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June 9, 2023 61 mins

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What if you could explore the complexities of the human brain while also discovering the fascinating world of plants? Join me as I sit down with behavioral neuroscientist Morgan Johnston, aka Ask a Neuroscientist, for an engaging conversation about these two seemingly unrelated worlds. You'll learn how Morgan's journey from a small farming community to the world of neuroscience research has helped her uncover unique connections between plants and humans.

We dive into the effects of various chemicals and drugs on the brain, and how both plants and humans cope with stress. Morgan shares her insights on the evolutionary development of similar molecules in plant and animal systems, as well as how studying these interactions informs our understanding of mental and physical health. You'll also hear about our experiences in using animal models to study human behavior, and the critical role stress and anxiety play in our lives.

As we wrap up our discussion, we emphasize the importance of science communication and the need for reaching diverse audiences in today's world of misinformation. We share anecdotes from our own research, and explore the challenges of navigating academia and pursuing a career in science. Don't miss this enlightening episode with Morgan Johnson, where neuroscience and plant science collide to create a world of wonder and discovery.


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Planthropology is written, hosted, and produced by Vikram Baliga. Our theme song is "If You Want to Love Me, Babe, by the talented and award-winning composer, Nick Scout.

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:00):
What is up?
plant people Hey, it's timeonce more for the Plant
anthropology podcast.
This short, we dive into thelives and careers of some very
cool plant people to figure outwhy they do what they do and
what keeps them coming back formore.
I'm Vikram Baleega, your hostand your humble guide in this
journey through the sciences And, as always, my dearest friends.
I am so happy and thrilled tobe with you today.

(00:21):
Hey, we've got some importantquestions to answer today, like
can M&Ms help you with yourstress?
Can your green thumb beselective?
How do our brains interact withplants?
And so many more things aboutplants and life and neuroscience
.
And I am so excited to havetoday's guests on My guest,

(00:42):
morgan Johnson, known across theinternet as Ask, a
Neuroscientist, and I recordedthis actually back a couple of
months ago And I'm finallygetting this out and I'm so
excited for you to hear it.
So Morgan actually got to comeinto town.
She lives in a different citybut she was coming into town for
some different stuff.
But I convinced myself becauseit makes me feel good that she

(01:05):
drove all the way here six hoursjust to see me and to record
this podcast with me.
But I was so excited to get todo this in person, because it's
hard to do in-person interviewssometimes And especially when
I've got guests from all overthe state and all over the
country and all over the world.
But Morgan and I sat down andtalked about her life as a
neuroscientist.
She is working on her PhD inneuroscience right now, studying

(01:28):
things like the effects ofdifferent chemicals and drugs on
the brain, the ways we handlestress and sort of the
intersections between all thosethings.
So a little bit of a quickcontent warning for today's
episode.
We have a frank discussion inthis about different types of
drugs, both the recreationalkind and the medicinal kind, and
the ways that they affect ourbrains.

(01:48):
We talk about some of thecauses of addiction.
We talk about some things thatmay make a slide back into
addictive tendencies and thingslike that, and so it's really a
fascinating discussion of howdifferent chemicals and
different plants affect ourbrain chemistry and our bodies
and how we find out how some ofthose things happen.
But I know this is a sensitivesubject for some people, So just

(02:12):
bear that in mind.
Listener, discretion is advised.
As always, this is safe forwork, but in terms of content,
you may just want to self-policeon this just a little bit, but
it's such a fun episode.
Morgan is wonderful andbrilliant And I had so much fun
actually getting to meet her inperson, to talk with her.
We actually have known eachother for a little while just

(02:33):
through some of our science,communication and social media
stuff, but you are going to lovethis one.
I am glad to be back at thisand putting new content out
there.
So get yourself ready forepisode 98 of the Planthypology
podcast with my friend MorganJohnson, also known as Ask a
Neuroscientist ["A New World"].

(02:58):
Well, morgan, i am so excitedthat you made the long drive up
And I know you didn't drive hereall the way the six hours for
this, but I'm pretending likeyou did.

Speaker 2 (03:13):
Yeah, take that.
Just assume that I'm thatpassionate about this podcast.

Speaker 1 (03:19):
Yeah, no, it makes me feel good.
So that's what I'm going with,but thanks so much for coming in
today.
I'm really excited to talk toyou.
I'm excited for our listenersto hear sort of a different take
and a different sort of angleinto plant science.
But to start off with, whydon't you introduce yourself,
tell us about you and what youdid growing up and what got you

(03:42):
interested in science and whereyou are today?

Speaker 2 (03:45):
Yeah, so my name is Morgan Johnston.
I am currently a behavioralneuroscientist, meaning that I
study how our brains generatethe behaviors that we do, And I
guess my journey to science.
Whenever I was young I grew upin like a really small, like
farming community, small town,and you know those people tend

(04:07):
to have certain opinions aboutwomen in science, And so for a
long time I was told that Icouldn't go into science or that
like I was too smart for my owngood And so I had to kind of
like push past that Andeventually I wound up like going
to a school in the city, thatsort of like, more so fostered
the science scientists in me Andactually my senior year of high

(04:30):
school I ended up doingresearch on a medical campus
studying traumatic braininjuries And then I went to my
undergrad at Oklahoma StateUniversity And they're a big
land grant university.
They have a lot of likehorticulture and plants and
landscaping stuff there Andwhile I was there I was engaged
in a lot of basic research.
And the difference between likebasic and like medical research

(04:52):
is that basic research, sort offocused, was more on like how
do things function?
in general versus medicalresearch.
you're like trying to find acure for everything And I think
that sort of helped me see likethe importance of looking at
sort of like the more whatsomeone who studies like bodies
would consider like the basicsof things like how do the

(05:13):
nutrients that we eat affect us,that we just sort of like take
for granted?
How do like how are plants ableto interact with us when
they're not made of the samestuff that humans?
are made of Like they havedifferent cells, they have
different things going on.
So there I was involved inreally basic research looking at
social interactions, And then Icame to Texas to do my graduate

(05:36):
research.
So right now I'm a third yearPhD student at a Texas
institution that I won't dox.

Speaker 1 (05:43):
That's fine.

Speaker 2 (05:45):
But now I'm studying how different drugs interact
with our brain.
One of those drugs is cocaine.
I also have sort of a interestin looking at marijuana or
cannabis or weed or whateverpeople want to call it.
I have colleagues who areinterested in like magic
mushroom type stuff, lsd Andjust looking at, like, how these

(06:05):
different substances are ableto make us feel certain ways and
have certain experiences thatmaybe, like we're not physically
going through.

Speaker 1 (06:16):
psychedelics is like what I'm trying to say in like a
science way.

Speaker 2 (06:20):
Yeah, so that's why I look at now And I also look a
lot at stress which stress issomething that impacts all of us
And also something that'sreally big in like.
how do we make stress have lesseffects on people?

Speaker 1 (06:33):
Interesting Well that , as a PhD student, I feel like
that is probably somethingthat's relevant to your life is
how do you reduce the load ofstress on yourself?
just in general.

Speaker 2 (06:45):
Yeah, i'm very lucky A lot of our students have to
start their talks with like, oh,why should anyone have to care
about this?
Why do I care about a certaincell, what it's doing, and I get
to start all my talks with?
we're all stressed.

