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Welcome to radiobio

RadioBio is a podcast where UC Merced biology graduate students talk with scientists about biological systems, from molecules to ecosystems.

 

RadioBio is now featured on Mariposa public radio (KRYZ LPFM 98.5 or online at kryzradio.org) Tuesdays at 5:30pm and Thursdays at 8am!

You might know that the flu is a virus, but how much do you know about viruses? And how do scientists learn about viruses? Well, Dr. Eric Delwart from UCSF joins RadioBio to talk about how he analyzes and identifies viruses and their genetic information. Listen to life!

 
 

RadioBio is now on NSF Science360 Radio! Listen online or through their app!

 

Radiobio podcasts

Listen to RadioBio below or through iTunes, Soundcloud, Google Play Music, and your favorite pod-catchers (Stitcher, Mixcloud, and Tunein)!

Season Three

Art credit: Jeff Lauder

Art credit: Jeff Lauder

Dr. Eric Delwart

How do you search for a virus? Even worst, how do you search for a virus's DNA?  A virus you've never seen before and have no clue what it looks like! If you think of one of your cells as the size of a baseball stadium, a virus would about the size of a baseball. You could try a targeted approach by sequencing your best, educated guesses but with metagenomics you can sequence everything but the kitchen sink. This week we talk small viruses and big data with Dr. Eric Delwart.

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Dr. Deborah Gordon

Imagine a world with no leaders. No Presidents. No generals. No bosses. No central control. Ants have successfully occupied every continent on earth and even though they have a queen, they use a system with no central control which we term collective behavior. But what is collective behavior? How do we begin to understand behaviors that emerge in a spontaneous way? Dr. Deborah Gordon, Professor of biology at Stanford University, joined us to talk all about collective behavior in ants.

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Dr. Shona Mookerjee

Have you ever wondered what powers us? We all consume food for energy, but HOW does that actually turn into energy?  You may be familiar with the molecule ATP, or adenosine triphosphate. ATP is used to store energy from the breakdown of food, and through a process called hydrolysis, that energy can be released and transferred to power reactions. This tiny but mighty molecule is what powers nearly every reaction in our cells. In this episode, we journey inside the cell as we learn more about this powerful molecule, and the specialized structure inside the cell where its made, the mitochondria.

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Dr. Jarrod Dudakov

"The thymus is a really ugly-looking organ, but tastes fantastic. Have you ever had sweet breads?" In case you don't know, sweetbread is the culinary term for the thymus, but what is the thymus, besides a tasty dish? In this episode Genevieve and Stephen sit down with Dr. Jarrod Dudakov and discuss what the thymus is, its function, and why it is worth researching.

Art credit: Anh Diep

Art credit: Anh Diep

Dr. Jennifer Martiny

When you are thinking about how the world works, how often do you think about the tiny forces of nature? Just about never, what do you mean? I mean microbes! They play an important role in ecosystem processes such as decomposition and nutrient cycling. But what do we know how these microbes live in nature? It turns out they live in communities, just like we humans do. In this episode we talk with Dr. Jennifer Martiny from UC Irvine about her work with microbial communities.

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Dr. Gregory Mutumi

A lot of people don't like bats, even Batman is afraid of them. But maybe people are just afraid of what they don't know. Today Dr. Greg Mutumi talks to us about what makes bats so unusual, interesting, and, like he said earlier....cute!

Art credit: Jackie Shay

Art credit: Jackie Shay

Dr. Felipe Zapata

Do you think you can put a number on the amount of species you've seen in your life? Absolutely not. Just stepping out onto the city street, there are countless species around us at all times. It's a huge amount of biodiversity. But what does that even mean and how do we study it? This week on RadioBio, we are joined by Dr. Felipe Zapata from University of California Los Angeles to discuss just that.

Art credit: Anh Diep

Art credit: Anh Diep

Dr. Allison Hansen

Symbioses, the interactions between two different species, make the world go ‘round. Everything from our agricultural systems to our own gut depends on groups of interacting organisms doing their thing. Our guest today, Dr. Alison Hansen, studies how a common aphid gets its nutrition. It turns out that its entire diet is dependent on a bacterium living inside each and every aphid. But how did it get there? What does it do for the aphid? Let’s dive into the big world inside small insects.

