We’re gonna talk about technology, with a special love for biotechnology, and we're gonna talk about how technology is impacting our careers and our lives.
Thrown in the mix, we’re gonna talk about all the great things people are doing with their lives and we’re gonna keep a focus on the people who make industries thrive and the world go around.
Whether you’re an undergrad, new grad, grad student, CEO, or an everyday member of a community like me, you’ll love our talks and our guests, and you have to subscribe!
Everyone should join the conversation. Welcome to Titus Talks.
It’s okay to feel stupid, but don’t you dare stay that way
We are not betting individuals, but if we were, we bet that you have never met an intelligent, humble, creative, and curious individual with the voice of a Madam and whose slogan is “it’s okay to feel stupid, but don’t you dare stay that way.” To conclude Season 2 of Titus Talks, we are delighted to share our conversation with researcher, blogger, podcaster, and author, Kendra Royston.
Kendra completed her undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences at Stillman College and later received her Ph.D. from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a dissertation focus in cancer epigenetics. She went on to continue her post-doc education at the University of Chicago before joining a major pharmaceutical company in their department of Global Scientific Communications. Recently she has assumed higher responsibilities within Clinical Development managing oncology clinical trials as an Associate Director. Kendra is also the founder of Stupid Science Inc., a nonprofit organization that aims to increase diverse representation in STEM fields and careers.
In this episode, we talk about her path to finding meaningful bench to bedside translational research in industry, the ethos behind her 501(c)(3) Stupid Science Inc., the beauty of trial and error, and finding peace with imposter syndrome to focus on being on the cutting edge of discovery.
Her advice for our listeners?
You do not truly ever fail until you stop trying, every setback as a setup for triumph and boldness does not make you angry.
(P.S. If any university is looking for its next president, we recommend giving Kendra a call. That is certainly the world we want to live in.)
Kendra on LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/kendra-j-royston-phd-0b216b86/
Check out Stupid Science - https://www.stupidscienceinc.org/
Check out the SS Podcast - https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/stupid-scientists-inner-ramblings/id1501524236
The musings of a Waste Water Olympian and the future of biotech
What do the hallmarks of competing in Wastewater Olympics, playing bass in an orchestra, contributing to a tactical military task force, and becoming an expert in China S&T Policy have in common? Anna has lived them all.
Anna Puglisi is the Director of Biotechnology Programs and Senior Fellow at Georgetown’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET). Previously she served as the National Counterintelligence Officer for East Asia, advising senior U.S. and foreign government officials at the highest levels, academia, and the private sector on counterintelligence (CI) issues and in designing mitigation strategies for both the public and private sectors to protect technology. As a member of the Senior Analytic Service, she developed multidisciplinary efforts to understand global technology developments and their impact on U.S. competitiveness and national security. Anna also started a governm6ent-wide working group looking at developments in biological sciences and has worked on several bio-security issues. She has received numerous awards including the FBI Director’s Award for Excellence. Anna holds an MPA, an MS in environmental science, and a BA in Biology with honors, all from Indiana University. She studied at the Princeton in Beijing Chinese language school and was a visiting scholar in Nankai University’s Department of Economics, where she studied China’s S&T policies, infrastructure development, and university reforms. She has also conducted research and worked in technical infrastructure. She is a co-author of the 2013 study “Chinese Industrial Espionage”, a contributing author to “China’s Quest for Technology: Beyond Espionage” and countless other proprietary words.
In this episode, we talk about going to work in a hard hat and steel-toe shoes, compiling expertise that resonates with you in advance of others seeing the value in it, music as a multidisciplinary communication tool for biotechnology, and the more about her vision for the work she is leading at the Center for Security and Emerging Technologies (CSET).
Her advice for our listeners?
Find what really matters to you and make it your guiding star. Take opportunities that will help you grow as a person, grow in your career, and really challenge you in different ways. People make the path and always be kind.
The universal sass of teenagers and our national security
Driving substantive change socially, economically, and politically is grounded in a foundation of national security. Today, we are excited to introduce Schuyler Moore whose passion for women’s education led her to work at an all-girls school in Afghanistan and build a career circling the problem of national security from different perspectives (her website).
Schuyler works at the intersection of national security and emerging technology as a Senior Defense & Foreign Policy Advisor in the U.S. House of Representatives. She was also a member of the 2021 Forbes 30 Under 30 class. She previously served as the Director of Science & Technology (S&T) on the staff of the Defense Innovation Board (DIB) in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research & Engineering. Schuyler was also a Senior Analyst at an aerospace & consulting firm, with a special focus on defense budget forecasting and emerging technologies. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Technology & Security from Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from Harvard University. Most recently, she just received confirmation that she will be mobilizing with the Navy Reserve to Bahrain to support Task Force 59, which focuses on integrating unmanned systems and AI into the fleet.
