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Ep. 33: Brain Imaging of Chronic Pain with Anton Rogachov and Connor Wander

This week we talked with Anton Rogachov, a 5th year PhD student in Dr. Karen Davis’s Lab at the University of Toronto. The Davis Lab focuses on using brain imaging like resting-state fMRI to understand functional abnormalities in the brains of chronic pain patients. The majority of Dr. Davis’s work looks at the functional communication between different brain regions and networks in order to understand how these communications break down in chronic pain. In comparison, Anton's research...


Ep. 32: Search and Destroy in HIV Therapy Part II - with Aaron Devanathan and Connor Wander

In our second interview with Aaron Devanathan, a PhD student in the Kashuba Lab at UNC Pharmacy, we dive deeper into the strategies researchers use on the cutting edge of HIV research, including the technical challenges, tools, and model systems that make the science possible. We cover past, present, and future HIV therapies and also explore the innate immune system in aging and within the context of AIDS. Next, Aaron discusses his recent experience in his clinical rotation at UNC...


Ep. 31: The Microbiota-Gut-Brain Axis: From eubiosis to dysbiosis and back: useful biomarkers for clinical treatment with Miguel Mateas

Today, back by popular demand is Miguel Mateas, a Clinical Nutritional Neuroscientist who studies how the microbiota affects the brain. Diversity and abundance in gut microbiota leads to a healthy and balanced system, called eubiosis. But when that balance is lost, the gut’s ability to absorb nutrients suffers, which is called dysbiosis. We discuss his new review article, which covers markers of gut health which can be used to develop personalized treatment for microbiome and neurological...


Ep. 30: Breaking the Vicious Cycle of Pain and Addiction with Waylin Yu

Connor Wander talked to Waylin Yu about his research in the overlap of pain, negative emotion, and addiction. Waylin studies the fundamental roles of neurons in different areas of the brain, such as the amygdala, that may be responsible for these reactions, both independently and in relation to each other. This includes chronic pain, anxiety, and alcohol and drug dependence, looking at activity in dopamine pathways, which play a role in reward-motivated behavior, and GABA, an important...


Ep. 29: Fasting, Keto, and Injuries with Exercise Physiologist Alyssa Olenick

We talked to Alyssa Olenick, also known as Little Lyss Fitness for her online fitness presence and training programs, about her research in metabolic flexibility and nutrition strategies. Listen in to hear about proper health, fitness, and the science behind popular diet plans such as the Ketogenic diet, a high-fat, low-carb diet sometimes used to treat severe epilepsy in children, and Intermittent Fasting, which uses periods of fasting and non-fasting to control caloric intake. About...


Ep. 28: Cognitive Rehab using Virtual Reality with Faviola Dadis

We spoke with Faviola Dadis, the CEO of NeuroReality who is using the company to fund her PhD research. NeuroReality specializes in the development of medical software using VR in order to create an immersive and fun gamified neurorehabilitation program for individuals who experience cognitive deficits following a stroke (and eventually for other clinical populations). Using virtual reality and gamification, Faviola’s main objective is to help train cognitive tasks such as memory,...


Ep. 27 - Free and Open Science: Reworking peer review and null results with Sander van Bree

Science isn't perfect and one of it's biggest problems revolves around the publishing process, by which scientists share their findings with the public after peer review. However, this sharing can be quite limited in both what is shared and who gets to see it. Open access science, shared publicly, can enhance the discovery process, but implementing open access can be difficult. We talk about new systems that could accommodate open access publishing, revamped peer review, and even the...


Ep 26: Traumatic brain injury and CTE Roundtable with Connor and Julian

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that is associated with traumatic brain injury (TBI). CTE is mainly seen in athletes who participate in contact sports such as football, but it also spans to military personnel. In this roundtable episode, we discuss where the latest research stands on this topic as well as explore the clinical and pathological manifestation of the disease. To learn more about this topic check out these papers CTE...


Ep. 25 - Straight from a Scientist Update Episode

Hey SFS listeners! Julian and Connor meet up online to discuss the past, present, and future of SFS. Thanks for sticking with the podcast as we learn more about podcasting and science communication in general. We've got a lot in the works for the summer, and are excited to bring you loads of new content! We must ask a favor with this new push to polish SFS! Itunes reviews are one of the best ways to help new podcasts find new audiences. Here's a quick rundown of how to post an Itunes...


Episode 24: Search and Destroy in HIV Therapy with Aaron Devanathan

Our final ComSciCon interview is with Aaron Devanathan. Aaron studies HIV infection and elimination in the Department of Pharmacy at UNC Chapel Hill in the Angela Kashuba Lab. HIV, or Human Immuno-deficiency Virus, is the virus that causes AIDS, or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. While modern medicine has done wonders in treating the symptoms of an HIV infection, current drugs fail to eliminate the virus entirely. This is because HIV is dispersed widely throughout the body. Aaron...


