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Foodie Pharmacology Podcast

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Foodie Pharmacology is the science podcast for the food curious! Dr. Quave is co-creator and host of the show. She speaks with leading experts on certain crops, sustainable farming methods, medicinal plants, and explores the pharmacology--or health impact--of our food through weekly episodes! You can also tune in through subscribing to the podcast on Apple Podcasts. Leave comments and ratings on episodes! Dr. Quave loves to hear from the #FoodiePharmacology fans!


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Foodie Pharmacology is the science podcast for the food curious! Dr. Quave is co-creator and host of the show. She speaks with leading experts on certain crops, sustainable farming methods, medicinal plants, and explores the pharmacology--or health impact--of our food through weekly episodes! You can also tune in through subscribing to the podcast on Apple Podcasts. Leave comments and ratings on episodes! Dr. Quave loves to hear from the #FoodiePharmacology fans!




The Future of Food with Dr. Andy Jarvis of Bezos Earth Fund

By 2050, the world needs to be able to produce enough food to feed 10 billion people. Our guest this week is Dr. Andy Jarvis, Director of the Future of Food at the Bezos Earth Fund. We discuss the challenges of sustainable agriculture in the face of an increasing global population and delve into the complexity of the food system, addressing the potential for transformative change on topics like loss and waste, nutritious diets, and innovative farming practices. We also discuss important initiatives such as the Periodic Table of Food, aimed at fundamentally advancing our understanding of food composition, and the role of the Bezos Earth Fund in driving scientific innovation in agricultural sustainability. This podcast is sponsored by The Periodic Table of Food Initiative in association with the American Heart Association. The views and opinions in this podcast are those of the presenters and represent the synthesis of science. For more information on the Periodic Table of Food Initiative, please visit #PTFI #ClimateChange #FoodSystems #FutureOfFood #Sustainability


Treaty Talks: Crop Metrics with Álvaro Toledo and Luigi Guarino

The next episode has a slightly different set-up from what you may be used to when listening to Foodie Pharmacology. This interview is part of a series that I did in collaboration with the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. In this series, I talk to different experts about the trends they observe in plants that are important to our agriculture, diets and health. Episode Description Dr. Cassandra Quave in conversation with Álvaro Toledo (Deputy Secretary of the International Plant Treaty) and Luigi Guarino (Director of Science at the Global Crop Diversity Trust) on global trends regarding plants that feed the world. Host and guests discuss the study “The plants that feed the world” that shows how countries are interdependent for their food supply and how the type of crops that are important to our diet are shifting over time and geographically. Which plants will become more important in the future? How can such trends inform our national and global planning for the research and safeguarding of the plants that feed us? Resources: International Plant Treaty: Study and database “The plants that feed the world”: Benefit-sharing Fund project in Malawi (referred to in the episode): Presenter: Cassandra Quave Producer: Hedwig de Coo Sound: Gijs de Bakker, Eric Deleu #FAO #Crops #PlantTreaty #Nutrition #ClimateChange #Policy #UnitedNations #Coffee


Ethnobotany and Medical Discoveries with Dr. Paul Alan Cox

From the discovery of an HIV/AIDS drug candidate to uncovering the secrets behind a neurotoxin responsible for neurodegenerative diseases, we have a lot to share this week on the show! Our guest is Dr. Paul Alan Cox, ethnobotanist and Executive Director of the Brain Chemistry Labs in Jackson, Wyoming, where he and his colleagues are searching for new treatments for ALS and Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Cox has lived for years in remote island villages, searching for new medicines. He was named one of TIME magazine’s eleven “Heroes of Medicine” for his discovery of a new HIV/AIDS drug candidate. He was also awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize, sometimes known as the Nobel Prize for the Environment. Visit this website to learn more: #HIV #AIDS #Prostratin #ALS #Alzheimers #Okinawa #LSerine #cyanobacteria #podcast


Agrobiodiversity and climate resilience in Ethiopia with Dr. Alex McAlvay

Our guest this week is Dr. Alex McAlvay, ethnobotanist at the New York Botanical Garden's Institute of Economic Botany. His research focuses on understanding the relationships between humans and their environments, the evolutionary and ecological impacts of humans on plants, and the traditional stewardship of plants by cultures. Alex is working on an interesting research project in collaboration with the Periodic Table of Food Initiative on agrobiodiversity and climate resilience in Ethiopia. We address some important questions, such as: This podcast is sponsored by The Periodic Table of Food Initiative in association with the American Heart Association. The views and opinions in this podcast are those of the presenters and represent the synthesis of science. For more information on the Periodic Table of Food Initiative, please visit #PTFI #ClimateChange #Ethiopia #conservation #agroecology


