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Think Like a Scientist

Think Like a Scientist

By Reema AlYousef
Think Like a Scientist is where we explore the tools, philosophies, and mental models to think, build, and execute more effectively. I'm Reema, an undergraduate student building through the intersection between bioengineering and biotech at the University of Toronto. I record this podcast as a personal audio brain-dump.
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Immunologist Dina Ashemimry on the Connection Between Food and Emotions

Think Like a Scientist

How Thinking Like a Scientist Will Change Your Life
Science isn’t just a bunch of people fiddling around with test tubes and microscopes. It’s a way of thinking about the world: a mental toolbox for solving problems. As we think and talk, we often slip into the mindset of three different professions: preachers, prosecutors, and politicians. But being a scientist is not just a profession, it’s a frame of mind that differs from preaching, prosecuting, and politicking. Understanding how to implement this principle will empower you on how to build effective systems, better habits, and all that fancy stuff.  Stanford Research Paper:  Implicit Theories of Interest: Finding Your Passion or Developing It? Entrepreneurs Who Think Like Scientists Get Better Results: A Scientific Approach to Entrepreneurial Decision Making: Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial
January 21, 2022
5 Powerful Insights I Learned in 2021
Lessons and insights I learned the last year. 
December 28, 2021
Engineering a 3D Tumour Microenvironment to Personalize Cancer Treatments
We've known that tumour heterogeneity plays a key role in cancer drug resistance. So, how can we engineer a 3D cancer tumour microenvironment in vitro that portrays the physiological relevance and cell-to-cell interactions of a tumour composition? In this episode I go over research from the McGuigan Lab at the University of Toronto and their development of the TRACER model which will come to revolutionize how we detect, diagnose, and treat cancer patients—and as well as accelerate the drug discovery process. I discuss the importance of tissue-engineering in developing a model that allows us to spatially map the dynamic interactions and composition of a tumour microenvironment. I also discuss significant findings from these research papers such as transcription factors that play a role in tumour progression and tumour cell metabolism which create immunosuppressive environments, and how we could use this information to personalize treatments that could to better patient outcomes.  Research Papers:  A three-dimensional engineered tumour for spatial snapshot analysis of cell metabolism and phenotype in hypoxic gradients Tissue-engineered 3D cancer microenvironment for screening therapeutics
December 12, 2021
Mapping the Human Proteoform: The Future of Cancer Therapy
What will be the future of cancer therapy? In this episode I discuss the major key takeaways from the recently published paper and established project: "The Human Proteoform Project: Defining the human proteome."  Ranging from stories of a six year old girl, among many, who was cured from childhood cancer using immunotherapy. We've known that strategies like chemotherapy and immune-supression like insulin have only been partially successful. What have we been missing this whole time? I discuss how the emerging field of precision medicine takes into account the other half of what has been missed—which will increase the efficacy and aid the development of novel therapeutics that are both preventative and curative.  The Human Proteoform Project: Defining the human proteome: Differences between germline genomes of monozygotic twins:
November 27, 2021
What happens when your DNA is damaged?
Did you know that thousands of mutations occur on our DNA every second? In this episode I discuss what happens when our DNA is damaged, and more specifically, what happens when our body fails to repair mutations on our DNA, leading to disease. I talk about how mutations on our DNA can either cause disease or increase our chances of survival. I talk about what makes someone genetically prone to a disease and what it means for someone to be genetically prone to a certain disease. I talk about how mutations can be beneficial and detrimental simultaneously, which is what is seen in sickle cell disease. I discuss how advances in healthcare allows us to examine which diseases we are genetically prone to, like breast cancer, and how these tests allow us to take steps to prevent the disease from being expressed. I also talk about the promise of genetic engineering and CRISPR technology and how they can be applied and implemented to potentially cure diseases like sickle cell disease and muscular dystrophy.
November 11, 2021
Dr. Austin Perlmutter on Brain Health and Chronic Disease
Do you respond or react to your biology? In this episode, we welcome our guest Dr. Austin Perlmutter, an internal medicine physician, New York Times Bestselling author of Brain Wash, and researcher. We had an amazing conversation on the root of preventing chronic disease. The focal point of our conversation was on how our cognition affects the quality of our decisions which then drives behaviours that affect the quality of our life. Dr. Austin Perlmutter is an internal medicine physician, New York times Bestselling author of Brain Wash, and researcher. He focuses on the interconnection between our immune system pathways, neurochemistry, and cognition. He has published various articles in the medical literature connecting inflammation, the gut microbiota, depression, diet, COVID-19, sleep, and immunity. His recent article is an extensive review on the COVID-19 pandemic and depression:  Often times we react to our biology rather than respond to our biology. Often times we let our psychological state drive our behaviours. Dr. Austin Perlmutter talked about how to gain control of our actions by paying attention to how our brain works. Many tools were discussed throughout the episode to optimize our brain health and increase quality of life. 
