Welcome to Bio Bytes, your starting point for all things Systems Biology. Tune in for interviews with prominent scientists working at the intersection of Biology, Engineering, Medicine, Computer Science, and Mathematics.
If you're interested in other ways in which biology and biomedicine are impacting the world, check out our sister podcast "BioWorks" (https://anchor.fm/bioworks) for great discussions on life science-related business, investing, and policy.
Bio Bytes 27: Microbial Systems and Synthetic Biology with Harris Wang
In which Harris Wang, associate professor of Systems Biology at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center, and Vaibhav discuss the application of systems and synthetic biology to the study of microbial communities. He describes the motivation and application of many of his group's seminal contributions (MAGE, CAGE, MaPS-seq), the various use cases of synthetically minimal genomes and engineered bacteria, and closes with some advice for young scientists and trainees.
Bio Bytes 26: Precision Medicine with Adam Bass
In which Adam Bass, oncologist and inaugural director of the Columbia Center for Precision Cancer Medicine, discusses the relevance of genomic science and treatments informed by sequencing in modern cancer medicine. Among other things, Vaibhav and Adam discuss current standards of care involving sequencing, the importance of first-principles understanding and research in advancing medicine, and what the future of precision medicine might look like.
Bio Bytes 25: Engineering Chromatin, DNA Databases, and Neurodevelopmental Organoids with Albert Keung
In which Albert Keung, Assistant Professor in the department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at North Carolina State University, shares many insights on Synthetic Biology. He touches on synthetically perturbing the chemical makeup of chromatin, designing and using DNA databases to store digital information, and the challenges and promise associated with developing cerebral organoids.
Bio Bytes 24: Gut Microbiome Biotechnology with Zack Abbott
In which Aaron speaks with Zach Abbott, PhD, about his company ZBiotics. ZBiotics is a biotechnology start-up that is focused on engineering microorganisms for consumer benefit. Aaron and Zach talk about the company’s current product, a genetically engineered probiotic designed to breakdown acetaldehyde, a toxic byproduct of alcohol. Additionally, Zach offers insight on his transition from completing a PhD to the biotech start-up space.
Bio Bytes 23: Machine Learning and Structural Biology with Mohammed AlQuraishi
In which Vaibhav speaks with Dr. Mohammed AlQuraishi, an Assistant Professor of Systems Biology at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center, about using machine learning to predict protein structure. Among other things, they discuss the direction of algorithmic development in computational structure prediction, from neighborhood-based assembly of peptide fragments to modern applications of Deep Learning in structural modeling. They discuss the features of physical priors and discuss approaches in computationally optimizing protein-energy state predictions, taking into account the difficulties associated with the many local minima in an energy function. Throughout this discussion, Mohammed contextualizes the intuition behind the methods used by Deep Mind with their developments of AlphaFold.
Bio Bytes 22: Aneuploidy and Cancer Biology with Alison Taylor
In which Vaibhav speaks with Dr. Alison Taylor, an Assistant Professor of Pathology and Cell Biology at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center, about her research on the role of aneuploidy (abnormal numbers of chromosomes) in cancer. Among other things, they discuss the basic mechanisms of aneuploidy, the ways in which it can favor cancer development, and contemporary approaches in chemically targeting aneuploid cells. Alison explains her group's models for studying aneuploidy and their new computational genomics efforts as well. She concludes by discussing ongoing projects in her lab and some pressing questions about genome integrity in cancer initiation and progression.
Good podcast. When I read the name CU BioBytes, I thought it was the University of Colorado Denver and not Columbia. The audio quality needs improvement. I enjoy the interviews and hope they keep up with the show.