Speaker 1 (06:57):
Yeah, instantly relatable.
Instantly relatable, especiallylike in any academic setting,
like if you go to a conferencelike everyone looks tired.
Everyone's just stressed outall the time.
It's like the three days youget out of a lab or out of
whatever, and so we're allstressed.
Yeah yes, we are.
Yes, we are.
So you have and I was kind ofreading through your experience

(07:20):
earlier and you have twobachelor's degrees.
Is that correct?

Speaker 2 (07:23):
Right, yeah, so my first bachelor's degree is in
biology and my second is inphysiology.
So basically about halfwaythrough my biology degree I
decided this isn't easy enoughand I want to take more classes.
So I took enough to get thesecond physiology degree, also
because Oklahoma StateUniversity doesn't have a

(07:43):
neuroscience program.
So but I think that benefitedme in a lot of ways, because a
lot of people who study purelyneuroscience they get sort of
what we call tunnel vision, likethey're very focused on that
versus I feel like I'm able tohave more like a holistic view
of the body and I can bring uplike how the heart might be
involved in certain stuff andthings like that.

Speaker 1 (08:02):
That's really interesting.
And I mean for sure because Ithink, and I like what you were
talking about earlier a littlebit about basic versus medical
research or applied research.
So I'm very much an appliedscientist.
My work has always been at sortof macro level, systems level.
We were kind of talking off micbefore we started about how in

(08:25):
plant science we do things that,like you, couldn't get away
within any other biologicalscience.
It's like I'm going to stickthis tree in a bag.
I am going to not water one ofthese for three months.

Speaker 2 (08:36):
And let's see what happens Right, which I
absolutely could not get awaywith with my animals No, no, no,
i don't want to.
I don't want to get away withthat.

Speaker 1 (08:43):
There would be some, yeah some probably unpleasant
phone calls to deal with fromIUcock and different different
groups from from that, But youknow so.
So a lot of my work has been,you know, if we induce
physiological environmentalstress on plants.
Well, my master's work was morephysiological, But since then
it's born, I'm like how longdoes it take this thing to not

(09:06):
do the thing it's supposed to bedoing?
Yeah, when I don't water it orleave it in the sun or whatever,
Well, something that's reallyinteresting.

Speaker 2 (09:13):
I follow this lady on TikTok who studies like stress
in corn plants, and it's sofunny to me because wherever you
guys say stress, you mean Idon't water it or like I leave
it on in the sun for too long.
And wherever I say stress, imean like I put my rats in a
little tube and they getstressed out.
So the first time I saw it Iwas like how do you stress a
plant?
They don't have the sameemotion.

Speaker 1 (09:33):
Yeah, no, no.
But it is interesting thoughbecause it you know and again, i
am not an animal biologist inany stretch of the imagination
But you know, we see in plantsthat we induce different
stressors, from whether it isintroducing pests, whether there
are things being withheld likefertility or water or sunlight

(09:55):
or whatever.
It is interesting to me assomeone who is stressed 85% of
my life.
You know some of the sort ofcoping mechanisms, and that is
not the right way to talk aboutplants, but some of the things
that plants physiologically doto cope with.
That is sort of an interestingparallel in some ways.

(10:19):
Do, i think, like animal biology?
like, oh, we will.
If we exclude sunlight, theywill do things like the stems
get longer and they will try to,you know, get into the sun.
Or if we restrict water,sometimes they will shed the
larger leaves because that iswhere all the water is lost from
, and things like that.
So they do have actually very,sometimes very quick, stress

(10:40):
responses.
It is just not like anemotional response, it is just
sort of a okay, the environmentis doing this, so I am going to
do this kind of thing.

Speaker 2 (10:49):
Right, and humans and animals have, like our I say
like a physical stress responseversus like sort of like an
emotional or like a neurologicalstress response.
And so, like humans, forexample, if they go through like
a famine and they like aren'table to eat for very long, then
their cells will start to likeretain more nutrients, and so
then you actually end up gainingweight from not having as much

(11:11):
food because your body is tryingto like store that, And that
can be like generations down theline.
people struggle with like beingperceived as like overweight by
society because their ancestorswere starved.

Speaker 1 (11:24):
Huh, that's fascinating.
I actually died No idea.
That's really what it's reallyinteresting that that passes
down through sort of the Thegenetic line as well, like it's
something that affects us at thelike DNA level.

Speaker 2 (11:37):
And that's something that happens like mentally too,
like um, we have seen in like I,if you look over the course of
years that Like mental health isdeteriorating.
Like young people have the worstmental health now than like
they have ever ever yeah yeah,and It can actually like
compound, like if yourgrandparents had anxiety and

(11:58):
then your Parents had anxietyand then you have anxiety likely
it's getting like degrees worsethroughout.
Well, what's really neat or notso neat for the people who
struggle with this?
But interesting is that it'snot always the same.
So people think of like mentalillness as genetic, because I
can get passed on this way.
But, um, say, like your grandmahad schizophrenia, your then

(12:19):
mother might not haveschizophrenia, maybe she has
generalized anxiety disorder andthen maybe you have obsessive
compulsive disorder.
So you all resulted in a mentalillness, but not necessarily
the exact same one.

Speaker 1 (12:31):
Wow, that's they are.
That is really interesting.
And you know, with plants wetend to think of some more.
You know, direct heredity of,or Inheritance of, traits like
okay, this plant had.
You know, if we want to getreal simple, like this pea plant
, has white flowers, this one,you know, if we want to look at
just Mendelian genetics, but atthe same time too, we we've got

(12:52):
a plant in the garden right nowthat We're starting to see some
striping on some of the newflowers that are coming out and
that is usually induced byenvironmental stress or a virus.
You know that is messing withthe transposons in the, in the,
the genes, but that's somethingthat gets carried forward.
So if you've ever seen like arose that has marbling in the in

(13:15):
the flower, that's usuallyvirally induced, but then you
can carry it on down through thegenetic line.

Speaker 2 (13:21):
That's really interesting because I know I
have a friend who like collectsa Lot of plants.
I know those are like reallyhighly sought after the one that
once I have that marbling.
So, kind of crazy that thatcomes from stress.

Speaker 1 (13:31):
Yeah, it's, it's a, you know, some kind of either a
pathogen or there's a lot ofways it happens.
But yeah, you know, and I'mthinking about it now, we do see
inherited traits, that that getcarried on, even just like well
, and when we do drought stressresearch Which is actually a lot
of what we do here because, asyou may have noticed, driving in
it is dry.

(13:51):
Yeah, and there's endless andless nothing.
You know, we have to figure outhow do our crop plants, how do
our other things survive, that,and we can Do it through
breeding work.
But, you know, some of it'sjust selection pressure, natural
selection pressure.
Some of it though is, you know,we induce changes based on

(14:12):
environment.
That's just, i don't know.
I think that I Sort of the moreI learn about biology one, the
more I realize I don'tunderstand about biology because
it's so complex, but two, abouthow we see certain biological
things that hold up across Evenkingdoms, you know biology.

Speaker 2 (14:32):
Yeah, i think it's really interesting, like I was
looking up recently, because soI'm talking about like cannabis
stuff You in your body havesomething called like the
endocannabinoid system and for along time I was like, wow, we
really have like a system that'spurely dedicated to people who
smoke weed.
But actually the way that itcame about and like I think the

(14:53):
way that a lot of thesesimilarities between, like
humans and plants came About, isbecause we evolved together.
We sort of just evolved thesame traits, like naturally.
So in your body you havemolecules that resemble like THC
or like CBD, but also like thecannabis plant also just
independently developed thosesame molecules, which is really

(15:16):
nifty and so like, like, samefor like these coping stress,
coping mechanisms of.
Like what to do wherever there'sa drought.
Humans had to figure that out,plants had to figure that out.
We all have been living on thisearth together, going through.

