43 episodes

The Taproot is the podcast that digs beneath the surface to understand how scientific publications are created. In each episode, we take a paper from the plant biology literature and talk about the story behind the science with one of the authors.

The Taproot Plantae / American Society of Plant Biologists

    • Science
    • 4.6 • 40 Ratings

The Taproot is the podcast that digs beneath the surface to understand how scientific publications are created. In each episode, we take a paper from the plant biology literature and talk about the story behind the science with one of the authors.

    S6E5: Transforming plants and the culture of publishing

    S6E5: Transforming plants and the culture of publishing

    In this episode, we speak with Yunde Zhao, a Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of California San Diego. Yunde earned his Bachelors in Biochemistry from East China University of Science and Technology, received a Ph.D. in Biochemistry
    from the University of Michigan, and did his postdoctoral training in plant genetics at the Salk Institute, where he was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fellow of the Life Sciences Research Foundation. In January 2022, Yunde started his appointment as the
    Editor-in-Chief of Plant Physiology, one of the oldest plant journals.

    We discuss a recent paper from Yunde’s lab describing a fast and non-invasive method for monitoring plant transformations, and talk about the transformations that are needed in the publishing world. We also address a recent controversy about diversity among some newly appointed Plant Physiology editors.

    Show Notes:
    #DiversifyPlantSci
    https://rdale1.shinyapps.io/diversifyplantsci/
    Plant Physiology Synbio Initiative https://academic.oup.com/plphys/article/190/1/180/6613939
    Pandemic-related effects on publishing are gendered:
    https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-01294-9
    https://elifesciences.org/articles/76559

    Paper: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33024566/
    He, Zhang, Sun, Zhan, and Zhao. A reporter for noninvasively monitoring gene expression and plant transformation. (2020). Horticulture Research 19:152.

    Twitter Handles:
    Liz Haswell Twitter @ehaswell
    Ivan Baxter Twitter @baxtertwi
    Yunde Zhao Twitter @YundeZhao

    • 43 min
    Taproot S6E4: Can We Force Academic Structures to be Inclusive?

    Taproot S6E4: Can We Force Academic Structures to be Inclusive?

    In this episode, we speak with Jason Williams, Assistant Director of Inclusion and Research Readiness at the DNA Learning Center at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Jason is also lead for CyVerse Education, Outreach, and Training – the U.S. National Cyberinfrastructure for Life Science. Jason received his B.S. in Biology from SUNY Stonybrook in 2004, then worked as a technician in several labs at Cold Spring Harbor, and then transitioned to multiple roles in the DNA Learning Center In 2009.

    We discuss an article Jason and colleagues recently published in Science, entitled “Achieving STEM diversity: Fix the classrooms. Outdated teaching methods amount to discrimination”. We also talk about the nuance and complexities around improving diversity, equity and inclusion in STEM education, in planning conferences, and in running scientific societies. Have a listen!

    Show Notes:

    Paper: J. Handelsman, S. Elgin, M. Estrada, S. Hays, T. Johnson, S. Miller, V. Mingo, C. Schaffer, and J. Williams. (2022). Science 376:1057-1059.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35653460/

    Twitter Handles
    Liz Haswell Twitter @ehaswell
    Ivan Baxter Twitter @baxtertwi
    Jason Williams Twitter @JasonWilliamsNY

    • 42 min
    Taproot S6E3: Classroom Cosplay: Applying Creative and Scientific Approaches to Teaching

    Taproot S6E3: Classroom Cosplay: Applying Creative and Scientific Approaches to Teaching

    In this episode, we speak with Jennifer Robison, an Assistant Professor of Biology at Manchester University in Indiana. Jennifer received her Bachelor’s degree from Dickinson College, her Master’s degree from the University of Delaware and her PhD from Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. For her thesis, she studied how thermal stress impact gene expression and physiology in soybean. After getting her PhD, she moved directly to a faculty position, just in time to get her feet wet before the pandemic hit.

    We discuss Jen’s paper, “Using a Student-Generated Mock Magazine Issue to Improve Students’ Awareness of Diverse Scientists”, which was published in the Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education in 2020. We discuss the importance of approaching our teaching as scientifically and quantitatively as we approach our research. Jen describes the many important (and amusing!) ways she engaged students during pandemic-related remote instruction and the philosophies she’ll be carrying forward as we return to in-person instruction.

    Show Notes:

    Paper: Jennifer Robison. J Microbiol Biol Educ. (2020). 21:21/3/75. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33384763/

    Blog post: https://jenniferrobison.weebly.com/blog/covid-pivot-turned-me-into-the-cosplay-professor

    Twitter Handles
    Liz Haswell Twitter @ehaswell
    Ivan Baxter Twitter @baxtertwi
    Jen Robison Twitter @JenRobiSci
    Taproot Podcast Twitter @taprootpodcast

    • 35 min
    Taproot S6E2: The tension between robustness and efficiency in biological and human systems

    Taproot S6E2: The tension between robustness and efficiency in biological and human systems

    In this episode, our guest is Olivier Hamant. Olivier is a PI at INRAE in the Plant Reproduction and Development laboratory in Lyon, France. Olivier did his PhD on KNOX homeobox genes in 2003, and then postdocs in Berkeley with Zac Cande and with Jan Traas in Lyon. He took his current position at INRAE in 2012, where he works on the mechanobiology of development. Olivier has received a number of awards in recent years, including Prix Foulon” from the French science academy – 2020.

