Season One

Art credit: Jeff Lauder

Art credit: Jeff Lauder

Dr. Nathan Lanning

Everyone knows the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell. But what changes does it undergo to promote cancer and other diseases? We sit down with Dr. Nathan Lanning of California State University, Los Angeles and discuss his work regarding mitochondria dysfunction.

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Dr. emily Jane McTavish

The famous geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky once said, "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution." But how do we study evolution? How do we reconstruct evolutionary relationships amongst hundreds, even thousands of taxa across the tree of life? Can we really predict how fast species evolve? Dr. Emily Jane McTavish, Assistant Professor in the Quantitative & Systems Biology graduate group at the University of California, Merced, joins us to talk about her research as a phylogeneticist and computational biologist.

Art credit: Jeff Lauder

Art credit: Jeff Lauder

Dr. Chris Amemiya

What are coelacanths? Why would a marine fish contain chitin, a sugar that makes up the exoskeleton of insects? How do sharks sense fish? Why do we care about lamprey immune systems? Dr. Chris Amemiya from the Benaroya Research Institute studies these questions using comparative genomics. This research will improve our understanding of marine ecology as well as immunology, and holds implications for both the medical and biotechnical fields.

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

DR. Rob Spitale

In many cells, RNA plays an essential role in regulation. Technological innovations are needed to further understand the role of RNA molecules in regulating basic biological function. Further, there is a need to expand the biochemistry toolkit to understand how large groups of RNAs are working in parallel inside living cells. The Spitale lab develops novel biochemical approaches toward understanding the role of RNA molecules in normal cell biology, as well as disease. Today we are going to learn about these new methods and tools in the RNA world from our guest Dr. Spitale himself.

Art credit: Jeff Lauder and Kinsey Brock

Art credit: Jeff Lauder and Kinsey Brock

Dr. Johanna Schmitt

Climate change can cause organisms to experience conditions they are not adapted to. How do these organisms respond and keep up with a changing world? Our guest this week studies how a small, ubiquitous plant responds to both natural and experimental climate change to learn about the potential pathways to adaptation plants may follow. Dr. Johanna Schmitt talks about climate change and the genetics of Arabadopsis thaliana, a tiny weed that can yield big insights into what the future holds for plants.

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Dr. jack Sites Jr

Ever wonder where species come from? Do species even exist? Why do they matter? RadioBio discusses the speciation process through space and time with Dr. Jack Sites Jr. from Brigham Young University.

Art credit: Jeff Lauder

Art credit: Jeff Lauder

Dr. Dan Weinreich

Evolution is the process by which an organism becomes more fit for its environment. Often overlooked is how genes evolve over time to make smaller changes to increase the fitness of an organism. The Weinreich lab uses antibiotic resistance genes to study how a gene can evolve in bacteria to give rise to increased resistance. Today we are going to learn about the exciting world of gene evolution and discuss science philosophy with Dr. Weinreich himself.

 

Season Two

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Dr. Kathleen Ferris

Evolution; no small topic. Biologists can use a diverse array of systems to try to test evolutionary concepts. Some systems, like bacteria, are useful for looking at how evolution happens in real time, because they have such short generation times. Others, like animals, are much more difficult, but can allow us to ask really interesting questions like how behavior influences evolutionary processes. Dr. Kathleen Ferris asks questions about how organisms respond to stress in an evolutionary sense using two very different systems.

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Dr. Aaron Gitler

How do misfolded proteins cause human neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer's, ALS, and Parkinson's? The Gitler lab at Stanford University studies the cellular biology underlying protein-misfolding diseases using the model organism yeast. Since dealing with misfolded proteins is an evolutionary problem, they hypothesize that the mechanisms employed to cope with misfoldings is likely conserved from yeast to humans. Gitler's long-term goal is to identify the critical genes and cellular pathways affected by misfolded human disease proteins.

Art credit: Jackie Shay

Art credit: Jackie Shay

Dr. Zachary Knight

Everyone knows what hunger feels like and understands the drive to seek food when hungry, but how does it work? Dr. Zachary Knight from UCSF joins RadioBio to discuss his work on understanding the pathways in the brain that sense hunger to drive behavior. Knight's work is revealing new insights into how the brain makes decisions about food, whether it looks tasty, and how hunger dictates behavior. These results could lead to important advances in our understanding of eating disorders. 

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Dr. Marie-Claire Chelini

Have you ever wondered why males and females of a species are different sizes, shapes, and colors? Dr. Marie-Claire Chelini, University of California Presidential Post-doctoral Fellow, discusses her research on the evolution of sexual size dimorphism in crab spiders.

Art credit: Jackie Shay

Art credit: Jackie Shay

Dr. Embriette Hyde

You may have heard about the human microbiome or even the pro-biotic fad, but how much do you really know about the micro-organisms that live on and in you? Dr. Embriette Hyde from UC San Diego discusses her work with the American Gut Project on understanding the world of human microbiome. This work could lead to advances in our understanding of both the human health and human disease.

