How does a three pound ball of flesh inside your skull lead to your thoughts, your hopes, your feelings...and your sweet dance moves? There are more cells in your brain than there are people on Earth. Billions of neurons making trillions of connections. Trying to figure out how your brain works would be like trying to understand every conversation that’s going on in the world, all at one time…ten times over! So how can we tackle this monumental task? Most scientists simplify the problem by focusing on a single part of the brain, but what if we took a different path? What if we could understand everything that’s going on in a brain, all at the same time? In this episode, Saul Kato explains how he’s doing just that.
From the basic biology to public policy: in this episode we tackle sugar. Find out what happens in our bodies when we eat sugar, as well as the disturbing tactics corporations use to get people hooked on products like soda and junk food. We then talk about soda taxes and other strategies Dr. Laura Schmidt and her colleagues are using to battle against the sugar industry.
In this episode, we chat with Dr. Joe DeRisi, UCSF’s resident Sherlock Holmes of infectious diseases. You’ll hear about a surprising discovery that could have enormous implications for controlling - or even preventing - future Ebola outbreaks. One of the big mysteries surrounding Ebola has been where it hides between outbreaks. Here, Dr. DeRisi uncovers an unexpected culprit that could be harboring this deadly virus.
In this episode, a team of researchers disprove a decades-old dogma. The result? The first ever FDA-approved drug for primary-progressive multiple sclerosis. In this inspiring story spanning decades of research, you’ll hear all the science, and all the dramatic twists, behind this radical new treatment.
For more information and links to the music used in this episode, please visit ctoradio.org
Scientists usually study biology in animals such as lab rats, but their discoveries do not always translate between species. What if we could study human biology specifically? In this episode, we talk to Dr. Jurgen Knoblich and Dr. Zev Gartner about their efforts to create organoids, which are miniature, simplified versions of organs created from human cells. Using these organoids, Drs. Knoblich and Gartner can study how human organs develop and how they are affected by disease. How do they make these organoids, and what will organoids mean for our future health?
Have you ever spaced out while traveling somewhere but still made it to your desintation effortlessly? Our brain is amazing at calculating exactly where we are relative to things around us, but this is a skill we often take for granted. In this episode, Producer Sama Ahmed talks with Dr. Michael Yartsev about how we know where we are in the world, how we make memories, and how we make decisions. Dr. Yartsev is uncovering all of this utilizing a rather unconventional and totally awesome animal: the bat! This episode is a re-release of an episode from 2013.
In this episode we bring you short talks from ten young, passionate scientists eager to tell you about their cutting-edge discoveries. Each scientist is given just three minutes to launch their audience to new horizons and bring them back to earth, ready for the next exciting journey. Come with us as we explore new horizons in disease prevention, ways that our bodies could one day produce their own treatments, how scary spiders can actually help us reduce pain, and much, much more. Intrigued? Let's begin our countdown to science!
In this episode we’ll explore humanity’s, and the entire animal kingdom’s, fraught relationship with its closest biological cousins, fungi. We will hear about how we can’t live without them, how they’re trying to wipe us off the face of the planet, and how at least one company thinks they’re the key to changing how we view our own mortality.
This one of our largest single episodes, comprised of four parts!
First, Dr. Dennis Desjardin of San Francisco State University will tell us about his lifelong relationship with fungi and some of the bizarre organisms he has discovered. Next, we’ll talk to Dr. Margo Daub of North Carolina State University about a deadly pathogen that threatens our food security. Third, we will hear from Dr. Anita Sil of UCSF about a deadly fungus that uses our own immune system against us, and finally, Claire McNamara from the startup Coeio will explain how their product can leverage the power of fungi to create a radical shift in our view on death.
In this episode we bring back Professor Terrence Deacon, a biological anthropologist at the University of California, Berkeley, to talk about language. He tells us one possible story of how language first evolved, and why he believes language is a uniquely human capability. Listen to find out how language is about a lot more than just speech.
In Part 2 of “How to Build a Human”, we continue our investigation of our unique features that set us apart from other animals. We spoke to Dr. Nathan Young from the University of California San Francisco, who studies the development of the human skeleton and looks at how the variations in our skeletal structure have contributed to our evolution and the development of human civilization.