Episode 23: The Role of Apoptosis with Georgia Smith

We had the chance to talk with Georgia Atkin-Smith about different types of cell death, autoimmune disorders, and the optimistic future of the field. Georgia is a final year PhD student in Biochemistry and Immunology at the La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science, Melbourne, Australia. Her PhD project focuses on a type of cell death termed apoptosis and the consequence of this process in disease. Specifically, Georgia's research is aimed to understand the role of apoptotic fragments,...


Episode 22: Nanotechnology with Claudia Alarcón López

I had the opportunity to speak with Claudia Alarcón López, better known as @the.nanotechgirl. She is a Mexican INCQ (Ingeniero En Nanotecnología Y Ciencias Químicas) student who has the goal of spreading knowledge of science through Instagram, with a special focus on nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is manipulation of matter on an atomic, molecular, and supramolecular scale which can be applied in all aspects of life and interdisciplinary sciences. About Claudia Claudia is studying...


Episode 21: Smart Textiles and Flexible Electronics with Ashish Kapoor

The next installment of the ComSciCon podcast blitz stars Ashish Kapoor! We discuss flexible electronics and smart textiles. These game-changing technologies are already showing up in stores and threaten to completely overhaul how we use and think about clothing. Smart textiles can be used in the military, medical emergencies, or just everyday use. We talk about other practical applications of smart textiles and flexible electronics, and chat a bit about the barriers this technology will...


Episode 20: Biomedical Engineering and Science Education with Stephanie Teeter

Our second ComSciCon Triangle interview was with Stephanie Teeter from NC State. Stephanie is a technician for two biomedical engineering labs, and she is working towards her PhD in Science Education. We discuss practical applications of biomedical engineering, like prosthetics, and the challenges with Science Education in academia. Follow Stephanie on Twitter. Read more on the lab webpages: Orthopaedic Mechanobiology Lab Translational Orthopaedic Research Lab This episode...


Episode 19: Bluebirders vs House Sparrows with Suzanne Hartley

I got the chance to sit down with Suzanne Hartley, a graduate student at North Carolina State University. Suzanne researches how to help Bluebirds in their surprisingly violent turf war with House Sparrows, and how we can use this war to learn about environmental toxins like pesticides or other chemicals. Bluebirds are a beautiful, native species in North America, but they are constantly harassed by House Sparrows, an invasive species from Europe. Listen in to learn about Bluebird...


Episode 18: Science Policy and Activism with Dr. Frances Colón

Straight from a Scientist headed south for Spring Break and got a chance to speak with Dr. Frances Colón. Dr. Colón served as science adviser to the State Department under the Obama administration. We discuss the responsibility scientists have to communicate their findings directly to the public, and how scientists can enact change by putting pressure on civic leaders. Connect with Dr. Colón on LinkedIn Follow Dr. Colón on Twitter Episode Interviewer: Connor Wander


Episode 17: Addiction and Sex differences in the Brain with Jean Rivera

Jean completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Puerto Rico (UPRM) majoring in Chemistry, with minors in Psychology and Biology. His undergraduate research focused primarily on explosives and forensic chemistry in the laboratories of Dr. Samuel Hernandez and Dr. Carmen Vega. He then pursued a 2-year research internship at Tufts Medical School as an NIH-PREP scholar in the Neuroscience Program. There, he studied the downstream mechanisms of BDNF on the control of appetite and...


Episode 16: Marine Biology and Climate Change with Dr. Jordan Grigor

Last week, I got the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Jordan Grigor, a postdoc working at the School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt (SSMV). He is both an educator and marine biology scientist. We cover the uncertain future of keystone species like plankton in the arctic, and discuss the unique science education program at the SSMV that helps kids learn about science and marine ecosystems. Click here to support the SSMV aquarium. This was my first remote recording, as the podcast...


Episode 15: Promising New Treatments for Parkinson Disease with Irene Gonzalez

Today we sit down and talk with Irene Gonzalez about Parkinson Disease. Irene is a Master student who is currently studying neurodegenerative diseases. In this podcast, we cover the molecular pathology of Parkinson as well as discuss some promising new treatments. Irene can be contacted on Instagram at @iglezbur


The Immune System and Fat Metabolism with Ricky Barrett

This week we sit down with Ricky Barrett, a PhD candidate at the University of Central Florida (UCF). Ricky researches the poorly understood role of immune cells like macrophages in fat metabolism. The immune system isn't just for protecting against infections- it is a key regulator of metabolism and is often overlooked! We discuss all of this in the context of atherosclerosis, which can cause chest pain, heart attacks or even stroke! You can find Ricky on social media @rickbarr21 on...