The research community like you have never heard it before.

Join us, The Scientistt Podcast, along with a host of special guests, as we explore the realities of research life in the most honest and informative way possible. Delving deeper into the industry’s latest research papers and most pressing questions, and sharing the unique perspectives of some of the community’s leading figures.


 

Episode 50: 

Kiki Sanford: Vaccine Sceptism and Tae Kwon Do

The stakes have never been higher. The world is more divided than ever before, and a significant part of the issue is that we can't agree on what counts as 'true'. 

This week's episode features Dr Kiki Sanford: host of the hugley popular 'This Week in Science' and science communicator extraordinaire. Here, she takes on the core challenge of vaccine skepticism, the mechanics of how we come to decisions on what we think is true, and how to make the most of a PhD. 

 

Episode 49: 

Deborah Blum: The Monkey Wars

Is it ethical to experiment on primates?

Pulitzer-prize winner Deborah Blum comes onto the pod to talk about her groundbreaking book - The Monkey Wars. Written in 1994 but reading like it was written today, the fraught ethical issues it touches on are as relevant as ever.

Deborah and Jamie dig into the ethical basis for animal rights, the utilitarian nature of arguments on both sides and discuss the ever-changing terrain of one of science's fiercest debates.

Welcome to The Monkey Wars. 

 

Episode 48: 

Jyoti Mishra: A Breakthrough in Treating Depression

More than 20% of American's will suffer from depression at some point in their lives - but traditional treatments are relatively ineffective.

That, according to Dr Jyoti Mishra, is in part because current treatments are too 'blunt' an instrument. Simply put, "current health care standards are mostly just asking people how they feel and then writing a prescription for medication.”

Here, Dr Mishra talks us through her potentially groundbreaking study in developing personalised treatment for depression - something that reflects the diversity of causes that live under the same label.

Her study represents a huge conceptual leap - and this podcast isn't one to miss.

 You can read the research here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41398-021-01445-0

 

 

Episode 47: 

Richard Wiseman: Magic, Luck & Psychology

Dr Richard Wiseman has been described as "one of the most interesting and innovative experimental psychologists in the world today". He's sold more than 3 million books, he's a member of the Inner Magic Circle and his brand psychology communication has racked up more than 500 million views on YouTube.

In this winding and thoroughly entertaining conversation, Richard and Jamie discuss the psychological underpinnings of magic, the science of luck and the nature of scepticism. 

Find Dr Wiseman here: https://richardwiseman.wordpress.com/

 

 

Episode 30: 

Elie AlChaer: Efficiency, Efficiency, Efficiency

How do we measure success, productivity or efficiency? Elie AlChaer is a civil engineer who studied at the Lebanese American University, Byblos and completed his graduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley. His experience in the construction industry led to the start of his research on productivity and how to measure it. In this episode we talk about how he got interested in efficiency, the problems with traditional measures of efficiency and an algorithm used to address it. Enjoy! 

 

 

Episode 29: 

The Rights and Wrongs of Economics

In January 2020, today's guest was named a member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences by Pope Francis. That's right,  Dani Rodrik is a seriously respected and world-renowned Turkish economist and Professor of International Political Economy at Harvard University. Publishing widely in the areas of international economicseconomic development, and political economy, we delve deeper in to some of those topics today & give you a simple breakdown of Dani's work! In this episode we discuss the limitations of economics as a science, the balance economists need to strike when helping to inform policy, whether we're entering a new era of economics & more. 

Enjoy!

 

 

Episode 28: 

Jordan Cohen: Quantum Gravity

Who is today's guest? 

"Born in South Africa, I started my academic career at the University of Cape Town where I triple majored in Statistics, Economics, and Philosophy. I realised fairly late on that my passion was in physics, so I moved to the Uk to complete my undergraduate in theoretical physics at Queen Mary University of London. During that period I worked for Artificial Intelligence companies, where I developed deep-learning algorithms and published articles on the connection between neuroscience and the workplace, and for the National Physical Laboratory, where I was involved in building part of a Quantum Computer. Over the last year, I’ve been working on the black hole information paradox under Prof. Malcolm Perry, one of the world’s leading physicists. In the process, I discovered an infinite set of zero-energy particles so to speak - the soft chromoelectric and chromomagnetic charges. I’ll be continuing this research with Prof. Perry at the University of Cambridge later this year, where I plan to study Quantum Gravity, a description of microscopic spacetime, as part of my PhD research." 

