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Science Magazine Podcast

Science

Weekly podcasts from Science Magazine, the world's leading journal of original scientific research, global news, and commentary.

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United States

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Weekly podcasts from Science Magazine, the world's leading journal of original scientific research, global news, and commentary.

Language:

English


Episodes
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New treatments for deadly snake bites, and a fusion company that wants to get in the medical isotopes game

7/18/2024
First up this week, Staff Writer Adrian Cho talks with host Sarah Crespi about a fusion company that isn’t aiming for net energy. Instead, it’s looking to sell off the high-energy neutrons from its fusion reactors for different purposes, such as imaging machine parts and generating medical isotopes. In the long run, the company hopes to use money from these neutron-based enterprises for bigger, more energetic reactors that may someday make fusion energy. Next, we hear from Tian Du, a Ph.D. candidate in the Dr John and Anne Chong Lab for Functional Genomics at the University of Sydney. She talks about finding antivenom treatments by screening all the genes in the human genome. Her Science Translational Medicine paper focuses on a strong candidate for treating spitting cobra bites, but the technique may prove useful for many other venomous animal bites and stings, from jellyfish to spiders. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. About the Science Podcast Authors: Sarah Crespi, Adrian Cho Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:31:33

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How rat poison endangers wildlife, and using sound to track animal populations

7/11/2024
Rodenticides are building up inside unintended targets, including birds, mammals, and insects; and bringing bioacoustics and artificial intelligence together for ecology First up this week, producer Kevin McLean and freelance science journalist Dina Fine Maron discuss the history of rodent control and how rat poisons are making their way into our ecosystem. Next on the episode, host Sarah Crespi talks with Jeppe Rasmussen, a postdoctoral fellow in the behavior ecology group at the University of Copenhagen, about why researchers are training artificial intelligence to listen for seals, frogs, and whales. Additional sound in this segment (some played, some mentioned): · Monk seal noises care of Jeppe Rasmussen · Frog and crickets from Pond5 · Lyrebird sounds (Youtube link) · Cod fish sounds (Fishbase link) This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. About the Science Podcast Authors: Kevin McLean, Sarah Crespi, Dina Fine Maron Episode page: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.zq42hy5 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:35:46

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What’s new in the world of synthetic blood, and how a bacterium evolves into a killer

7/4/2024
First up this week, guest host Kevin McLean talks to freelance writer Andrew Zaleski about recent advancements in the world of synthetic blood. They discuss some of the failed attempts over the past century that led many to abandon the cause altogether, and a promising new option in the works called ErythroMer that is both shelf stable and can work on any blood type. Next on the episode, producer Zakiya Whatley talks to Aaron Weimann from the University of Cambridge about the evolutionary history of the deadly bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. They discuss how more than a century’s worth of samples from all over the world contributed to new insights on the emergence and expansion of the pathogen known for its ability to develop antimicrobial resistance. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. About the Science Podcast Authors: Kevin McLean, Andrew Zaleski, Zakiya Whatley Episode Page: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.z1jhbqi About the Science Podcast: https://www.science.org/content/page/about-science-podcast [Image: Matt Roth, Music: Jeffrey Cook and Nguyen Khoi Nguyen] Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:32:05

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Targeting crop pests with RNA, the legacy of temporary streams, and the future of money

6/27/2024
Guest host Meagan Cantwell talks to Staff Writer Erik Stokstad about a new weapon against crop-destroying beetles. By making pesticides using RNA, farmers can target pests and their close relatives, leaving other creatures unharmed. Next, freelance producer Katherine Irving talks to hydrologist Craig Brinkerhoff about a recent analysis of ephemeral streams—which are only around temporarily—throughout the United States. Despite their fleeting presence, Brinkerhoff and his colleagues found these streams play a major role in keeping rivers flowing and clean. Brinkerhoff is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Yale University, and completed this work as a Ph.D. student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Finally, the next segment in our books series on a future to look forward to. Books host Angela Saini talks with author Rachel O’Dwyer about her recent book Tokens: The Future of Money in the Age of the Platform. They’ll discuss new and old ideas of currency, and what it means to have our identities tied to our money as we move toward a more cashless society. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. About the Science Podcast Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:50:09

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The hunt for habitable exoplanets, and how a warming world could intensify urban air pollution

