Scientist The Human Podcast



A laid-back conversation with research scientists engaged in exciting work. Will we discuss their research? Of course! But we will also attempt to explore the path these individuals took in getting to where they are today. My goal is to get to know the human behind the scientist. Join in!


  • STH - E26 Dr. Mariella G. Filbin

    13/09/2019 Duration: 36min

    Dr. Mariella G. Filbin is an Attending Physician of Pediatric Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, and an Associate Member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. The Filbin Lab focuses its efforts on studying pediatric brain tumors, particularly lethal high-grade gliomas, including diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) and malignant embryonal brain tumors. Dr. Filbin's approach to understanding these tumors involves genomic technologies such as single cell RNA sequencing, which we discuss in this episode. For more information, visit her lab page: Filbin Lab

  • STH - E25 Laura Valente

    26/06/2019 Duration: 27min

    Laura Valente is a PhD student in the Department of Pathology at Duke University School of Medicine. She conducts research in the lab of Dr. Anthony Filiano, who is a faculty member in the Neurosurgery, Immunology, and Pathology departments at Duke. Laura's work focuses on developing mouse models of thymus transplants done in patients to understand the underlying mechanisms of thymus transplant efficacy. Recently, Laura took part in a science advocacy workshop called Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering (CASE), held by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). In this episode, we discuss Laura's research and her recent crash course in science advocacy. For more information on Laura's research, please visit the Filiano Lab website. For more information on the CASE workshop, please visit the AAAS CASE website.

  • STH - E24 Dr. Kris Wood

    20/04/2018 Duration: 38min

    Dr. Kris Wood is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology and the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Duke University. The Wood Lab utilizes functional genomics approaches to uncover targetable vulnerabilities in different types of human cancers. Much of this work is driven by investigation of the complex signaling networks that drive tumor formation and progression. Dr. Wood's research also leads to identification of combinatorial treatment strategies for cancers that evolve to develop resistance to monotherapies. For more information visit his lab page: Wood Lab

  • STH - E23 Dr. Herman Staats

    01/03/2018 Duration: 26min

    Dr. Herman Staats is a Professor and the Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Pathology at Duke University School of Medicine. Broadly, the Staats Lab focuses on vaccines and immunity. The lab's main projects include identifying and characterizing new adjuvants, and optimizing nasal immunization for use in humans. An adjuvant is any substance co-administered with a vaccine to enhance the immune response to the vaccine, and we discuss this topic in detail in this episode. For more information visit his lab page: Staats Lab  

  • STH - E22 Katie Stember

    04/10/2017 Duration: 28min

    Katie Stember is a PhD candidate in the lab of Dr. Ronald Falk at the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine. Broadly speaking, Katie works on a family of autoimmune diseases called antineutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibody (ANCA) vasculitis, which affects blood vessels throughout the body. Her research focuses on the interaction between autoreactive T cells and known self-antigens in this disease, which we discuss in detail in this episode. In addition to being a biomedical researcher, Katie is the founder and curator of Scientists of North Carolina, a Facebook page dedicated to bringing the public closer to scientists and their stories.

  • STH - E21 Eric Wang

    04/07/2017 Duration: 28min

    Eric Wang is a PhD candidate in the lab of Dr. Iannis Aifantis at the NYU School of Medicine. Broadly speaking, Eric's research focuses on transcriptional regulation during leukemia initiation. To this end, he recently conducted a pooled CRISPR screen on about 500 target genes, from which a gene involved in RNA splicing emerged as a top candidate as being required for leukemia cells to live. In addition to this screen, we discuss Eric's unique path to his current position and his recent PhD qualifying exam. For more information on Eric's and Dr. Aifantis' research, visit his lab page: Aifantis Lab

  • STH - E20 Dr. Aristotelis Tsirigos

    19/06/2017 Duration: 38min

    Dr. Aristotelis Tsirigos is an Associate Professor of Pathology and the Director of the Applied Bioinformatics Center at the NYU School of Medicine, where his group uses computational methods to study biology. In particular, his work has centered around using computer science to elucidate epigenetic alterations in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, also known as T-ALL. Prior to joining NYU as a faculty member, Dr. Tsirigos worked as a Research Scientist at IBM, which we discuss in this episode. For more information visit his lab page: Tsirigos Lab

