory. Evidence from fMRI scans show that the brain functions differently in a person with dyslexia, resulting in strengths and limitations. It affects the ability to develop effective reading skills due to difficulties with working memory, processing skills and phonological awareness. The view of dyslexia is moving away from a deficit model to one of difference in cognitive processes, supported by evidence from brain scans and other research. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
December 18, 2020
Human Egg Freezing
Why would someone elect to have their eggs frozen? The main reason is to store these delicate cells so that they can be used in the future. The technique of freezing and storing sperm cells and embryos has been undertaken for many years. However, the use of frozen eggs for infertility treatment is a relatively new technique. Eggs do not freeze as well as embryos, and in fact, fertilisation of a frozen egg is less likely to result in pregnancy. In this podcast, I will explore the processes involved in freezing eggs, namely the use of cryoprotectant and vitrification, and will discuss both the advantages and disadvantages of undergoing such treatment. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
December 18, 2020
Top Tips for writing a Personal Statement
I've been teaching for well over a decade now, and in that time, I’ve supported countless medics, vets, dentists, biomed students, biological sciences undergraduates and a whole host of other applicants with their personal statements for university. Some have been truly fantastic, and undoubtedly would have helped them in securing offers from their first choice destinations – some have left a lot to be desired, lets say; not outright terrible, but missing the core purpose of what the personal statement is meant to be - the clue is in the name, something ‘personal'. Some statements that I've read have felt so detached, so based on opinion and random fact, as opposed to anything unique to the applicant. This podcast is all about me giving you my top tips for writing the personal statement. I am going to be making particular reference to medicine to give the podcast a framework, but the advice I'm giving applies to lots of different courses. 
December 15, 2020
The Social Psychology of Sport
The situational factors that influence any type of social interaction (e.g. the physical environment, the presence of other people) can be applied to sport in very specific ways. This podcast will consider some of the theories and studies that can be applied when considering the topic of sport within social contexts. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
December 14, 2020
The Blood Clotting Cascade
It is crucial that animals with a cardiovascular system can slow (and ultimately prevent) blood loss from injury or damage to body tissues. In addition, the skin (and accompanying secretions from sebaceous glands) is a highly effective barrier to pathogens such as bacteria, viruses and fungi. The repair of skin is vital to the prevention of contraction of infectious diseases. The faster the organism can ‘plug the leak’, the less blood loss will occur and the chance of infection will be reduced. In this podcast, I will explain how the blood clotting cascade is initiated, and describe the interactions between the different molecules involved in the process. I'll look in detail at some of the genetic conditions linked to problems with the blood clotting cascade mechanism and will explore how some venomous animals use blood clotting biochemistry to their advantage. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
December 8, 2020
How long can humans live for? – The feasibility of an age-defying population
As we begin to unlock the secrets held in our DNA, we could all live healthier, for a lot longer - but how much longer is the key question…how far can we push the boundaries? How do we defy the natural phenomenon of ageing...but more importantly, what implications would it have? In this podcast, I’d like to explore the current scientific and medical restrictions on life and how with advances in science, we may be able to overcome them. This in itself raises a number of serious concerns; what might the social, economic, and ethical implications be of everyone living the lives truly to the fullest – with an ever increasing population, how does that affect access to resources, which as we know, are limited? (With thanks to Manon S for conducting the research and providing the content for this podcast)
December 8, 2020
Can rewilding rebalance the UK’s ecosystem?
Rewilding offers a possible solution to reverse our rapidly deteriorating rural landscape. The natural world is often seen as a resource merely to exploit and the hunting of wild animals in the UK was only banned in 2004. The reintroduction of key species would have positive ecological consequences; a reduction in the number of invasive species, a reduction in the level of soil erosion and the straightening of river channels thereby creating more diverse wildlife habitats, to name but a few. In this podcast, I will discuss the ability of rewilding to potentially rebalance the UK’s landscape. (With thanks to Grace B for conducting the research and providing the content for this podcast)
November 5, 2020
Should we continue to kill sharks?
Around 273 million sharks are killed each year globally. They’re feared as the archetypal killing machine, and there’s profit to be made from shark-derived products; but they may be more economically and environmentally valuable alive than dead. This podcast will evaluate the psychological, economical, gastronomical, medical, ethical and ecological arguments for killing these creatures as opposed to protecting them, and in doing so, will aim to answer the question of whether: should we continue to kill sharks? (With thanks to Frankie R for conducting the research and providing the content for this podcast)
October 29, 2020
How do viruses affect global health?