6/20/2024
On this week’s show: Scientists are expanding the hunt for habitable exoplanets to bigger worlds, and why improvements in air quality have stagnated in Los Angeles, especially during summer, despite cleaner cars and increased regulations Staff Writer Daniel Clery joins producer Meagan Cantwell to talk through the major contenders for habitable exoplanets—from Earth-like rocky planets to water worlds. Preliminary results from two rocky exoplanets have some researchers concerned about whether they will be able to detect atmospheres around planets orbiting turbulent stars. Next, producer Ariana Remmel talks with Eva Pfannerstill, an atmospheric chemist at the Jülich Research Center, about how volatile organic compounds, mostly from plants, are causing an increase in air pollution during hot days in Los Angeles. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. About the Science Podcast Authors: Daniel Clery; Meagan Cantwell; Arianna Remmel Episode page: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.zxi Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:33:33

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How dogs’ health reflects our own, and what ancient DNA can reveal about human sacrifice

6/13/2024
On this week’s show: Companion animals such as dogs occupy the same environment we do, which can make them good sentinels for human health, and DNA gives clues to ancient Maya rituals and malaria’s global spread Contributing Correspondent Andrew Curry joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss two very different studies that used DNA to dig into our past. One study reveals details of child sacrifices in an ancient Maya city. The other story is on the surprising historical reach of malaria, from Belgium to the Himalayas to South America. Next on the show, using our canine companions to track human health. Courtney Sexton, a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Population Health Sciences at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, talks about what we can learn from these furry friends that tend to be exposed to many of the same things we are such as pesticides and cleaning chemicals. Finally, in a sponsored segment from the Science/AAAS Custom Publishing Office, Jackie Oberst, associate editor of custom publishing, interviews professors Miriam Merad and Brian Brown about the evolution of immunology in health care. This segment is sponsored by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. About the Science Podcast Authors: Sarah Crespi; Andrew Curry Episode page: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.zxgwbqo Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:41:49

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Putting mysterious cellular structures to use, and when brown fat started to warm us up

6/6/2024
Despite not having a known function, cellular “vaults” are on the verge of being harnessed for all kinds of applications, and looking at the evolution of brown fat into a heat-generating organ First on this week’s show, Managing News Editor John Travis joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss mysterious cellular complexes called “vaults.” First discovered in the 1980s, scientists have yet to uncover the function of these large, common, hollow structures. But now some researchers are looking to use vaults to deliver cancer drugs and viruses for gene therapy. Next, what can we learn about the evolution of brown fat from opossums? Unlike white fat, which stores energy in many mammals, brown fat cells use ATP to generate heat, helping babies maintain their body temperature and hibernators kick-start their summers. Susanne Keipert, a researcher in the Department of Molecular Biosciences at Stockholm University’s Wenner-Gren Institute, talks about when in evolutionary history brown fat took on this job of burning energy. Finally, this week we are launching our music refresh! If you are interested in what happened to our music—where it came from and how it’s different (and the same)—stay tuned for a chat with artist Nguyên Khôi Nguyễn. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. About the Science Podcast Authors: Sarah Crespi; John Travis Episode page: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.zpoy92t Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:37:51

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Restoring sight to blind kids, making babies without a womb, and challenging the benefits of clinical trials

5/30/2024
Studying color vision in with children who gain sight later in life, joining a cancer trial doesn’t improve survival odds, and the first in our books series this year First on this week’s show, Staff Writer Jennifer Couzin-Frankel joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss the pros and cons of participating in clinical trials. Her story challenges the common thinking that participating in a trial is beneficial—even in the placebo group—for cancer patients. Next, Lukas Vogelsang, a postdoctoral fellow in the department of brain and cognitive sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, talks about research into color vision with “late-sighted” kids. Studying children who were born blind and then later gained vision gave researchers new insights into how vision develops in babies and may even help train computers to see better. Last up on the show is the first in our series of books podcasts on a future to look forward to. Books host Angela Saini talks with author Claire Horn, a researcher based at Dalhousie University’s Health Justice Institute. They discuss the implications of growing babies from fertilized egg to newborn infant—completely outside the body—and Horn’s book Eve: The Disobedient Future of Birth. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. About the Science Podcast Authors: Sarah Crespi; Angela Saini; Jennifer Couzin-Frankel Episode page: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.z6gdgb4 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:44:52