Speaker 1 (15:30):
Yeah, yeah, and that's yeah, and that's a
fascinating thing, and I thinkthat's maybe something that In
general now I'm not saying likeby science, but by people just
in general, like this may be notwell understood about evolution
.
That it's.
It is a response to the thingsthat stress us out right as a
species.

Speaker 2 (15:48):
I get asked all the time So there's in your Skull
that supposedly like protectsyour brains.
You have some spiky bits thatlike if your brain hits those
then you get brain damage.
Yeah, and people ask me all thetime.
They're like well, why would weevolve that?
because that's not helpful.
And I just have to likeevolution is not working towards
like the most helpful thing.

(16:08):
It's working towards like whatis helpful in this moment, not
what is going to be helpful forthe long term.
And so your skull evolved tohelp you get through puberty and
that sort of its main goal Andthen, past that, your body
doesn't really care about you.

Speaker 1 (16:23):
Yeah, yeah, that's really, yeah, that's interesting
.
So, talking about your currentresearch, okay, so You know,
when you're looking at all thesedifferent plant compounds, all
these different, just You know,i say plant compounds and you
made up a good point that likeeverything is kind of plants,
like everything kind of comesfrom plants.

Speaker 2 (16:44):
Exactly like I was shocked recently.
I was telling one of my friendsthat was gonna be coming on the
podcast and like, initially,wherever you asked me if I knew
anything about plants, the onlyplant that I can think of was
cannabis.
But then I was talking to myfriends about this and they were
like, oh well, you also studiedcocaine and cocaine comes from
a plant.
And I was like, oh my god, itdoes the.
Like the vast majority of themedicines and the drugs that we

(17:05):
have at some point did come froma plant, like Nowadays I want
to say it's like around 70% thatdid come from a plant
originally, but now we makesynthetic.
But if we hadn't had that plantto begin with, we would never
have figured out those drugs.
And the vast majority ofNeuroscience and like the type
of research that I do, which iscalled neuro pharmacology, which

(17:27):
just means we're looking atdrugs in the brain, is based on
like how are these plants ableto affect us?
like Human, see a plant, theyconsume it.
The plant has an effect right.
Why?
why would that plant have aneffect on us?
What is it doing?
And that's how we managed tofigure out.
A lot of the body is justlooking at like Oh, if we change

(17:48):
this thing, in this case,eating a plant, how did?
what did it do?

Speaker 1 (17:54):
Yeah, it's really interesting.
I think I think about that alot from a so I study food quite
a bit, so from a foodstandpoint, i think about that a
lot and that's come up on herebefore.
But, like, so much of what weknow just came through
observation of like Bill atethat plant and Now what's going
on with Bill?
like Oh, no, bill's dead.
And then like maybe we don'teat this plant again or you know

(18:17):
, there were some kind ofPositive effect from it.
It's like, oh, we need tofigure out why.
And you know, for a long time Ithink we just did things
because it worked and we justdid things and, you know, over
the past I don't know a fewhundred years, we've really
started drilling into.
What does that mean?
Like, what does it mean for us?
What does it mean as a globalecosystem?

Speaker 2 (18:37):
Exactly And, like I don't really want to like
discourage anyone's faith inmedicine because, like modern
medicine is the best that's everbeen.
Sure but we still to some extentdo that, like we see
medications that we make for aspecific population, like we
still to this day, or like wesee something have an effect and
we're like, huh, maybe I wantthat effect, maybe we should use
it and maybe we don't knowexactly why.

(18:58):
Like SSRI is serotoninselective serotonin reuptake
inhibitors that are commonlyprescribed for depression.
We know that they selectivelyreduce the amount of serotonin.
That's Sort of like put in thetrash bin and you're in your
head So you have more serotoninlying around, but we don't know
why that helps.

(19:18):
We don't know why that helps, orwhy it like helps some people
and why it doesn't help otherpeople.
We just saw that it does helpsome people and so we should use
it.
We should use it.

Speaker 1 (19:28):
That's really interesting too, and I think,
and what I don't want people tohear, because I know, being a
scientist, i know what peoplehear sometimes is like well,
they're just like trying stuffand exactly, and the fact is
like, well, i mean kind of kindof, but like we rigorously test
these things right.

Speaker 2 (19:45):
Exactly.
It's not anymore like the waythat we developed the smallpox
vaccines where we were likelet's pull in a child off the
street.

Speaker 1 (19:51):
Right, give them a vaccine nowadays.

Speaker 2 (19:53):
Yeah, we have like the FDA, we have ethics
committees, we have like allsorts of stuff that we go
through and we're trying things.
It's always an educated Yeslike we're not like what would
happen if we give a depressedperson a blueberry.

Speaker 1 (20:07):
We have no evidence to do that study right, right,
well, and you know there's a lotof research coming out, sort of
on the plant side of um.
We look at psychology and humanphysiology of how much evil.
So it's always sounded kind oflike intuitive, like go outside,
you'll feel better.
Yeah like I know as a kid, likeif I was just like moping around

(20:29):
the house, he'd be like go playoutside, like just go outside,
get some sunlight, get some, youknow, be around the plants.
But there's more researchstarting to come out of like
we're kind of like you made agood point earlier that you know
we co-evolved with these plants, all these different organisms
and it's.
You know, at some point weconvince ourselves that we're so
other Yeah but like we havethese evolutionary relationships

(20:51):
And so like we have receptorsin our brain that can detect the
volatile organic compounds thatplants are putting out to like
message each other and like bugsand things, and like it does
have physiological effects, justlike Be an outside.

Speaker 2 (21:06):
Yeah, there's like parts of our brain that, since
sunlight, that like want to bein the sunlight for a certain
period of time, and there's beenI don't even know how many
studies on like the benefits ofhaving like a potted plant in
the lab, a potted plant in youroffice, um, just like be around
it.
and yeah, not to be like toohippity-dippity, but yeah, i
definitely feel a lot betterwhenever I go outside.

(21:29):
And it's upsetting sometimesbecause your therapist will be
like Go, spend like 30 minutesoutside and you'll feel better.
And then you do it and you dofeel better.

Speaker 1 (21:36):
I can't believe that worked.
I could have been doing thisthe whole time.
No, and like there's a wholething on tick tock right now.
If people like going outsidelike I'm going outside to take a
Stupid walk for my stupidmental health and mad because it
works.

Speaker 2 (21:49):
And I do that all the time.
If an experiment is not workingproperly, i go outside and we
have a I've discovered on mycampus like a nice little
secluded area That's just like abunch of trees that no one goes
in for some reason.
And so I'll just like if I'mreally angry at like my boss,
who I would never be angry at inmy entire life, or like if my
experiments aren't workingproperly, i'll just like go
outside and sit in some treesfor a little while, and then

(22:11):
it's better.
It's better.

