For our fourth and most delicious Bite yet, we take a journey through the five basic tastes guided by Dr. Gary Beauchamp. Together we investigate why the things that we eat and drink have different tastes, and what it means to taste something in the first place.
Our latest Bite introduces 'The Fog at Bay' - a new series of personal mental health stories from academia and medicine. In this crossover episode, Dr. Felicia De La Garza Mercer discusses stress and burnout in the student population. The Fog at Bay's complete first season is out now and features the voices of our graduate and medical school peers, as well as faculty. Stories touch on topics such as bipolar disorder, depression, and concussions. Catch it all on thefogatbay.com, itunes, facebook, or soundcloud.
In this episode, we learn about the war going on inside our bodies every day. We generally think of our immune systems as defending us from malicious, foreign attackers. But, as always with biology, we’re finding that it’s not that simple. In some cases, an apparent foe might turn out to be a friend, and vice versa. Here we bring you three different stories about how the immune system can be outsmarted, misdirected, and even re-engineered.
For our second Bite, we sit down with Dr. Mala Murthy, a professor at Princeton University, who uses fruit fly songs to answer difficult questions about how flies can respond dynamically to changing environments and how their brains are wired to carry out these behaviors. You can hear the (quiet) low-frequency humming and purring of the fly song in some of the quiet sections of the episode!
Produced by Sam Ancona Esselmann with editing help from Meryl Horn
In this brand new CTOR Bite, we take a listen to Carry The One Radio’s own Sama Ahmed as he summarizes 5 years of his research on evolutionary biology into exactly 3 minutes! It’s an adaptation of his award-winning entry into the University of California competition. Enjoy and as always, stay curious.
“Brain Meets Word: The Neuroscience Behind Communication”
Tongues, songbirds and perfect fifths, oh my! Seemingly disparate subjects yes, but remarkably similar nonetheless. In this episode, we investigate some of the far corners of the neuroscience behind communication! We start with a simple question: how does the human brain coordinate all of the muscles that allow us to speak? In part 2, we learn how male songbirds perfect their mating calls and how all the single birds respond. And finally, a neuroscientist/professional opera-singer tells us about the mystery of musicality, and the science behind becoming a great musician.
Part One: “On the Tip of My Tongue”
The human brain precisely controls numerous muscles when we speak, but scientists know very little about how exactly this happens... Our producers Ryan Jones and Kate Woronowicz talk with David Conant, a doctoral student in Dr. Edward Chang’s lab at the University of California - San Francisco, about how patients with epilepsy are helping us unravel this great mystery.
Part Two: “A Bird Song to Remember”
Spring is in the air and with it, a cacophony of bird songs. But these birds aren’t born knowing how to sing. It’s only after the brain goes through complex chemical dances that these males can attract their perfect mates. Listen to Peter Chisnell talk with Dr. Gregory Ball, neuroscientist at the University of Maryland, about how hormones refine male bird songs and in turn, how these songs change birds’ brains.
Part Three: “The Sound of Music(ality)”
Practice makes perfect, but is that all it takes to become a great musician? Lynn Wang talks to Dr. Indre Viskontas, neuroscientist and professional musician, about her research studying how musicality works. At the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Indre teaches “Training the Musical Brain,” a class where students learn how to practice basic music perceptual skills. In addition, she’s interested in understanding how elements such as emotion and expression make us better musicians.
Each summer, The Gladstone Institutes places high school students in some of the best labs for the study of heart disease, brain disorders, virology and immunology. The students work alongside scientists where they learn to conduct cutting-edge experiments,
This past summer, we teamed up with Gladstone to mentor two of the students, Hanan Sinada and Kainat Shaikh. After their day in the lab, they met with our producers Kate Woronowicz and Yelena Kulik to learn how to create a podcast episode about their experience. Today’s episode is written and produced by Kainat, a student at Burton High School. Kainat shares what she learned about HIV, what she called “The Sneaky Intruder".
Dr. Susanna Rosi (UCSF) on how traumatic brain injury (TBI) affects brain function, and the search for new treatments for TBI patients.
The brain is an astonishingly complex organ. Injury to the brain in the form of traumatic brain injury (TBI) can cause learning and memory problems in the short-term and dementia in the long-term. Over 1.7 million individuals experience TBI in the United States every year. Unfortunately, there are currently only symptomatic treatments for TBIs. We talked to Dr. Susanna Rosi, Associate Professor at UCSF, about her research into new treatments for TBIs.
Although our immune system is amazing at what it does, there are complex cases where the it fails us. Everyday, our bodies fight off hordes of bacteria and viruses that cause disease. When fighting cancer, our bodies even face their own cells that have gone rogue. However, certain pathogens and cancers manage to circumvent our immune system.
Cells are the building blocks of life…and need to be transformed into the various tissues that make up our body. There are two main populations of cells that are programmed by a variety of biochemical forces to acquire the characteristics of different cell types in the body. One population, called the somatic cells, is eventually transformed into skin, muscle, bones and such. The other population, called germ cells, becomes sperm and eggs.
In today’s episode, Karuna Meda interviews Dr. Nam Tran (UCSF) about his research on germ cell development and its importance for understanding fertility.