 

Episode 27: 

Simon Baron-Cohen: Autism and Human Invention

Professor Sir Simon Baron-Cohen is a cognitive neuroscientist and the Director of the Autism Research Centre, based at Cambridge University. Baron-Cohen was knighted in the 2021 New Year Honours for services to people with autism, as well as making major contributions to the fields of typical cognitive sex differences, autism prevalence and screening, and autism genetics. In this episode, we discuss whether autism is a disease, condition or difference ... the importance of neuro-diversity ... the role of pre-natal testosterone in predicting autism ... the ethical questions re screening for conditions before birth ... the lack of relationship between happiness and intelligence and ... invention as an 'if-then' thought process.

 

 

Episode 26: 

Ultra-Marathons and "Nutritional Genocide"

Prof Tim Noakes is a South African scientist and former Emeritus professor in division of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine at the University of Cape Town. As one of the very highest rated members of the National Research Foundation, it would make sense to listen to what he thinks about sports nutrition right? Noakes is a big supporter of a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet, writing books called the Real Meal Revolution and Lore of Nutrition and has been cited more than 21,000 times!

In this podcast we chat about the appeal of ultramarathon running (yes, really), fatigue as an emotion rather than a physical state, the lipid hypothesis being "the biggest mistake in medicine" and a topic very close to Tim's heart; the Noakes Foundation.

Enjoy!

 

 

Episode 25: 

Philosophy and Cognitive Science: The Predictive Brain

Dr. Mark Miller is an assistant professor at the University of  Hokkaido’s Center for Human Nature, Artificial Intelligence and  Neuroscience. In this episode of The Scientistt Podcast, we break down  Mark's notion of the “predictive mind”, exploring how the brain  constructs its own reality from the top down. Further, we delve in to  hard-hitting topics such as why addiction and depression may be the  cause of an overly 'sticky' expectation model, and the overlap of  philosophy and neuroscience as an area to improve human behaviour.

 

 

Episode 24: 

Chengyu Liang: Melanomas and the UV-protector Gene

Chengyu Liang is a world-renowned researcher with almost 17,000 citations. Her research explores basic mechanisms underlying fundamental cellular processes in the development of cancer and infectious disease. In short, Dr Liang is working to understand how to prevent melenomas (skin cancer) - work which has huge implications on the overall goal of defeating cancers. This podcast aims to take Dr Liang's complex research and break it down in to bitesize chunks that you can understand at home. Listen in as we explore the role of melanin in protecting against cancer, the difficulty in establishing risk-factors, and why the issue of skin-cancer doesn't gain as much publicity as it should. 

Enjoy! 

 

 

Episode 23: 

Seth Shostak: Confessions of an Alien Hunter

Dr Soshstak is the Senior Astronomer at the SETI institute and author of  'Confessions of an Alien Hunter: A Scientist's Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.' Seth claims to have developed an interest in extraterrestrial life at the tender age of ten, when he first picked up a book about the Solar System. This innocent beginning eventually led to a degree in radio astronomy, and now, as Senior Astronomer, Seth is an enthusiastic participant in the Institute’s SETI observing programs. In this episode, we discuss the possibility of finding intelligent life by 2036, the Wow! signal we received that was thought to have been sent by extraterrestrials, the risk-reward balancing act of trying to make contact with intelligent extraterrestrials and the surprising lack of funding for this kind of exploration. Enjoy! 

 

 

Episode 22: 

Dr Michael Brown: The Pluto Killer

What happened to Pluto and how is today's guest involved? Well...time to find out. 

Dr Brown is a professor of planetary astronomy at Cal Tech, who has discovered or co-discovered 29 minor planets, is the winner of a prestigious Feynman Prize and has appeared in The Time’s Top One Hundred Influential Persons list. Pretty cool right?

In this episode, we delve deeper in to Dr Browns career and wider space. Why is Pluto not really a planet? Why are we reluctant to give it up? How does it feel to discover a planet? How do we find new planets? And, what are the future prospects for Mars exploration? 

Enjoy! 

 

 

Episode 21: 

Dr Chris Jackson: Volcano Explorer, Geologist and Royal Institute Lecturer

Today's guest is a geologist and adventurer that made history last Christmas, by becoming the first black host of the Royal Institution's Christmas lecturer in 185 years. 

After completing a BSc and PhD in Geology at the University of Manchester, before living in Norway, Professor Chris Jackson is an established geoscientist and world leader in the use of 3D seismic data to understand dynamic processes in sedimentary basins. He has been described by the Geological Society of London as the "leading and most productive interpreter of three-dimensional seismic reflection data of his generation."