Speaker 1 (22:13):
Yeah, it's simple.
if nothing else, right, it'slike I don't know I've.
I have always found comfort injust like being alone in nature,
for even if it's five or 10minutes, like some days,
especially on stressful dayslike I'll go grab lunch or I'll
take lunch and just go sit atthe park and just like eat lunch
outside by myself for 10minutes, and it kind of resets

(22:33):
my brain a little bit and letsme get back into my day.

Speaker 2 (22:37):
I also think there's a part of our self that's sort
of like.
You're sort of like trickingyour brain into thinking that
everything is okay by goingoutside, like in our modern
world, like the office is astressful environment.
Our brains are really good atpicking up on cues and the
different things that signaldanger especially.
And so if, like, you've been inyour office stressed for a

(22:57):
whole week, your brain is gonnastart to associate your office
with stress.
But if you're, like, nottypically stressed outside, you
know that whenever you go takethese like 30 minute walks so
you feel better than wheneveryou go outside you're telling
your brain hey, we're in a safeplace, we're in a happy place,
we're gonna be happy now, andyour body sort of follows along.
Your brain is incredibly goodat tricking your whole body into

(23:18):
thinking either you're okay oryou're in danger, and we can use
that to our advantage.
It can also incredibly hurt usa lot.

Speaker 1 (23:26):
Yeah, that's interesting.
So, to the degree you can, I'dlike to hear more about your
research.
Again, like don't scoopyourself and like this is
everything that I've done andhere's all my data, But like I'm
really curious to hear, like,what are you looking at with
these different compounds?

Speaker 2 (23:44):
Right.
So in my lab we sort of haveseveral different projects that
we work on.
The big one is looking at, like, exactly what cocaine is doing
to the brain is sort of like ourmain thing, because, like, some
people are able to take cocaineonce or twice and not become
addicted to it, other people arevery dependent on it And so

(24:06):
what is it doing to the brain tocreate that dependency?
And then also we'respecifically like looking at a
different set of neurons thanpeople normally look at, or I
should say, a different set ofbrain cells.
So in your brain people thinkthat like all brain cells are
neurons, but actually only abouthalf of them are neurons and

(24:29):
the other half are what arecalled glia And that's they used
to be thought of as likesupport system for your brain
And so that's why, like, no onereally thinks about them, or
talks about them Cause they werelike I was just like the
structure of your brain.
But nowadays people arediscovering oh no, it actually
has a purpose And there's areason why our brains developed

(24:49):
those.
And so people are looking moreat their role in addiction,
because they haven't beenstudied much in the past.
And then also we're looking athow stress might so like people
who are in stressful situationsare more likely to relapse.
And so why?
And is there something that wecan do to help people in that

(25:11):
situation?
Is there maybe like amedication that we could
administer to like help them notfeel if either feel the stress
or feel the need to relapse ifthey are stressed?
And then, separately from that,I also just study generally how
stress impacts our behavior.
So a really interesting findingfrom our lab that's published.

(25:35):
so I can say it is that stresscan actually enhance learning,
so you can actually learn betterwhen you are stressed, and
probably that evolved becauseyou need to know what the danger
is.
So but what's really neat isthat it also works for rewards,
so you can also learn where thegood things are very easily if

(25:55):
you're stressed.
Yeah, yeah yeah, which soundsbrilliant And a lot of
professors get really excitedwhen they say that because
they're like our students arestressed.
But what's not so good is thatit inhibits flexibility And so,
like, the way that we look atthat is sort of like let's say
you have like a coffee shop thatyou really love and you go to
it all the time You're reallystressed, you go to your

(26:18):
favorite coffee shop.
They don't have your coffeeanymore.
There is a coffee shop acrossthe street that does have coffee
, but you're not really used tothem.
If you are stressed, you'reless likely to sort of change
your behavior.
You're more likely to sort oflike sit there and be grumpy
that your shop is out of coffeeand just sort of like be upset
and sort of builds on thatstress Versus.

(26:39):
If you're not stressed, you'rejust gonna like practically go
across the street to the othercoffee shop.
So that's another aspect of ourresearch.
And then, like I said, I havelike colleagues and friends who
are looking into it more, likethe cannabis and the elixir.

Speaker 1 (26:52):
Well, and that's really interesting And I think
that you know, and it'sinteresting to talk about in our
sort of like current social andpolitical climate, when some of
these things are so divisive ina lot of ways.

Speaker 2 (27:08):
Oh yeah, what's been incredibly interesting for me?
working in a lab that studiescocaine.
So cocaine is obviously anincredibly addictive drug.
It's really highly monitored bythe DEA.
Our lab has to have inspectionsby the government to make sure
that we're not like stealing any.
It's all very intense And Iasked my boss one time hey, why
don't we also study marijuana?

(27:28):
Wouldn't that be reallyinteresting?
There's a lot of really coolresearch going on in like
Colorado And he was like it isso much easier to have cocaine
in the lab than it would be toget marijuana.

Speaker 1 (27:39):
Yeah, like That's, wild.

Speaker 2 (27:41):
The approval system for it.
He was just like.
It's not even worth it to gothrough that system.

Speaker 1 (27:46):
Well, and you know there's work going into in a lot
of these things.
it's just sort of like in someways a matter of time And I
think having the researchinfrastructure to study some of
these things is really important, like we do work in industrial
hemp right.
So like we grow it, we researchit for like fibers for a lot of

(28:08):
uses.
It's actually a really usefulplant.

Speaker 2 (28:12):
But that's like the separation that people use of
like you can grow hemp, but youcan't grow weed.
And what's really like.
I just got done reading areally interesting review
article on how, like,neuroscience has also treated it
as like a very separate issue,because it is fairly easy to get
approved to use like THC, likepure THC or like pure CBV, but

(28:34):
to actually get cannabis is likethe difficult part of it.
But, like, because of that, alot of people will study
separately, like THC and CBD,which you're gonna get both of
those, and so we have lessknowledge about what they do
together, which is like therelevant information.

Speaker 1 (28:52):
That is yeah, and that is really interesting, And
I think that you know that makesan interesting point.
when we talk about our health,when we talk about the things we
consume, whatever that is, food, or stimulants, or depressor,
whatever, it is like none ofthis exists in a vacuum.

Speaker 2 (29:10):
Yeah.

Speaker 1 (29:11):
Like we are complicated meat robots or
whatever And it's like, no, wehave to look at like a total
system thing, like theindividual research is important
.
But I like the idea that, no,we should be looking at this
stuff holistically, like how didthese things work together?
What compounding effects botheither positive or negative do

(29:32):
they have?

Speaker 2 (29:33):
Right.
What's incredible is so manypeople who study things like
addiction often will look atlike, okay, if we get a rat
addicted to cocaine, whathappens?
But they don't look at like,okay, well then, if the rat is
stressed or something elsehappened, if the rat has a
friend, versus if it doesn'thave a friend, what happens?
And nowadays we're getting alot better at acknowledging that
aspect of it.
But it can be reallyinteresting that, like a lot of

(29:55):
times they'll find like the keyto even like like any form of
substance abuse or even sorrysubstance use, any form of that
can be reduced if you just havea friend if you just have a
buddy to have a social supportsystem.
But because we were studyinglike all of these things
separately for so long, it waslike, oh, why won't this

(30:16):
medication work in some people,but we'll work in others?
And the key was adding in thatsocial support.

