DiscoverFinding Genius Podcast
Finding Genius Podcast

Finding Genius Podcast

Author: Richard Jacobs

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Podcast interviews with genius-level (top .1%) practitioners, scientists, researchers, clinicians and professionals in Cancer, 3D Bio Printing, CRISPR-CAS9, Ketogenic Diets, the Microbiome, Extracellular Vesicles, and more.

Subscribe today for the latest medical, health and bioscience insights from geniuses in their field(s).
2006 Episodes
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Author Kevin Brown established and curated the Alexander Fleming Laboratory Museum in London. He tells listeners about the process of collecting special pieces and information to create an effective display, some lesser-known details about Fleming's life and discoveries, and perspective on how health and medicine history impacts current mindsets. Among other books, Kevin Brown authored Penicillin Man: Alexander Fleming and the Antibiotic Revolution. In this conversation he talks about what it's like to be a historian in this sciences. He tells listeners that he studies the history of medicine because it's a subject which affect most of us—he is studying at a wider history that's also political and societal and affects all of us on a daily level. He adds that the communication of history is where he wants to be: he likes explaining the stories to people, feeling like he is walking in the footsteps of health and medicine history. He comments that there's an excitement that comes to talking to visitors and seeing the excitement in their eyes—perhaps inspiring some to be the Alexander Flemings of tomorrow.  He continues with details of setting up the museum, procuring items, accepting special loans, and writing the material. Fleming's son gave the museum some items, in fact, and is a great supporter of the project. Brown shares the story of the summer Fleming made the infamous penicillin discovery, including details about other project of Fleming that lead to his mindset at the time. He also gives some perspective of the scientific mind and health and medicine history from the ancient Greeks to current ways we handle knowledge. For more, see the museum web site at https://fleminglaboratory.wordpress.com/ and email Kevin Brown through the museum at Kevin.Brown@imperial.nhs.uk.
Dr. Richard Allen White began RAW Molecular Systems, LLC, eight years after his mother's death from streptococcus complications. His mission is to push science from addressing the theoretical basics to advance to applied states to better serve people and agriculture. He explains to listeners the possibilities that lie with phages to fight dangerous phenomena such as antibiotic resistance,  what two specific agricultural diseases his company is working to combat with phage cocktails, and the vastness of virus numbers and ancient place in the natural world's evolution and why they have therefore have tremendous potential to address pathogenic bacteria. Dr. Richard Allen White, III, has been focused on microbiology for the majority of his educational life. He has a PhD in microbiology and immunology from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and a Master's from Cal State East Bay, where he worked on HIV GEC responses. His company works on viruses that affect people, plants, fungi, and bacteria, though currently they are focused primarily on agricultural blights, namely the fire blight, which is a pathogenic bacteria that affects pears and apple crops, and a potato disease called verticillium, which is a devastating fungal pathogen.  However, they are moving toward targeting human and bee diseases as well. He describes the very complex yet ancient arms race between viruses and bacteria, and how nature has given us an "Excalibur" of sorts with phages and the benefits viruses can offer us.  In this constant battle between bacteria and viruses, a virus will take a clip of bacteria and uses it to defend itself against it later. This constant dynamic means viruses offer researchers numerous means to battle pathogenic bacteria and even other viruses. His company envisions that a wave of new therapeutics will come from synthetic microbiology. He explains that scientist can use natural viruses and combine them with a synthetic process involving phages. Researchers start from nature, knowing how a virus can infect a population, but then predict what will be infected and what they can do to magnify certain actions through synthetic means to fight pathogenic bacteria.  For more, see the company's web site at https://www.rawmolecularsystems.com/index. In addition, Dr. Richard Allen White has started a YouTube channel to explain more about their research.
A specialist in pediatric transplantation for children facing liver and intestinal disease, Dr. Mazariegos discuss current practices. He explains how treatments can vary among the spectrum of ages and individual situations, advances that allow for a reduction of immunosuppressant drugs, including heightened monitoring abilities for asymptomatic viral biomarkers, and  challenges in recommending treatments with possible future advancements in mind. Dr. George V. Mazariegos is the director of Pediatric Transplantation at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. He is an associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh in the departments of Surgery, Anesthesiology, and Critical Care Medicine. While he specializes in children with liver and intestinal disease, the center cares for all pediatric transplantation issues. He gives listeners an overview of transplantation history and explains the particular quality-of-life issues that involve pediatric patients. He comments that most pediatric patients, about 95%, require lifelong immunosuppression; a big focus of his research is understanding why that 5% doesn't need those drugs and what we can learn from them. Dr. Mazariegos explains that advances in viral detection and other monitoring tools have made it