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Stepping on snakes for science, and crows that count out loud

5/23/2024
A roundup of online news stories featuring animals, and researchers get crows to “count” to four This week’s show is all animals all the time. First, Online News Editor Dave Grimm joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss stepping on venomous snakes for science, hunting ice age cave bears, and demolishing lizardlike buildings. Next, producer Kevin McLean talks with Diana Liao, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Tübingen, about teaching crows to count out loud. They discuss the complexity of this behavior and how, like the famous band, these counting corvids have all the right vocal skills to do it. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. About the Science Podcast Authors: Sarah Crespi; Kevin McLean; David Grimm Episode page: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.ztje4j6 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:34:11

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How the immune system can cause psychosis, and tool use in otters

5/16/2024
On this week’s show: What happens when the body’s own immune system attacks the brain, and how otters’ use of tools expands their diet First on the show this week, when rogue antibodies attack the brain, patients can show bizarre symptoms—from extreme thirst, to sleep deprivation, to outright psychosis. Contributing Correspondent Richard Stone joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss the hunt for biomarkers and treatments for this cluster of autoimmune disorders that were once mistaken for schizophrenia or even demonic possession. Next on this episode, producer Katherine Irving talks with Chris Law, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Washington and the University of Texas at Austin, about how sea otters gain energy benefits (and dental benefits) when they use tools to tackle tougher prey such as snails or large clams. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. About the Science Podcast Authors: Sarah Crespi; Richard Stone; Katherine Irving Episode page: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.z4pdg62 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:32:50

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A very volcanic moon, and better protections for human study subjects

5/9/2024
Jupiter’s moon Io has likely been volcanically active since the start of the Solar System, and a proposal to safeguard healthy human subjects in clinical trials First on the show this week, a look at proposed protections for healthy human subjects, particularly in phase 1 clinical trials. Deputy News Editor Martin Enserink joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss the risks healthy participants face when involved in early testing of drugs for safety and tolerance. Then, we hear about a project to establish a set of global standards initiated by the Ethics Committee of France’s national biomedical research agency, INSERM. Next on this episode, a peek at the history of the most volcanically active body in the Solar System, Jupiter’s moon Io. Because the surface of Io is constantly being remodeled by its many volcanoes, it’s difficult to study its past by looking at craters or other landmarks. Katherine de Kleer, assistant professor of planetary science and astronomy at the California Institute of Technology, talks about using isotopic ratios in the moon’s atmosphere to estimate how long it’s been spewing matter into space. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. About the Science Podcast Authors: Sarah Crespi; Martin Enserink Episode page: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.zyq2ig8 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:29:41

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Improving earthquake risk maps, and the world’s oldest ice

5/2/2024
Bringing historical seismic reports and modern seismic risk maps into alignment, and a roundup of stories from our newsletter, ScienceAdviser First on the show this week, a roundup of stories with our newsletter editor, Christie Wilcox. Wilcox talks with host Sarah Crespi about the oldest ice ever found, how well conservation efforts seem to be working, and repelling mosquitoes with our skin microbes. Next on this episode, evaluating seismic hazard maps. In a Science Advances paper this week, Leah Salditch, a geoscience peril adviser at risk and reinsurance company Guy Carpenter, compared modern seismic risk map predictions with descriptions of past quakes. The analysis found a mismatch: Reported shaking in the past tended to be stronger than modern models would have predicted. She talks with Crespi about where this bias comes from and how to fix it. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. About the Science Podcast Authors: Sarah Crespi; Christie Wilcox Episode page: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.zfj31xo Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:24:53

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The science of loneliness, making one of organic chemistry’s oldest reactions safer, and a new book series

