8 episodes

Welcome to Biologists Being Basic, a podcast where we talk about basic research, why we care about it, and why you should too!

Biologists Being Basic QBI UCSF

    • Life Sciences
    • 4.9 • 10 Ratings

Welcome to Biologists Being Basic, a podcast where we talk about basic research, why we care about it, and why you should too!

    Bananapalooza! (Bonus)

    Bananapalooza! (Bonus)

    In this special bonus episode, Biologists Being Basic (B3) hosts taste a bunch of different varieties of bananas… and that’s it!

    No science in this one, but if you want to listen in on our pre-COVID-19 pandemic culinary adventure, you can join B3 hosts Joe, Kelsey, Robyn and our friend Sean (with a special late appearance from Gina) as we taste different banana species.

    The Banana Variety pack was purchased from Miami Fruit (https://miamifruit.org/), and if you are curious about what each banana looks like, check out our pictures on instagram (@biosbeingbasic).

    • 27 min


    In this episode, Biologists Being Basic (B3) hosts Joe, Kelsey and Robyn are joined by our friend Sean to discuss Fusarium wilt, a fungus that threatens bananas as we know them. Listen as we explore the history of this pathogen and its relationship with the yellow tropical fruit that US residents love to eat.

    Further Resources:
    If you want to learn more about bananas and their history, check out Banana: The Fate of the Fruit that Changed the World, by Dan Koeppel (https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/299017/banana-by-dan-koeppel/).

    For more technical peer-reviewed articles on TR4 resistant Cavendish strains, we recommend the following: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-017-01670-6 and


    For news articles that covered the primary research, check out:



    If you have any questions or comments you can email us at biologistsbeingbasic@gmail.com or find us on twitter or instagram (@biosbeingbasic).

    • 42 min
    Research behind the headline: A Cure for the Common Cold?

    Research behind the headline: A Cure for the Common Cold?

    Biologists Being Basic (B3) hosts Kelsey and Robyn are joined by our friends Megan and Gina as we take a look into the basic biology research behind the headline! This week, we look into a group of related viruses that cause the common cold called enteroviruses, and how these enteroviruses rely on a specific host factor inside human cells to replicate.

    Further Resources:
    Kate Shepherd’s article in The Washington Post, “A cure for the common cold? ‘It’s possible,’ scientists say, after new study finds key protein”, covering the Nature Microbiology paper: https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/09/19/common-cold-cure-protein-stanford-research/

    The peer-reviewed research article in Nature Microbiology, “Enterovirus pathogenesis requires the host methyltransferase SETD3” by Diep et al: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41564-019-0551-1

    Scientific American also nicely summarizes the peer-reviewed research article: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-newly-identified-protein-may-be-the-key-to-vanquishing-the-common-cold/

    ...provides some background information about why a cure for the common cold has been elusive: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-havent-we-cured-the-common-cold-yet/

    ...and covers previous outbreaks of the more severe illness of enterovirus infection: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/poliolike-childhood-muscle-weakening-disease-reappears/

    For more info on enteroviruses, including strains that cause more severe disease, visit the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/non-polio-enterovirus/index.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fnon-polio-enterovirus%2Fabout%2Findex.html

    If you want to watch the ABC news clip we featured in the beginning of the episode about this work: https://abcnews.go.com/GMA/News/video/researchers-discover-cure-common-cold-65660556

    We mentioned this paper’s technique to knock out genes using CRISPR, for more info about this trendy gene editing technique check out this Ted-Ed video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tw_JVz_IEc

    If you have any questions or comments you can email us at biologistsbeingbasic@gmail.com or find us on twitter or instagram (@biosbeingbasic).

    • 36 min
    Down the Reddit Hole - Chubby Bugs and Other Things

    Down the Reddit Hole - Chubby Bugs and Other Things

    Join Biologists Being Basic (B3) hosts Paige, Joe, Gina and Robyn as we take a break from published research articles and ask each other science-based questions from Reddit! See how our scientists and non-scientist team members try to think through and answer questions outside their expertise. We talk, we goof, and we learn new things as we explore the realms of science reddit.

    Further Resources:
    Thanks AskScience Reddit and its users for the questions we answered: https://www.reddit.com/r/askscience/
    If you are curious about the topics we discussed and want more info, please see the following resources! There are some amazing scientists and science communicators who explain some of these topics.

