Hosted by Mehdi Jorfi and Shen Ning, Science Rehashed aims to make science and its value accessible to the public and scientists from all over the world.
Cracking the code: the neural basis of computer code comprehension
Have you ever wondered whether the brains of computer programmers are wired differently? Are there specific parts of the brain that are dedicated to computer coding? Scientists have outlined other networks in the brain, like those involved in language, but the neural basis of computer code comprehension has remained a mystery. We might call Python, Java, and C++ programming “languages,” but are they represented in the brain in the same way as natural languages? Anna Ivanova, a scientist at MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, chats with us to uncover the answer. Her research uses functional MRI to find the areas in the brain most activated by reading computer code and whether they overlap with those activated by reading natural language. We also discuss the history of coding and the possibility that humans could evolve a brain network solely responsible for computer programming. Music by Kevin MacLeod licensed under CC BY 4.0
A peek inside the liver: Reimagining diagnostics
Every day devices like the thermometer and stethoscope have become mainstays of modern medicine, but recent advances have significantly improved the ways in which doctors can confidently make diagnoses. While some procedures can be complicated, invasive, and expensive, we are getting closer to overcoming these barriers with the use of technology. In this episode, we discuss the interface between engineering and medicine with Dr. Michael Cima, a leading expert in the field of materials science and engineering. He discusses the development of a medical device that can identify excess fat and scar tissue in the liver – and the best part is that it’s non-invasive and portable. The device will allow doctors to easily screen at-risk patients for liver damage, helping them make treatment decisions to prevent the progression of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Dr. Cima also tells us about the many hats he wears as an engineer, scientist, entrepreneur, and mentor. Music by Kevin MacLeod licensed under CC BY 4.0.
A Fireside Chat with Paula Hammond
Professor Paula Hammond is a pioneer in chemical engineering, as well as the Department Head of Chemical Engineering at MIT and a faculty member at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. Her interdisciplinary work focuses on nanoparticle technology with wide-ranging applications. Hammond’s work has and will greatly shape the future of drug delivery, with her nanoparticles able to target hard-to-treat cancers like ovarian cancer. Using her nanoparticle approach, she is currently developing a way to regenerate bone and treat osteoarthritis. She is proud of her visibility within her field, both as a testament to her passion to create new solutions to big problems and to show African Americans and women that their voices are both necessary and important in scientific research. Music by Kevin MacLeod licensed under CC BY 4.0.
Giving birth from a lab-grown uterus: science fiction?
Keywords like "tissue-engineering", "bio-engineered organs", and "3D printing" were considered to be science fiction until only a decade ago. Today, creating living tissue that can repair or replace damaged organs is rapidly becoming reality. The field of regenerative medicine holds enormous potential in changing the way doctors treat many medical conditions. However, the road to advance lab-grown organs from the bench to the bedside is still a long one and requires scientific superheroes to overcome the challenges posed by the anatomical complexity of the human body. Whether this is your first time learning about regenerative medicine or you’re an expert, you won’t want to miss this episode. Dr. Anthony Atala, a world leader in the field of Regenerative Medicine, discusses his 18-year project of developing a lab-grown uterus that can support live birth in an animal model that may one day soon provide a significant treatment option for women with uterine factor infertility. "Half Mystery" by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under CC BY 4.0.
Can’t stop snacking? Time to find out why!
It’s 10 pm on a Friday night. You already had dinner, and you could swear your stomach couldn’t handle even another crumb of bread. All of a sudden, your friend offers you some chips, and you tentatively pick just one. Twenty minutes later, all the chips are GONE…! Wondered how that happened? You are not the only one! While the mechanisms by which the brain regulates and controls our appetite are still largely unknown, Dr. Scott Sternson and his team have developed cutting-edge tools for integrating molecular and systems neuroscience which hasadvanced our understanding of the neural circuits associated with thirst and hunger. Ready to listen? Well then, sit back, relax and… go grab your chips!
A Fireside Chat with Vicki Sato
In the 1970s, most company advisory boards were male-dominated, and it was unconventional for an academic scientist to transition to industry. Yet, Dr. Vicki Sato, an accomplished academic scientist at Harvard University, quickly progressed through many executives and leadership positions at numerous companies, including Biogen Inc. and Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Today, she is a chairman of the board at Vir Biotechnology and Denali Therapeutics. As one of the early biopharma pioneers, Dr. Vicki Sato shares her eclectic career journey and some hard-earned lessons, as well as the changing face of the biotech industry and the current urgency of science-driven entrepreneurship. This episode will certainly inspire any aspiring scientist to reflect on their own career journey! This episode is sponsored by the Blavatnik Fellowship in Life Science Entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School. “Inspired” by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under CC BY 4.0