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Scientist the Human Podcast

Scientist the Human Podcast

By Simranjit Singh
A laid-back conversation with scientists engaged in exciting work. We will discuss their research and explore the path these individuals took in getting to where they are today. My goal is to get to know the human behind the scientist. Join in!
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STH - E27 Dr. Mario Suva
Dr. Mario Suva is an Associate Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, is affiliated with the Neuro-Oncology program at Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, and is a member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Dr. Suva's lab focuses on the biology of brain tumors, using single-cell technologies to dissect cellular heterogeneity and plasticity. Furthermore, recent work from his lab describes an atlas of glioma-infiltrating T cells, which we discuss in this episode. For more information, visit his lab page: Suva Lab
47:35
February 18, 2021
STH - E26 Dr. Mariella G. Filbin
Dr. Mariella G. Filbin is an Attending Physician of Pediatric Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, and an Associate Member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. The Filbin Lab focuses its efforts on studying pediatric brain tumors, particularly lethal high-grade gliomas, including diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) and malignant embryonal brain tumors. Dr. Filbin's approach to understanding these tumors involves genomic technologies such as single cell RNA sequencing, which we discuss in this episode. For more information, visit her lab page: Filbin Lab
36:17
September 13, 2019
STH - E25 Laura Valente
Laura Valente is a PhD student in the Department of Pathology at Duke University School of Medicine. She conducts research in the lab of Dr. Anthony Filiano, who is a faculty member in the Neurosurgery, Immunology, and Pathology departments at Duke. Laura's work focuses on developing mouse models of thymus transplants done in patients to understand the underlying mechanisms of thymus transplant efficacy. Recently, Laura took part in a science advocacy workshop called Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering (CASE), held by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). In this episode, we discuss Laura's research and her recent crash course in science advocacy. For more information on Laura's research, please visit the Filiano Lab website. For more information on the CASE workshop, please visit the AAAS CASE website.
27:49
June 26, 2019
STH - E24 Dr. Kris Wood
Dr. Kris Wood is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology and the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Duke University. The Wood Lab utilizes functional genomics approaches to uncover targetable vulnerabilities in different types of human cancers. Much of this work is driven by investigation of the complex signaling networks that drive tumor formation and progression. Dr. Wood's research also leads to identification of combinatorial treatment strategies for cancers that evolve to develop resistance to monotherapies. For more information visit his lab page: Wood Lab
38:37
April 20, 2018
STH - E23 Dr. Herman Staats
Dr. Herman Staats is a Professor and the Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Pathology at Duke University School of Medicine. Broadly, the Staats Lab focuses on vaccines and immunity. The lab's main projects include identifying and characterizing new adjuvants, and optimizing nasal immunization for use in humans. An adjuvant is any substance co-administered with a vaccine to enhance the immune response to the vaccine, and we discuss this topic in detail in this episode. For more information visit his lab page: Staats Lab  
26:55
March 01, 2018
STH - E22 Katie Stember
Katie Stember is a PhD candidate in the lab of Dr. Ronald Falk at the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine. Broadly speaking, Katie works on a family of autoimmune diseases called antineutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibody (ANCA) vasculitis, which affects blood vessels throughout the body. Her research focuses on the interaction between autoreactive T cells and known self-antigens in this disease, which we discuss in detail in this episode. In addition to being a biomedical researcher, Katie is the founder and curator of Scientists of North Carolina, a Facebook page dedicated to bringing the public closer to scientists and their stories.