Chris' impact goes far deeper than his research however. With a personality that can light up the room, this episode touches on many aspects of his personal and academic life - tackling racism and changing the way we communicate science. Enjoy. 

 

 

Episode 20: 

The Life of a Youtube Scientist

"PhD in climate physics by day, YouTuber by night."

Simon Clark started documenting his PhD journey on Youtube in 2013. He's sinced ammased more than 320,000 followers, and has a unique ability to tackle subjects ranging from astrophysics to the theoretical possibility of Warhammer planets existing. 

On this pod, we cover a lot of ground. We talk about the surprising pitfalls and benefits of YouTube, the (non-linear) relationship between understanding something and finding meaning in it, and we compare the psychological appeal of science with other types of frameworks. 

Find Simon on Youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRRr_xrOm66qaigIbwFLvbQ

 

 

Episode 19: 

The Psychology of Academic 'Success'

We hear a lot about the 'mindset' of successful people ... but what do the experts actually think? It's time to find out!

As well as being an expert in all things brains, Brianna is a lecturer and social psychology researcher at the University of Southern Australia. As well as her academic work, she created a creative outlet called "DrOfWhat", while she was completing her PhD journey. She soon realised the potential this blog had to provide support to students and has since been creating a variety of content for students Now in an early academic career, she also shares content to reflect on her own journey and to share her learnings.

Follow Brianna here: https://twitter.com/BriannaLeBusque

 

Episode 18: 

Science Outreach and Wikipedia Bias

What's it like to be one of the most influential women in UK tech?

On this episode, we speak to Dr Jess Wade - a physicist, science communicator and champion for gender quality in science. Outside of her research in to polymer-based OLED's, Jess is involved with several outreach initiatives committed to improving diversity in science, both online and offline. Since the start of 2018, she has written the Wikipedia biographies of underrepresented scientists every single day. In this conversation we delve a little deeper in to the "why?" behind Jess' activism, and find out exactly what needs to be done to tackle systemic bias in science.

Find Jess here: https://twitter.com/jesswade  

 

 

Episode 17: 

The Big Bang, Dark Matter and Cosmology

This is the story of how science can get you on set at one of your favourite TV shows!

Sophia is on a mission to captivate the world with physics, one particle at a time. Working on a PhD at UC Irvine with a focus on cosmology and astroparticle theory, her field is "using the very big and the very small to solve some of the Universe’s greatest mysteries". The work of this researcher goes far beyond the lab however. As a science advisor and popular influencer, Sophia has amassed over 55,000 followers on Twitter and had her work featured on popular sci-fi TV shows, such as 12 Monkeys.

In this conversation we let Sophia take us on a journey through space, breaking down her complex work in to a chat that anyone can understand. 

Sophia's website can be found here and you can follow her on Twitter here

 

 

Episode 16: 

Surviving a Crocodile Attack 

 

They say your life can flash before your eyes when you are in a life-or-death situation.

Well, that's not what happened to today's guest, marine biologist, Melissa Marquez. Why?, because she was fully submerged in treacherous dark waters, as she was dragged away by a three metre American crocodile whilst filming for Discovery Channel's Shark Week.

Now known as the "Mother of Sharks", Melissa presents and writes about science on the biggest of stages, such as the New York Times and The Washington Post. All of this has culminated in her addition to the Forbes 30 Under 30 and BBC's 100 Women lists, 

Here we talk everything from survival and sharks, to feminism in science. Let us know how you found the conversation! 

 

Find Melissahere: https://twitter.com/mcmsharksxx

 

Episode 15: 

Studying the Science of Nutrition 

 "Nutrition is an area where there’s a lot of misinformation, and a lot of twisting of information, and a lot of money to be made. The whole ‘dieting’ industry is a huge industry where a lot of money is made.” 

Today's guest, Dr. Emma Beckett, is working hard to bust the myths surrounding food nutrition. Hailing from Australia, Emma has a PhD in Food and Nutrition, as well as previous collaborations with global food companies such as Kellogs and Mars. If this wasn't enough, she has a growing online audience, engaging with around 20,000 Twitter followers. In this episode, we delve a little deeper in to Emma's career, message and story. 

Find Emma here: https://twitter.com/synapse101

 

Episode 14: 

Coronavirus on the Way We Live

A scientist and thinker, in 2009 Nicholas Christakis was named in Time Magazine's list of the 100 most influential people in the world. 

