Are you searching for great stories to ignite your curiosity, teach you to perform better in life and career, inspire your mind, and make you laugh along the way? In this science podcast, Dr. Marie McNeely introduces you to the brilliant researchers behind the latest scientific discoveries. Join us as they share their greatest failures, most staggering successes, candid career advice, and what drives them forward in life and science.
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Greetings science fans!
We’re elated to welcome you to People Behind the Science where we explore the lives and experiences of the people behind the research and scientific discoveries of today.
People Behind the Science’s mission is to inspire current and future scientists, share the different paths to a successful career in science, educate the general population on what scientists do, and show the human side of science.
In each episode, a different scientist will guide us through their journey by sharing their successes, failures, and passions. We are excited to introduce you to these inspiring academic and industry experts from all fields of science to give you a variety of perspectives on the life and path of a scientist.
Our esteemed guests will tell you:
what motivates them and how they balance their competing responsibilities
how they worked through some of the most challenging times in their careers
advice to help you through your own journey through life and science
People Behind the Science is a podcast focused on the people doing fascinating research through interviews with top scientists. We are proud to have interviewed so many inspiring scientists, including U.S. National Academy scientists like Josh Sanes, Nick Spitzer, Lou Muglia, Jacob Israelachvili, Gene Robinson, Larry Squire, John Dowling, James Berger, and David Spergel, as well as popular scientists in the media like Donna Nelson (science advisor for the TV show Breaking Bad) and Jack Horner (science advisor for the Jurassic park movies). We are honored to have shared their amazing stories with people in all 50 states in the USA and in over 120 countries across the world.
576: Changing How We Think About Cancer by Revealing the Critical Role of Context in Tissue Specificity - Dr. Mina Bissell
Dr. Mina Bissell is a Distinguished Scientist in the Life Sciences Division of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Mina is working to understand why the cells in a particular part of your body form the structures they do and not something else. Tissue and organ specificity are fundamentally related to cancer. When cells forget their tissue-specific functions, they can begin to pile up, form tumors, and travel elsewhere in the body. In her free time, Mina loves to exercise, spend time with her family, watch theatre performances, read, go hiking, and work in her garden. She received her B.A. in Chemistry from Radcliffe College and a M.Sc. in Bacteriology and Biochemistry as well as a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics from Harvard University. Afterward, Mina was awarded a Milton Postdoctoral Fellowship at Harvard University followed by an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley. She started off at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory to study cell biology and cancer viruses and has dedicated over 40 years of her career to exceptional research there, rising through the ranks to her current position. Mina has received many awards and honors during her career. Just to name a few, she was awarded the highest award of the Department of Energy called the Lawrence Award, the Lifetime Achievement Prize from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the American Cancer Society’s Medal of Honor, the Susan G. Komen Foundation Brinker Award, an Honorary Doctorate from Pierre and Marie Curie University, and many more. In addition, Mina has been elected as a Member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. She is also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the Royal Society of Chemistry. A few years ago an award in Portugal was created in Mina’s name, and the Mina J. Bissell Award is given every 2 years to a person who has changed our perception of a field. In this interview, Mina shares her journey through life and science.
Conducting Research to Help Communities Better Support People With Disabilities - Dr. Kerri Morgan
Dr. Kerri Morgan is an Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy and Neurology at Washington University in St. Louis and a certified Assistive Technology Professional. In addition, Kerri is an accomplished Paralympic and World Champion athlete. Kerri is working to better understand how to better support people with disabilities in the community. When she’s not doing science, Kerri loves spending time with family, including her twin boys. She also enjoys playing wheelchair rugby and racing.
Researching Flood Resistance in Rice and Other Plants - Dr. Julia Bailey-Serres
Dr. Julia Bailey-Serres is Director of the Center for Plant Cell Biology and Distinguished Professor of Genetics at the University of California, Riverside. She is also the University of California MacArthur Foundation Chair and is Professor of Rice Physiology at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. She investigates how plants survive water extremes, including temporary floods. When she’s not working, Julia enjoys gardening, hiking, traveling, cooking, and spending time with her friends and family.
Investigating the Physics of Ultra-Fast Movements in Animals and Developing Low-Cost Scientific Tools - Dr. Saad Bhamla
Dr. Saad Bhamla is Assistant Professor in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Part of his lab focuses on developing very low-cost scientific tools and medical devices to make these items more accessible and affordable worldwide. He also examines questions in biology and organismal physics, such as how animals can move very rapidly. In his free time, you can find Saad training for his next marathon or taking his dogs running to get some exercise.
Studying Signal Transduction in Taste Cells - Dr. Kathryn Medler
Dr. Kathryn Medler is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at The State University of New York at Buffalo. She studies how the taste cells in our tongues detect the chemicals in our food and send this information to the brain so that we can decide whether to eat something or spit it out. In addition to spending time with her family, one of Kathryn’s passions is travel. While she hasn’t traveled as much lately, she has enjoyed hiking in the nearby Finger Lakes Region of New Yor
Shedding Light on the Nature of Dark Matter and the Mysteries of Our Universe - Dr. Katie Mack
Dr. Katie Mack is Assistant Professor of Physics at North Carolina State University, member of the Leadership in Public Science Cluster there, and an avid science communicator. As a cosmologist, she studies the universe as a whole over the full scale of time, including how it evolved, what it's made out of, and how it works. Outside of science, she enjoys traveling to new places, playing basketball, rock climbing, trail running, reading science fiction books, and watching science fiction shows and films.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Excellent episode with Dr. Weiner
The cancer research (and successes!) that you illustrated in your interview has definitely given me hope, as David wished. If I need to wrestle with cancer yet again, I’m glad he and his colleagues have my back.
First experience with science
My daughters 8th birthday, she received a microscope, she is hooked, she enjoys me bringing home dead bugs to magnify. She is keeping a journal of everything she sees at the different magnifications. We have been listening to podcast for years at bed time. This is one that doesn’t put her right to sleep. It is super gratifying watching her as she is excited about the things she is “discovering “ OK so I am not a smart man, you could say I never lived up to my potential. All that being said thank you for this podcast and giving her examples of how to become a scientist and me a direction that I can help her along. You are the best. If possible say hi to Landrey Lyn, last name withheld. Thank you for giving a smart kid with dumb parents an avenue to learn to keep moving forward in science.
Knowledgeable; Introspective on true elites.
I’ve now binged on 300 episodes over two months. There is a lot of exciting research being done! It is fun to get a few tid-bits on what researchers are doing both in academia and private sectors.
What I have found in all the episodes thus far, is that I have yet to hear of a person who’s had an average or low income upbringing.
Every person interviewed has a large pedigree of top notch schooling. That isn’t bad but it is very telling that only a certain slice of people behind the science are being interviewed.
Most hobbies I’ve heard are the same highbrow type responses and it gets old quick.
The series isn’t as inspirational as it is semi informative. I see it more as a way for people to brag a bit about what they are doing rather than showing that they are not robots. That’s my opinion though! I’ll listen for interesting research topics, that’s all, though I could just view reddit.