28:40
October 04, 2017
STH - E21 Eric Wang
Eric Wang is a PhD candidate in the lab of Dr. Iannis Aifantis at the NYU School of Medicine. Broadly speaking, Eric's research focuses on transcriptional regulation during leukemia initiation. To this end, he recently conducted a pooled CRISPR screen on about 500 target genes, from which a gene involved in RNA splicing emerged as a top candidate as being required for leukemia cells to live. In addition to this screen, we discuss Eric's unique path to his current position and his recent PhD qualifying exam. For more information on Eric's and Dr. Aifantis' research, visit his lab page: Aifantis Lab
28:32
July 04, 2017
STH - E20 Dr. Aristotelis Tsirigos
Dr. Aristotelis Tsirigos is an Associate Professor of Pathology and the Director of the Applied Bioinformatics Center at the NYU School of Medicine, where his group uses computational methods to study biology. In particular, his work has centered around using computer science to elucidate epigenetic alterations in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, also known as T-ALL. Prior to joining NYU as a faculty member, Dr. Tsirigos worked as a Research Scientist at IBM, which we discuss in this episode. For more information visit his lab page: Tsirigos Lab
38:34
June 19, 2017
STH - E19 Dr. Yiping He
Dr. Yiping He is an Assistant Professor of Pathology at Duke University, where his lab focuses on exploiting genetic alterations for cancer treatments, particularly for glioblastoma (GBM), a type of brain tumor. Another area of focus in the He Lab is medulloblastoma, which is a type of malignant pediatric brain tumor located in the cerebellum, the lower-rear area of the brain. One of the ways Dr. He conducts this research is using patient-derived tumor tissue, which we discuss in this episode. For more information visit his web page: He Lab
32:22
June 11, 2017
STH - E18 Dr. Bryan Field
Dr. Bryan Field is an Assistant Professor of Physics at SUNY Farmingdale on Long Island, New York. He is a theoretical particle physicist, and his work focuses on understanding results from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN and in the past he has actively collaborated on experiments involving ATLAS, which is one of two general-purpose detectors at the LHC. In particular, Dr. Fields is interested in the properties of the recently discovered Higgs Boson in the Standard Model of particle physics, as well as a concept known as supersymmetry, which is discussed at length in this episode. For more information visit his web page: Dr. Bryan Field
01:05:28
June 02, 2017
STH - E17 Dr. Vanja Sisirak
Dr. Vanja Sisirak is a Research Associate in the department of Pathology at the NYU School of Medicine. He is a member of the Reizis Lab, where he studies the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus, an autoimmune disease in which the the body's immune system attacks "self" rather than foreign pathogens. Although lupus is difficult to diagnose, an interesting marker of this disease is the presence of antibodies against one's own double-stranded DNA, which is among the topics discussed in this episode. For more information, visit the Reizis Lab web page.
48:16
May 20, 2017
STH - E16 Dr. Sarah LeBoeuf
Dr. Sarah LeBoeuf is a postdoctoral researcher in the department of Pathology at the NYU School of Medicine. She is a member of the Papagiannakopoulos Lab, where she uses genetically engineered mouse models to study the role of mitochondria and reactive oxygen species stress in the development and progression of lung cancer. Among the goals of Dr. LeBoeuf's research is to elucidate the metabolic rewiring of cancer cells of specific genetic backgrounds so that they can be targeted therapeutically with small molecule drugs. For more information, visit the Papagiannakopoulos Lab web page.
29:35
October 28, 2016
STH - E15 Joey Verdi
Joey Verdi is a PhD candidate in the lab of Dr. Jayne Raper at CUNY-Hunter College, where he is conducting research on the apolipoprotein L-1 (apoL1) gene and its variants across multiple species of primates and monkeys. The apoL1 protein produced by this gene is a part of a larger complex of proteins termed trypanosome lytic factors (TLFs), which contribute to the innate immunity of primates against African trypanosomes, a flagellated parasite. Joey's work lends itself to the Transgenic Cattle Project and in this episode we discuss his involvement in this endeavor.
32:37
February 14, 2016
STH - E14 Dr. Andrew Hill
Dr. Andrew Hill is a cognitive neuroscientist and lecturer at UCLA. He conducts research on attention and cognitive performance, and he is the Lead Neuroscientist for truBrain, a start-up that offers nootropic supplements, in the form of capsules and drinks (nootropics are drugs that may enhance memory and focus, however much of the research elucidating mechanisms of action of these drugs remains to be done). Dr. Hill is also a cofounder of Alternatives Addiction Treatment, a start-up that offers addiction treatment on the basis of biofeedback, discussed in this episode. For more information, visit the websites of truBrain and Alternatives Addiction Treatment.