Using data from a study that tracked about 5,000 people over 20 years, he suggests that happiness, like the flu, can spread from person to person. He found that smoking and obesity can be socially infectious too.

In a viral video taken from Yale University, Nicholas is captured defending the most fundamental principle of higher education: that the university should serve as a place of free inquiry where individuals can respectfully engage with one another in the pursuit of knowledge. This event gained so much notoriety in both academic and non-academic circles, that even The Simpsons found fun in the event in one of their later episodes. 

The title of this episode was inspired by Nicholas' book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Apollos-Arrow-Profound-Enduring-Coronavirus/dp/0316628212 

 

Episode 13: 

How to Win a Nobel Prize

"Last but by no means least, I am happy that I have managed to work since that dreadful day in September 1978 when I was diagnosed with MS."

Life hasn't been easy. Born in 1943 in wartime Aberdeen, Dr Kosterlitz's parents had fled Hitler’s Germany in 1934 because his father, a non-practicing Jew, came from a Jewish family and was forbidden to marry a non-Jewish woman. From these roots, few were to expect that he would go on to be awarded the most prestigious award in the world of Physics - a Nobel Prize.  So how did he do it?

A graduate of both of the universities of Cambridge and Oxford, and former professor at Birmingham University and Brown University, we delve deeper in to Dr Kosterlitz's career journey, personal struggle and his award-winning research. 

  

 
Episode 12: Engineering the Future of Genetic Medicine

Who said academics can't be entrepreneurs? 

Benjamin L. Oakes is the Founder and CEO of Scribe Therapeutics, a company rewriting the story of disease and engineering the future of genetic medicine. Completing his PhD at University of California, Berkley in 2017 - Oakes worked under the supervision of Jennifer A. Doudna, a 2020 Nobel prize winner. In this podcast, we explore Oakes' career path & and the practical application of his research to make huge advancements in the field. 

Episode 11: The Mystery of Space Exploration

We all have a fascination with space, right? I mean, how can't you be somewhat interested in the concepts of planets, space craft and fields of "dark energy". 

Dr. Bruce Betts is a planetary scientist and children's book author who loves teaching people about planets in fun and entertaining ways. As a science communicator and educator,  he is the Chief Scientist and LightSail Program Manager for the world’s largest space interest group, The Planetary Society. If this wasn't enough, Dr. Betts has a popular Twitter account with over 44,000 followers, as well as hosting a thriving series of entertaining "Random Space Fact" videos & has previous experience working at NASA. 

Find out more about Bruce here: www.randomspacefact.com/home 

Episode 10: Jonathan Eisen - The James Bond of Microbiology

 "After my PhD, my first ever grant was actually for homeland security..." So, what does a Professor in the Genome Center of UC Davis , have to do with investigating threats to the safety of the US population?

When we started our conversation with Dr Jonathan Eisen (elected to the American Academy of Microbiology in 2012), we could not of predicted what was in store! A lively character, Dr Eisen balances his research with being an award-winning blogger and Twitter influencer, boasting an online following of over 60,000 people on that platform alone. Since earning his PhD in Biological Sciences from Stanford University, we pick up on Dr Eisen's career journey & explore the highlights of his illustrious research portfolio. 

 

 
 
Episode 9: Jen Heemstra - A Woman in Chemistry

This is Part 2 of our conversation with Dr Jen Heemstra! 

In this episode, we discuss equality in the sciences, medical ethics, and the potential upsides of adversity. We also cover the need for breaks in academia and even chat rock-climbing! Female, scientist, professor, and now supervisor - Jen leads the way as a woman in her field. But, it wasn't easy to get there. 

 

Episode 8: Jen Heemstra - How to be a PI (Part 1)

What should a leader look like in academia? 

Jen Heemstra, as the name alludes, is the lead supervisor at the Heemstra Lab and Associate Professor at Emory University. 

In this episode, Jen offers her unique insights into a range of subjects that often go unspoken in academic circles;  failure, imposter syndrome and why tenure changes things for a professor. Jen covers everything from the exciting implications of DNA modification to the mindset required for idea generation, and we delve deeper in to the landmarks of her remarkable career. 

You can read Jen's fabulous blog here: http://thingsthatchangethewayithink.blogspot.com/

 

Episode 7: Dr. Eric Topol - The Future of Medicine

What does one of the world's most respected researchers think the future holds for medicine?