possible to reduce the amount of drugs patients need to take to the bare minimum. Therefore, they’ve been able to monitor the side effects and adjust the dosing before complications become significance. He adds a summary of the ways these drugs would change according to life stages various patients face. Finally, he addresses the near-term future of his field, describing the challenge of trying to balance what's "around the corner" with what doctors can and should proceed with for now. For example, gene therapies have been touted as "just around the corner" for 20 years. Therefore, while gene therapy is very promising as half these kids suffer from a genetic condition, it isn't a usable treatment yet. While there has been progress in the delivery of the gene vector, the efficacy hasn't been proven. For more, see his information page at https://www.chp.edu/find-a-doctor/service-providers/george-mazariegos-519, follow him on Twitter with @CHPtransplant, and email him through his CHP web site information page. He's Happy to chat with parents and patients. 
In this informative podcast, Luis P. Villarreal, Professor Emeritus, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, School of Biological Sciences, University of California, Irvine, provides an overview of his thoughts on biological changes, virus evolution, viral gene therapy, and more. Podcast Points: Why is coronavirus more concerning than the standard flu? An overview on the origin of the coronavirus How do species continue to thrive while existing with persistent lifelong infections? As a Founding Director of the Center for Virus Research, Villarreal has long been interested in research related to viruses. Villarreal holds a PhD from the University of California, San Diego, and a BS from California State University at Los Angeles, in Biochemistry. Dr. Villarreal discusses the current state of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), commonly referred to as simply, coronavirus. He provides specific information on the origin of coronaviruses. As Dr. Villarreal states, most emerging viruses that go on to cause acute epidemics or a pandemic, typically come from a particular species found in the region that has a persistent lifelong infection. Bats, in particular, harbor a great deal of coronaviruses, as well as other viruses. These viruses are specific to the species and within the host species, they typically show almost no evidence of disease. These viruses are passed from generation to generation in bats, but have almost no effect on bat health; it’s an epigenome of the bat.  The research doctor provides some interesting examples of specific studies of mice. He explains the research that shows how mice, like some other species, benefit from the viruses they carry because the virus can act as a way of ensuring a particular colony’s survival. For example, when mice engage in reproductive contact between colonies, the mice that are not colonized with the virus will die off. Dr. Villarreal talks about the ways that coronavirus establishes itself in hosts. This coronavirus is particularly difficult to tackle because it is quite successful at transmission, because hosts who carry the virus will often have no signs, or few signs, of any actual infection. He states that this virus presents a complex problem because it, unlike some other viruses, seems to be acting as if it is trying to establish a persistent infection in humans, in a similar manner to how persistent infections become established in animal species. In this event that is happening now, Dr. Villarreal states that this is an event of communication that has brought technology and science to its knees with the power it has exerted over human biology. Unfortunately, the United States’ delayed reaction, its slow response to the coronavirus, is going to make things worse than they might have been if the virus had been taken seriously at the beginning.  Dr. Villarreal talks about some of the medications that are being repurposed for possible treatment of coronavirus. He discusses the clinical trials that are in progress and the need for immediate action. Continuing, Dr. Villarreal talks about the damage to the immune system that coronavirus creates, but details are thin at this point as to why it is happening. Going further, Dr. Villarreal talks about the virus and how it continues to retain its ability to harm in other species.  Dr. Villarreal is an SACNAS Distinguished Scientist, and he was recognized with the Distinguished Alumnus Award from California State University, the National Science Foundation Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring, and was elected as Fellow of the American Society of Microbiology.
Dr. Adam Arkin’s research focuses on the synthetic biology of microorganisms, environmental genomics, and molecular ecosystems biology. On today’s episode, you will learn: How many microbes exist in a single gram of soil, and how scientists conduct research in the lab to try to identify how all of these microbes interact and function as a community What bacteriocin is and how it can utilize a partial phage to kill other bacteria directly How to understand the longitudinal dynamic between viruses and bacteria At the University of California, Berkeley, Adam Arkin, Ph.D. is researching one of his primary interests, which is how microbes (i.e. bacteria, archaea, viruses) transform the environment and impact various processes, including the processes that occur in our own bodies. He is working on how to track and characterize groups of microbes, understand how they operate together, and determine the ways in which we may be able to intervene in order to get microbes to do things that are beneficial to us. The largest projects he’s working on involve terrestrial environments, such as the subsurface of a watershed. In particular, Dr. Arkin and his team are researching the microbes in a field behind the Oak Ridge National Lab, where the soil is contaminated with uranium and has the highest level