Dr. David Gordon studies HIV. In Life/Science, a 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 bi-weekly, so make sure to tune in on December 2nd for Episode 3: Results! Next time, we’ll hear what David’s experiment revealed, and its implications for the world at large.
If you like what you hear, give us a like or leave a comment! We'd love to hear from you. Music featured in this episode comes from Podington Bear and Blue Dot Sessions. Other contributors to David's research include Ariane Watson, Stefanie Jager, and Assen Roguev. This episode was written and produced by Katie Cabral, Ben Mansky, and Elina Kostyanovskaya. Support for Life/Science comes from the Quantitative Biosciences Institute at UCSF.
When you close your eyes and imagine the universe, what do you see? Maybe you picture billions of swirling galaxies made of dust, gas, stars, and planets. But, what if we told you that the major source of mass in the universe is made out of something we cannot see? Not only can we not see it, we aren’t even entirely sure what it is. This mysterious cosmic substance is called dark matter, and it is the subject of this episode.
To learn about dark matter, we spoke to Dr. Neta Bahcall, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Astrophysics at Princeton University. We discuss how it was discovered, as well as how astrophysicists are certain it exists, but are still frustrated by the elusive nature of the particles that make up dark matter. We also discuss some of the work currently being done to better understand what dark matter is, how it’s distributed in the universe, and what effect it has on the structure and evolution of the universe.
This episode was written & produced by Stella Belonwu, Anna Lipkin, Cindy Liu and Liron Noiman.
For more information on dark matter, check out Modelling the Invisible (https://www.modellinginvisible.org/dark-matter/) and The Illustris Simulation (https://www.illustris-project.org/about/). Additionally, to understand some of the concepts that we touched on, check out The Physics Hypertextbook (https://physics.info/standard/).
The cover art for this episode is an image of the Abell 2218 galaxy cluster and beautifully demonstrates the effect of gravitational lensing, which we discuss in the episode [30:46]. The image was pulled from https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/heic0814a/, with credits to NASA, ESA, and Johan Richard from Caltech, with acknowledgements to Davide de Martin & James Long (ESA/Hubble).
Music and sound effects were acquired from the YouTube Audio Library, www.freesound.org, and Free Music Archive.
Music included in this episode:
Algorithms and Moonrise by Chad Crouch
Saturn V by Lee Rosevere
Cute Avalanche by RKVC
English Country Garden by Aaron Kenny
Orbital Romance by Sir Cubworth
Alive Evil by Hainbach
Ether Oar by The Whole Other
Da Jazz Blues by Doug Maxwell
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 bi-weekly, so make sure to tune in on the 18th 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, give us a like or leave a comment! We'd love to hear from you. Music featured in this episode comes from Podington Bear. Other contributors to David's research include Ariane Watson, Stefanie Jager, and Assen Roguev.
We’re proud to present the first episode in our brand new Young Scientist Spotlight Series, or “The Spotlight” for short. Each month, we’ll feature an informal, lightly-edited interview with a graduate student, postdoc, staff researcher, or other early-career scientist. Through these conversations, we’ll be bringing you a fun, down-to-earth look at not only even more of the awesome science content you love, but also the people behind the science. In our first Spotlight, we spoke with Witney Chen, a graduate student studying Parkinson’s Disease at the University of California, San Francisco. We chatted about her research on brain stimulation in human patients, life in graduate school, how she became a scientist, and… dog poop.
This episode was produced by Ben Mansky. Music is “Borough,” from Blue Dot Sessions.
How does a potential drug discovered in the lab ultimately end up in people? We tackle this question in the context of exciting gene-modifying therapies called antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs). In this episode, we speak with Dr. Tim Miller to break down the science behind ASOs and learn more about his work in finding a cure for a genetic form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
This episode was written and produced by Nancy Cai, Devika Nair, and Arja Ray.
Music used in this episode: “Thannoid”, “Bundt”, “Lupi”, “Partly Sage”, “Beignet”, “Trailrunner”, “Game Hens”, “Lord Weasel”, “The Zeppelin”, “Dorica”, “Our Fingers Cold”, “Gaena” by Blue Dot Sessions
For more information about spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), check out the spinal muscular dystrophy association website: https://www.mda.org/disease/spinal-muscular-atrophy.