  • STH - E19 Dr. Yiping He

    11/06/2017 Duration: 32min

    Dr. Yiping He is an Assistant Professor of Pathology at Duke University, where his lab focuses on exploiting genetic alterations for cancer treatments, particularly for glioblastoma (GBM), a type of brain tumor. Another area of focus in the He Lab is medulloblastoma, which is a type of malignant pediatric brain tumor located in the cerebellum, the lower-rear area of the brain. One of the ways Dr. He conducts this research is using patient-derived tumor tissue, which we discuss in this episode. For more information visit his web page: He Lab

  • STH - E18 Dr. Bryan Field

    02/06/2017 Duration: 01h05min

    Dr. Bryan Field is an Assistant Professor of Physics at SUNY Farmingdale on Long Island, New York. He is a theoretical particle physicist, and his work focuses on understanding results from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN and in the past he has actively collaborated on experiments involving ATLAS, which is one of two general-purpose detectors at the LHC. In particular, Dr. Fields is interested in the properties of the recently discovered Higgs Boson in the Standard Model of particle physics, as well as a concept known as supersymmetry, which is discussed at length in this episode. For more information visit his web page: Dr. Bryan Field

  • STH - E17 Dr. Vanja Sisirak

    20/05/2017 Duration: 48min

    Dr. Vanja Sisirak is a Research Associate in the department of Pathology at the NYU School of Medicine. He is a member of the Reizis Lab, where he studies the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus, an autoimmune disease in which the the body's immune system attacks "self" rather than foreign pathogens. Although lupus is difficult to diagnose, an interesting marker of this disease is the presence of antibodies against one's own double-stranded DNA, which is among the topics discussed in this episode. For more information, visit the Reizis Lab web page.

  • STH - E16 Dr. Sarah LeBoeuf

    28/10/2016 Duration: 29min

    Dr. Sarah LeBoeuf is a postdoctoral researcher in the department of Pathology at the NYU School of Medicine. She is a member of the Papagiannakopoulos Lab, where she uses genetically engineered mouse models to study the role of mitochondria and reactive oxygen species stress in the development and progression of lung cancer. Among the goals of Dr. LeBoeuf's research is to elucidate the metabolic rewiring of cancer cells of specific genetic backgrounds so that they can be targeted therapeutically with small molecule drugs. For more information, visit the Papagiannakopoulos Lab web page.

  • STH - E15 Joey Verdi

    14/02/2016 Duration: 32min

    Joey Verdi is a PhD candidate in the lab of Dr. Jayne Raper at CUNY-Hunter College, where he is conducting research on the apolipoprotein L-1 (apoL1) gene and its variants across multiple species of primates and monkeys. The apoL1 protein produced by this gene is a part of a larger complex of proteins termed trypanosome lytic factors (TLFs), which contribute to the innate immunity of primates against African trypanosomes, a flagellated parasite. Joey's work lends itself to the Transgenic Cattle Project and in this episode we discuss his involvement in this endeavor.

  • STH - E14 Dr. Andrew Hill

    28/09/2015 Duration: 01h09min

    Dr. Andrew Hill is a cognitive neuroscientist and lecturer at UCLA. He conducts research on attention and cognitive performance, and he is the Lead Neuroscientist for truBrain, a start-up that offers nootropic supplements, in the form of capsules and drinks (nootropics are drugs that may enhance memory and focus, however much of the research elucidating mechanisms of action of these drugs remains to be done). Dr. Hill is also a cofounder of Alternatives Addiction Treatment, a start-up that offers addiction treatment on the basis of biofeedback, discussed in this episode. For more information, visit the websites of truBrain and Alternatives Addiction Treatment.

  • STH - E13 Dr. Ernest Davis

    27/06/2015 Duration: 49min

    Dr. Ernest Davis is a professor of computer science at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University. He is an expert on artificial intelligence - he studies the problem of representing commonsense knowledge (basic knowledge about the real world that is common to all humans) and expressing it in a form that is systematic enough to be used by a computer program. Dr. Davis' research includes topics such as the problem of reasoning about containers and the ontology of matter, both of which are discussed in this episode. We also go into detail about potential applications and whether or not artifical intelligence poses a threat. Visit his website for more information here.