Speaker 1 (30:21):
Wow, that's really interesting, Really fascinating
stuff.
So I have maybe and you cantake this question how you want
as someone who studies stress,have you found good like
techniques for dealing with it?
Like I know you're looking moreat the like physiological,

(30:43):
psychological effects of it, butlike, has that led you to any
conclusions in your own life oflike how you deal with that?

Speaker 2 (30:49):
So this is gonna be really ironic coming from
someone who studies sort of likedrug effects in their brain,
but honestly, i think the mostimportant thing that people can
do is like trick your brain intothinking you're not stressed.
So, whether that is, peoplehave found that placebos can be
incredibly effective in thisarea.
So even if, literally, you canknow that something is a placebo

(31:13):
and will still have the placeboeffect on you.
So if you go, wow, i'm reallystressed, this Eminem is gonna
make me not stressed, and thenyou take it like a pill, it's
going to help reduce your stress.
If you can do some breathingexercises and tell your body,
hey, we're not trying to runaway from a lion right now,
we're totally calm, everythingis good, that's going to reduce

(31:35):
your stress.
You're not gonna feel as badanymore.
Really, just tricking yourbrain into thinking that you're
okay can make you think thatyou're okay, sort of.
In my opinion, the key to allof this Now, none of that is to
say that people shouldn't betaking medications.
I'm very openly on medicationsfor anxiety.
So, like, but what I'm talkingabout is specifically like, like

(31:57):
.
Stress and anxiety are two verydifferent cities.
Stress is something thathappens like in your office,
wherever you have like a duedate.

Speaker 1 (32:02):
Anxiety is like a constant all the time.
thing Right.

Speaker 2 (32:06):
But yeah, just, and then also learning your
individual coping mechanisms,because something that I see
even among my rats rats areincredibly useful tool to study
human behavior, because actuallyhumans are just big rats, in my
opinion.

Speaker 1 (32:21):
I like that, yep.

Speaker 2 (32:23):
Our brains work a little bit differently, but in
general I can say what would Ido?
And then my rat usually makesthe same decision that I would
make.
And but what's reallyinteresting is there's
variations.
Like some rats, we put themthrough the stressful situation
and they come out of it andchange.
They're like totally fine,nothing bad happened.
And some go through it and itwas the end of the world for

(32:45):
them.
And so we do all this ethically, with approval.

Speaker 1 (32:49):
No, right, right, right of course.

Speaker 2 (32:51):
But the point of that is know yourself Like you are
going to respond differently tostress than other people are,
and the important thing is toknow what is normal for you and
what you can do that helps.
Whether or not it reducessomeone else's stress is
irrelevant.
If your friends look at you andthey're like why are you
telling yourself that Eminem'sgoing to cure your stress?
Like that's their problem,That's not your problem.

(33:15):
If it reduces your stress.
It reduces your stress.

Speaker 1 (33:17):
No, that's so interesting And I love the fact
that you can even know thatthat's what you're doing to
yourself, like you can even know, like I am telling myself that
these Eminems are good for me,or that they're good for my
stress, and your body's justlike all right sure Your brain
is incredibly good at trickingyou.

(33:37):
That's really interesting to me.
I really like that And that'sgood advice.
I think the idea that for anyof these things, that it's like
a one size fits all kind ofthing, like I just don't think
that works.

Speaker 2 (33:48):
That's why I think too many people are looking for
like the cure.
I think the most relevantexample that I've ever heard is
like there's not going to be asingle cure for cancer.
It's going to be a differentcure for each type of cancer
That can apply to everything.
Like there's not going to be asingle cure for stress.
It's going to depend on who youare, what type of stress you're
facing.
There's not going to be asingle way to grow your crops.

(34:08):
It depends on what type of cropyou're growing.
There's not a single best wayto do anything.
It's very individualistic.

Speaker 1 (34:15):
No, i love that And it's like, and I know, as humans
or as researchers, we like toboth, you know, not just reason,
i mean, everything is sort of a.

Speaker 2 (34:26):
What do you mean?
researchers or robots?

Speaker 1 (34:28):
Well, yeah, no right, yeah, and we write like that
right.
Yeah, which is the dumbestthing, but like and I guess
everything is sort of a I don'twant to say it an effect of like
we can say well, research islike this, but research is like
this because we're like thisright, like it's an effect of
how we are.

Speaker 2 (34:47):
Yeah, there's been a lot of issues that I've taken
with academia.
I know like there have alwaysbeen problems with academia, but
I particularly am of like sortof a younger generation and we
sort of came in or like, wow,this is all bad and are like
trying to fix it.
And the main pushback that I getanytime I try to fight
something is well, this is howwe do it in research, This is

(35:08):
how we do it in neuroscience.
I'm like, but why?
And like we're all people,neuroscience isn't some giant
concept.
It's human beings studying it.
Like we can change it, We cando things differently, but some
people don't want to do that.

Speaker 1 (35:22):
No, i get it.
No, i understand it.
I'm with you.
I think that you know there arethings that, like, when we see
that they need to be changed,they need to be changed.
And one of those things which Ithink, where I started going
with that before I came quicklyoff the rails, which is, for
anyone listening to this showknows, like, that's just how I
am.
That's the fun of it.
It's the fun of it, right?
We like to distill things downto like very simple answers to a

(35:45):
point in space because they'reeasy to digest, right, like, do
this?
this is what happened.
Water your plants and they'rehappy.
Okay, but that's.
There's more than that, right?
How often do you water?
in what context?
How heavily?
like what kind of soil is it in?
And like we don't like to letcomplicated things be
complicated, and I think thatwhat you're talking about, in

(36:08):
the way that you're talkingabout approaching it, i think is
very much that Like let's takethese complex issues and Let
them be complicated and try totackle them as a whole, which I
think is really cool.

Speaker 2 (36:21):
Yeah, but I think part of the issue is that
researchers especially don'tlike not having answers.

Speaker 1 (36:26):
Right.

Speaker 2 (36:26):
We got into this job specifically to get answers And
I'm sure, as we both know, themore that you learn, the more
you learn that you don't know.
So I've even been told thiswherever I'm doing science
communication, like I do a lotof outreach work, and I'm told
that wherever I'm speaking, liketo the general public, like
don't let them know when youdon't know something, like we
need everyone to, like we needto show that scientists know

(36:49):
what we're talking about Andthat it makes people
uncomfortable if they ask you aquestion and you go.

Speaker 1 (36:54):
we don't know.

Speaker 2 (36:56):
No one knows that.
we haven't looked at that.
No one knows, But that's thetruth of it.
No one knows certain.
there are certain things aboutthe world that no one knows.
That's why researchers stillexist.
Yeah And yeah.
it works that same way.
Whenever we're writing ourpapers, we're supposed to be
like we found the one solutionto everything, And that's why
you should give me the NobelPrize.

Speaker 1 (37:15):
Right.

Speaker 2 (37:15):
But yeah, there's not a single solution, and that's
okay.

