Lab Talk with Laura-logo

Lab Talk with Laura

Science Podcasts >

More Information


United States




Ep. 21 - Gabe, Igor, and Edwin - 8/14/18

On today's episode, Igor Luzhansky discusses his work at the Langer Lab at MIT working on implantable diabetes treatments made with an extract from seaweed. Edwin Murenzi explains how injecting rat brains into frog eggs has helped him understand the impact of pesticides on mammals. Comedian Gabe Sklan joins as co-host. This episode is chock full of surprises, don't miss it!


Ep. 20 - Will, Forrest, and Woozy - 7/31/18

This week I'm joined by Dr. Forrest Bowlick and Dr. Will Daniels, both of the Geoscience Dept. at UMass. Forrest Bowlick is a lecturer and graduate program director for the Geographic Information Science master's program. He shares his thoughts on map projections, the scarcity of helium, and his new project to develop online accessible GIS-education modules. Will Daniels is a postdoc who studies lake sediments to understand past climates, but today we focus on his recent experience as a...


Ep. 19 - Penina, Phoebe, and Becky - 7/17/18

On this episode I'm joined by undergraduate researcher in Chemical Engineering Phoebe Bisnoff as she talks about her work using nanocrystals to improve LED and solar tech, and UMass Geoscience PhD student Becky Smith discussing her work using plant lipids in the sediment record to reconstruct sea surface temperatures over the last 3.5 million years. The hilarious Penina Beede joins as co-host.


Ep. 18 - Julie, Adriane, and Jon - 7/10/18

My guests today are Dr. Julie Brigham-Grette, Professor and Geoscience Dept. Head, and Adriane Lam, PhD student in the Geoscience Dept. at UMass Amherst. Julie discusses her field work in the Arctic, including drilling in Lake El'gygytgyn in northeast Siberia. She also discusses the need for public policy to address the growing impacts of climate change on society. Adriane discusses her research exploring the relationship between evolution observed in the fossil record and past ocean...


Ep. 17 - Emily, Meg, and Laura - 6/5/18

On this episode we chat with recent graduate Emily Agnello and Dr. Meg Stratton of the Stratton Lab in the Biochemistry Dept. at UMass. They study a protein in the brain, CaMKII, that is critical for memory. While scientists know that CaMKII affects memory, they don't yet know exactly how or why... and that's what the Stratton Lab wants to figure out. Comedian Laura Patrick, founding member of the improv troupe The Ha Ha's joins as co-host.


Ep. 16 - Rocki B, Julie, and Joe - 5/29/18

My guests today are Julie Davis, recent UMass graduate studying Plant, Soil, and Insect Science, and Joe Drake, PhD student in the Environmental Conservation Dept. Julie discusses her research exploring how soil fungus affects the flowers and nectar of tobacco plants, and the subsequent consequences for bees who feed on those flowers. Joe tells us all about the behaviors and habitat of the water vole that occupies the Scottish highlands, and how you can learn about an animal that is quick...


Ep. 15 - Alexandra, Barbara, Mercedes, Rick, Adriane, and Raquel - 5/15/18

This week I'm joined by Raquel Bryant and Adriane Lam of the UMass Geoscience Dept. to talk about science outreach. Adriane talks about her website Time Scavengers that provides resources for learning about Climate Change and Evolution ( We listen to a series of interviews I did at the UMass Public Outreach and Engagement Summit, where I spoke to Dr. Alexandra Jones, founder and Executive Director of the DC-based non-profit Archaeology in the...


Ep. 14 - Elroy, Scott, and Rob - 5/1/18

I'm joined by Dr. Elroy Aguiar and Dr. Scott Ducharme from the Physical Activity and Health Lab in the Dept. of Kinesiology as they discuss their lab work in the CADENCE study, exploring the relationship between health and walking pace. Listen in to find out the perfect song to set your walking pace. Hartford based comedian Rob Santos joins as co-host. If you'd like to participate in the ongoing CADENCE study which is now seeking people ages 60-85, you can call 413-545-1583 or email...