Worldwide, the number of potential pathogens is very large, while the resources for disease research and development is limited. To ensure efforts under the World Health Organisation’s blueprint are focused and productive, a list of diseases and pathogens are prioritized for research in public health emergency contexts – what is fascinating, is that nearly all pathogens on the list are viruses. In this podcast, I will explore how particular viruses have shaped healthcare on a global scale. (With thanks to Hephzibah P for conducting the research and providing the content for this podcast)
October 29, 2020
Why do Good People do Bad Things? - A Psychological Perspective
We are all born with the neural architecture and ability to develop empathy and compassion, but to remain a good person, we must have a series of positive experiences throughout our lives. The Pygmalion effect may certainly account for why people choose to do bad things, but perhaps we should consider other psychological forces; cognitive dissonance, conformity, and obedience to authority. In this podcast, I will explore why good people do bad things - from a phycological perspective. (With thanks to Jess B for conducting the research and providing the content for this podcast)
October 29, 2020
The Influence of Religious Beliefs on Healthcare
The perceived role of God in illness and recovery is a primary influence upon the health care beliefs and behaviours of people. Only by understanding an individual's religious beliefs can medical practitioners effectively meet their health care needs, a concept which I examine in this extended podcast. (With thanks to Akpenpuun Joyce Rumun for conducting the research and providing the content for this podcast. Joyce specialises in medical sociology, and lectures at the Benue State University, Nigeria)
October 26, 2020
Yellow Fever in Brazil
In May 2017, the Brazilian government declared an end to the public health emergency posed by the Zika Virus. Now, a new disease is threatening Brazil. An outbreak of yellow fever in rural parts of the country is spreading towards urban areas, creating a risk to neighbouring countries in the Americas. Yellow fever is a haemorrhagic disease, spread by mosquitoes. In this podcast, I discuss the symptoms of the condition, the role of vectors in transmitting disease and how yellow fever can be controlled. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
October 25, 2020
Science and The Death Penalty in the United States
Since capital punishment was reinstated by the US Supreme Court in 1976, 932 people have been put to death via lethal injection, 154 by electrocution, 11 by means of the gas chamber, 3 have been hung and 2 have been killed by firing squad. These 5 methods of execution are the most commonly used in the US today; what I want to do in this podcast is to better understand the methods used, the science behind them - especially given that a 2020 survey revealed that only 36% of citizens supported the death penalty.
October 20, 2020
The Origins of Attraction
We might perceive attraction as a free choice, but scientists have provided a number of different explanations about how attraction happens. Physiological theories can be divided into evolutionary explanations, which are based on primitive instincts to mate and be looked after, and biological explanations, which examine the role of hormones and neurotransmitters in the process of attraction. Other explanations focus on psychological concepts such as perceived similarity, while social explanations examine the role that vicinity and experience can play in attraction. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
October 17, 2020
Why should we all care about Plankton?
Microscopic plankton are essential components of aquatic food chains and food webs. They are amongst the most abundant organisms on the planet, yet many people underestimate the environmental impact of plankton destruction. In this podcast, I aim to shed some light on the key roles that phytoplankton and zooplankton play in ecosystems, and in doing so, hope to answer the question - why should we care? (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
October 17, 2020
Treating Meningitis using Vaccines
Meningitis is an acute inflammation of the membranes (meninges) that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. As there are numerous causes of meningitis, there is no one vaccination to offer protection because, for example, the HiB bacterium will have different surface molecules to the MenB bacterium so won’t stimulate an immune response. In this podcast, I discuss the different types of conjugate and non-conjugate vaccines currently used to prevent meningitis, and other related infections. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
October 17, 2020
The Addictive Personality
One theory of addiction (and one that has popular appeal outside of psychology) is that of the addictive personality. This theory states that some people have a personality type that predisposes them towards addictive behaviour. This personality is caused by differences in the biological make up of individuals. It has been argued that people with this personality type are prone towards addictive behaviour, and are more likely than people with other personality types to become addicted to a substance or behaviour. In this podcast, I aim to give an overview of the theory of addictive personality, explaining the three parts of personality as identified by Eysenck, including their biological basis. I provide research evidence that both supports and contradicts this theory,  with an evaluation of whether it can account for addictive behaviour. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
October 16, 2020
The Role of Emotion in Forgetting
In order to understand forgetting, we must have an understanding of memory. According to the Oxford English Dictionary memory is “the faculty by which the mind stores and remembers information.” Forgetting therefore is our inability to retrieve information from our memory. Some argue that when emotions impact on memory, then forgetting is an unwillingness to remember information rather than an inability to do so. The main consideration in exploring the impact of emotion on forgetting is whether we forget for a reason. It has been suggested that when we forget, the information is not lost forever; it is simply inaccessible to us for a number of reasons. One suggestion is that forgetting serves a purpose, to protect us emotionally. In this podcast, I explore this fascinating concept. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
October 12, 2020
Development of Intelligence in Children
The view that we are born with a certain level of fixed intelligence is outdated. The environment plays a role in the way children are nurtured and it contributes to their development of intelligence. Children develop on their existing intelligence through numerous factors in their environment namely the positive relationship with their primary caregiver, opportunities to explore, play, learn and rehearse. Perhaps the way to look at it is that our intelligence is like a seed that is implanted in us and how that seed of intelligence is fed, watered and nurtured determines how well the intelligence grows. Who we are as adults is shaped by our childhood experiences and attachments; this has to include our intelligence too! (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
October 11, 2020
Research into Telepathy - Is it Science or Science Fiction?
