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People Behind the Science Podcast - Stories from Scientists about Science, Life, Research, and Science Careers

Dr. Marie McNeely, featuring top scientists speaking about their life and c

73 episodes

Nov 15, 2021

631: Conducting Critical Research in Conservation Focused on Sewage Pollution - Dr. Stephanie Wear 

Dr. Stephanie Wear is a Senior Scientist and Strategy Advisor at The Nature Conservancy, as well as a Visiting Fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and a Visiting Scientist at Duke University Marine Lab. Stephanie’s career has been dedicated to conservation, and her work has spanned a variety of threats to marine ecosystems, including overfishing and management, the impacts of climate change, and sewage pollution. When she’s not at work, Stephanie enjoys spending time out in nature with her husband and two kids, and lately they’ve been spending a lot of time hiking and searching for salamanders. Stephanie received her B.A. in Environmental Sciences from the University of Virginia and her M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Marine Sciences from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She began working with The Nature Conservancy in 2001. Stephanie and her work have been featured in numerous media outlets, and she has been named one of Women's Health Magazine's "Clean and Green Pioneers" and Babble.com's "Moms Who are Changing the World". In addition, she was selected as a member of the inaugural class of NatureNet Science Fellows—a program sponsored by The Nature Conservancy and six leading universities that brings new approaches to solving global challenges surrounding sustainable provision of food, energy, and water. In our interview, Stephanie shares more about her life and science.

Nov 8, 2021

630: Mapping Our Genetic Make-Up in the Human Genome Project and Beyond - Dr. Eric Green 

Dr. Eric Green is the Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health. Eric works in the field of genomics. Everything from cars to houses has a blueprint of information that defines its creation and operation. The field of genomics studies DNA, the information molecule of living cells, to understand how living organisms are created and operate. While his research can be time consuming, Eric loves digital photography because of the technological science involved. His two teenagers also keep him busy, and he is a diehard Cardinals baseball fan. He received his B.S. in Bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and his M.D. and Ph.D. in Cell Biology from Washington University in St. Louis. Afterward, Eric completed his residency at Washington University in Laboratory Medicine and as part of his residency he did a postdoctoral research in genetics. Eric served on the faculty and as co-investigator in the Human Genome Center at Washington University School of Medicine before accepting a position at the National Institutes of Health where he has been now for over 20 years. Eric has been the recipient of many awards and honors during his career, including the NIH Director’s Award (multiple times), the Alumni Achievement and the Distinguished Alumni Awards from Washington University School of Medicine, as well as a Ladue Horton Watkins High School Distinguished Alumni Award. He is also a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians. Eric is here with us today to tell us all about his journey through life and science.

Nov 1, 2021

629: Egg-cell-ent Research in Reproduction, Fertilization, and Embryonic Development - Dr. Mariana Wolfner 

Dr. Mariana Wolfner is the Goldwin Smith Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics and a Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow at Cornell University. Mariana studies reproduction, focusing on interactions between male and female molecules throughout the reproductive process and how these interactions evolved. Also, how does an egg switch from being a differentiated egg cell to a brand new organism that is going to divide and make every kind of cell in the organism. Outside science, Mariana enjoys spending time with her family including her two grown children. They like to go hiking, birdwatching, and generally being out in nature. When the weather’s not cooperating, Mariana stays inside doing crossword puzzles and other kinds of puzzles as well as baking sweet treats. We were also delighted to discover our shared love of terrible puns. She received her BA in Genetics and Chemistry from Cornell University, and her PhD in Biochemistry from Stanford University. She did postdoctoral work at UCSD, before joining the Cornell faculty in 1983. Mariana has received many awards and honors during her career. For example, she is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and was a Lady Davis Fellow. She has given numerous named or distinguished lectures, and has also received awards for her teaching and advising of students. In addition to research, teaching, and advising, Mariana is very active in service to her field, serving on many Society Boards, Editorial Boards and organizing many conferences. Mariana is with us today to tell us all about her journey through life and science.