    The jumping-off point for our discussion is a commentary that Olivier wrote entitled “Plants Show us the Light”, published in Trends in Plant Science in 2020. There, he argues that evolution favors robustness over efficiency, and cites several recent discoveries in the field of photosynthesis to support his argument. From there, we apply the lens of efficiency versus robustness to a range of applications, including other aspects of biology, lab organization, and even the global economy. We also touch on ways that the COVID pandemic revealed this tension.


    Show Notes:
    Olivier Hamant. Plants Show us the Light. Trends Plant Sci. (2020). 26:97-99.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33221171/

    Twitter Handles

    Liz Haswell Twitter @ehaswell

    Ivan Baxter Twitter @baxtertwi

    Taproot Podcast Twitter @taprootpodcast

    • 45 min
    Taproot S6E1: May I have your attention, please? Searching for causal mutations and for institutional support.

    Taproot S6E1: May I have your attention, please? Searching for causal mutations and for institutional support.

    Taproot S6E1: May I have your attention, please? Searching for causal mutations and for institutional support.

    In this episode, our guest is Dior Kelley, an assistant professor in the Genetics, Development and Cell Biology department at Iowa State University. Dior received her B.S. in Chemistry from the University of California Santa Cruz in 2000, and her Ph.D. in Plant Biology from the University of California Davis in 2009 before doing an NIH Postdoctoral fellowship with Jeff Long at the Salk Institute and a second postdoc with Mark Estelle. She joined her department as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in 2015 before moving to her current role in 2019.

    Dior describes “slim shady is a novel allele of PHYTOCHROME B present in the T-DNA line SALK_015201”, which was published in Plant Direct last year. We also discuss the ways in which the already precarious position of the pre-tenure faculty member with kids was exacerbated by the COVID pandemic. We talk about the limitations of giving pre-tenure faculty an extra year to tenure, the challenges of a dual professor couple, and what institutions could be doing–but typically AREN’T–to support young faculty. We hope this conversation helps move us towards solutions both specific to the challenges of the pandemic, but also to more general challenges of young families on the tenure track.

    Show Notes:

    Linkan Dash , Robert E McEwan , Christian Montes, Ludvin Mejia, Justin W Walley, Brian P Dilkes, Dior R Kelley. slim shady is a novel allele of PHYTOCHROME B present in the T-DNA line SALK_015201. Plant Direct (2021) 5:e00326.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34136747/

    Eminem-The Real Slim Shady
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJO5HU_7_1w

    Ben Barres video about giving tenure at hiring (start around 3:45) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Be0KULrnD6E

    Laura Helen Petersen substack “The Expanding Job”. https://annehelen.substack.com/p/the-expanding-job


    Twitter Handles:
    Dior Kelley Twitter @KelleyDior

    Liz Haswell Twitter @ehaswell

    Ivan Baxter Twitter @baxtertwi

    Taproot Podcast Twitter @taprootpodcast

    • 49 min
    S5E5: STARTing Out as a PI, Pivoting During COVID, and Advocating for Change

    S5E5: STARTing Out as a PI, Pivoting During COVID, and Advocating for Change

    In this episode, our guest is Aman Husbands. Aman is originally from Canada and got his undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto. After completing his PhD at the University of California Riverside, he moved to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories. In 2018, he moved to The Department of Molecular Genetics at the Ohio State University where he is an Assistant Professor. Aman’s research group focuses on uncovering the properties that allow complex biological processes, like development, to occur reproducibly.

    Aman shares the story behind a recent publication from his lab entitled “Identifying Cancer-Relevant Mutations in the DLC START Domain Using Evolutionary and Structure-Function Analyses” by Holub et al. 2020 in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences. He describes how his lab was able to identify new funding opportunities outside of plant sciences--and the different cultures of cancer research.

    We talk about why it is important to tune in to the projects you enjoy doing and discuss the responsibilities PI’s have to their labs and the people that come next. Aman says that it is important to deliberately create an atmosphere within the lab, clearly communicate priorities, and foster collaboration and communication with the group. We also talk about the value of connecting with and getting feedback from those outside your immediate research area.

    Aman also shares some of the ways he is working to address racism and equality, both on individual and systemic levels.

    A transcript of this episode was generously provided by Jo Stormer http://bit.ly/S5E5_Taproot

    Holub AS, Bouley RA, Petreaca RC, Husbands AY. Identifying Cancer-Relevant Mutations in the DLC START Domain Using Evolutionary and Structure-Function Analyses. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2020; 21(21):8175. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21218175

    Community TV show pizza fire GIF http://gph.is/VwCaKS

    Aman's Email: Husbands.6@osu.edu

    Twitter Handles
    @AmanHusbands
    @ehaswell
    @baxtertwi
    @taprootpodcast

    • 40 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
40 Ratings

40 Ratings

Toddmom9 ,

More than a lit review!

This podcast provides a truly engaging way to understand plant biology literature, and puts scientific progress in a wholistic and honest light. It is insightful and useful as a young scientist.

Evvaabanana ,

Amazing

I like the theme song :)
- ❤️ you dad😛

jbrumos ,

Loving the Taproot

Award winning podcast. Truly inspiring!!! It isn't just about how scientific papers are produced but also about life. Loving the combination of science and the people behind the science, their struggles, background, ideas... Always offering entertaining and interesting content.

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