of nitrates on Earth. In that location, microbes breathe in the metals and transform them to immobile and relatively harmless substances. Dr. Arkin explain how this may be applied to the agricultural arena in order to use microbes that mobilize nutrients for crops, protect them from pathogens, increase resilience to drought, and improve their ability to sequester carbon, thereby reducing greenhouse gasses. He continues by discussing the potential of a human microbiome that is resistant to invasion by pathogens and allows us to make better use of nutrients. What’s stopping the development of this? Dr. Arkin explains that despite the growing amount of data being gathered in the field, there are still huge gaps in basic data about the composition and function of microbial genes in a wide range of conditions. Consider, for example, that a single gram of soil contains one million microbes and about 10,000 different species of microbes, and that the human gut contains just as many, if not more. He explains the approach that has allowed his research and the research of others to show that most large community microbial dynamics can be described by much smaller numbers of pairwise interactions. In other words, predictions about a large community of microbes can be made based on observations of smaller number of pairwise interactions among community members. In addition to all of this, Dr. Arkin takes a look at viruses and phages, bacteriocin, mechanisms of cell sensing, the various uses of phages (including those in the therapeutic realm), in what ways his research relies on machine learning and computational biology, and so much more. Tune in for the full conversation and visit http://genomics.lbl.gov/ and http://enigma.lbl.gov/ to learn more.
CEO of Limina Sleep Consulting, Matthew Anastasi, discusses the current state of sleep medicine and health in the U.S. Tune in to learn the following: What two processes determine whether a person feels alert or sleepy How the Affordable Care Act signed into law a decade ago has had a big impact on sleep health and medicine Why the differences between in-home sleep studies and lab-based sleep studies are important and how they can result in false diagnoses or undetected cases of sleep apnea For over 20 years, Matthew Anastasi has worked in the sleep industry in various capacities, including as a sleep technologist, author, researcher, volunteer, and conference organizer. On today’s show, he shares his insights on sleep and the valuable knowledge he has gained over the course of his career. He begins by discussing the impact of the homeostatic drive and the circadian clock on our bodies and level of alertness. “The circadian clock is actually embedded in every living cell in our body…every cell in our body…knows what time of day it is, and when you change that, even by one hour, that has a huge impact on the function that each cell has throughout the circadian rhythm,” says Anastasi. With a combination of his years of research and clinical experience in the field, Anastasi established Limina Sleep Consulting as a way of providing a variety of services in the sleep industry, such as advice for companies that want to put forth evidence-based best practices, expert strategic analysis for investment companies, conference organization and lectures for sleep professionals who want to stay ahead of the curve, and support for industry sales and marketing. He explains the specific ways in which sleep medicine practices and policies have changed over the past 20 years, how providers and patients alike are being affected by these changes, and what needs to be done in order to ensure and maintain a safe environment for patients, sleep technologists, and respiratory therapists. He also discusses why it can take months just to see a sleep professional, and five months for a patient to receive treatment after being diagnosed. For patients who are healthy enough, the trend is to move more toward in-home sleep studies, sleep diagnosis, and treatment. Press play to learn about the ways in which Limina Sleep Consulting is working against the challenges and barriers to sleep health and treatment, uncovering avenues for better sleeping problem solutions, and teaming up with other organizations in the process. For more information, visit https://liminasleepconsultingllc.weebly.com/.
You may or may not remember learning about the periodic table in chemistry class and why it’s shaped the way it is. Dr. Preston MacDougall explains the orbital model that’s behind it, and why orbitals are actually just invented mathematical entities. Tune in to learn the following: Why it’s significant to understand the difference between the orbital model and the probabilistic model of electron behavior in chemical bonds and reactions How the vibrational timescale of molecules poses barriers to experimentation, and the complex process by which chemists collect x-ray diffraction data and view molecules vibrating in zero-point motion or harmonic mode What role non-contact enzymes or catalysts play in chemical reactions Preston J. MacDougall, Ph.D. is an author and professor at Middle Tennessee State University, and returning guest on today’s episode. He begins by explaining the orbital model, which he says is a convenient model for teaching early students of chemistry how to understand electron configurations and why the periodic table is organized in the way that it is. However, he says that orbitals are actually just mathematical entities that do not apply to anything but single electrons. Why? Dr. MacDougall explains that it’s because the orbital model assumes that an individual electron is not influenced by the motions of all of the other electrons around it. As opposed to the orbital model, Dr. MacDougall prefers to consider the probabilistic picture, which is that every electron in an atom has a certain probability of being found at a certain point around the nucleus at any given time. This is referred to as the charge or cloud density, and