Art credit: Jeff Lauder and Morgan Quail

Art credit: Jeff Lauder and Morgan Quail

Dr. Danielle Grotjahn

We often imagine a cell as a large balloon filled with jelly, but really it is more like a large city. Packages need to go from one place to the other in an organized fashion as to not disrupt other processes. For example, when we need an item, we go to the store or click away on retail websites, but how do these items find their way to the retail place or our house? There are vehicles on roads and highways that are utilized for distribution. Much like the infrastructure that we use everyday to move cargo around our cities, the cell has its own system to deliver goods from one place to another. What are the 18 wheelers of the cell, how do they move such important packages, and how do they know where to go? Cytoplasmic dynein is a protein complex that transports molecular cargo along and plays a key role in the intracellular trafficking network. Dr. Danielle Grotjahn utilizes specialized imaging techniques to study these structures and the function of motor proteins.

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Dr. Jeanne paz

What if you could prevent something bad from happening? When it comes to epilepsy, you never know when a seizure could happen next. The ability to predict an incoming seizure can be a game changer. Today we have the pleasure of chatting with Dr. Jeanne Paz about her incredible work aimed at seizure prediction and prevention.

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Dr. Tricia Van Laar

We are all probably familiar with antibiotics, we have probably even taken them.

Resistance to antibiotics have been in the news recently. But what is it? How does antibiotics resistance develop and are there ways to combat it? Dr. Tricia Van Laar chats with us and shares insights on antibiotic resistance.

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Dr. Alsion Davis Rabosky

Red on yellow, kill a fellow. Red on black, friend of Jack. Some species use bright colors in different combinations to tell potential predators to back off, bub. Eat me and you'll be sorry. But not always.... Throughout the animal kingdom, species have evolved ways of faking out their enemies. Dr. Alison Davis Rabosky tells us about natures con artists, the mimics, and how these crafty creatures can actually drive evolution in their poisonous counterparts. 

Art credit: Jeff Lauder

Art credit: Jeff Lauder

Dr. Whendee Silver

When you think of ways to slow down climate change, what pops into your mind? Reduce, reuse, recycle!! Perhaps to never use fossil fuels again? These are things that we, as humans, can actively do to decrease our impact on earth's climate. We're not alone in the fight against climate change tho-- plants play an important role just by being, well, plants. This week on RadioBio, Dr. Silver from UC Berkeley tells us about how plants, together with soil microorganisms, help capture carbon from the atmosphere and store it in the ground; and what we can do to help. 

Art credit: Jackie Shay

Art credit: Jackie Shay

Dr. Sharon Strauss

Do you ever stop and smell the flowers? Do you feel like you only like certain kinds? Well, a bee would agree. Did you know scents are different because of species interactions? In a field of flowers, there are a lot of complex interactions at play that allow those flowers to coexist. But how does it all work? Today on RadioBio we talk with Dr. Sharon Strauss about the complexity behind species coexistence.

Art credit: Jeff Lauder

Art credit: Jeff Lauder

Dr. Jarmila Pittermann

Extreme drought is one of many impacts of climate change. Globally, we have seen droughts increase in duration and intensity, with many negative impacts on natural ecosystems, crops, and our economy. 

This begs the question - how do plants deal with drought?

 Our guest today, Dr. Jarmila Pittermann, studies plant ecophysiology — how plants are structured and what that structure means for how plants respond to their environment. She seeks to understand how different plants use different strategies for surviving drought by zooming in to look at their internal workings, their plumbing. Her exploration of the various systems plants have developed for moving and using water is showing us that some plants use some pretty unique methods for dealing with drought.

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Dr. Anita Sil

Infections occur when foreign invaders take root in the human body. When most people think of infections, they think of bacteria and viruses. These however, are not the only invaders our body has to watch out for - fungi are also able to cause disease in humans. You all may be familiar with mild fungal infections, such as athletes foot and yeast infections. Some fungi however can cause life threatening illnesses. One fungus, Histoplasma capsulatum, is capable of causing severe respiratory infections. Dr. Anita Sil from UCSF chat about how this fungus gets into our body and how we clear it. Sponsored by UC Merced SACNAS.

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Vernal Pools Dispatch

Coming to you from the backyard of UC Merced - The Vernal Pools Dispatch!

Rolling grasslands at the edge of the UC Merced campus and the foothills of the Sierra are bright green with temporary pools in the spring and a dry golden yellow in the fall. Believe it or not, this dynamic ecosystem is home to a diversity of unique flora and fauna. RadioBio interviews four scientists who each study a different part of one of California’s most surprising ecosystems: vernal pools!

Featuring:

Vernal Pools Reserve Director, Monique Kolster

Ecohydrologist, Dr. Mark Rains

Herpetologist and Conservation Biologist, Dr. Brad Shaffer

Biologist, Shannon Kieran

Thanks to Belinda Braunstein for the coyote audio from the UC Merced reserve.

 

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