4/25/2024
Researchers try to identify effective loneliness interventions, making the Sandmeyer safer, and books that look to the future and don’t see doom and gloom First up on the show, Deputy News Editor Kelly Servick explores the science of loneliness. Is loneliness on the rise or just our awareness of it? How do we deal with the stigma of being lonely? Also appearing in this segment: ● Laura Coll-Planas ● Julianne Holt-Lunstad ● Samia Akhter-Khan Next, producer Ariana Remmel talks with Tim Schulte, a graduate student at the Max Planck Institute for Coal Research and RWTH Aachen University, about making one of organic chemistry’s oldest reactions—the Sandmeyer reaction—both safer and more versatile. Finally, we kick off this year’s book series with books editor Valerie Thompson and books host Angela Saini. They discuss this year’s theme: a future to look forward to. Book segments come out the last episode of the month. Books in the series: ● Eve: The Disobedient Future of Birth by Claire Horn (May) ● Tokens: The Future of Money in the Age of the Platform by Rachel O’Dwyer (June) ● The Heart and the Chip: Our Bright Future with Robots by Daniela Rus and Gregory Mone (July) ● Climate Capitalism: Winning the Race to Zero Emissions and Solving the Crisis of Our Age by Akshat Rathi (August) ● Virtual You: How Building Your Digital Twin Will Revolutionize Medicine and Change Your Life by Peter Coveney and Roger Highfield (September) ● Imagination: A Manifesto by Ruha Benjamin (October) This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. About the Science Podcast Authors: Sarah Crespi; Kelly Servick; Ariana Remmel; Valerie Thompson; Angela Saini LINKS FOR MP3 META Episode page: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.zqubta7 About the Science Podcast: https://www.science.org/content/page/about-science-podcast Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:42:38

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Ritual murders in the neolithic, why 2023 was so hot, and virus and bacteria battle in the gut

4/18/2024
A different source of global warming, signs of a continentwide tradition of human sacrifice, and a virus that attacks the cholera bacteria First up on the show this week, clearer skies might be accelerating global warming. Staff Writer Paul Voosen joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss how as air pollution is cleaned up, climate models need to consider the decrease in the planet’s reflectivity. Less reflectivity means Earth is absorbing more energy from the Sun and increased temps. Also from the news team this week, we hear about how bones from across Europe suggest recurring Stone Age ritual killings. Contributing Correspondent Andrew Curry talks about how a method of murder used by the Italian Mafia today may have been used in sacrifices by early farmers, from Poland to the Iberian Peninsula. Finally, Eric Nelson, an associate professor at the University of Florida’s Emerging Pathogens Institute, joins Sarah to talk about an infectious bacteria that’s fighting on two fronts. The bacterium that causes cholera—Vibrio cholerae—can be killed off with antibiotics but at the same time, it is hunted by a phage virus living inside the human gut. In a paper published in Science, Nelson and colleagues describe how we should think about phage as predator and bacteria as prey, in the savanna of our intestines. The ratio of predator to prey turns out to be important for the course of cholera infections. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. About the Science Podcast Authors: Sarah Crespi; Paul Voosen; Andrew Curry Episode page: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.zhgw74e Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:38:12

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Trialing treatments for Long Covid, and a new organelle appears on the scene

4/11/2024
]Researchers are testing HIV drugs and monoclonal antibodies against long-lasting COVID-19, and what it takes to turn a symbiotic friend into an organelle First up on the show this week, clinical trials of new and old treatments for Long Covid. Producer Meagan Cantwell is joined by Staff Writer Jennifer Couzin-Frankel and some of her sources to discuss the difficulties of studying and treating this debilitating disease. People in this segment: · Michael Peluso · Sara Cherry · Shelley Hayden Next: Move over mitochondria, a new organelle called the nitroplast is here. Host Sarah Crespi talks with Tyler Coale, a postdoctoral scholar in the University of California, Santa Cruz’s Ocean Sciences Department, about what exactly makes an organelle an organelle and why it would be nice to have inhouse nitrogen fixing in your cells. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. About the Science Podcast Authors: Sarah Crespi; Meagan Cantwell; Jennifer Couzin-Frankel Episode page: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.zof5fvk Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:33:09

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When did rats come to the Americas, and was Lucy really our direct ancestor?