he explains how it changes with relation to the proximity of the electron to the nucleus of the atom. He continues by discussing the vibrational timescale of molecules, which is less than a trillionth of a second. So, how is it that scientists conduct experiments on molecules that vibrate so quickly? He explains the method of obtaining x-ray diffraction data, which begins by the cooling of crystals with liquid nitrogen or liquid helium until they reach a temperature of about -250 degrees Celsius. At that point, molecules reach the lowest possible energy state of zero-point motion, where chemists can then “deconvolute” the electron cloud and make it appear as though a molecule is standing still. Dr. MacDougall expounds on the ways in which the pressure produced by atoms on other atoms can be modified to produce electron cloud changes, explains the octet rule and stability of noble gasses, touches on the applications of quantum chemistry and molecular modeling in drug design, and so much more. To learn more, visit https://www.mtsu.edu/faculty/preston-j-macdougall.
Richard Marshall is the Business Development Director for the company that has created Cutii, an autonomous robot created to enlarge social connection for seniors who want to age in place at home. He describes some of the robot's functions, including  autonomous, infrared sensor movement and ability to learn the living space in which it functions, voice-controlled as well as controllable by family who are outside the home, such as the senior's children, and additional applications such as an adept telemedicine feature and ability to do museum tours and cooking classes in real time.  Richard Marshall describes the goal in creating Cutii as a tool to combat loneliness for seniors. He reminds listeners that there's a tidal wave of people entertaining retirement as well as a growing problem of disconnection and loneliness in society, especially for seniors. Therefore, they hope to use Cutii to connect people who want to age in place at home, to allow people to stay at home as long as possible while still communicating in a fuller way with the outside world.  He adds that they've deliberately designed it to not imitate a human; rather it is a fully-operated robot that moves along on wheels, is about five feet tall, and it is sturdy and accessible. He provides examples of its usefulness such as a senior's kids' ability to call their mother up and send Cutti to find her in the living space if they are concerned or just want to chat. The kids can control Cutii remotely and find her and then talk with her. Conversely, the senior can control Cutti with their voice and tell it to come where they are for any need, including social connection with distance family and friends.  Richard Marshall also explains several design features and how it may serve well in an emergency yet also as an enrichment, for example, as a way to participate in a cooking class in real time.  It is in the market now in France and has been successful and well-received. He remarks that it's not YouTube on wheels, rather a newer more flexible way to offer live interactions when you are limited to being in your home. They are starting product trials in the U.S. and should be hitting the market in late 2020 and are ready to talk to channel partners in the U.S. now as well. For more, see the web page at  https://www.cutii.io/en/
Graphen.ai turned their resources to mapping Covid 19 mutations in late February. Their CEO, Dr. Ching-Yung Lin, explains the process and tells listeners what his company has learned, including the number of mutations thus far by implementing artificial intelligence in healthcare, the patterns it shows under different climates by way of whole genome sequencing analysis, and how and why these mutation data points are helpful for fighting the virus. Graphen specializes in building AI platforms based on graphs to serve sectors such as the financial industry. They’ve worked to identify hard-to-trace global movements such as terrorist networks and money laundering. As Covid 19 began to progress, the company turned its resources to using artificial intelligence in healthcare, plotting and analyzing available data such as whole genome sequencing analysis. Dr. Ching-Yung Lin describes for listeners the steps they have taken. The company assessed what they could contribute to understanding the virus propagation at the end of February. They felt it was an appropriate time for them to jump in and help contribute through using artificial intelligence in healthcare. He explains that different countries are sequencing the virus and sharing the data. Graphen takes this data and shows the mutations, but also shows the parent viruses of these mutations, giving them the ability to map its path. When the virus propagates or replicates, it copies itself. As with any copying process, mistakes can happen in translation--this is essentially a mutation.  Mutations are very important indications of how it changes and how it propagates and spreads; therefore, this information is providing the crux for how Graphen can investigate Covid 10’s habits. For example, they are able to reverse-assess the danger a community may be in: they can us the virus sequencing to determining how long it has actually been in the community based on mutations. They are trying to use this information to figure out how it might continue to replicate itself but also how to shut down its replication ability They are sharing the mutation of each virus and gender and age of the diagnosed patient on their web site so people can study the data on their own if they would like. It’s updated every day.  Find out more at http://www.graphen.ai/covid.html Contact them through email with questions or information by sending to info@graphen.ai. Finally, if you have any ability to get Graphen more data, please consider reaching out to them.