Speaker 1 (37:19):
That's okay And it needs to be okay.
So this seems like a good timeto take a quick break And when
we come back we're going to talka little bit about science,
communication and some of theother cool stuff that Morgan
does.
Well, hey, welcome to themidroll.
As always, i'm glad you're here, i'm glad you've made it this
far And I hope you're enjoyingthe episode.
If you want to connect withplant apology, you can find me

(37:41):
all the places on the socialmedias.
I am on Instagram, twitter,facebook, as plant apology,
which is anthropology withappeal slapped right on the
front.
Look for the green backgroundwith a personal co-op pine, and
that'll be me.
You can also find me on Twitter, instagram and the tick tock
machine, as at the plant profit.
And I hope you like silliness,because because there's some

(38:02):
silliness And if you want tosupport the show, there's a lot
of ways you can do it.
First off, thanks so much forlistening.
I appreciate that That is thebest support that you could
possibly imagine, but you canalso tell your friends about
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If there's people that you knowthat love cool science and cool
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tell them why you like it.
You could leave a rating andreview in any of the places on

(38:26):
Apple podcasts, spotify, podchaser or anywhere else that you
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It means the world to me.
I wear a size five star rating,but I also would like for you
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If you want to be brutallyhonest, maybe don't do that in a
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Shoot me an email at plantapology pod at gmailcom, and I
would love to hear your thoughtsconcerns ideas for new episodes

(38:46):
or anything else.
If you want to financiallysupport the show, you can do
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(39:08):
merch, and there's a bunch ofcool stuff that you can purchase
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We're not picky.
Speaking of support, thanks somuch to the Texas Tech
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It is a blessing in my life andit has become such a huge part

(39:30):
of my life, and I could not doit without the support of my
department and my university.
Thanks so much to the podfictance network for letting me
be on there And with all theother cool family of shows we
have on podfix.
I don't have a trailer for youtoday, but I wanted to give you
a heads up about a couple ofgreat shows that are coming down

(39:51):
the pike.
I don't know exactly when it'sgoing to start, but sometimes
soon.
Morgan, who you have beenlistening to for the past little
bit, is going to start a showabout science called the method
section, and I will probably beon there at some point as well,
and don't you love to hear myvoice?
You listen to this podcast fora reason.
Also, my buddy Chesco, knownfar and wide across Al Gore's

(40:12):
interwebs as the speech prof,has a show coming out, i believe
on June 14 in the year of ourLord, 2023, called bad advice
Wednesdays.
He gets asked all the craziestquestions on social media And he
started doing this thing wherehe asks people to ask questions
and he gives them bad advice.
So he's bringing on differentguests and celebrities and

(40:34):
really cool people and askingthem to help give bad advice to
you, the listener.
So you know what you're gettinginto.
It's hilarious.
Chesco is such a good dude AndI know you would love that show
and you may hear my voice onthere eventually as well.
He'll be slumming when he hasme on, but he may do it anyway.

(40:54):
Anyway, you people are great.
Thanks for listening, thanks forbeing a part of this, and let's
jump back into the second halfof this episode.
What do you think?
Yeah, let's go.
So that's actually a greatsegue into talking a little bit
about the science communicationwork you do, because that's
something that like.
So we kind of got to know eachother a little bit through

(41:14):
TikTok, maybe a discord group,like all the kinds of stuff.
Like what made you want to dothat?
Because, objectively, like, wehave a lot of other things to do
as researchers and scientistsand academics.
But you know I'm there with you, that I love doing it.
But, like for you, what was itthat drew you to science
communication?

Speaker 2 (41:33):
So I grew up in 4-H, which I've heard other people on
your podcast talking aboutbefore, so I'm not going to go
too far into it, but one of thethings that was really instilled
on me while I was on 4-H waspublic speaking and like the
importance of learning how to dopublic speaking.
Because of that, i'm prettycomfortable like in front of a
crowd or like giving apresentation or filming myself,

(41:54):
and I know a lot of peoplearen't like.
a lot of incredibly smartpeople who like have stuff to
share with the world aren't ascomfortable doing those things.
So there needs to be someonewho is comfortable with it to
sort of like present it topeople.
I think that's why the field ofscience communication is
incredibly important, becausethere are scientists who are
doing good, amazing work whodon't necessarily know how to

(42:16):
communicate their science ordon't feel comfortable
communicating their science.
So there needs to be a group ofpeople who like understand what
they're doing and are also okaypresenting it.
And so that's sort of where Icame at it originally, and then
I did a lot of outreach work inundergrad.
where I was specifically, i waspart of a collegiate 4-H

(42:36):
program that went out to ruralschools and taught different
like STEM activities to kids totry to teach them different like
STEM concepts.
It's awesome.
Yeah, we did a lot ofengineering, which was way
outside of my house.
I tried to teach them how carswork.
I was like I don't know theywork if you twist a rubber band
around the tires.
But I did my best And that wasa really impactful experience

(43:01):
because kids have the bestquestions.
that you ever hear And they'llask you completely off the wall
things, and so you get a lot ofpractice.
That's really useful.
And then, whenever I starteddoing my graduate research is
exactly when COVID hit.

Speaker 1 (43:19):
Oh, wow.

Speaker 2 (43:20):
Yeah, so everyone was impacted by COVID.
The way that I was impacted islike whenever I would normally
have like gone to school, aschool was probably the worst
place you could be at that point.

Speaker 1 (43:31):
Yeah.

Speaker 2 (43:32):
And so my actually my boss suggested that I start a
YouTube channel to try to dosome science communication, And
because of that I started myYouTube channel and then I
started a TikTok to try topromote my YouTube channel and
then it became the main thingthat I do And originally I was
one of those people who sawTikTok as like a kids app.

(43:54):
My younger brother was on it andI was like, oh, it's for stupid
dances, i would make fun of himfor getting on it.
And then, whenever I hit 100subscribers or 100 followers, i
sent him a screenshot and I waslike, hey, look, i'm on your
stupid kids Right And afterbeing on it, i see how
incredibly important it isbecause a lot of academics I

(44:14):
don't know how well this isknown outside of the academic
circle use Twitter.
Their favorite academic Twitteris like a huge thing And I am
not that good at Twitter, but Istarted using TikTok and I
realized a lot of graduatestudents are on there, a lot of
undergraduates And even likehigh school students are on
there and are totally willing tolearn science.
They want to learn science Andthere's people on there who are

(44:36):
spreading misinformation.
People love it when you correctthe misinformation.
They do like like there's a,there's an audience for it And,
like the young people, they'renot using Twitter.
They're not looking up yourresearch papers that you're
sharing.
You're the academic Twitter.
You're only reaching otheracademics, right, which is a
really hot take.

Speaker 1 (44:56):
No, no, no, I'm with you for sure.

Speaker 2 (44:59):
So so I really like using TikTok as a platform for
science communication becauseyou're able to reach the younger
people.
The other thing that'sincredibly important for me, now
that I've started doing theonline science communication, is
, like I said at the beginning,i came from a very small town.
I came from a town of about 200people.

Speaker 1 (45:15):
Oh, wow.

Speaker 2 (45:15):
Yeah, so a tiny town And one of the big things
growing up I had never seen ascientist aside from like, maybe
like a movie mad scientist.
The only scientist I couldthink of was like a medical
doctor, and so for a long time Ilearned to be a medical doctor
because that was all I couldthink of.
And then I got to college, idiscovered research and that's,

(45:37):
i realized, like that's theexperience of a lot of people
came from small towns.
They they haven't seen whatresearch is and they don't have
the opportunity to see us, likethere's not a big college, like
in their neighborhoods that theycan go volunteer at, and so by
doing outreach online, you'reable to reach those people who,
like otherwise, would not havebeen able to see a scientist.

(45:57):
Like I can't go visit everysingle small town that's out
there, but I can send links toteachers, i can send my videos
to teachers, like, so it'seasier to get to those
communities that need it themost.