There is also this great animation that shows how the Spinraza (nusinersen) ASO works in the body: https://www.spinraza.com/en_us/home/taking/how-spinraza-works.html.
To read the results from the first ASO for Huntington’s disease, check out the New England Journal of Medicine article here: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1900907?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori%3Arid%3Acrossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub%3Dpubmed.
Did you know that mosquitoes kill over 700,000 people a year? They are the most dangerous animal in the world. How can they be stopped?!
In this episode, we spoke with a variety of experts that are working on mosquito vector control in the Caribbean and Latin America. The common theme is that it is essential to educate community members about the risks of mosquitoes and actions that they can take to reduce mosquito breeding. An educated community is much more engaged to take actions to prevent mosquito borne diseases like Zika and dengue. We also spoke to the World Mosquito Program about their research on infecting mosquitoes with a harmless bacteria called Wolbachia that prevents the mosquitoes from being able to spread disease. Although progress is being made, it will take a lot of money, resources, and new technology to eliminate the spread of mosquito-borne diseases.
You can check out the USAID Zika photo exhibit, which featured clips from some of the interviews in this episode, at https://spark.adobe.com/page/PdfTwBPiuCH3F/
You probably haven’t heard much about the Zika epidemic in the last few years – whatever happened with Zika? In this episode, we follow the history of Zika – from its origins, to the widespread epidemic of 2015-2016, to the personal impact it had on those who were affected, to its disappearance, and to the possibility of preventing a future Zika epidemic through a vaccine. We spoke with Dalma Contina Soto, a mother of a child born with congenital Zika syndrome; Dr. Josefina Coloma, an epidemiologist who studies the Zika virus and works to prevent mosquito-borne diseases in Nicaragua; and Dr. Anna Durbin, an infectious disease specialist who tests potential vaccines for Zika and Dengue.
To listen to the original Spanish audio of Dalma’s interview, head to soundcloud.com/carrytheoneradio and look for the playlist “Zika miniseries – Spanish audio”.
Some of this content was originally featured as an audio companion to a USAID photo exhibit detailing efforts to combat Zika in Latin America and the Caribbean. To check out the photos, go to https://spark.adobe.com/page/PdfTwBPiuCH3F/.
This episode is part of a 2-part miniseries – the next episode, all about prevention of mosquito-borne diseases like Zika, releases on September 16th. Stay tuned!
The genome is like the encyclopedia to our body. With all that information, how does each cell know what part of the genome to read out at the right place and right time? That’s where transcription factors come to play. In this episode, we’ll learn how transcription factors prevent eyeballs from growing in our bellies! We will also hear from Dr. Aseem Ansari as he speaks about his work on creating synthetic transcription factors, SynGRs, and how these molecules could be used in future therapies.
This episode was written and produced by Devika Nair, Nancy Cai, and Arja Ray. Music used in this episode: “Picnic March”, “Filing Away”, “Tiny Putty”, “Borough”, “Beignet”, “Trailrunner”, “Lovers Hollow”, “Highway 94”, “Dangerous Swing”, “Curio” by Blue Dot Sessions.
Hey! Sorry we didn't have an episode out in July, but we have been hard at work creating our next season of episodes. We'll be talking about the Zika virus, how to stop mosquitoes from spreading disease, how to use molecules to turn genes on and off, black holes, brain development, and more! Plus, we'll be starting our Young Scientists Spotlight series to highlight the work done by graduate students and postdocs towards scientific advancement. Episodes will be dropping on the first Monday of each month, plus occasional bonus episodes mid-month. See you soon, and stay curious!
This month, we discuss one of the biggest buzzwords in science today: CRISPR. This gene-editing tool has gotten a lot of attention for some ...ethically dubious uses, but before we humans got our hands on it, CRISPR was actually one of nature’s inventions. Since its discovery, CRISPR has been widely adapted as an incredibly effective research tool, but we’re still working to understand its biology -- and its limitations. In this episode, you’ll hear from Dr. Joseph Bondy-Denomy, who researches the evolutionary arms race that led to CRISPR, and Dr. Martin Kampmann, who uses CRISPR as a tool to study disease.