Art credit: Jeff Lauder

Art credit: Jeff Lauder

Dr. Otger Campas

How do cells interact with their physical environment? Dr. Otger Campas from the University of California,  Santa Barbara joins RadioBio to discuss the physical properties of cells and how the interactions between cells and their environment shape cell and organism development.

Art credit: Jeff Lauder

Art credit: Jeff Lauder

Dr. John Stark

N at work. What is N? N, or nitrogen, is one of the most abundant gases in the atmosphere and is an elemental building block of life. But we can't use N from the atmosphere, we need help nitrogen fixing bacteria and plants to acquire N in a form we can use. Dr. John Stark from Utah State explains N, how it flows through natural ecosystems, and the organisms that make it work!

Art credit: Jackie Shay

Art credit: Jackie Shay

Dr. Holly Bik

If you've ever had a pet or known someone with a pet, you probably know what a round worm is, but did you know these are nematodes? 180 years of visualizing these fascinating worms gives us insight into biodiversity, evolution, and marine ecosystems. This week Dr. Holly Bik from the University of California, Riverside guides us through an exploration of these mysterious deep sea creatures using both ancient and novel techniques.

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Dr. Joanna Chiu

Have you or someone you know been affected by sleep disorders, depression, or even drug or alcohol addiction. Believe it or not this may be linked to how and when you sleep...which is actually controlled by when you eat.

Dr. Joanna Chiu, Professor of Entomology at UC Davis, studies the animal circadian clock and its control on organismal physiology. Besides being indispensable for the control of daily activities,  defects in circadian rhythms and clock genes have also been implicated in a wide range of human disorders. The Chiu lab's goal is to dissect the molecular network and cellular mechanisms that control the circadian oscillator in animals, and investigate how this clock interacts with the environment and metabolism to drive rhythms of physiology and behavior.

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Dr. Adrianna Briscoe

We may not think about it this way, but there is a whole world of colors that we can not perceive or understand that other organisms use on a daily basis, like butterflies. Did you know that even males and females from the same species see the world differently? Today on RadioBio, Dr. Adriana Briscoe discusses the evolution of color vision in Heliconius butterflies using genes, physiology, and behavior.

Art credit: Jackie Shay

Art credit: Jackie Shay

Dr. Pleuni Pennings

Viruses are iconically challenging to define, but they have DNA so they evolve. In the 1980s, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) shook the world and propelled a massive undertaking to study the evolution of drug resistance in viruses. On World AIDS Day, December 1st, 2017, we spoke with Dr. Pleuni Pennings from San Francisco State University about how viruses adapt to treatments through time.

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Dr. Jimmy McGuire

Two words: Flying Lizards. How'd it happen? Evolution. Evolutionary history is complicated. It can sometimes be helpful to look at funky animals to see what their unusual traits tell us about their history. For example, Dr. Jim McGuire from the University of California Berkley, studies the evolutionary correlates of size, color, and flight in lizards.

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Dr. Heinrich Jasper

Dr. Heinrich Jasper shows us new tools using Stem Cells that can help with both our longevity as well as degenerative disease. The Jasper lab is focused on regulatory mechanisms that control stress tolerance, metabolism and aging with the help of fruit flies. In particular, Dr. Jasper has been recognized for making seminal discoveries about the effects of aging on stem cell behavior, and about the role of stress in regulating stem cell function.  Current projects in his lab focus on the control of tissue regeneration, metabolic homeostasis, and cell death by insulin and stress signaling pathways. Here we learn how science moves from a bench in a lab at a school into an industrial clinical setting.

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Dr. Ellen Rothenberg

Everyone gets sick, but have you ever thought about how your body fights off infections? Dr. Ellen Rothenberg from CalTech studies the development of a white blood cell that plays a big part in keeping you safe from infections, the T cell. She takes us on the harrowing journey that a T cell takes in order to become the powerful protector that it is.

Art credit: Jeff Lauder

Art credit: Jeff Lauder

Dr. Robert Phillips

Genetics is a majorly hot topic in biology right now -- everything is genome sequencing this, gene expression that -- but how much do we really know? We know a lot about which genes are present in which organisms, and what certain genes do, but not a lot about how or why they do it. Our guest today, Dr. Rob Philips, is a researcher at CalTech who is working to understand the language of gene regulation, and the methods we can use to understand how genes work.

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Dr. Julie Zikherman

Autoimmune diseases occur when our immune systems start to attack our own cells, rather than foreign invaders. Unfortunately, very little is known about how these disorders arise in otherwise healthy individuals. Join us as we talk with B-cell immunologist and autoimmune clinician, Dr. Julie Zikherman, as we discuss how to control these inappropriate immune responses.

 

Season Three

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

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.

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: 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: 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. 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: Kinsey Brock

Art credit: Kinsey Brock

Dr. Alison 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: 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.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. 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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. 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: 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. 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: 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.