Many would argue that until we can develop ways of empirically demonstrating how alleged telepathic communication occurs, research into telepathy will always rely on disputable methods, almost entirely reliant on controversial ways of judging probability and significance. It is perhaps for this reason that mainstream science regards the field of parapsychology as a pseudoscience and the subject almost never appears in mainstream science journals. In this podcast, I explore the techniques and procedures researchers have employed to prove the existence of telepathic communication - extrasensory perception taking place outside of the known sensory realm. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
August 20, 2020
Ageing - The Biology of Senescence
An adult organism is not a static being but continues to change and develop, until the developmental processes are brought to an end by death. The word ‘ageing’ describes the developmental changes that lead, over time, to the deterioration of the mature organism. Ageing is a complex process which involves interactions between a number of biochemical mechanisms. The effects of these act at the molecular, cell, tissue and whole   organism levels. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
August 20, 2020
Sex, Gender and Androgyny
The concept of androgyny, it has been suggested, offers a means of transcending the duality of gender differences imposed by culture. Once gender polarities are reduced, traditional sex and gender differences can be broken down. In this podcast, I explore the concepts of sex, gender and androgyny, and aim to provide psychological evidence to support those concepts. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
August 18, 2020
Treating Schizophrenia - Comparing Behavioural and Psychoactive Therapies
Schizophrenia is a severe mental health disorder characterised by psychosis and the inability to recognise reality. Positive symptoms of the disorder are those which happen in addition to everyday experiences, including hallucinations and delusions, whereas negative symptoms are those that take away from such experiences, such as avolition and speech poverty. In this podcast, I describe the five main therapeutic techniques employed in patients with Schizophrenia; Drug therapy, Cognitive behaviour therapy, Family therapy, Token economies and the Interactionist approach. These methods of treatment are compared in terms of overall effectiveness in reducing symptoms, and their ability to ultimately prevent relapse. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
August 18, 2020
What can mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) tell us?
For a long time, biologists believed that our DNA resided only in the nucleus, the large organelle acting as the control centre in our cells. It wasn't until 1963, when scientists Margrit and Sylvan Nass at Stockholm University discovered DNA fibres in mitochondria using electron microscopy. Our mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) accounts for a small portion of our total DNA. In fact, it contains just 40 of the 20,000 to 25,000 protein-coding genes in our body, however, it is notably distinct from nuclear DNA. Unlike nuclear DNA, which comes from both parents, mitochondrial DNA comes only from the mother. In this podcast, I explain the significance of this key biological difference, and explore what other roles this fascinating molecule plays in our bodies. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)
August 16, 2020
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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.
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. 
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)
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)
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)
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?
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)
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)
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)
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)
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!
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)
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)
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)
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.  
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. 
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)
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. 
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.
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.
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. 
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. 
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?!
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.
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. 
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. 
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?
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'. 
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.
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'.
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)
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!
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.
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. 
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 
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. 
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.
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.
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.
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). 
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)
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)
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.  
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. 
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.
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. 
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.
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)
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)
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. 
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. 
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.
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. 
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. 
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. 
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. 
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. 
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). 
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.
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. 
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.
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. 
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. 
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.
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.
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'.
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.  
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!
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.  
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.   
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. 
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.   
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. 
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’.
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. 
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. 
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. 
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?
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. 
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. 
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?
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. 
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. 
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. 
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.  
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?
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. 
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. 
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. 
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.
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. 
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.
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?
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? 
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?
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?
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.
December 28, 2018
Could humans ever photosynthesise?
Emma T (Year 13 Biology student) discusses the mechanisms that might allow humans to use photosynthesis.
December 28, 2018
Forensic Facial identification
Just how unreliable are facial composites based on eyewitness testimony, and how might biometrics help?
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.
December 28, 2018
What are innate behaviours?
Why do we have innate behaviours, and what distinguishes them from learnt responses?
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!
December 28, 2018