  • STH - E12 Dr. Adric Riedel & Paige Godfrey

    20/06/2015 Duration: 50min

    Dr. Adric Riedel is a postdoctoral researcher in astrophysics and astronomy at the College of Staten Island in the City University of New York, focusing on local galactic kinematics and low mass and nearby stars. Paige Godfrey is an astrophysics and astronomy PhD student at the City University of New York, interested in studying the formation and evolution of low mass substellar objects. Among the topics both these researchers are interested in are brown dwarfs, discussed in this episode. Follow Dr. Adric Riedel's astronomical research here. Follow Paige Godfrey's thoughts on space here.

  • STH - E11 Dr. Andrew Darwin

    08/05/2015 Duration: 49min

    Dr. Andrew Darwin is a bacteriologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology at the NYU School of Medicine. His research focuses on bacterial cell envelope functions that prevent or respond to cellular stress occurring as pathogens infect their hosts. His lab use genetics, molecular biology, and biochemistry, along with various infection models, to study the human pathogens Yersinia enterocolitica and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Visit his lab page for more information: Darwin Lab

  • STH - E10 Graduate Experience

    18/04/2015 Duration: 01h06min

    In this episode we chat with students who have taken the first big steps in their scientific careers. Included are PhD students and a master's degree student to provide different points of view on the research process, as well as varying pieces of advice for those interested in taking the scientific path. Featured on this episode (in order of appearance): Liza Miller, Research Assistant @ Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Master's student @ CUNY Hunter College Stefan Evans, PhD candidate in physics @ University of Arizona Joe Giovinazzo, PhD candidate in biology @ CUNY Hunter College Jyoti Panta, PhD candidate in biology @ CUNY Hunter College Charles Schaub, PhD candidate in biochemistry @ CUNY Hunter College Joey Verdi, PhD candidate in biology @ CUNY Hunter College

  • STH - E9 Undergraduate Experience Plus

    10/04/2015 Duration: 01h23min

    In this episode we hear from some folks who are essentially at the beginning of their scientific careers - undergraduate students and research assistants. Representing several institutions, for the most part in New York City, these students give some insight into their experiences as scientific researchers at their respective levels. Featured on this episode (in order of appearance): Mary Tajiri, Dr. Rae Silver's Lab @ Columbia University Vicky Papagermanos, Dr. Rae Silver's Lab @ Columbia University Habib Zahir, Dr. Jayne Raper's Lab @ CUNY Hunter College Anibelky Almanzar, Dr. Jayne Raper's Lab @ CUNY Hunter College Izzy Abdurakhmanov, Dr. Jayne Raper's Lab @ CUNY Hunter College Rachel Rosengard, Dr. Anissa Abi-Dargham's Lab @ New York State Psychiatric Insitute & Columbia University Medical Center

  • STH - E8 Dr. Bo Shopsin

    03/04/2015 Duration: 54min

    Dr. Bo Shopsin is an Assistant Professor in the departments of medicine and microbiology at the NYU School of Medicine. His research focuses on adaptive changes in the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus that take place during infection. One of his studies addresses the within-host variation in the agr (accessory gene regulator) locus, a global regulator of virulence in S. aureus. In genetics, a locus is a specific location of a gene or genes that work together. Dr. Shopsin's work is motivated by practical questions in infectious diseases (such as the best use of antimicrobials that target agr and virulence), as well as more basic yet closely intertwined questions, such as how to explain the alterations that are responsible for adaptive changes at different stages of S. aureus infections. Visit his lab page for more information: Shopsin Lab

  • STH - E7 Dr. Nathalie Scholler

    27/03/2015 Duration: 01h08min

    Dr. Nathalie Scholler is the Director of Cancer Immunology at the Center for Cancer and Metabolism at SRI International, a nonprofit research institute in Menlo Park, California. Her research is centered around studying the role of the immune system in tumor development and designing novel diagnostic and immunotherapeutic approaches against cancer. She has studied cancer biomarkers of ovarian cancer and tumor immunity for more than a decade. Prior to working at SRI, Dr. Scholler was a tenure-track assistant professor in the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. There, her laboratory investigated the role of innate immunity in ovarian cancer and identified novel recombinant antibodies (which are antibodies created in the lab using yeast or viruses) for targeted imaging and therapy of cancer. In addition to her cancer and antibody research, in this episode we discuss zombie films and mad scientists as portrayed by Hollywood. Visit her web page for more inf

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