Life Below Zero with Sue Aikens

Imagine living 500 miles from the closest town, relying on your grit and skills in hunting, fishing, and foraging to find food and medicine to survive. Now, imagine doing all of this at the edge of the world, deep in the Arctic, beyond the tree line where there are no roads and no neighbors nearby to help in an emergency. Our guest this week is Sue Aikens, star of the eight-time Emmy-award-winning show Life Below Zero on National Geographic TV. Sue recounts lessons learned from her 23 years living at Camp Kavik, including how she survived a bear attack and found fresh frozen fruit by analyzing patterns in the snow drift. #Arctic #Forager #BearAttack #Survival #Alaska #Hunting #foodiepharmacology #sueaikens #kavik #livebelowzero #natgeo


Foodomics with Dr. Tracy Shafizadeh

You might be asking, "What is 'foodomics”? Fundamentally, foodomics is the science dedicated to comprehensively studying what's in our food, from its genetic building blocks to its chemical composition. Welcome to the inaugural episode of a special series on the Foodie Pharmacology podcast, produced in collaboration with The Periodic Table of Food Initiative (PTFI)! The PTFI is spearheading a global effort to decipher the makeup of foods, aiming to enhance both human and environmental health. Our guest today is Dr. Tracy Shafizadeh, a distinguished nutritional scientist and the Director of Programs and Partnerships at Verso Biosciences. Additionally, Tracy holds the position of Director of Technology Partnerships at the PTFI. With over 15 years in product development and scientific communication, she has played pivotal roles at various life science corporations. In this episode, we delve into how foodomics is demystifying the composition of crucial foods, including tomatoes. We address some important questions, such as: This Foodie Pharmacology podcast is part of a special series co-designed with the Periodic Table of Food Initiative also known as the PTFI. The views and opinions in this podcast are those of the presenters and represent the synthesis of science. The PTFI is a program of RF Catalytic Capital managed by a collaborative team at the American Heart Association and the Alliance of Bioversity CIAT that seeks to advance our fundamental understanding of food composition by providing tools, data, and training to scientists across the global so they can better characterize the quality of the world’s edible biodiversity. The PTFI's ultimate goal is to advance data-driven solutions in the food sector for the health of people and the planet. Funding for the PTFI is provided by The Rockefeller Foundation, the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, Seerave Foundation, Fourfold Foundation, and Atria Health Collaborative. HELPFUL LINKS: Foodomics: A Data-Driven Approach to Revolutionize Nutrition and Sustainable DietsWhat Is In A Tomato? Mapping The Building Blocks Of Food #foodomics #omics #tomato #PTFI #foodiepharmacology #cassadraquave


The Science Behind Non-Caloric Sweeteners with Dr. Grant DuBois

Let's face it: Americans have a penchant for sweet foods and drinks. However, the health implications of consuming large amounts of sugar are concerning. For years, food and beverage chemists have been on a quest for non-caloric sweeteners, and several innovative products have emerged in the market. This week, we delve into the science of sweet tastes and explore how experts in biochemistry and physiology have developed zero-calorie sugar alternatives for various products. Joining us is Dr. Grant E. DuBois, a specialist in non-caloric sweetener technologies. He has dedicated his career to pioneering new flavor technologies and has worked with leading companies like Searle Pharmaceutical Co., The Coca-Cola Company, Almedra, and Crave Crush LLC. #sweetener #stevia #aspartame #flavor #podcast #diet #softdrinks


At the Table: The Chef’s Guide to Advocacy with Katherine Miller

The U.S. Farm Bill has far-reaching implications for our food systems and our health. Our guest this week, Katherine Miller, shares insights into this piece of legislation and offers tips on how to effectively advocate for food policies. Katherine has built a 20-year career working at the intersections of policy, politics, and social impact. Her new book, "At the Table: The Chef's Guide to Advocacy," highlights ways that people can get involved in food policy and advocacy. It showcases chefs that work on hunger relief efforts, food waste reduction policies, labor, and mental health policies and more. We address questions like: You can learn more about Katherine’s work at her website and follow her [at]Table81 on Twitter, Instagram, and Threads. #FoodPolicy #FarmBill #Chefs #FoodWaste #FoodSystems #FoodBook #foodiepharmacology


