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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dr. Adriana 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.