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.

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2358 Episodes
It's all in the translation, especially for plant viruses. This podcast takes an interesting look at virus expressions in plants and their ability to coopt cellular machinery for their own purposes. Listen and learn The basics methods a virus uses to infect a plant cell, including insect-vector mechanics, The challenges a virus faces inside the cell to use the ribosomal translation factors, and The ways this knowledge may be used to speed production of vaccines.  Aurelie Rakotondrafara is an associate professor of biology at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. She brings an infectious awe to all things viral as she discusses the ways plant viruses work in this episode, from viral gene transfer to viral resistance in plants. Her particular focus is on viral gene expression—how viruses manage to outcompete other cell molecules to make proteins. The primary goal for any virus, whether animal or plant, is to enter their obligate host cell and replicate. But plant cells have an impenetrable cell wall; unlike with animal viruses, there's no endocytosis or similar entry method. They often use a vector to put them inside the cell—the majority of plant viruses are transmitted by insects, who are able to penetrate the cell wall and secrete the virus. Aurelie Rakotondrafara's research focuses on what the viruses do once they are inside that cell as they work to coopt the cell's ribosomes. The plant uses ribosomes to make their own proteins and the virus needs to work a complex strategy to trick the ribosomes into making their proteins instead. The majority of plant viruses are RNA viruses, and they are competing with a million of the plant's mRNA that are already floating in the cytoplasm. Dr. Rakotondrafara studies the unique strategies that the viruses use to do this. She discusses some of these tricky strategies and mentions one particular wheat virus she studies in detail. That virus has such a tremendous ability to translate that researchers may see if it can be used to speed the production of vaccines. For more about her work, see her lab's web page: Available on Apple Podcasts:
There are still no disease-modifying therapeutics for dementia patients, but James Moe thinks that will change soon. This podcast discusses research on a particular drug that's showing promise, but also helps with understanding Alzheimer's disease progression. On a hopeful note, James Moe emphasizes how close the neurodegeneration research community is to developing significant breakthroughs. Listen and learn Why Oligomerix chose to focus on the tau protein when many other companies were working with amyloid, How their therapeutic prevents tau from misfolding and forming tangles that harm neurons, and Where they are in clinical studies and what the research community as a whole might offer. Oligomerix, Inc. focuses on neurodegenerative diseases of the brain, such as the management of Alzheimer's disease. James Moe says that when they started the company, they decided to focus on the tau protein despite a contemporaneous emphasis on amyloid. Among other reasons, their thought was to focus upstream in the pathway by blocking the tau protein from binding to itself. Their research showed that neurodegeneration is connected to the neuron damage resulting from tangles the protein accumulations caused.  This began their quest to develop self-association assays for tau.  Almost 6 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer's disease symptoms and it poses a significant burden on health care costs of our country in addition to the pain of patients and families. But developing preventions of Alzheimer's dementia and effective treatment is no small task. However, because there's been so much investment by the medical community, James Moe feels that the field is developing a "mass amount of knowledge . . . and is on the cusp for major therapeutics." Their own research has shown in vivo data where phosphorylation was diminished in three different regions throughout the molecule. This should prevent the misfolding that leads to neuron-damaging tangles. Listen in for more about the exciting potential of this therapeutic.  For more about the company, see their web site: Available on Apple Podcasts:
Are you a mystery fan who also loves science? This podcast is for you! Considered the founder of modern forensic genealogy, Colleen Fitzpatrick shares how genetic genealogy works. Listen and learn How she became interested in the possibilities of genetic genealogy for solving crimes, What are some examples of her more interesting cases, and What her advice is for those interested in getting into the field. Real genetic genealogy crime mysteries aren't solved after the next commercial, says Colleen Fitzpatrick. "It's hard," she adds. "It's not a couple-of-hours deal." Based in Southern California, Identifinders International helps find people, alive or deceased. They might help solve issues around unclaimed property or fraud cases as well as identifying victims and perpetrators in violent crimes. Colleen Fitzpatrick actually has a doctorate in nuclear physics, so is no stranger to the hard sciences. In 2011, it occurred to her that the markers people used in genetic genealogy were the same markers forensic science was using to get crime scene Y chromosome DNA profiles. She realized she could take a forensic Y DNA profile and compare it to genetic genealogy databases and identify the last name of a criminal. In 2015, the Phoenix Police Department hired her to apply genetic genealogy to cold cases and her work helped solve the Phoenix Canal Murders. She tells listeners some of the intricacies of this case, including how she helped narrow the suspect list from thousands to a list of five, and then, after a little more police work, helped correctly identify the killer. She shares more examples of genetic genealogy solved cases and discusses how those interested in the field might start practicing the kind of work she does. She also explains upcoming advancements in the field, including knowing "more and more with less and less," integration of mapping and facial reconstruction, and better technology over all. For more about her work and company, see their website: Available on Apple Podcasts:
Scientists all over the world are working on the same question facing Paul Titchenell's lab: what are the pathways that lead to metabolic diseases? This podcast explores what happens between the liver, pancreas, and blood stream during the metabolism process of the human body. Listen and learn How the Titchenell Lab works to map the signal transduction pathways that insulin uses to coordinate metabolism, Why the liver is the primary focus in these pathway studies, and How the mechanism or action of insulin to maintain lipid synthesis while not controlling blood sugar stands as the biggest mystery. Paul M. Titchenell is an assistant professor of physiology at the University of Pennsylvania. His lab is trying to understand the basic mechanism of insulin action. He describes their process as a diverse approach through studying cells through the mechanism of insulin action in vivo and in animal models. Their goal is to understand the pathogenesis of metabolic diseases associated with aberrant insulin action, like insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. Like many disease mysteries, he explains that to understand what goes wrong, scientists need to understand what goes right in normal physiology by mapping the signal transduction pathways that insulin uses to coordinate metabolism.  They are focused on the liver in particular because the liver makes glucose to provide our bodies with energy while we are fasting and/or sleeping. Hormones involved in metabolism include insulin, which tells the liver to stop that glucose production. However, insulin "resistance" can trigger the body to try make even more insulin to maintain that part of the pathway. At this point, the overproduction of insulin causes problems scientists are trying to understand. The mystery includes the varying levels of metabolic capability at this point. The Titchenell Lab, as well as many other scientists, are trying to understand why insulin continues to promote lipid synthesis in the liver during conditions of insulin resistance while failing to control blood sugar.  For more, see his lab's webpage,, and find him on Twitter. Available on Apple Podcasts:
Despite the type 1 and 2 labeling, there are more than two groups of diabetes. Researchers like Toni Pollin are accelerating their work on these lesser known groups. This podcast presents a monogenic diabetes review, interviewing a specialist and a patient who, along with her two daughters, has this heritable disease. Listen and learn The history behind the discovery of the monogenic diabetes genes and diseases, The symptoms, or lack of, for this group of diabetes and examples of several types within the group, and The treatments available, opportunities for research, and resources to find out more. When Emily Moore was sixteen, she underwent a screening for a routine procedure and tests found unusually high blood glucose levels. She happened to have a doctor a little ahead of the game and, rather than just call it type 1 diabetes, he gave her a monogenic diabetes diagnosis, sometimes called MODY: Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young. Through treatments less extreme than what type1 diabetics usually face, she was able to control her numbers. But when she had her own kids, she wanted to learn more. Enter Professor Toni I. Pollin of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, who was running a study that Emily enrolled in. Professor Pollin explains that in the '70s, an astute group of scientists noted that some kids had a type of diabetes that seemed milder than other type 1s, and even responded successfully to pills rather than insulin. Unlike other types of diabetes that develop from genetic and environmental factors, this monogenic diabetes is inherited through an autosomal dominate manner. Such patients might control it with a CGM sensor or diabetes monitor and make diabetes lifestyle changes accordingly. Medication can help and in some cases, insulin may be indicated. The blood sugar patterns of Emily and her teenage daughters, who have been diagnosed, along with Richard, who has experienced prediabetes blood sugar levels, gives Dr. Pollin an opportunity to evidence how complex and individualized all types of diabetes are, even within the same group. It's that much more important to start with the "low-hanging fruit" of a correct diagnosis, adds Dr. Pollin. For more, look to the web page for the new consortium they've started, MDRAC, which includes links to helpful resources. Available on Apple Podcasts:
Anxious about the future? You're not alone. Rapid change plus overflow of information has pushed many to adapt a dystopian outlook on the future. This podcast shares a conversation with two authors who are challenging that mindset. Po Bronson and Arvind Gupta discuss their new book, Decoding the World. Listeners will hear   How the background and mindset of each author informs the direction of the book, Why the book tries to get "science out of its silo," and why that's important for a brighter future, and How the book applies this mindset to subjects from cancer causes and the chemotherapy process to cryptocurrency trading and bitcoin currency explained.   Arvind Gupta is founder and venture advisor at Indie Bio and co-leads Mayfield’s engineering biology practice. Po Bronson is a journalist, author, and managing director and partner at Indie Bio. Together they've written Decoding the World: A Roadmap for the Questioner (The Convergence Trilogy). Po opens up the premise of the book by talking about the work of Indie Bio, which took biotech out the limits of the health care sector and applied it to food, materials, and energy. This book wants to do the same with the reader's mindset, and take the domain of genetics out into the real world. Arvind adds, "we have a lot to look forward to . . . we can use the tools that we have to make a better future." Both authors emphasize getting out of a deterministic mindset; rather, nothing is inevitable, even climate change. We can do something. They give some enlightening examples from the book, including a chapter on cancer and how they address cancer causes and prevention through a personal story alongside facts about cancer cells, which serves to elucidate the present and future in a unique way. They also take on the idea of bitcoin as the currency of the future, explaining why, in particular, venture industries use cryptocurrency. This chapter opens up the subject in a way that uses bitcoin future predictions to make the process understandable and free from deterministic economics. Finally, the authors even discuss a chapter based on the Jason Borne story. Listen in to find out how that theme fits with an exciting way to determine our futures. For more about Indie Bio, see their website: Available on Apple Podcasts:
Pathogens easily grow on plastics, and plastics travel far and wide in the ocean. That has marine biologists like Joleah Lamb looking for solutions. This podcast dives deep into the complex world of aquatic ecology and biodiversity and how our actions impact it. Listen and learn What startling statistics exist about changes in marine aquatic ecosystems and the environment and ecology, How scientists are exploring this ecosystem and sampling water in bivalves and around seagrasses with interesting findings, and What possible mitigation factors might help these ecology and evolutionary biology impact factors. Joleah Lamb is an assistant professor in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology School of Biological Sciences with the University of California, Irvine. She runs their Oceans and Human Health Laboratory, which focuses on solutions in a research-driven program at the interface of public health and ecosystem function. She gives listeners a wakeup call: the global population is expected to surpass 9.7 billion people by 2050, and more than half will live within 80 kilometers of a coastline. We know about the ocean's impact on humans, but most also consider the reverse. From microorganism on coral reefs to biofilms that might be introduced through tiny pieces of plastic in the ocean, scientists like Dr. Lamb are thinking carefully about how these systems may clash. Only two years ago, she says that scientists didn't even have a number about the amount of plastics going in and settling on sea floor and corals. Through careful surveys, they have found that corals with plastics touching them had a 20 fold increase of contracting a disease. This was the first study to show that plastics that were in contact with animals could cause a disease outbreak. She also shares some remarkable findings about sea grasses and environmental microbiology. Seagrasses are the rainforest of the marine environment and capture even more carbon than trees. They've found that seagrasses can actually kill human pathogens, and areas with seagrasses show a healthier water column. Listen in for more ways scientists like Joleah Lamb are working for a better ecology. For more about her work, see her lab's website: Available on Apple Podcasts:
The mortgage space spits out a seemingly insurmountable level of complex numbers. Accessing clean data from interest rates and housing markets alongside numerous other elements in the mortgage space is no small feat. This podcast presents the CEO of one company that says they can do just that. Listen to hear how big data and its importance meets data democratization. Listeners will learn How Li Chang's career path in big data analytics and housing market economics led her to start Recursion Co. and its new approach to data, What big data versus data science means in the context of "cleaning up" data by arranging and normalizing it into usable information, and What her company has been able to achieve thus far and what types of customers they are seeking. Li Chang is the Chief Executive Officer of Recursion Co. After achieving a graduate degree in computer science, she returned to get her PhD in mathematics while working full time at Morningstar. She worked for a hedge fund soon after graduating as a financial engineer and has been working in the mortgage space ever since. She started Recursion Co. in 2015 when she needed a new challenge and saw a clear need for such a company in the industry. Mortgage data is so immense, she says, that is too big for most companies to handle. Plus, because she knew the capabilities of computer science and data science, she felt Wall Street was not taking advantage of Silicon Valley advancements. Analyzation systems in the mortgage space were very clumsy and "messy." Li Chang realized that she had the ability, tools, and know-how to put these very complicated numbers together and address the mortgage space data issues in a much more efficient way. She also knew she could make it affordable for a broader audience, calling this effort "data democratization." What exactly does this look like? They rearrange and normalize the chaotic data, bringing it together from many sources in a way that tells the whole story. Currently, they are looking for smaller companies in the mortgage space as customers. They can help companies who don’t have a lot of human resources or technology in-house by providing them with the equivalent resources as if they have a big company behind them.  For more about their work, see their web page, and follow their blog on LinkedIn. Available on Apple Podcasts:
Weight loss and stress management seem to top everyone's list. But our attempts at achieving all types of fitness may be overwhelming. We strive for physical fitness motivation while understanding the importance of mental fitness—it's a lot. But JJ Flizanes stands out with a unique and inspiring science-based approach that simplifies and calms these claims on our attention. This podcast explores her approach to the laws of attraction. Listeners will hear How her training in anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, and physics led to this larger understanding of the frequencies we inhabit, Why being in a place where you are mentally, physically, and emotionally drained indicates the type of mirror you are reflecting on the world, and How to begin to adjust one's approach and what resources her work offers to listeners to learn more.   Flizanes is a podcast host, author, speaker, trainer, and Director of Invisible Fitness. Her work to become a trainer opened up her understanding of scientific principals and as she researched even more, she came to understand how we literally have our own operating frequency. She says that "the law of attraction is actually physics: when you apply physics and realize that, it's a game changer." Listeners will have an opportunity to hear more about this game-changing approach as the conversation continues.  She says that the frequencies we live with everyday are the same frequencies in our bodies, and these are reflected in our emotions. In other words, how we experience the world is a reflection of where we are, not what we want. She adds that eighty-eight percent of our mind is at a subconscious level, so simply thinking positive thoughts isn't going to lead to change. Rather, the law of attraction is about adjusting that feedback loop and takes a lot of practice beyond a list of mental fitness tips. However, she provides inspiration to start down that path.  For more about her work, see her website, which links to her podcasts and other programs: Available on Apple Podcasts:
Scientists have come to visualize cancer as species in itself, with its own evolutionary patterns and characteristics. Furthermore, researchers like Henry Heng are realigning how we think about evolution. This podcast presents a fascinating conversation about both and how each informs the other. Listen and learn How the importance of genetics in cancer has evolved into the importance chromosome packaging and reshuffling in cancer, Why this means cancer genetics and genomics must focus on the topological arrangement and interactions of genes, and Why our dynamic mechanism for adaption can lead to too much change, resulting in cancer. Author and Professor Henry Heng is with the Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics at Wayne State University School of Medicine. His research centers on how cancer evolution occurs, what is the unique pattern of cancer evolution, and how to develop tangible tools for a cancer biomarker and treatment leading to a greater molecular medicine impact factor. Author of numerous books, including Genome Chaos: Rethinking Genetics, Evolution, and Molecular Medicine, he also presents an intriguing realignment in how many scientists think about evolution. In fact, he uses the nature of cancer evolution as a model to understand how evolution works overall.  Think about it: cancer is always under attack by our system; it's always evolving and fighting back and presents an interesting model to understand how competition occurs. For a long time people thought of cancer as a problem of over growth, he says, and tried to find genetic reasons for this overgrowth. But scientists like Heng understand that this was the wrong emphasis. Rather than overgrowth, he says, cancer is just another evolutionary system with its own signature. The question is then, rather, what is the overall trend. This leads to an interesting explanation of how nonsexual reproduction, or fission, opens cells up to the kinds of changes that lead to cancer. Cancer is a type of punctuated evolution, a reshuffling resulting from the dynamic mechanism our cells use for successful adaptation: cancer is simply too much change. Listen in for the implication of how this may affect genetics biology and cancer treatments in the future.  For more about Henry Heng's work, he suggests his recent books, including Genome Chaos: Rethinking Genetics, Evolution, and Molecular Medicine and Debating Cancer: The Paradox in Cancer Research. Available on Apple Podcasts:
Curious about how to make a two-headed flatworm? Michael Levin's lab has done just that. This podcast explores exciting regenerative medicine achievable in our lifetime. Listen in to hear how Professor Michael Levin has found a way to manipulate biological molecules, altering electrical triggers in cells to direct different anatomical constructions.  He discusses How he conceives of cellular and biological agency in a way that direct his study for the best possible outcome, What types of molecular mechanisms his work engages with to redirect information structures and mapping so that cells make a different anatomical structure, and How this work, including regenerating limbs in frogs, will apply to human limb regeneration. Michael Levin is a Distinguished Professor at Tufts University as well as the Vannevar Bush Professor, the Director of Allen Discovery Center, and Director of the Tufts Center for Regenerative and Developmental Biology. His lab addresses regenerative medicine through the intersection of three areas: developmental biology, computer science, and cognitive science. He establishes his approach to cognitive biology: "It's not a question of philosophy but a very practical empirical engineering question. You have a system and you are trying to reverse engineer it," he explains. His investigations of molecular mechanisms in cell biology that determine pattern building strives to present achievable actions toward limb regeneration and altering molecular mechanisms of diseases like cancer.  His work doesn't engage with the molecular mechanisms of DNA replication or genetics, but rather cellular gap junctions, or "voltage-gated current conductance," which hold the property of memory. His lab is not changing the structure or state of the circuit, but eliciting an electrical trigger. He makes this analogous to hardware versus software: this is not a hardware-level change, but one on a software level. By identifying the bioelectric circuit that holds spatial distribution for certain state in planarian (flatworms), they've found a way to rewrite the electrical pattern that determines what cells are going to build after they are injured. Thus far they've used this to grow flatworms with two heads, for example, and produced limb regeneration in frogs. They also are working on redirecting cancer cells to move to a healthy state.  To find out more about this work, see his lab's website:  Available on Apple Podcasts:
After Matt Shields experienced a heart attack during his daily run in 2016, he decided to change the world as much as that morning changed him. This podcast explores his inspiring effort to improve the process of stent manufacturing and deliverability. Listeners will hear How he experienced a heart attack at age 40 despite years participating in performance sports like running and cycling exercise, Why he turned to collecting data about stent manufacturing after getting one of his own implanted, and What his new software tracking stent usage hopes to accomplish for the industry. Matthew Shields works for CSRIO, Australia's national research science agency. He'd spent years supporting telescope systems by creating an efficient tracking system for telescope parts. But after his heart attack in 2016 during a winter morning run, he recalibrated his job focus toward making a difference for patients and doctors working on heart health. His long recovery gave him time to think, and this combined with the realization of the importance of the timing of the stent implant he received helped point to this new path. He understood that to make a difference on a global scale, he could energize and streamline the stent manufacturing process, which was filled with missing links and inefficient trends. His software tracks stents through the supply chain and utilizes metrics like delivery time from the factory, where parts are made, and how the supply chain of raw materials functions. As they "cascade down this waterfall," he says that by the time they end up in Australia, the stents might have been damaged and there's no way to really return them or even trace their origin. From his personal experience, he knows how important a stent's availability is and how vital is it is for various stakeholders to be aware of correct supply location and amount. By creating a dialog around the parts transfer at a granular level as well as the deliveries, he hopes to correct inconsistences, inefficiencies, and redundancies. In addition to this work, he is involved in exercise and sports cardiology, reaching out to those who are both heart patients and sports enthusiasts.  For more about his sports cardiology work, see his website: For more about the software he's working on, see the CSRIO web page. Available on Apple Podcasts:
Listening has always been instrumental to diagnoses, but have listening instruments changed over time? This podcast touches on this interesting history and spotlights a healthcare innovation making the most of wireless stethoscopes when safe distances are even more important. Listen and learn Why Clive Smith of Thinklabs thought a digital stethoscope project would benefit the medical community, How artificial intelligence matched with this stethoscope can combine to offer medical professionals a plethora of helpful information, and How One Digital Stethoscope is especially useful with the pandemic. Clive Smith started Thinklabs in the early '90s after graduate work at Cal Tech in electrical engineering. He focused on electronic and signal processing and was eager to start a company specializing in the innovation and application of electronics and technology. The name says it all—he went with Thinklabs to signal a company that would handle and solve interesting problems with hands-on lab work. When he encountered the lag of stethoscope advancement in the mid '90s, he knew he'd found an important project.  But he soon found that it was a "very nontrivial problem" to extract sound from the human body, and it took eight years to come up with this innovation in digital healthcare technologies.  While the product has been on the market for about 17 years now and sees wide use in normal clinical medicine and telemedicine, the COVID crisis has made its remote abilities especially useful. Furthermore, now that AI technology has caught up a bit, numerous studies can take place to recognize its true potential. At the most basic level, doctors are able to hear things much more clearly and enable earlier diagnoses of conditions. But it's expected that data collecting and analyzing will reveal patterns and correlations with even more implications. To find out more, see the website for Thinklabs. Available on Apple Podcasts:
Diabetes complications are well known, but how exactly does high blood sugar affect one's eyes or kidneys? Professor Median explains that vascular complications of diabetes start with blood vessel damage. Therefore, his research has zeroed in on a way to heal the damage that blood vessels face from high glucose. Listen and learn Which pathways such as glycolysis lead to vascular changes in diabetes, How he's working on a cell therapy to treat vascular diabetes complications by injecting treated stem cells into this ischemic (damaged) tissue, and What complications arise from this therapy and how his team addresses these challenges in their research. Reinhold Medina is a professor in the School of Medicine at Queen's University in Belfast. He specializes in diabetes and vascular disease with an emphasis on diabetic vasculopathy. His research is centered on blood vessel damage because, "that's what impacts the quality of life." He adds that the complications in heart health, increased risk of stroke, and damage to the eyes and kidneys all result from what happens to blood vessels when they handle high glucose levels, inflammation, and oxidative stress. The endothelial cells, which line the inner layer of blood vessels, are damaged and die. Blood perfusion then decreases in those damaged areas, and tissue physiology is hampered.  That's where his research comes in: utilizing stem cells for diabetes. He says that there a couple of ways scientists think endothelium can repair, and one such way is with progenitor or stem cells. They're trying to develop a cell therapy by isolating stem cells or progenitors in the lab from tissues like umbilical cords. They are showing that by injecting these cells into damaged tissues of mouse models, they can form new blood vessels where needed as well as repair damaged vessels. This will translate as a therapy for lots of other diseases—any, in fact, that cause this kind of tissue damage. There are challenges to this process, but they are working on each. For example, he explains the importance of injecting the cells in the penumbra area and addresses how the cells must engraft and join the vascular network through immunosuppression measures. For more about his work, he suggests following him on Twitter at ReinholdMedinaLab@Belfast. Available on Apple Podcasts:
BIO: Colin Hill has a Ph.D in molecular microbiology and is a Professor in the School of Microbiology at University College Cork, Ireland. He is also a founding Principal Investigator in APC Microbiome Ireland in Cork, a large research centre devoted to the study of the role of the gut microbiota in health and disease. His main interests lie in the role of the microbiome in human and animal health. He is particularly interested in the effects of probiotics, bacteriocins, and bacteriophage. In 2005 Prof. Hill was awarded a D.Sc by the National University of Ireland in recognition of his contributions to research. In 2009 he was elected to the Royal Irish Academy and in 2010 he received the Metchnikoff Prize in Microbiology and was elected to the American Academy of Microbiology.  He has published more than 550 papers and holds 25 patents. He was president of ISAPP from 2012-2015.  More than 80 PhD students have been trained in his laboratory. We might think of our microbiomes as inconsequential, but scientists are showing that’s not the case. Colin Hill says that our microbiomes are as important to our health as major organs, and he is studying how doctors might engage with this microbial community to better serve our health. Listen and learn What a day in the life of a bacterium might look like, How bacteriophage infecting bacteria compares to the predator-prey relationship of animals, and What scientists understand about the molecular genetics of bacteria and what short and long-term goals stem from that knowledge. Colin Hill is a professor in the School of Microbiology at University College Cork in Ireland. He works in the molecular microbiology field and focuses on how bacteria behave in different situations, such as alongside the bacteriophage life cycle. A bacterium like E. Coli has literally thousands if not millions of different phages that infect them, for example, and these interactions make for evolutionary adaptations. Most microbiome discussions in the media center on antibiotic resistance, but Professor Hill explains how intricate and impactful this world is. Research can not only help understand issues like bacteria that are resistant to all antibiotics, but point to a diverse community of microbes and relationships that affect the whole of human health. A lot of bacterial behavior stems from evading or dealing with bacteriophages, and he discusses the evolutionary impact. In clarifying bacteriophage versus viruses, consider them a type of virus that infect bacteria. Bacteria have two main goals, says Dr. Hill: finding food to replicate and reproduce and avoiding bacteriophages. And the balance of predator and prey in our guts is as important as the balance of lion and antelope on the Serengeti. He adds that we need these predators: if prey is left unchecked, there’s a problem for both organisms. Furthermore, scientists believe that the microbiome community plays a very significant role in our health, like an additional organ. Unlike our organs, though, we don’t have them when we are born. We start acquiring them the moment we take in our first meal.  “It’s a part of you,” he says, “and everyone’s is different.” Even more significant, researchers like Dr. Hill think our microbiomes can be manipulated. Listen in to find out how. For more about his work, see Google Scholar:  Available on Apple Podcasts:
BIO: Veronica Parks is a Soul Healer, Wellness Coach, and founder of VP Exclusive. She teaches people to bio hack their mind and body to live healthier, happier lives. Using a holistic approach, VP Exclusive uses proprietary methodologies and proven systems to increase emotional wellbeing and dramatically improve people’s lives. Growing up on a small farm In Moldova, Veronica Parks has brought with her a culture of Health, Nutrition and Soul Healing. She has deep expertise in Integrative Nutrition, Neurolinguistic Programming, Timeline Therapy, Energy Healing and many other modalities using it to help people heal from the inside out.  When she first came to America from Romania, one of the hardest things for Veronica Parks to adjust to was the food. Her healthy foundation from childhood helped her persevere and she shares lessons on health and wellness in this episode. Listeners will learn Why emotional pain can lead to unhealthy eating, What can be hiding behind that “natural flavors” label, and What are other health and wellness tips, including how to make the healthiest green smoothie. Wellness coach Veronica Parks helps listeners understand differences between Eastern European diets versus U.S. diets. The relationship between food and culture differs in the U.S. with our large amounts of processed and fast food. Furthermore, she grew up on a farm and experienced homegrown produce and home-raised meats from day one. Her mother also paid attention to the what she bought and didn’t bring home processed foods. This gave Veronica a solid base to analyze the American diet and she turned to additional research when she noticed the effects of processed foods on her own health.  She offers several valuable insights to listeners, from food culture around the world to nutrition and green smoothie recipes. She even addresses the emotional impact on diet, reminding us that we want something that makes us think of childhood when we face “emotional hits,” and if that’s processed food, the cycle is harmful. She also tells listeners about confusing labels like “natural flavors,” which often hides harmful toxins. Finally, she explains her own coaching process with specific examples of how she’s helped past clients overcome obstacles and internalize the importance of wellness. For more about Veronica Parks and her different programs, see her website: “Living Green Smoothie” recipes- “Ultimate Sleep System” course- “Healthy Hacks” 8 week health transformation- Available on Apple Podcasts:
This episode offers listeners an expert view on diabetes and kidney damage treatments. Richard interviews researcher David J. Leehey, who has focused on diabetic kidney disease for the last 30 years. Listeners will learn What types of cells make up the kidney and how diabetic kidney disease stages progresses through these cells, How hemodynamic factors, like blood pressure, also contribute to kidney stress, and What drugs are making headway as effective treatment and what advances are needed.   Diabetes' prevalence has made it the most common cause of kidney disease. How does diabetes affect the kidneys? Professor David Leehey has the answers and catches listeners up with the latest in effective medications and discusses the lagging technology of dialysis. He's a nephrologist, professor, and Medical Director of Acute Dialysis at Loyola University. He's also the Associate Chief of Staff of Clinical Affairs of Hines VA in Illinois. Dr. Leehey presents various pathways to kidney disease that necessitate dialysis and kidney transplantation with an emphasis on the primary cause of diabetes.  He explains exactly how high blood sugar creates the complications that lead to disease. He tells listeners to think of it like caramel formation—glucose molecules becomes large glycated molecules that get incorporated into base membranes of glomeruli, which are important to the filtering process. A characteristic pathology is therefore thickening of these membranes from the glycated proteins that accumulate. He discusses some other causes and then heads into effective medications and dialysis treatment, which he notes begs for sorely needed innovation. While dialysis treatment proved revolutionary when it first emerged, the technology has shown no improvement over the years and the profitability of the process may be one inhibitor.  For more about Dr. Leehey, see his information on Loyola's web page: Available on Apple Podcasts: 
Society often treats obesity as a character flaw rather than a disease, says researcher Michelle Cardel, and that needs to change. This podcast explores productive treatments and effective therapies for obesity with a focus on adolescents. Listen and learn the major tenants of acceptance-based and commitment therapy, which her program uses to treat obesity and its harmful effects,  how this treatment with teens utilizes goals like travel and adventure-seeking as part of that therapy to reduce effects of obesity on the body, and  why the medical community needs to recast its treatment of obesity so patients will seek help more readily and receive more effective treatment. Michelle Cardel is an assistant professor with the University of Florida Department of Health Outcomes and Biomedical Informatics and has a background in nutrition, obesity, and health. She discusses her current focus on adolescents, a program that explores the social, environmental, and behavioral risk factors of obesity in order to develop healthy lifestyle interventions for adolescents. One unique element in their approach is the degree to which they investigated what they teens themselves wanted from the program. Focus groups offered clear information about the degree of parental intervention, for example, and helped the researchers understand that obligatory parental involvement can open the door to voices of shame and guilt.  Professor Cardel also explains their therapy approach. Acceptance-based therapy focuses on elements like self-regulation skills, mindfulness, and acceptance of uncomfortable internal experiences. She adds that they emphasize a willingness to be open to how experiences feel, focusing on accepting the discomfort of, for example, a diet to reduce obesity or a long walk versus a Netflix session. They then emphasize choosing to have these uncomfortable or difficult behaviors despite these feelings. Recognizing that discomfort makes for a more successful experience when one chooses to engage in behaviors that help reach goals, she adds.  For more about her work, find her on major social media outlets, which she uses to stay active in science communication. Available on Apple Podcasts: 