Kratom with Dr. Christopher McCurdy

An estimated 3 million Americans use kratom products for recreational purposes, in self-treatment of opiate addiction, and to manage pain. Yet, our scientific understanding of its safety, efficacy, and potential for addiction is still poorly understood. With new data emerging each year, scientists are starting to gain a better picture of the full spectrum of risks and benefits of this SE Asian medicinal herb. Our guest this week, Dr. Christopher McCurdy, is an internationally recognized expert on kratom. Chris is a Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmaceutics at the University of Florida College of Pharmacy, where he also directs the UF Translational Drug Development Core. We address questions like: What is kratom? Where does it come from and how does its traditional use differ from the ways it is consumed in the USA? What are the major active compounds found in kratom and how much variation is there in different products? What are the side effects of chronic versus acute use of kratom? And are there any drugs you should avoid taking in combination with kratom? #kratom #MedicinalPlants #Pain #Addiction #tea #Herbs #HerbalSafety #Stimulant #Science #foodiepharmacology #ChristopherMcCurdy


Quinoa! The Story Behind A Superfood with Dr. Linda Seligmann

Quinoa has become a staple among health food lovers across the globe, but few know the full story of its origins, how its processed, and what impact this quinoa boom has had on the indigenous farmers of the high Andes mountains. This week on the show, our guest is Dr. Linda Seligmann, a professor emeritus of anthropology at George Mason University. Linda specializes in agrarian issues and has worked in the Andes for more than forty years. She shares some key insights from her research on this special crop with us and in her new book, “Quinoa: Food Politics and Agrarian Life in the Andean Highlands.” #quinoa #food #crops #agriculture #FoodPolitics #Mining #Environment #HealthyFoods #Peru #Andes


The Gut Microbiome and Immune Health with Dr. Heather Zwickey

You are what you eat… or rather what your gut microbes eat! New science is emerging on the role of how our food affects the composition of our gut microbiome, and how in turn, those gut microbes influence our health! Our guest this week is Dr. Heather Zwickey, an internationally recognized expert and educator in the fields of integrative medicine, natural therapies, and the immune system. We cover topics like: How does food affect microbiome health and subsequent immune health? What do we know about how to 'fix' our microbiome? How does the way you are born (vaginal or Cesarian delivery) affect your gut microbiome? We also cover topics like prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics! There’s lots of wisdom to be gleaned from this episode! You can learn more about Heather’s work at or you can follow her on Instagram at @hzwickey. #microbiome #food #GutHealth #Podcast #microbiology #prebiotics #probiotics #postbiotics


Ant Fungal Gardens with Dr. Marcy Balunas and Dr. Jonathan Klassen

In this week's episode of Foodie Pharmacology, we talk about ants that grow fungal gardens and how their farming methods are surprisingly similar to human agriculture! Our guests are Dr. Marcy Balunas from the University of Michigan and Dr. Jonathan Klassen from the University of Connecticut. They discuss a new study that shows ants and microbes communicate using chemicals. We also talk about a new tool called MPACT that makes it easier to analyze complex chemical data. Looking ahead, the team plans to study how these ant-microbe partnerships handle challenges like forest fires due to climate change and to identify other chemicals involved in these relationships. If you're interested in how the natural world works, this episode is for you! You can follow their work on Twitter at BalunasLab and klassenlab. #science #sciencefacts #Podcast #Scicomm #ants #Fungi #Fungal #gardening #foodiepharmacology


Conservation of Useful Plants in Colombia with Laura Kor

Human perceptions of plants matter in conservation! This week on the Foodie Pharmacology podcast, I spoke with an expert on the concept of “sustainability-through-use,” which is important to designing conservation programs that consider the needs and priorities of local communities. Laura Kor is a PhD candidate at King’s College London and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Her research focuses on the conservation of useful plants in Colombia—species with reported human uses ranging from food and medicine to spiritual and cultural values. You can access Laura’s research articles on her Google Scholar page ( or follow her on Twitter at @laurabkor #Colombia #SouthAmerica #Conservation #Botany #Plants #Podcast #ethnobotany #science #Scicomm