    The Science of Melanin Magic by Raven Baxter (@ravenscimaven) is a fun and entertaining look at melanin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Dt1NYLqMqM
    For more of her work, check out her webpage: https://www.scimaven.com/
    ...or her youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqRkU0Z4V6UjDKnbc5brl8A

    Want to get to know your moles better? Visit the NIH to learn about moles and how they form: https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/primer/traits/moles
    ...and the American Academy of Dermatology for the ABCDEs of melanoma: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ir90SPorFfQ&feature=youtu.be

    Learn more about alcohol dehydrogenases in humans and primates from this great Science Magazine news article: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2014/12/ability-consume-alcohol-may-have-shaped-primate-evolution
    ...or go straight to the scientific paper: https://www.pnas.org/content/112/2/458

    Learn more about the alcohol tolerance of tree shrews from this second great Science Magazine news article: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2008/07/now-thats-party-animal
    ...or go straight to the scientific paper: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2492458/

    Still wondering how animals reach islands? BBC has your back with these possible explanations: http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20170213-mega-landslides-help-explain-how-life-reaches-remote-islands

    Scientific American answers how the same fish can end up in different lakes: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/experts-fish-species/

    We mentioned Charles Darwin and his incredible book, On the Origin of Species, which is available online for free: https://www.gutenberg.org/files/2009/2009-h/2009-h.htm#link2HCH0012
    If you’re curious about Darwin and his research, but want a shorter segment, check out BBC’s amazingly animated video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOk_0mUT_JU&t

    Lastly, if you’re still thinking about those cute lil chubby bugs, check out Popular Science’s answer to the question: https://www.popsci.com/article/science/ask-anything-can-insects-get-fat/
    ...and this scientific review about the insect fat bodies that we mentioned: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3075550/

    If you have any questions or comments you can email us at biologistsbeingbasic@gmail.com or find us on twitter or instagram (@biosbeingbasic). See our website for more details (http://biosbeingbasic.podomatic.net).

    • 31 min
    Basic Biologists Take on SARS-CoV-2: Part 3

    Basic Biologists Take on SARS-CoV-2: Part 3

    In the final episode of our COVID-19 mini-series, B3 hosts Joe and Robyn discuss an exciting paper looking at SARS-CoV-2 Antibody Testing. They are joined by UCSF scientists Cody Mowery and Professor Jeff Wittman, and our fabulous non-scientist guests Jacqueline Fabius and Lauren Weiser.

    This paper took a good look at the performance of some of the first antibody tests to come on the market, and in this episode we discuss what these findings are and what they mean for the public.

    All of the findings we talk about today can be found on the COVID-19 Testing Project webpage here: https://covidtestingproject.org/ and in the recently published peer-reviewed manuscript in Nature Biotechnology titled “Evaluation of SARS-CoV-2 Serology Assays Reveals a Range of Test Performance”.

    Additional publicly available resources or articles discussed in the episode:
    Apoorva Mandavilli’s article in the New York Times covering the Nature Biotechnology paper: “Coronavirus Antibody Testing: Can you Trust the Results?”
    Ed Young’s article in the Atlantic on Immunology: “Immunology is Where Intuition Goes to Die”
    The FDA’s List of Emergency Use Authorization for Diagnostic and Serology Testing: https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-emergency-use-authorizations-medical-devices/vitro-diagnostics-euas#individual-serologic
    Note that the science on COVID-19 is ongoing and guidelines do change. For the most up-to-date IDSA guidelines for serology testing, please see this website: https://www.idsociety.org/practice-guideline/covid-19-guideline-serology/.
    For a truly excellent quick demonstration of False Positive/Negative as applied to antibody tests, please check out Mona Chalabi’s visual explainer on instagram
    And if you are interested, check out back in April: House Oversight Committee seeks changes to FDA serology test policy

    If you have any questions or comments you can email us at biologistsbeingbasic@gmail.com or find us on twitter or instagram (@biosbeingbasic).

    • 59 min
    Basic Biologists Take on SARS-CoV-2: Part 2

    Basic Biologists Take on SARS-CoV-2: Part 2

    In the second episode of our three-part COVID-19 mini-series, B3 hosts Mehdi and Robyn are joined by our guests Gina and Andrew for an exciting discussion about how the virus hijacks host signaling networks. We focus on a new paper from QBI scientists that uses a special systems biology technique to track changes in protein phosphorylation of infected cells, and to identify key regulatory proteins called kinases that manage these intracellular signalling events. You can find the original peer-reviewed journal article that was published in Cell here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0092867420308114

    In this episode we talk about the pathways that are activated during infection with SARS-CoV-2, including pathways that lead to a reorganization of cytoskeletal elements that help the cell grow new tentacle-like protrusions, called filopodia, for the virus to escape from. For those who are interested in what this looks like, you can find colored versions of the electron microscopy images from the paper on our website (biologistsbeingbasic.com) or our instagram.

    If you have any questions or comments you can email us at biologistsbeingbasic@gmail.com or find us on twitter or instagram (@biosbeingbasic).

    • 48 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
10 Ratings

10 Ratings

iamreinman ,


Very informative and interesting

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