"Your mom was right," says Maria Geisinger, our mouths really can be bacteria factories. This podcast provides listeners with a comprehensive discussion about how periodontitis progresses and why there's a feedback loop between diabetes and dental health. Listeners will learn What periodontal disease causes and symptoms are common, How the inflammatory burden from suboptimal blood sugar control contributes to the disease, and What prevention measures and periodontitis treatments are available along with timelines.  Maria Geisinger is a professor and director of the Advanced Education Program in Periodontology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She helps listeners understand how periodontal disease relates to overall wellness as well as why regular dental management of a diabetic patient is important. As with numerous other health concerns, inflammation is a central factor. Professor Geisinger explains that not only does an inflammatory burden result from the effect of diabetes on periodontium, the resulting inflammation can in turn affect glycemic control. It's pretty simple to identify basic periodontitis symptoms, she adds. The number one indicator is gum bleeding with brushing or flossing. Determining the depth of disease progression takes a visit to the periodontist, who will determine if there's accompanying bone loss and other issues. How does the disease initiate? When bacteria are allowed to accumulate along the gum line, your body senses these toxins and responds by retreating: gum tissue starts to "unzip" from the tooth root. Preventions include regular dental cleaning in addition to brushing and flossing teeth. She makes a helpful analogy between flossing teeth benefits and gym visits and provides other incentives for effective dental care, especially for diabetic patients.  To learn more about her work, she suggests finding her on ResearchGate.  Available on Apple Podcasts:
People diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes depend on insulin to stay alive. This podcast investigates what that means on a global level for low and middle-income communities. Listen in for how researchers like David Beran work to increase access to these tools necessary for life. He explains The mechanism of type 1 diabetes pathogenesis, including the classic symptoms and typical diagnosis scenario, The basic necessities for insulin injections for diabetes and how those needs might be difficult to meet in various communities, and The helpful work groups like Health Action International are doing to address type 1 diabetes and insulin injection needs across the globe.  David Beran is a researcher and lecturer at the Geneva University Hospitals and has join forces with Health Action International to better serve global citizens with type 1 diabetes mellitus who lack adequate health care access and means to pay for supplies. His three areas of focus include researching and improving access to insulin on a world-wide level, assessing health systems and their delivery of diabetes care, and how this care works on a daily, individual level. He explains that most of the management of this disease is outside the clinic, with around-the-clock care and attention. A type 1's daily routine requires them to find the right balance between what they eat and how physically active they are, and how much insulin to deliver with both in mind: it's a challenging balance that requires constant management. He's focused specifically on low and middle-income countries, where many people don't have access to insulin. He's working with his colleagues on getting these people the basics of survival, namely insulin, a means of injection, and a blood glucose monitor. He explains how varied this can be from country to country. For example, Nicaragua, the second poorest country in the Americas after Haiti, provides insulin to its people for free. However, access to care and the monitoring equipment still pose challenges. On the other extreme, in sub-Saharan Africa everything is paid for out of pocket. People have to buy their insulin and supplies and pay doctor costs. He explains how various initiatives and NGOs are trying to address these problems and what challenges lay ahead. Listen in to hear about substantial and exciting work to help those that suffer from this disease.  For more information, email him with questions at and see Health Action International. Available on Apple Podcasts:
Comments (8)

Soumen Sengupta

Such an awesome Podcast. Heard it thrice back to back. Great job....Kudos.

Oct 20th



Aug 31st

Austin Peek

Insightful episode. Learned a lot, thanks!

Jan 30th

Richard Jacobs

Thank you for all you do, Dinesh!

Jan 17th

Chris Hartigan

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

Nov 5th

Jorge Luna

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

Jul 22nd
Reply (1)

Gonzalo Garcia Luna

This is teally interesting

Mar 7th
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