01:09:55
September 28, 2015
STH - E13 Dr. Ernest Davis
Dr. Ernest Davis is a professor of computer science at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University. He is an expert on artificial intelligence - he studies the problem of representing commonsense knowledge (basic knowledge about the real world that is common to all humans) and expressing it in a form that is systematic enough to be used by a computer program. Dr. Davis' research includes topics such as the problem of reasoning about containers and the ontology of matter, both of which are discussed in this episode. We also go into detail about potential applications and whether or not artifical intelligence poses a threat. Visit his website for more information here.
49:37
June 27, 2015
STH - E12 Dr. Adric Riedel & Paige Godfrey
Dr. Adric Riedel is a postdoctoral researcher in astrophysics and astronomy at the College of Staten Island in the City University of New York, focusing on local galactic kinematics and low mass and nearby stars. Paige Godfrey is an astrophysics and astronomy PhD student at the City University of New York, interested in studying the formation and evolution of low mass substellar objects. Among the topics both these researchers are interested in are brown dwarfs, discussed in this episode. Follow Dr. Adric Riedel's astronomical research here. Follow Paige Godfrey's thoughts on space here.
50:42
June 20, 2015
STH - E11 Dr. Andrew Darwin
Dr. Andrew Darwin is a bacteriologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology at the NYU School of Medicine. His research focuses on bacterial cell envelope functions that prevent or respond to cellular stress occurring as pathogens infect their hosts. His lab use genetics, molecular biology, and biochemistry, along with various infection models, to study the human pathogens Yersinia enterocolitica and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Visit his lab page for more information: Darwin Lab
49:52
May 08, 2015
STH - E10 Graduate Experience
In this episode we chat with students who have taken the first big steps in their scientific careers. Included are PhD students and a master's degree student to provide different points of view on the research process, as well as varying pieces of advice for those interested in taking the scientific path. Featured on this episode (in order of appearance): Liza Miller, Research Assistant @ Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Master's student @ CUNY Hunter College Stefan Evans, PhD candidate in physics @ University of Arizona Joe Giovinazzo, PhD candidate in biology @ CUNY Hunter College Jyoti Panta, PhD candidate in biology @ CUNY Hunter College Charles Schaub, PhD candidate in biochemistry @ CUNY Hunter College Joey Verdi, PhD candidate in biology @ CUNY Hunter College
01:06:22
April 18, 2015
STH - E9 Undergraduate Experience Plus
In this episode we hear from some folks who are essentially at the beginning of their scientific careers - undergraduate students and research assistants. Representing several institutions, for the most part in New York City, these students give some insight into their experiences as scientific researchers at their respective levels. Featured on this episode (in order of appearance): Mary Tajiri, Dr. Rae Silver's Lab @ Columbia University Vicky Papagermanos, Dr. Rae Silver's Lab @ Columbia University Habib Zahir, Dr. Jayne Raper's Lab @ CUNY Hunter College Anibelky Almanzar, Dr. Jayne Raper's Lab @ CUNY Hunter College Izzy Abdurakhmanov, Dr. Jayne Raper's Lab @ CUNY Hunter College Rachel Rosengard, Dr. Anissa Abi-Dargham's Lab @ New York State Psychiatric Insitute & Columbia University Medical Center
01:23:46
April 10, 2015
STH - E8 Dr. Bo Shopsin
Dr. Bo Shopsin is an Assistant Professor in the departments of medicine and microbiology at the NYU School of Medicine. His research focuses on adaptive changes in the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus that take place during infection. One of his studies addresses the within-host variation in the agr (accessory gene regulator) locus, a global regulator of virulence in S. aureus. In genetics, a locus is a specific location of a gene or genes that work together. Dr. Shopsin's work is motivated by practical questions in infectious diseases (such as the best use of antimicrobials that target agr and virulence), as well as more basic yet closely intertwined questions, such as how to explain the alterations that are responsible for adaptive changes at different stages of S. aureus infections. Visit his lab page for more information: Shopsin Lab
54:25
April 03, 2015
STH - E7 Dr. Nathalie Scholler