The Microbiology of Coffee and Cocoa with Dr. Eric Peterson

What gives coffee and chocolate those special notes of fruit or nutty aromas? It all comes down to how the plants are processed, and especially to the role of microbial fermentation! I speak with Dr. Eric Peterson, an Assistant Professor at the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique in Quebec, Canada. Dr. Peterson is an interdisciplinary researcher who is worried about food. A perfect storm is on the horizon, where climate change, political instability, and globalization all threaten access to food for everyone. Dr. Peterson shares his fascinating insights on the world of coffee and cocoa production, from the farm to fermentation and drying processes, to global distribution. Follow his work on Twitter at @trashprof or his university website: #yeast #coffee #cocoa #fermentation #flavor #aroma #taste #tropics #bacteria #blackivorycoffee #Kopiluwak


Community-led Biodiversity Conservation with Dr. Teri Allendorf

Conservation starts with community! This week I speak with biodiversity conservation expert, Dr. Teri Allendorff, about community-led models for fostering conservation of natural resources in different sites across the globe. Dr. Teri Allendorf is the Executive Director of Community Conservation, located in Viroqua, WI, but with projects around the world, including Peru, Myanmar, Nepal, Madagascar, Thailand, and Cameroon. She is also an Honorary Fellow in the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Allendorf has worked on issues of local communities and conservation since 1994. Follow her work at the Community Conservation website ( ) and social media channels: Twitter: @ComConsInc, Facebook: @communityconservationinc, Insta: @communityconservationinc #conservation #biodiversity #podcast #ecosystem #foodiepharmacology


How to Taste with Mandy Naglich

This week we explore the exciting sensory elements of taste with Mandy Naglich! Mandy is an Advanced Cicerone, National Homebrew Competition Gold Medalist, drinks educator, and writer. She’s the author of “How to Taste: A Guide to Discovering Flavor and Savoring Life”. She shares with us some great tips on how and why we can improve our senses of taste and smell and explores how our senses are connected to our health. Mandy lives, writes, and brews in New York City, but she documents her drinks adventures around the world at @drinkswithmandy #taste #flavor #senses #food #beer #howtotaste #MandyNaglich #FoodiePharmacology #Quave


Regenerative Farming and Climate Action with Dr. John De La Parra

This week on the podcast, we learn more about the exciting initiatives underway on climate action, regenerative agriculture, and food science supported by the Rockefeller Foundation. I speak with Dr. John de la Parra, an ethnobotanist and chemist with expertise in food crops and medicinal plants. John drives programming, grantmaking, performance, and partnership within the Rockefeller Foundation Food Portfolio, including the development of the Periodic Table of Food. #food #health #agriculture #crops #nutrition


Key Drivers of Food Crop Composition with Kat Morgan

Have you ever wondered how climate change and different agricultural management practices can affect the composition of the foods we eat? If yes, then this episode is for you! I speak with Kat Morgan, a food systems professional with expertise in anthropology, environmental health, and communications. Currently pursuing a Master of Public Health degree at Columbia University, Kat is dedicated to addressing the intersection of food systems, environmental issues, and health disparities. In addition to her work with the Rockefeller Foundation, Kat also hosts the “Oh, Crop” podcast! #food #ClimateChange #Agriculture #crops #podcast


Bosnian Home Gardens and Foodways with Ashley Glenn and Dr. Andrew Flachs

In this episode of Foodie Pharmacology, we discuss the vital role of home gardens in diverse economies and social reproduction. Our guests are scholars Andrew Flachs and Ashley Glenn. Andrew, an anthropologist and agrarian studies expert, talks about how gardens support resilient economies in areas with limited formal economic activity, and the critical role of women in these systems. Ashley, an Ethnobotanist, examines the diversity of these gardens and their role in preserving social institutions in difficult economic scenarios. The episode focuses on the role of gardens in fueling social reproduction: keeping social institutions going even as other aspects of the economy would fragment them. We explore sustainable agriculture, botany, and anthropology, understanding the value and potential of home gardens in our economies and ecosystems. #Bosnia #homegarden #Missouri #gardening #foodways


Caribbean Plants for Women’s Health with Ella Vardeman

This week, we take a closer look at Caribbean medicinal plants used in women’s health in New York City! Our guest this week is Ella Vardeman. Ella is a Ph.D. candidate at the City University of New York and New York Botanical Garden Plant Sciences program under the mentorship of Dr. Ina Vandebroek and Dr. Edward Kennelly. Her research focuses on the ethnopharmacology of plants used by Haitian immigrants in New York City for women’s health. Learn more about Ella’s work by following her on Twitter @ellavardeman. #NYC #Haiti #medicinalplants #womenshealth #FoodiePharmacology #mysterycontrol