Eric Topol is a doctor, scientist and author. Being  one of the most heavily cited scientists on the planet, he has received over 250,000 citations and produced close to 1,200 publications. If that wasn't enough, he is the Executive Vice-President of Scripps Research, and Founder of the Scripps Translational Research Institute. On this episode, we discuss Covid-19, the potential future role of AI in medicine and the ongoing process of democratising healthcare. Enjoy! 

Follow Eric: https://twitter.com/EricTopol

Find out more about Scripps: https://www.scripps.edu/science-and-medicine/translational-institute/

 

 

Episode 6: The Hurricane Hunter

What is it like to fly in to the eye of the storm? 

Nick Underwood is an aerospace engineer and NOAA Hurricane Hunter, providing mission-ready aircraft and professional crews to the scientific community.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Aircraft Operations Center provides a wide range of specialised airborne environmental data collection capabilities vital to understanding the Earth, conserving and managing coastal and marine resources, and protecting lives and property.

In this podcast we gain a truly unique insight in to a career that goes largely under the radar, exploring the realities of the working environment and future ambitions for those that take to the skies on a regular basis. 

 

Episode 5: Joachim Frank - A Nobel Prize for Chemistry

 A Nobel Prize. Some would say it represents the pinnacle of scientific achievement in any given field. In this episode, we're lucky enough to be joined by Joachim Frank, one of a very small number of scientists that can say they have won the prestigious award.

Joachim was born and educated in Germany, before completing postdoctoral research in the United States and at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge, U.K., where he worked on problems of electron optics and image processing. His current position at Columbia University as a Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics and of Biological Sciences, is one that he has held since 2008.

In 2017, Joachim recieved the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, alongside his colleagues Jacques Dubochet and Richard Henderson, for the development of cryo-electron microscopy, which both simplifies and improves the imaging of biomolecules. This method moved biochemistry into a new era.

 

 
 
 
Episode 4: Darwin Guevarra - Placebos without Deception

How many times do you see a newly published article in a popular journal, and not quite fully understand it? It would be great to learn directly from the author wouldn't it? Today we're joined by Darwin Guevarra, a postdoc at Michigan State University studying emotion regulation. We find out more about his recent paper in Nature Communications, which found that placebos without deception reduce self-report and neural measures of emotional distress, and what the consequences of this critical research may be for the medical world. 

Read the full paper here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-17654-y.epdf?sharing_token=-ED4bKmbW-ULyh6GyML0wNRgN0jAjWel9jnR3ZoTv0MDikbR0MXIbBA-QB-2Ina5BLi2nTjpV1TcRojtpGUamNJ7_6vY-MEW6zFQr7ribQRXWvn7WQSVqKWuZW47t-QGTfkUfjm4PYD8L3rJcuJw63dwW65r7M2Aauxh5yL-vqk%3D

Follow Darwin: https://twitter.com/GuevarraDarwin

 

 
 
Episode 3: Sam Tromans - Autism in Psychiatric Facilities

When his brother was diagnosed with autism, Sam was inspired to further understand the relationship autistic people have with the world around them. A qualified doctor, he now combines his psychiatric work with his PhD studies; investigating the prevalence of adult autism in psychiatric facilities. In this podcast, we delve deeper in to Sam's important research, the motivations behind his work and his thoughts on the mental health issues that autistic people face living in a society that is geared towards the needs of the non-autistic population. 

To find out more about Sam, check out his Twitter at: https://twitter.com/SamuelJTromans

 

 

Episode 2: Arnesa Buljušmić-Kustura - From Refugee to Researcher

Arnesa Buljušmić-Kustura is an analyst, researcher and is the international operations manager for Remembering Srbencia UK. But life hasn't always been easy. Arnesa's analysis of the Bosnian War, genocide, fascism and Islamophobia, are fuelled by her first-hand experiences during the conflict. Experiencing life as a refugee, to now holding post as a lecturer and published author - her story is a hugely interesting one.

 

 
 
Episode 1: Oliver Bracko - Using crowd-source science to study Alzheimer's disease.

A researcher at Cornell University, Oliver's newest publication uses multiphoton imaging to explore the role of brain blood flow reductions and capillary stalling in a mouse model of Alzheimer, fed a western high fat diet. Here we discuss his research in more detail, with particular attention to his crowd-sourcing methods, as well as the wider landscape of Alzheimer's research and advice for those looking for a way in to the industry. 

You can view Oliver's full publication here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-65908-y