From Google Maps to John Snow’s map of cholera cases in the 1800s, maps have the power to change the way we understand information. What if we could use maps of cellular function to discover the mechanisms of psychiatric disorders? We sit down with Dr. Jeremy Willsey, a researcher in the Psychiatric Cell Map Initiative, who’s trying to do just that—understand the neural basis of Tourette Disorder by placing disorder-related mutations on a map of the cell.
Hosted by Carlos Johnson-Cruz and Li Wang
Produced by Anna Lipkin, Stephanie Wankowicz, Li Wang, and Carlos Johnson-Cruz
Editing Help from the CTOR team
Music used in this episode:
“Scenery” and “Ode to the World” by Kai Engel
“Bathed in Light” and “Unanswered Questions” by Kevin MacLeod
“Frogs in Tuxes” and “Sweet and Clean” by Podington Bear
“Ragtime Dance” by Scott Joplin
If you stop to think about it, the amount of data we generate every day is truly mind-blowing - so much so that it's changing the way we live. In fact, our ability to quantify and measure large biological datasets has revolutionized the way we study and treat human diseases. In this episode, we speak to Dr. Atul Butte, who exploits these massive, publicly-available datasets to create novel and effective therapies for those in need.
Music in this episode includes:
Blue Dot Sessions: Borough, Beignet, Game Hens, The Zeppelin, Hundred Mile, Lord Weasel, Dorica
Podington Bear: Cascades, Window Shopping, Daydreamer
Musick's Recreation, Milena Cord-to-Krax: Gavotte (BWV 995)
The heart is an extremely complicated organ, and believe it or not, everyone has one! But how does this vital organ come to be? By studying how a stem cell makes the decision to become a heart cell, Dr. Daniel Hart is trying to figure that out, and he’s using fish to do it. Check out this episode for some pretty terrible puns, fascinating facts about zebrafish, and an extended metaphor about gene regulation that will make you want to reach for the liquor cabinet.
Music from Podington Bear on the Free Music Archive, and sound effects from users agonda and philberts on Freesound.com.
Dr. Liz Wayne got her start as a cancer hunter, searching for rogue cells running loose through the bloodstream. But she started to notice something strange – everywhere she found cancer cells, she found immune cells, too. Today, a big issue with cancer therapy is that some cancer sites are really hard to reach, but immune cells have no problem getting there. Dr. Wayne thought, why not hitchhike cancer-fighting drugs onto immune cells to get them straight to the places they’re needed most? Listen to this month’s episode to find out how her research may pave the way for a cheaper, more accessible kind of cancer immunotherapy. Plus, stick around after the credits to hear the origin story of Dr. Wayne’s podcast, PhDivas.
Sharing is caring - so what if you could transmit your HIV therapy to someone else? In this episode, we talked to Dr. Leor Weinberger, whose team has invented TIPs, or Therapeutic Interfering Particles, that are mutant, shortened forms of HIV that cannot replicate on their own and cannot cause disease. In cells that contain HIV, these TIPs outcompete HIV, preventing it from replicating. These TIPs could then be spread from person to person through the same ways that HIV is transmitted. This therapy could go a long way towards fighting the barriers against disease control - adherence, access, and resistance.
We thought this was a really unique idea that has the potential of reducing the population level of HIV, and we wanted to share this early-stage research with you.
To date, cochlear implants are the most successful electronic device for restoring sensation in individuals with sensorineural hearing loss. Yet these devices are not without flaws. For instance, pitch perception is extremely poor in these devices, and that can affect an implant user's ability to distinguish sounds in a noisy room. In this episode, we speak to Dr. Charles Limb, a UCSF ear surgeon who specializes in hearing loss and performs these cochlear implant surgeries. By incorporating complex elements of music, Dr. Limb and his team hope to improve the current cochlear implant model so those with hearing loss have a wider range and more sensitive ability to hear.
Dr. David Gordon studies HIV. In Life/Science, a new mini-series produced in collaboration with the UCSF Quantitative Biosciences Institute, we're giving you a peek behind the curtain. This isn't just a series about science, it's also about the process, about what it actually means to do this kind of research - including the confusion, failures, and triumphs David has faced along the way.
Life/Science will be updated monthly, so make sure to tune in next month for Episode 2: Methods! We'll take a deep dive into the experiments David used to figure out how HIV hijacks human cells for its own nefarious purposes.
If you like what you hear, leave us a comment or review! We'd love to hear from you. Music featured in this episode comes from Podington Bear.
Pharmaceutical drugs for cognitive disorders are poorly targeted and can have adverse side effects. Could playing video games be an alternative therapy? We speak with Dr. Adam Gazzaley about his work on training the brains of patients using video games, and the effects on this training on their lives outside the game.
Let's talk about sex, baby. Wait, minus the baby. This month, we interviewed a science historian and a current provider, as well as our friends and family, to learn about the scientific and cultural factors that shape contraceptive use in the US.
Forming strong social relationships with others is critical to our mental health and well-being. But what happens when our ability to form these vital connections is impaired? In this episode, Dr. Josh Woolley explores the social deficits in patients with Schizophrenia, and how oxytocin may hold the key to developing a better treatment.