In this episode, we talk about the universality of the sassiness of 13-year-olds, abandoning the linear path to crafting a career based on collecting diverse perspectives, combining a willingness to learn with deep humility and the importance of getting comfortable with saying ‘I don’t know’ and ‘I’m not sure’.
Her advice for our listeners? Chase skills, not titles, set yourself up to maximize good luck and mitigate bad luck; and protect your small kernel of idealism which will give you the motivation to keep fighting to effect change, while also staying pragmatic, practical, and happy in the longterm.
We hope you enjoy this conversation as much as we did!
What should I do with my life? Why it's elementary my dear Watson!
Our favorite people are existential conversationalists that make the minutes fly by, that love data-driven insights, and who are mission-driven to make the world a better place. Today, we get to introduce you to John Younger, a physician-scientist by training, whose experiential stories about Sherlock Holmes, the meaning of medicine, and having more than one career in a lifetime, certainly affirm why Kathryn wanted to stay in contact after meeting him as an intern almost three years ago. Over the course of this episode, we have a great conversation with him about the hope that times of transition bring, napkin IOUs, and wrestling with the decision-making process around the timeless question: what should I do with my life?
When he’s not writing dynamic pieces for Bioeconomy.XYZ, John is the Managing Director at ArgoPond, LLC, a life science advisory and investment company that provides analytics and diligence services to companies and funds engaging the life science space. He represents ArgoPond as a member of the Life Science Committee of New York Angels, one of the most active angel investment groups in the world. John also sits on the Board of Directors of New View Surgical, a Boston-based start-up creating new visualization tools for minimally invasive surgery.
His advice for our listeners?
There is more than one way to think about hard problems, so don’t change your leadership style and the way you approach problems to fit a mold. And when it comes to opportunities that come your way, take your shot with the hardest swing you can.
We hope you enjoy the conversation as much as we did!
A drunken walk through science and a back-up on a hard drive with Andrew Hessel
If you want to talk about crafting a career that emulates a drunken walk through science and explore the potential of backing up your biology like we back up computers for a reboot in the future, it’s time to meet Andrew. On this episode of Titus Talks, we are super excited to sit down again with Andrew Hessel. Andrew is the co-founder and past-president of Humane Genomics - which engineers synthetic viruses to target cancer cells- and co-executive director of the Genome Project-write (GPW), an international research and development effort that lays the technical and societal foundations for responsible applications of synthetic biology. He was also an Autodesk Distinguished Researcher, where he was part of a multidisciplinary team exploring computer-aided design and manufacturing for biotechnology and nanotechnology R&D.
Today Andrew shares about his newly-released book: The Genesis Machine: Our Quest to Rewrite Life in the Age of Synthetic Biology. We also discuss our shared passion for the operating system for life, the impending Cambrian explosion of biology, and the importance of looking at life as a non-zero-sum game.
His advice for our listeners?
If you are looking for mission-driven work, pay attention to the programming of life that makes synthetic biology really ignite at the intersection of biology, computation, and automation robotics. And it’s time for humanity to be victorious over viruses.
We hope you enjoy the conversation as much as we did!
Engineering viruses, planning for mars, and traveling the world
Natalie wants to take biology to Mars. In order to get there, she's helping to build a biotech company that engineers phages, or little viruses that infect bacteria. Her long term goal? To be able to engineer the microbiome to keep people happy and healthy on the long trek across space. But Natalie's not going to wait for a Mars trip for adventure. She recently spent a year traveling around the world where she visited 28 countries and ate so much good food.
For those of you that aren't familiar, phages are viruses that infect bacteria. Phage therapy is a method of using these little viruses to fight off infections that are antibiotic-resistant, or just darn stubborn and won't go away. The advances in synthetic biology lately have been making this more and more possible to use for good purposes.
Like many of my guests, Natalie is a "jump in feet first" kind of person. We get to have a great conversation about how she applied to grad school in a field that she was not quite qualified for, she traveled the world for a year on a budget of $25K, she dove headfirst into management consulting to figure out the business world, and now she's trying to build a company.
Her advice to us all? Find what you love and just do it. You don't have to know everything about what you're doing to start. :-)
I hope you enjoy the conversation!
— About Natalie —
Natalie on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nataliejingma/
Natalie on Twitter: https://twitter.com/NatalieMaPhD
Natalie's website: https://nataliejingma.com/ (good article)
Natalie's travel blog: https://neverendingeverywhere.wordpress.com/
Felix Biotech Website: https://www.felixbt.com/
Felix Biotech on Twitter: https://twitter.com/felixbiotech
— Let’s Chat —
THE BLOG: https://alexandertitus.com/
— The Social Life —
I love that it’s about the people, and the fascinating things they are working on.
Great all around
It’s so fun to hear about everyone’s careers. It makes the tech super interesting!
Understandable and Dynamic
Wow. Absolutely amazing as it follows biotechnology and it’s impact on life! Super easy to understand on top of being very personable! Felt as if they were talking directly to me! 12/10, totally recommending to everyone!