Speaker 1 (46:11):
Yeah, and that's so important And you're right that,
like you know, we have.
You know, lubbock, where we arenow, is a fairly large city but
like there's so much ruralTexas around here And yeah, and
it's interesting when they cometo campus for stuff, like we've
been doing the past few weeks,there's a lot of FFA contests

(46:31):
that go on that happen on campus.

Speaker 2 (46:34):
I saw some FFA kids at a Starbucks and I brought
back some memories.

Speaker 1 (46:38):
In fact I hear at the greenhouse we there was a
contest this morning, there wasone last weekend, there was one
the weekend before like it'sbeen hectic But some of these
kids coming out of, like yousaid, towns with a couple
hundred people, more cows thanhumans in these towns, like it's
all so new and big And it's soimportant that they're exposed

(47:02):
to it, but that is such a smallgroup of students that get the
opportunity to come and do it.
So I love what you're saying oflike take the education to them
where they are, where it needsto be.

Speaker 2 (47:12):
Right And the groups of students who do stuff like
that.
I get asked a lot.
I get a lot of research grantsbased on having come from a
rural community, because there'snot a lot of people from rural
backgrounds in science wheretypically, like I've experienced
some discrimination based onjust purely being from like a
small town And then also, like Isaid, like there's not a nearby

(47:33):
university, not a lot of peoplefrom small towns like end up
going to college because of likemoney and stuff.

Speaker 1 (47:39):
Yeah.

Speaker 2 (47:40):
And so the thing is, though, people will ask me like
oh, how did you get out?
And I'm like it's not byanything that I did.
I was in an incrediblyprivileged situation where I was
in organizations like 4-H.
I was in FCCLA Yeah, FCCLA,which is like the home ec

(48:00):
version of.
FFA Yeah and I, and throughthose things I was able to go to
colleges and see things as likea junior senior in high school
And those things sort ofpropelled me towards college.
There were other kids who wentto my high school, who were just
as intelligent as I am, just asdriven as I am, but maybe their
parents that have as much moneyas my parents sure.

(48:23):
Their parents weren't as likesupportive of the idea of going
to college is mine.
So yeah, to be able to getthings to those kids who Don't
have as many opportunities asthe more privileged kids is
really important to me.

Speaker 1 (48:36):
Super cool, yeah, no, i love it.
I love it.
So what I you know, and I askedthis question.
I don't ask this question allthe time, but I ask it of People
in grad school a lot because Ithink it's important for other
people listening, like, as yougo through the process, like
this is.
this is a big Undertaking,right?

(48:56):
there's so much that goes intoit, from writing and research
and Trying to sleep and try notto pull your hair out, all those
kinds of things like Why do you, why are you doing it?
What, where do you want to gowith it?

Speaker 2 (49:10):
so that's a really big question.
And Um, originally I got intograduate school because I wanted
to become a professor.
Um, i think I made it clearthrough my science,
communication stuff that I'mreally passionate about
educating people.
Um, i had a lot of professorswho were extremely influential
on me and that I would not havemade it through an undergrad
without them, and so I reallywanted to become that person for

(49:32):
other people.
Yeah, the more that I see ofthe inside of academia, the less
I'm on board with that plan.

Speaker 1 (49:41):
Sure.

Speaker 2 (49:41):
So right now I'm sort of floating in the wind.
I'm floating the idea of goingmore of the science
communication route and maybeMore like a consulting or like I
don't know, like TV or podcastor media of some sort, also
because those things are aimedmore towards the general public,
like the people who are atcollege Already have this drive

(50:05):
to learn the things.
Um.
But also there's still a bigpart of me that would love if
being a professor Purelyconsisted of being a professor.
That is my dream job, but itconsists of a lot more than that
it does, it does and it it is.

Speaker 1 (50:24):
I Understand that emotion a lot because, like as
someone who is kind of professorguy, although not I don't do
much research, i'm not, i'm not,i'm teaching faculty, i'm not a
research faculty and that'skind of what I would rather,
because the research side ofthings When you're like in
graduate school, it's reallyexciting.

Speaker 2 (50:42):
There's a lot going on, there's a lot of research
that you do, but whenever youget to the professor level, all
they do is write grants.

Speaker 1 (50:49):
That's what it feels like.

Speaker 2 (50:50):
Yeah, and I do not want to do that.

Speaker 1 (50:53):
You're preaching to the choir here I am.
That is not my thing, you know.
It's one of those things like,i'm sure and if my Department
chair listens to this, i'm surehe would be happy if I wrote
more grants But like I feel likemy skills lie in teaching and
so that's where, that's where Iam, and but I understand that
feeling too of like There is somuch Baggage that comes with the

(51:17):
good things we get to do inacademia that sometimes it's
Daunting and a little bit like,oh, you know, i, you know, my
encouragement to you would justbe that, like, you can have that
, you can have what you want inacademia.
But that doesn't mean that andI think this message is just for
other people listening to Butthat doesn't mean that you have
to like there is so much of aworld outside of these, like

(51:40):
walls, so to speak.

Speaker 2 (51:42):
That's fair, that's sure.

Speaker 1 (51:43):
Yeah, but no, i think that's cool And I love that.
You know science, communicationand media and outreach and
those things are kind of on yourbrain And you know also and I
know that's like a big questionI sort of ambushed you with and
I apologize, but but but it'salso good to hear, i think, for
people that are in it orconsidering it.
Or You know, we I think I'llget to points in our academic

(52:05):
career, especially these gradstudents We're just like what am
I even doing?
You know?

Speaker 2 (52:09):
and I I do think the big thing is to at the very
least know what you'repassionate about.
Yeah because there have been somany times where I have I mean
every graduate student that theythought about quitting.
Oh yeah and every time I comeacross one of those, i'm just
thinking What do I want to do?
and not just like career-wise,but like emotionally, what would
be fulfilling to me?

(52:30):
and Becoming some form of aneducator is what would be
fulfilling to me, and to do thatI have to get through this.

Speaker 1 (52:37):
Yeah, yeah, i hear that.

Speaker 2 (52:39):
But if I didn't have that some form of a passion or a
light at the end of the tunnelI I don't think anyone would be
able to make it through gradschool without that because it's
a lot.

Speaker 1 (52:48):
It is a lot, okay, i'm gonna.
I'm just trying to come up withlike a random question to ask
you that's plant related, okay.

Speaker 2 (52:55):
Do you have?
houseplants so I Have what Ihave decided to call a selective
green thumb.
So, growing up, my mom killedevery single plant that we had
in the house, and I would alwaysbe so upset about it because I
was like why can't our house bepretty?
and like, have cute littleplants everywhere?
And then whenever I went tocollege, i filled my dorm with

(53:18):
plants.
Yeah, I was such a good plantparent like I had, like all of
like the rare ones and the onesthat are hard to keep alive and
I Have a watering schedule and Iwas so good at it.
And then I got cats.

Speaker 1 (53:30):
Oh no.

Speaker 2 (53:31):
Yeah, and one of my cats in particular decided there
was his mission to eat everysingle plant that I have my
goodness and at one point wewent to California, to the
redwoods and.
I got a bunch of redwood seedsand I was so excited.
I was like I'm going to have aredwood plant.
I'm gonna make like I'm gonnagrow a tree.
I was so excited.