Oct 25, 2021

628: Investigating Plant-Based Medicines to Battle Infectious Disease and Antibiotic Resistance - Dr. Cassandra Quave 

Dr. Cassandra Quave holds a joint appointment as Associate Professor of Dermatology in the Emory University School of Medicine and Emory Center for the Study of Human Health. She is also Director/Curator of the Emory University Herbarium, CEO of CLQ Botanicals (a company providing consulting services on botanicals for personal care, skin health, and cosmetics), CEO and Chief Scientist of PhytoTEK LLC (a start-up biotech company dedicated to R&D and commercialization of novel anti-infective technologies), host of the Foodie Pharmacology Podcast, and author of the recently released book The Plant Hunter: A Scientist's Quest for Nature's Next Medicines. As a medical ethnobotanist, Cassandra studies how people relate to plants, and how they use plants as medicine. Her research takes her around the world to document traditional medicinal practices and collect plant samples. In her lab, Cassandra and her team analyze plant samples to assess their pharmacological activity against infectious disease targets. When she’s not working in the lab or out in the field, Cassandra loves spending time with her husband and their four kids, going to sporting events, hiking, canoeing, swimming, and relaxing with a good book. Cassandra received B.S. degrees in Biology as well as Anthropology and Human Biology from Emory University, and she was awarded her PhD in Biology with a focus in ethnobotany and ethnopharmacology from Florida International University. Next, Cassandra conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at Emory University. She joined the faculty at Emory University in 2013, and she has been awarded the Emory Williams Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award for her excellence in teaching. In our interview, Cassandra shares more about her life and science.

Oct 11, 2021

626: Digging into the Fossil Record to Understand our Planet’s Past and Aid Present Conservation Efforts - Dr. Michael Archer 

Dr. Michael Archer is a Professor of Paleobiology in the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of New South Wales in Australia. Mike is a paleontologist who is fascinated with understanding the continuity of life over billions of years. He spends his free time watching Sci-Fi movies, including classics like Jurassic Park (one of his all-time favorites). Mike received his undergraduate education from Princeton University in Geology and Biology. He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Australia and remained there to earn his PhD in Zoology from the University of Western Australia. Mike has since worked at the Western Australian, Queensland, and Australian Museums, and he joined the faculty at the University of New South Wales in 1978. Mike has received many awards and honors, including being named one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Sydney in 2008, receipt of the Riversleigh Society Medal, the TH Huxley Award from the Australian Museum, and the Australian Centennial Medal from the Federal Government of Australia. He is a Member of the Australia Institute of Biology, as well as a Fellow of the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, the World Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Australian College of Educators, The Australian Academy of Science, the Royal Society of New South Wales, and Australia 21. In this interview, Mike tells us more about his journey through life and science.

Sep 20, 2021

623: Examining the Migration of Marine Animals to Inform Management and Conservation - Dr. Autumn-Lynn Harrison 

Dr. Autumn-Lynn Harrison is Program Manager of the Migratory Connectivity Project and a Research Ecologist at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. She is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Duke University and an Affiliate Professor at George Mason University. Her research focuses on the migration of marine animals such as seabirds and seals. In order to help manage and conserve these animals, she uses data from small tracking tags to understand where these animals go, the habitats they depend on, and the places that are important to them. When she’s not working, Autumn-Lynn loves to be out on the water paddling in a canoe or kayak. She also enjoys watching college football as well as playing the flute and piccolo in a community band. Autumn-Lynn received her B.S. degrees in Environmental Science and Fisheries and Wildlife Science from Virginia Tech, a Graduate Diploma of Science in Tropical Marine Ecology and Fisheries Science from James Cook University in Australia, and her Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She worked for the Society for Conservation Biology for 11 years prior to accepting a postdoctoral fellowship with the Institute for Parks at Clemson University. Next, Autumn-Lynn joined the team at the Smithsonian Institution in 2014. In our interview, she shares more about her life and science.

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