4/4/2024
Tracing the arrival of rats using bones, isotopes, and a few shipwrecks; and what scientists have learned in 50 years about our famous ancestor Lucy First on the show: Did rats come over with Christopher Columbus? It turns out, European colonists weren’t alone on their ships when they came to the Americas—they also brought black and brown rats to uninfested shores. Eric Guiry, a researcher in the Trent Environmental Archaeology Lab at Trent University, joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss how tiny slices of bone from early colony sites and sunken shipwrecks can tell us when these pesky rodents arrived. Next, producer Meagan Cantwell talks with Contributing Correspondent Ann Gibbons about what has happened in the 50 years since anthropologists found Lucy—a likely human ancestor that lived 2.9 million to 3.3 million years ago. Although still likely part of our family tree, her place as a direct ancestor is in question. And over the years, her past has become less lonesome as it has become populated with other contemporaneous hominins. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. About the Science Podcast Authors: Sarah Crespi; Meagan Cantwell; Ann Gibbons LINKS FOR MP3 META Episode page: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.z4scrgk About the Science Podcast: https://www.science.org/content/page/about-science-podcast Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:31:28

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Teaching robots to smile, and the effects of a rare mandolin on a scientist’s career

3/28/2024
Robots that can smile in synchrony with people, and what ends up in the letters section First on this week’s show, a robot that can predict your smile. Hod Lipson, a roboticist and professor at Columbia University, joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss how mirrors can help robots learn to make facial expressions and eventually improve robot nonverbal communication. Next, we have Margaret Handley, a professor in the department of epidemiology and biostatistics and medicine at the University of California San Francisco. She shares a letter she wrote to Science about how her past, her family, and a rare instrument relate to her current career focus on public health and homelessness. Letters Editor Jennifer Sills also weighs in with the kinds of letters people write into the magazine. Other Past as Prologue letters: A new frontier for mi familia by Raven Delfina Otero-Symphony A uranium miner’s daughter by Tanya J. Gallegos Embracing questions after my father’s murder by Jacquelyn J. Cragg A family’s pride in educated daughters by Qura Tul Ain One person’s trash: Another’s treasured education by Xiangkun Elvis Cao This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. About the Science Podcast Authors: Sarah Crespi; Jennifer Sills Episode page: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.zy9w2u0 About the Science Podcast: https://www.science.org/content/page/about-science-podcast Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:30:06

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Hope in the fight against deadly prion diseases, and side effects of organic agriculture

3/21/2024
New clinical trials for treatments of an always fatal brain disease, and what happens with pests when a conventional and organic farm are neighbors First up on this week’s show, a new treatment to stave off prion disease goes into clinical trials. Prions are misfolded proteins that clump together and chew holes in the brain. The misfolding can be switched on in a number of ways—including infection with a misfolded prion protein from an animal or person. Staff Writer Meredith Wadman talks with host Sarah Crespi about new potential treatments—from antisense nucleotides to small molecules that interfere with protein production—for these fatal neurodegenerative diseases. Next on the show: Freelance producer Katherine Irving talks with Ashley Larsen, associate professor of agricultural and landscape ecology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, about the effects of organic farms on their neighbors. If there are lots of organic growers together, pesticide use goes down but conventional farms tend to use more pesticides when side by side with organic farms. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. About the Science Podcast Authors: Sarah Crespi; Katherine Irving; Meredith Wadman LINKS FOR MP3 META Episode page: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.z91m76v Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:35:49

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Why babies forget, and how fear lingers in the brain

3/14/2024
Investigating “infantile amnesia,” and how generalized fear after acute stress reflects changes in the brain This week we have two neuroscience stories. First up, freelance science journalist Sara Reardon looks at why infants’ memories fade. She joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss ongoing experiments that aim to determine when the forgetting stops and why it happens in the first place. Next on the show, Hui-Quan Li, a senior scientist at Neurocrine Biosciences, talks with Sarah about how the brain encodes generalized fear, a symptom of some anxiety disorders such as social anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. About the Science Podcast Authors: Sarah Crespi; Kevin McLean; Sara Reardon Episode page: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.z9bqkyc Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:29:14

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A dive into the genetic history of India, and the role of vitamin A in skin repair

3/7/2024
What modern Indian genomes say about the region’s deep past, and how vitamin A influences stem cell plasticity First up this week, Online News Editor Michael Price and host Sarah Crespi talk about a large genome sequencing project in India that reveals past migrations in the region and a unique intermixing with Neanderthals in ancient times. Next on the show, producer Kevin McLean chats with Matthew Tierney, a postdoctoral fellow at Rockefeller University, about how vitamin A and stem cells work together to grow hair and heal wounds. This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy. About the Science Podcast Authors: Sarah Crespi; Kevin McLean; Michael Price Episode page: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.zfhqarg About the Science Podcast: https://www.science.org/content/page/about-science-podcast Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:30:03