Ep. 13 - Kristen, David, and Nick - 4/24/18

I'm joined by Dr Kristen DeAngelis of the Microbiology dept at UMass and Dr David Sela of the Food Science dept with comedian Nick Caron co-hosting. Kristen talks about her work studying how climate change affects soil bacteria communities and the breakdown of carbon in a long term study site at Harvard Forest. David discusses his work investigating bacteria in our digestive systems, especially how these bacteria interact with breast milk in infants. Yet again Gaia theory comes up and we...


Ep. 12 - Tom, Benjamin, and Raquel - 4/10/18

On this episode we are joined by Raquel Bryant and Benjamin Keisling, PhD candidates in the Geoscience Dept. at UMass Amherst and co-founders of the BRIDGE program to bring early-career scientists to speak at UMass. Raquel explains what single-cell organisms called forams can tell us about the ocean that covered the western North America during the Cretaceous 90 million years ago. Benjamin discusses his coring expeditions to the Ross Sea and on the Greenland ice sheet and why he wouldn't...


Ep. 7 - Francis, Ajla, and Kim - 3/6/18

In this episode we talk about innovative materials in architecture, we learn about the driving simulator at UMass, and we find out what material is the next best thing to vibranium. Comedian Kim DeShields co-hosts as we are joined by Dr. Ajla Aksamija from the Architecture Dept. at UMass, and Francis Tainter, PhD student in Human Factors and Transportation Engineering. Check it out!


Ep. 6 - Kelsey, Bryan, Brian, and Dennis - 2/27/18

In this episode we talk about an exciting new project to use 3D printing to make STEM classes more accessible to people with low or no vision. We talk about DNA, ticks, brains, braille, and more! Comedian Brian Barganier co-hosts, with guests Dr. Bryan Monesson-Olson who teaches Molecular Biology, Assistive Technology Coordinator Kelsey Hall, and Head of 3D Print Services Dennis Spencer. Check it out!


Ep. 5 - Srishti, George, and Tim - 2/20/18

We're joined by Srishti Kashyap of the Microbiology Dept. and George Locascio of the Environmental Conservation Dept. Comedian and CEO of Comedy as a Weapon Tim Lovett joins as co-host. Srishti talks about her research exploring how high temperature microbes interact with their surroundings to produce specific mineral signatures, which helps us look for life in extreme environments in the past or on other planets. George discusses his work exploring how certain plant pollens affect bumble...


Ep. 4 - Carolyn, Elsbeth, and Sean - 2/13/18

We're joined by Carolyn Gorss of the Environmental Conservation dept. who studies wetland health, and Professor of Biology Dr. Elsbeth Walker who studies how plants regulate iron content, so that food crops might be engineered to provide more nutrients. We discuss salamander crossings and mutated corn, and how scientists studying chicken cancer led to important therapies for AIDS patients. Have a listen! Comedian Sean Calhoun (@archercalhoun) co-hosts.


Ep. 3 - Ben, Emily, and Carrie - 2/6/18

On the third episode of Lab Talk with Laura, I am joined by Ben Padilla ( of the Environmental Conservation Dept., and Dr. Emily Redman, assistant Professor of the History of Science at UMass Amherst, with local comedian Carrie Glauner cohosting. We discuss urban ecology, the intersection of science and religion, and the history of science and math.


Ep. 2 - Evan, Laura, and Matt - 1/30/18

Second episode of Lab Talk with Laura on WMUA Amherst, featuring guests Laura Hancock and Evan Kuras of UMass Amherst, and guest co-host local comic Matt Woodland. We discuss invasive garlic mustard, lesser longnose bats, urban biodiversity, and outdoor education. Check out the Life Science blog that both Laura and Evan contribute to here:


Ep. 1 - Nigel, Ruthie, and Taylor - 1/23/18

First episode of Lab Talk with Laura on WMUA Amherst, featuring guests Nigel Golden and Ruthie Halberstadt of the Northeast Climate Science Center, and guest co-host local comic Taylor Ortiz. We talk about arctic ground squirrels, grizzly bears, and how to pee in Antarctica.