Neonatologist and researcher Dr. Sandra Leibel discusses her research into a particular gene therapy process involving a lung organoid model. She explains her research and surrounding issues, including the basics of lung research, and specifically the importance of the surfactant process in keeping lungs from collapsing; how mutations lead to the need for surfactant protein b deficiency treatment in babies; and  how her model showed positive treatment possibilities but what must happen before treatment is available clinically. Dr. Sandra Leibel is an assistant clinical professor in pediatrics at UC San Diego School of Medicine and a neonatologist specialist at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego.  She's currently focused on the lab side of her work involving a gene therapy process. Dr. Leibel created a model using induced pluripotent stem cells, or embryonic stem cells, and differentiated them into three-dimensional lung organoids. She's using these models to test a possible surfactant protein b deficiency treatment.  She explains to listeners the basics of lung geography and mechanics and how of the 40 different lung cell types, she uses the epithelial cells in her model. She describes the surfactant production that happens in the distal portion of the lung, which is the furthest portion, yet serves the whole lung by reducing surface tension and keeping our lungs from collapsing.  These alveolar type 2 cells can undergo a mutation during embryonic development that damages the b protein of those cell; they cannot then produce effective surfactant. These babies are born needing to be on a breathing machine until they are able to get a lung transplant. However, she's found an exciting advancement in her research, namely that by introducing a virus vector that carried a healthy b gene, she measured signs of the model cells completely normalizing into surfactant-producing cells. In other words, she was able to cure the disease in a dish.  She explains the implications of this, the timing for clinical use, and other related issues. For more, google her name and see her page at UC San Diego: https://profiles.ucsd.edu/sandra.leibel
Dr. Sherif Hassan is an international sleep medicine doctor from Washington DC who focuses on the relationship between sleep disorders and cardiovascular disease, and the benefits of precision medicine. Tune in to learn the following: What impacts sleep apnea and hypopnea have on heart muscles on a short and long-term basis How the oral microbiome, oral hygiene (including the use of mouthwashes), and sleep apnea impact the levels of nitric oxide in the body, and why this is so important for cardiovascular and overall health How the right amount of sleep and exercise, proper nutrition, and the optimization of metabolic and basic functions of the body might be achieved through a program Dr. Hassan is developing Cardiovascular disease is the most prevalent yet most preventable non-communicable disorder in the U.S., and is greatly affected by sleep disorders—in particular obstructive sleep apnea and hypopnea during sleep. Dr. Hassan sees value not only in taking an integrative approach to sleep and overall health of the individual, but also in following up with patients after they have received treatment for a sleep disorder. He explains that the outcomes following some of the most common forms of treatment such as CPAP, BiPAP, and dental appliances are very poorly understood, as is the correlation between sleep apnea and weight and cardiovascular changes, such as heart disease, hypertension, and coronary artery disease. He explains in detail the impact of sleep apnea on the muscles of the heart, and the role of nitric oxide in delivering oxygen to various parts of the body and reversing the damaging effects of sleep apnea and hypopnea. He discusses the relationship between the oral microbiome and oral health on the body’s level of nitric oxide, and ways of increasing the body’s production of it, which include more intake of essential substrates in the form of celery, spinach, and lettuce. Dr. Hassan is trying to come up with a program to optimize sleep and cardiovascular health through the establishment of regular sleep cycles, optimization of hormones and basic function of the body, exercise, and proper nutrition, not just for patients with sleep disorders, but for everyone. Check out https://www.luana.health/ for more information.
Cancer-survivor and expert on physical therapy, nutrition, and mindfulness, Dr. Missimer shares her story with listeners. She recounts what lead her to create The Movement Paradigm, from supporting her dying brother to appearing on American Ninja Warrior, her intake process and questions for new patients at the center, and Why almost every health and pain concern she treats is ultimately about inflammation and what to do about it. Dr. Missimer has her Doctor of Physical Therapy and is a Registered Dietitian. She's an inspirational speaker who has appeared on such outlets as TEDX and is the founder of The Movement Paradigm, an integrative health center that bases treatments on mindfulness benefits, nutrition, movement, and the importance of meditation. She uses a blend of eastern and western philosophies in combination with her physical therapy and dietitian training to serve her clients. She begins by describing her journey towards founding the center, one that includes caring for her brother who later passed from cancer, undergoing her own cancer diagnosis and treatment, and then a full realization of her desire to make an impact. She appeared on the American Ninja Warrior show while undergoing cancer treatment, which was quite a challenge, and explains her success by describing the importance of movement for her. She remarks that working and moving have always given her strength. Her work at the center starts with having clients fill out a very detailed functional medicine-themed form that can help her develop some simple first steps. She tells listeners that ultimately she is trying to figure out a patient's antecedents (such as family autoimmune history), triggers (like stress), and mediators (lifestyle factors). Then she picks one place to start so as not to overwhelm. She says she sees lots of SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) and yeast overgrowth as well as food sensitivities and intolerances. Regardless of what the issue is, she asserts, the foundation of most problems is one of inflammation. She brings clients to a healthier, pain-free place through simple steps of movement, diet, an understanding of mindfulness benefits, the importance of meditation, and other techniques. For more, see the The Movement Paradigm web page at https://themovementparadigm.com/.