October 28, 2021
How Food Influences Our Emotions
This episode discusses the gut-brain connection. I discuss the key aspects of the nervous system—more specifically, the peripheral and enteric nervous system for serotonin and dopamine synthesis. I talk about how the gut microbiome is initially developed via vertical transmission of the amniotic fluid, placenta and meconium. I talk about the different ways our gut microbiome is affected before and during childbirth. Many tools are discussed related to plant-based diets, fermented foods and Omega-3 supplements. I go over various studies regarding the effects of probiotics, artificial sweeteners, Omega-3 fatty acids, SCFAs and their potential beneficial and detrimental effects on the gut microbiome, brain and body.  Artificial Sweeteners and Gut Microbiome: Anti-Depressive Effects of EPAs: Effects of L-Dopa on Parkinson's Patients: SCFAs on Colonic Serotonin Secretion:
October 14, 2021
The Brain's Ability to Change Itself
In this episode, I discuss neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain and nervous system to form new neural connections throughout life—essentially, rewiring itself. I also discuss the differences between children and adults in triggering neuroplasticity, and the main elements that needs to be applied to trigger neuroplasticity in the adult brain. I also discuss why the use of pharmaceutical drugs and nicotine leads to people feeling like they have better attention and focus. I talk about the main neurochemicals that are released, Acetylcholine and Norepinephrine, and how to trigger them. I also talk about how you can optimize your learning efficiency and retain information by learning through intervals, and why rest and motor activity in-between bouts of 90 minutes of deep focus and learning helps your brain retain information. Lastly, I also discuss why sleep is important for the process of learning and neuroplasticity. 
September 26, 2021
Maanasa Mendu on Developing Harvest, a Sustainable Power Solution
After witnessing the effects of energy scarcity in India at the age of 14, Maanasa developed HARVEST, a bio-inspired sustainable power solution. Maanasa also developed LeafAI, a fast machine learning tool that identifies common plant diseases in collaboration with plant pathologists and farmers. She is currently a student at Harvard College studying bioengineering, global health and health policy. Maanasa joins Reema to talk about her journey as a young inventor, what drives her to create, going out of her comfort zone, and the real struggles of imposter syndrome. 
September 13, 2021
Neuroscientist Dr. Faviola Dadis on Breaking Mental Health Stigma
Neuroscientist, Author, Model, and Founder Faviola Dadis joins Reema to discuss her experiences with autism, mental health, modelling, and navigating through mental health stigma. She opens up about experiencing backlash being a woman scientist and model, and how damaging labels are. She also talks about her experiences with autism and the stigma that surrounds it. 
August 26, 2021
Dr. Dina AlTayeb on Breaking Limits as a Triathlete
How do we break limits in the way of what we want to achieve? As one of the first people to complete the Ironman from the Middle East, Dr. Dina serves as a role model and example of breaking preconceived notions. Throughout her journey as a Dentist and Founder of Dentalia Clinics, Dr. Dina has also found herself immersed in the world of triathlons. In this episode we talk about challenges as a triathlete, managing the workload, and the importance of caring for our mental health and our mindset while training and racing. 
August 12, 2021
Immunologist Dina Ashemimry on the Connection Between Food and Emotions
How do we optimize our physical and mental wellbeing? Immunologist and Microbiologist Dina Ashemimry touches on the connection between what we eat, our gut bacteria, and how it affects our emotions. Dina shares her knowledge and experiences surrounding the causes of disease and how we can maintain a healthy gut microbiome. 
July 29, 2021
Anika Vinzé on Watching COVID-19 Unfold as an Epidemiologist
Let's hear from the perspective of an Epidemiologist as COVID-19 was leading up to be announced a pandemic. Anika Vinzé is the Associate Director of the Sentinel Program of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard — she touches on the critical aspects of preventing future infectious diseases from turning into pandemics. 
July 29, 2021
Maha Taibah on Self-Awareness and Emotions
How do we reach our full potential? After having to experience the horrid events of 9/11 while studying abroad, Founder and Youth-Development Specialist Maha Taibah began her journey of self-discovery. She touches on the importance of childhood education, self-awareness, authenticity, and mental health. 
July 29, 2021
Introducing Think Like a Scientist
In this show, we break down barriers between scientific-thinking and modern-day actions. We do this by interviewing groundbreaking leaders for the result of providing you real-life tools and experiences that you can use to bring positive impact. 
July 29, 2021