(53:52):
I grew four of them.
I managed to get them togerminate and sprout, the sprout
, the sprouts And um, and I putlike a bag over them to like
protect them from the cats.
And then I came home from workone day and one of my cats had
knocked them over and used as alitter box.

Speaker 1 (54:09):
Oh my goodness, cats are like the great destroyers.

Speaker 2 (54:12):
They are plants.

Speaker 1 (54:13):
That's amazing And not a good way.

Speaker 2 (54:16):
So ever since then I haven't had a house plant.
But what I've started doing isI keep a plant in the lab
because, no one can mess with itthere.
And what now?
as a plant person, you mightthink this is torture, because I
don't know how how okay this isfor a plant.
But I looked up what plantssurvive the best in fluorescent
lighting because our lab doesn'thave windows and uh, i found

(54:40):
out that air plants, that Ithink they have a technical name
, but, um, they grow really wellwith just fluorescent lighting.
So I have one that I keep on mydesk that it all that it gets
is our poor lab lights, but itdoes pretty well.

Speaker 1 (54:53):
You know they're.
I mean, if you look at like theshelf behind me, i have my one
little grow bowl, but mostlythey get fluorescent light too
and they, you know, i think it'sfunny There are And this is
maybe an interesting, justbiology thing in general like we
have Best management practicesfor plants.
It's like you should do thisand you should do this, but kind
of like we were talking aboutearlier, it's like the plants

(55:15):
don't really care about our bestmanagement practices, like yeah
, we'll have some that just dothe thing.
You're like there's no reasonyou should be living in here and
the plant's like I just.
I really don't care exactly.

Speaker 2 (55:26):
They just don't have vibes and you just have to go
with it.

Speaker 1 (55:29):
Yeah, you just go with it.
Now, i like the, i like havinga lab plant and I'm, you know, i
know that I am fortunate as aplant person to work in a
greenhouse.
But, like I'm thinking, like,if I move offices, how am I
gonna like?
what am I gonna take with me?
What's gonna, what can survive?

Speaker 2 (55:43):
Well, you should do one of the old labs that I
Worked in.
Someone had decided to grow atree in that lab.
So it was like potted andoriginally it was maybe like up
to like an adult's waist, so itwas very easy to like carry into
the lab.
Whenever they moved labs Theywere with them.
But it was a tree and so like.
Eventually it grew so that it'sso big that you couldn't fit it
outside of the door, and sothey just left it.

Speaker 1 (56:09):
I like that, that there's.
There's just a tree in thisroom.

Speaker 2 (56:11):
So you can just make your mark on the university.
Just grow a tree that are toobig big to get out of clout.

Speaker 1 (56:17):
That's actually really funny because like
There's I don't know if you'veever heard the term gorilla
gardening where people will goand like plant wildflowers and
empty lots and things like that.
I really like the concept oflike planting trees inside
offices and college classroomsthat people come back from like
summer and they're like How, whyis this here?

(56:38):
and they can't get it out.
I think, that is really funny.

Speaker 2 (56:42):
Put some idea, that would really bother.

Speaker 1 (56:44):
Yeah, just like the walls are covered with it when
they come back from From summerbreak or whatever That's.
That's pretty funny.

Speaker 2 (56:50):
I have never heard about gorilla gardening, but now
that you say it, me and mybrother used to do that to my
dad all the time.
My dad is very much one of thepeople who is like, oh, i'm
gonna have the perfect lawn,it's gonna be like that exact.
Like put, put a ruler out thereand like see how tall my grass
is, and me and my brother wewould take like every dandelion,
every like wild seed and wewould spread them everywhere.
One year my brother, through 4h, got a giant coffee can full of

(57:14):
sunflower seeds Yeah, like,like the actual ones that grow
flowers and he planted themeverywhere and my dad was like
why can't I mow through?

Speaker 1 (57:26):
It's like biological warfare.
Oh, that's so funny.
Um, so, just as we kind of wrapup the question, i like to ask
all my guests at the end andyou've, you've given some great
like pieces of life advice.
It's just just things thatyou've learned and I, and I
really appreciate it.
Um, but I like to ask, like, ifthere was one thing about

(57:47):
school or Your subject matter orjust whatever life in general
that that you would like ourlisteners to kind of take with
them, what would that be?
What like one thing would youwant to leave?

Speaker 2 (57:59):
That is a tough question.

Speaker 1 (58:00):
It is right.

Speaker 2 (58:01):
I think Two things.
Number one find what you'repassionate about and find the
best route to get there and.
Keep that in mind, like I havea book, like a notebook, that
anytime i'm starting to doubtwhat i'm doing or i'm not
feeling great or maybe like it'sbeen a really rough week, i'll
go in it.
I'll write down What am Ipassionate about, why am I doing

(58:24):
this, and I guess you couldcall that journaling.
Sure Yeah it's specificallydedicated to that, and then, if
i'm feeling really bad orfeeling really down, i can go
back and look at it and be like,okay, this is what i'm
passionate about, this is whyi'm doing this, this is why i'm
going through this, and that'sbeen incredibly helpful.
My second thing is Get plantsthat are safe for cats.
There are a lot of plants outthere that are not safe for cats

(58:48):
, um, and cats will still eatthem, so make sure your plants
are safe for cats.

Speaker 1 (58:53):
I love that.
That's that's great And it'sreally actually very good advice
, because the plants don't orthe the cats don't care.

Speaker 2 (59:00):
They don't.
They'll eat anything.
They'll eat anything.

Speaker 1 (59:02):
Yeah, i like it.
That's really good advice.
Um morgan, where can peoplefind you?

Speaker 2 (59:08):
So I am on tiktok, instagram and youtube as ask a
neuroscientist, and then i'm ontwitter as ask a neuro, and
that's where you can find a myscience communication stuff.
Uh, right now I'm trying to onyoutube, do like a neuroscience
101 series.
That's very much meant forPeople who know absolutely
nothing about the brain oranything about science.
So, um, i really recommend thatif you're curious about how

(59:31):
your brain works.

Speaker 1 (59:32):
Yeah, that's awesome, lots of fun.
Um, so look for links for allthose things in, uh, the show
notes of this episode.
but, morgan, thanks for drivingsix hours to come be on this
podcast.
I appreciate it.

Speaker 2 (59:44):
I'll do it again in like a month.
Yeah, there you go.

Speaker 1 (59:45):
Perfect.
Y'all follow morgan sage adviceand make sure your plants are
cat safe.
Thanks so much for listening.
Thanks for being a part of this.
Uh, you know I do this for youand you know that I Enjoy
recording this show because youenjoy listening to it.
Thanks again to morgan forcoming on and giving us her
experience And her knowledge andher wisdom.
She's so much fun And I hopeyou really enjoyed that.

(01:00:07):
Uh, keep an eye out for themethod section when it comes out
.
Go follow morgan all the placesat ask a neuroscientist And uh,
just stay tuned for moreupdates.
Uh, thanks again to the podfixnetwork and to the tech tech
department of plant and soilscience.
Plant apology is recorded,written, edited and produced by
yours truly and uh, y'all youknow I love you so much.

(01:00:31):
Thanks for being a part of this.
Thanks for Uh listening, thanksfor being my friends.
Uh, definitely connect.
Uh send me messages.
I love it when you people sayhi.
Uh, keep being kind to oneanother.
If you have not yet been kindto one another, maybe give that
a shot.
It's pretty great.
And keep being really coolplant people.
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