Gordon Krass, CEO of IntelliGuard, discusses how the late-stage startup company is making the medication supply chain within U.S. hospitals safer and more efficient. You will learn the following: How inadequate tracking and tracing systems for medications and weak medical inventory control within U.S. hospitals is allowing for the clinical use of counterfeit, recalled, or expired drugs, as well as theft of controlled substances How the automation of tracking and inventory offered by IntelliGuard will be providing a huge relief to pharmacists and anesthesiologists, and improving patient experiences What a full rollout of this technology will look like, and what kind of feedback IntelliGuard is receiving from the 500 hospitals they already serve With the use of  radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology and data analytics, IntelliGuard has one ultimate goal in mind: maximizing positive healthcare outcomes for patients. Krass explains that while hospitals in the U.S. today are on the cutting-edge of the clinical side of the business with the use of AI in surgeries, new procedures, and advanced imaging technology, the infrastructure that’s responsible for running hospitals is outdated, relying far too heavily on paper-based documentation and human interaction. “People think the supply chain of medications is secure, the truth is it’s not,” says Krass, citing a 60 percent accuracy rate for inventory of critical medications used in surgeries and other complex procedures. This inadequacy is a dangerous one, leading to the administration of expired, recalled, incorrect, or counterfeit drugs. Aside from labor, drugs and supplies are the highest cost items in hospitals, but despite this, hospitals don’t know where medications are or how much they have on hand at any given time. “Most businesses would not be in business if they operated in this way,” says Krass. He continues by explaining the details of how IntelliGuard is working to address these issues, where some of the greatest weaknesses lie in the current system, and how IntelliGuard technologies will transform hospital infrastructure in the U.S. for the better. Press play for all the details. For more info, visit https://ig.solutions/.
Dr. Pollack discusses the ways in which the water in your body’s cells isn’t the same type of water in your cup. Tune in to learn the following: How an alternative understanding of the electrical potential of cells could be explained by the fourth phase of water, and how the magnitude of electrical charge of a pathological cell differs from that of a normal or “healthy” cell   What type of energy is critical for the transition from ordinary water to the fourth phase of water, and where and when we get that energy What features and properties can be assigned to the fourth phase of water Dr. Gerald H. Pollack is a professor at the University of Washington Department of Bioengineering, and author of award-winning books The Fourth Phase of Water and Cells, Gels, and the Engines of Life. On today’s show, he explains how the water in biology differs from “ordinary” water that we drink each day, and what implications this has for human health and biology at large. He begins by sharing how he discovered the idea that water might have a “fourth” phase, which was through the work of Gilbert Ling, a physiologist and author of over five books on the topic. Inspired by Ling’s work, Dr. Pollack decided to dive into this area of research and eventually write a book that dealt with Ling’s ideas (Cells, Gels, and the Engines of Life). He discusses the experimentation he’s done showing that when water molecules are ordered, they form a crystal-like structure that excludes other substances from entering. This was a critical observation because it proved that there can be regions of water molecules that are not free to bounce around millions of times in a second like they do in ordinary water. Investigating further through multiple experiments, Dr. Pollack and his team found that every feature examined in the exclusion zone of water was different from the features of ordinary water. According to him and many others, this is the type of water that exists in our cells, and it plays a role in nearly every important reaction that occurs inside our cells. He continues by explaining the details of his experimentation, the conditions for exclusion, and the manner or pattern in which exclusion occurs. He also describes how infrared light is the source of energy that allows for the transition from ordinary water to this fourth phase of water, commonly called exclusion zone (EZ) water. He notes the sources of infrared energy in our environment, the ways in which diurnal variation of the amount of infrared energy may be affecting us, and the use of infrared energy as a therapeutic approach for cancer and other illnesses.   To learn more, visit https://www.pollacklab.org/.