Dr. Nathalie Scholler is the Director of Cancer Immunology at the Center for Cancer and Metabolism at SRI International, a nonprofit research institute in Menlo Park, California. Her research is centered around studying the role of the immune system in tumor development and designing novel diagnostic and immunotherapeutic approaches against cancer. She has studied cancer biomarkers of ovarian cancer and tumor immunity for more than a decade. Prior to working at SRI, Dr. Scholler was a tenure-track assistant professor in the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. There, her laboratory investigated the role of innate immunity in ovarian cancer and identified novel recombinant antibodies (which are antibodies created in the lab using yeast or viruses) for targeted imaging and therapy of cancer. In addition to her cancer and antibody research, in this episode we discuss zombie films and mad scientists as portrayed by Hollywood. Visit her web page for more informaiton: Scholler SRI
01:08:04
March 27, 2015
STH - E6 Dr. Carmen Melendez-Vasquez
Dr. Carmen Melendez-Vasquez is an Assistant Professor of Biology at Hunter College of the City University of New York. Her research focuses on actomyosin regulation and the mechanism of myelin formation. Actomyosin is a protein complex crucial for cell motility and contractile force in muscle and other tissues. Myelin is a highly specialized membrane, which wraps around nerve fibers in the peripheral (PNS) and central (CNS) nervous systems, facilitating rapid propogation of nerve impulses. The overall goal of Dr. Melendez-Vasquez's research is to provide novel insights into the mechanisms that regulate myelin morphology and formation in the PNS and CNS. She believes that a basic understanding of the molecular machinery of myelination should aid in the development of new therapeutic strategies to promote remyelination in pathological conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS), which we discuss in this episode. Visit her lab page for more information: Melendez-Vasquez Lab
56:30
March 20, 2015
STH - E5 Dr. Maryam Modjaz
Dr. Maryam Modjaz is an Assistant Professor in Astrophysics at the Center for Cosmology and Particle Physics at New York University. Her research addresses forefront problems in stellar death astrophysics through extensive and panchromatic observations of various types of massive stellar explosions, specifically Gamma Ray Bursts and Supernovae, which are among the most powerful explosions in the universe. In this episode we discuss both of these stellar death events, as well as how stars are born. Visit her lab page for more information: Modjaz Lab
53:46
March 13, 2015
STH - E4 Dr. Kirk Deitsch
Dr. Kirk Deitsch is a microbiologist/immunologist and professor of microbiology and immunology at the Weill Cornell Medical College. His research focuses on Plasmodium falciparum, the most virulent of the parasites that cause malaria in humans. P. falciparum infects red blood cells, causing disease through anemia resulting from red cell destruction, and also through modifications that are made to the surface of infected red cells. Two of the processes Dr. Deitsch studies in this parasite are its cytoadhesion and antigenic variation, which are among the reasons P. falciparum is so deadly - we discuss both in this episode. Visit his lab page for more information: Deitsch Lab
57:25
March 06, 2015
STH - E3 Dr. Matthew Kleban
Dr. Matthew Kleban is a theoretical physicist and professor of physics at New York University. His research focuses on the intersection between string theory, cosmology, and particle physics. He is interested in the physics of black holes and gravitational thermodynamics, early universe cosmology and its implications for fundamental physics, and in formal aspects of string theory and quantum gravity. Dr. Kleban has done some fascinating research into cosmic wakes, which we discuss in this episode. Visit his web site for more information: Kleban NYU
01:08:25
February 27, 2015
STH - E2 Dr. Jayne Raper
Dr. Jayne Raper is a Professor of Biological Sciences at Hunter College of the City University of New York. Her research focuses on trypanosome lytic factors (TLFs), which are antimicrobial high-density lipoproteins that contribute to the innate immunity of primates. TLFs have the ability to to kill African trypanosomes, a parasite, via their unique protein components, such as apolipoprotein L-I. Dr. Raper’s research is at the center of the Transgenic Cattle Project, discussed in this episode. Visit her lab page for more information: Raper Lab
58:39
September 11, 2014
STH - E1 Dr. David Amodio
Dr. David Amodio is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Neural Science at New York University. His research examines the psychological and neural mechanisms of intergroup relations and self-regulation, considering the roles of social cognition, emotion, and motivation as they relate to implicit processes and mechanisms of control in social behaviors. He is the director of the NYU Social Neuroscience Lab. Visit his lab page for more information: Amodio Lab
56:01
May 04, 2014