Author Dr. Frank Ryan has spent a lifetime researching, speaking on, and writing about virus behaviors. His book Virusphere: From Common Colds to Ebola Epidemics--Why We Need the Viruses That Plague Us was just released in paperback. In this exploratory conversation, he explains  why calling viruses parasitic is too simplistic and confining, why this is so as he discusses the history of the AIDS virus evolution with humans as an example, and how different mechanics we use to survive, such as placental membranes, are virus derived. Dr. Frank Ryan is an Honorary Senior Lecturer in the Department of Medical Education at The University of Sheffield in the UK. He has authored numerous books, including Virusphere. The conversation begins with an explanation of the behaviors of viruses as symbionts, existing at a continuum between parasite and mutualistic symbiont.  Among many other examples he presents, he discusses AIDS, one of the worse epidemic viruses in our lifetime. Yet even at the height of the epidemic, scientist didn't ask if it were a parasite or not. Rather, they asked what aspect of the virus is changing as a result of the human interaction and vice versa. What they found was a change in the patient gene antigen that had to do with the virus evolution—both virus and human genome were actually altering each other's genome; so while this may be a virus near the parasitic end of the continuum, human and virus are still changing each other—it's not just a one-sided relationship. Dr. Ryan offers other examples of the behaviors of viruses to flesh out this coevolution, from viruses and the Brazilian wood rabbit in Australia to mammal placental development. He explains how retroviruses function, replicate, and become infectious. He also explains the process of the Coronavirus, its mechanics within human cell cytoplasm and the replication process. He finishes by explaining the ubiquitous nature of the behavior of viruses having effects we may be unaware of, such as keeping the bacteria from taking over the ocean. For more, you can find his book for sale at https://www.amazon.com/Virusphere-Common-Epidemics-Why-Viruses-Plague/dp/1633886042
Rahul Panat, Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, provides an overview of his work in microscale additive manufacturing, microelectronics, and much more. Podcast Points: How has 3D printing improved manufacturing? What’s on the horizon for technological advances for the medical industry and patient care? An overview of nanoparticles and applications Panat received an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and secured his PhD in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Panat discusses his work on micro and nanoscale 3D printing using nanoparticles to fabricate devices with new functionality and features. As he explains, their goal is to use this technology to develop new types of biomedical devices or to provide additional functionality to devices already in use. Dr. Panat’s research seeks to enhance fundamental scientific knowledge in an effort to create engineering breakthroughs for critical applications. He discusses printed electronics products and the advanced materials impact factor. Dr. Panat provides examples of some of the work they are doing currently, such as creating three-dimensional structures that can build microscale needles that are used as brain-computer interfaces. The research Ph.D. goes on to explain how they use their advanced technology in varied ways, for example, they are able to create complex 3D structures with high surface area which can help enhance sensitivity in detecting biomarkers. Dr. Panat gets into the details on several of his research areas and provides an analysis of their work goals, providing specific examples on structures, density, customization, and material manufacturing improvements. Dr. Panat explains his background at Intel, in microprocessing. He delves into his work studying micro and nanoscale manufacturing techniques and 3D printing, and his success combining different materials to develop microstructures. Wrapping up, the research expert talks in depth about the practical applications in medicine that can improve patients’ lives. 
Dr. Bomberger tries to understand why patients get chronic bacterial lung infections from microbial pathogenesis, especially Cystic Fibrosis patients. She discusses key elements, such as why lung disease patients lack the effective mucosa latory clearance system of healthy patients, how epithelial cells sequester nutrients and send signals to disrupt viral replication to combat bacterial and viral infections, and why this sequestration led to an understanding of how viral infections might engender chronic biofilms in patients with lung disease.  Dr. Jennifer Bomberger is an associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh in The Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. Her lab recently made an important discovery in a microbiology study that may help combat chronic bacterial infection due to biofilm formation in Cystic Fibrosis patients by the Pseudomonas aeruginosa and staphylococcus aureus bacteria.  First, she explains some basic tenants of microbial pathogenesis, such as whether healthy lungs have microbiomes and how respiratory tracts might expel bacteria. Then, she establishes why patients with Cystic Fibrosis lack these mucosa latory elevator actions and how the composition of their mucus is also a barrier to the fight. Eventually, the toxic substances their immune system emits is ineffective and the toxins end up scaring the lungs instead. She then describes the nutrient sequestering the immune system undergoes in healthy patients, how cells may "hide" nutrients like iron from bacteria to fend off the microbial pathogenesis. She explains other processes the body undergoes to protect itself and the mechanics of various bacterial and viral infestations. Finally, she explains that in her lab's particular microbiology study, they examined why patients with Cystic Fibrosis tend to get the decade-long bacterial infections soon after a viral infection. They found that the viral infection process disturbs the body's ability to undergo this nutrient sequestration.  Now, they continue to study why and how this happens. For more, see her lab's web page at http://www.mmg.pitt.edu/person/jennifer-bomberger
Dr. Harmsen exemplifies the importance of medical microbiology by describing the mechanics and vital nature of gut microbiome diversity. When you listen, you'll learn how aerobic and anaerobic gut bacteria have different functions and effects,  how anaerobic bacteria presence translates to the upkeep of anti-inflammatory compounds, and what eating habits we can maintain to feed those important anaerobic bacteria. Dr. H.J.M. Harmsen is an associate professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology at the University of Groningen in The Netherlands.  In this discussion he tells listeners about gut bacteria, microbes, and bacteria ecology. He begins by explaining exactly what diversity means in terms of the gut microbiome and correlating health. He articulates the need for a balance of bacteria species, and more specifically, short chain fatty acid-making anaerobic bacteria like faecalibacterium. In fact, a proliferation of aerobic bacteria can bode bad news for bodily health and lead to an increase in pathogens. These short chain fatty acids like acetate, propionate, and butyrate have important functions in our body such as energy sources and anti-inflammatory effects. They help maintain the important gut mucin, which is a type of mucus our gut needs to function. He then explains that these anaerobic gut bacteria, which exist further down in our colon, feed off of fresher foods that are harder to digest and therefore able to make it that far into the digestive process. This includes fresh fruits and vegetables that provide fibers, pectin, and cellulose, foods our gut microbiome depends on for sustenance.  Dr. Harmsen is exhibiting the importance of medical microbiology by using these digestive mechanics to better understand Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, which has an inflammatory component. When patients have low butyrate, one of these short chain fatty acids, doctors see leaky gut syndrome for example, when the gut barrier is not functioning properly. He explains how this research may also help cancer patients as they understand how to remove and retransplant a patient's gut micobiome post chemotherapy. For more, see Dr. H.J.M. Harmsen's faculty page at https://www.rug.nl/staff/h.j.m.harmsen/ and search for his publications at PubMed and other research publication listings by his name: H.J.M. Harmsen .
Dr. Gilbert studies microbes and recently examined an element of the bat microbiome. In this podcast, he explains what the size of a bat's gut has to do with their different relationship with bacteria and what that implies about their evolution, how humans and bacteria have coevolved, and  why this information may help manipulate microbiomes to further our health. Dr. Jack Gilbert is a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California, San Diego. He specializes in microbial ecology and recently published a paper specific to the bat microbiome. He explains what is significant and interesting about the ecology of the bat and bacteria, namely that unlike human animals, their short gut disallowed for coevolution with bacteria in the same manner as humans. Rather the microbes that live on bats depends on their external environment.  He explains more about how this is similar to birds and what the implications are. He carries this into a larger picture of what goal scientists may have when studying microbial ecology. Dr. Gilbert and his colleagues would like to gain a closer understanding of how we can shape bacterial proportions by altering their food. They are trying to understand how we can selectively choose the growth  of certain organisms by what we feed them—how we can change the course of a human infection by selectively promoting the growth of specific microbes that might make the human host less susceptible to the harm the infection causes. For more, search research collections such as Google Scholar for his name and see his laboratory web site at http://www.gilbertlaboratory.com/
Nicholas P. Money is a professor, author, and expert on mycology and microbes. He joins the podcast today to discuss a number of fascinating topics. Tune in to learn about them all, including the following: How fungi move so successfully without musculature In what ways the reproductive lives of fungi are so unique What role serious fungal infections play in human health each year, and the search for new forms of antifungal medications How genetically modified fungi is used to develop some of the most common drugs in medicine, as well as industrially useful chemicals   As a first-year undergraduate attending the University of Bristol in the UK, Nicholas P. Money was captivated by descriptions of a vast group of organisms he’d hardly even heard of: fungi. Since then, he’s passionately pursued a knowledge and understanding of how these organisms work, and has authored a number of books on microbes in general. His area of expertise is in the biomechanics of fungi, which deal with the ways in which fungi move, grow, and reproduce. He dives into the details of his expertise on fungi and shares insights he’s gained from a variety of research he’s carried out in the field. This includes the distance and hydrostatic pressure with which spores are released by fungi, how microscopic filaments on fungi manage to penetrate some of the toughest material that exists, and so much more. Learn more at https://www.themycologist.com/.
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Comments (6)

Austin Peek

Insightful episode. Learned a lot, thanks!

Jan 30th
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Richard Jacobs

Thank you for all you do, Dinesh!

Jan 17th
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Chris Hartigan

can you provide a link to the article he mentions in the interview please

Nov 5th
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Jorge Luna

Theme music volume is too high. Host and guest volume too low. Difficult to listen while driving.

Jul 22nd
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Gonzalo Garcia Luna

This is teally interesting

Mar 7th
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