The Symbiotic Podcast

The Symbiotic Podcast

Evolution is about more than survival of the fittest. It's also about the survival of the most cooperative. Join us as we explore the collaborative side of life sciences research and work to consciously evolve science itself. This podcast is a production of Penn State University's Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences. Watch the video versions, complete with cool animations at www.thesymbioticpodcast.com

Episodes

May 12, 2022 44 min

Laura Weyrich leads efforts to better understand the impact of diet on the communities of microorganisms residing in our mouths, and their influence on human health. In this livestreamed conversation, she talks about her work with Neanderthal teeth, the ethics of dealing with human remains, and shifts in human activity that have changed the makeup of our microbiomes.

Relevant Links

  • MicroARCH Lab Website
  • "The woman who loves the gu...
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    Dr. Steven Schiff has spent much of his career fighting the scourge of infant infection, especially in low and middle-income countries with minimal healthcare infrastructure. In this livestreamed conversation, he explains the difficulties of working in places like Mbale, Uganda and Hanoi, Vietnam; shares hard-won victories in treatment and prevention; and forecasts future possibilities.

    Relevant Links:

  • Steven J. Schiff, MD, PhD — Eng...
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    Nita Bharti is an expert on the interplay of population movement and disease and a pioneer in the use of unorthodox data sources to better inform public health decisions. In this livestreamed conversation, she shares her open-minded, intellectually curious approach to epidemiology on multiple continents, working with people, animals, and spillover events between the two.

    Relevant Links

  • The Bharti Lab of Human Infectious Diseases
  • Cente...
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    David Hughes has won a number of accolades, both from the academic world and in the mainstream media, for his work with PlantVillage. In this livestreamed opening episode of season three, Hughes talks about the factors in his life and career that have made him so effective and iconoclastic.

    Relevant Links

  • PlantVillage
  • Donate to PlantVillage
  • Fast Company: How one scientist is saving crops around the world via AI-enabled apps
  • David Hughes...
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    On November 11, 2020, we hosted three members of Penn State’s Center for Disease Dynamics, all of whom all of them are deeply involved in ongoing international efforts to piece together a bigger picture of how and why new viruses like SARVS-CoV-2 emerge and spill over from other species to our own.

    Related Links:

  • “How We Know The Coronavirus Wasn’t Made In A Lab” (Science Insider video)
  • Researchers identify evolutionary origins of SAR...
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    November 2, 2020 50 min

    On October 26, 2020, we teamed up with the hosts of the Podward State podcast to interview two members of Penn State’s coronavirus task force. Both have spent countless hours since that start of the pandemic doing all they can to help protect students, faculty, staff, and local community members in an ever-changing, endlessly challenging, and highly contentious environment.

    Relevant Links:

  • Penn State COVID-19 Dashboard
  • Huck Institutes...
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    October 20, 2020 39 min

    On October 19, 2020, we teamed up with the hosts of Podward State – a Penn State student-produced podcast, to interview researchers working on a profoundly collaborative project designed to measure multiple impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on residents and students in Centre County, PA.

    Relevant Links:

  • Data 4 Action sign-up page 
  •  Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences 
  •  Social Science Research Institute
  • Clinical and Translational Science...
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    On August 20, 2020, we spoke to an interdisciplinary team of scientists collaborating at the intersection of physics, engineering, materials science, epidemiology, and information technology. Their work holds the promise of new rapid identification diagnostics for SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses through enhanced Raman spectroscopy.

    Relevant Links: 

  • Understanding Virus Evolution Through Deep Raman Spectroscopy
  • NSF Convergence Grant to St...
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    September 8, 2020 55 min

    On June 8, 2020, we spoke to Riane Eisler and David Loye, two veteran systems scientists who have collaborated for more than 40 years as both researchers and marriage partners. In this wrap-up of a 2-part conversation, we explore the promise of partnership and perils of domination on the road to conscious social evolution.

    Relevant Links:

  • DavidLoye.com
  • Rediscovering Darwin by David Loye
  • Complete List of Books on Darwin by David Loye
  • Ria...
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    On June 8, 2020, we spoke to Riane Eisler and David Loye, two veteran systems scientists who have collaborated for more than 40 years as both researchers and marriage partners. In this first of a 2-part conversation, we unpack lost insights of Darwin and explore the basics of cultural transformation theory as a tool to evolve society.

    Relevant Links:

  • DavidLoye.com
  • Rediscovering Darwin by David Loye
  • Complete List of Books on Darwin by D...
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    In this episode, recorded in-person on February 4, 2020, we talked to a team of Penn State researchers and about the stunning advancements made in recent years in the field of electron microscopy. 

    Up for discussion was a short history of electron microscopy, including how the addition of cryogenics has enabled new materials and structures to be imaged, and how breakthroughs in certain scientific fields have enabled advances in some...

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    Aiming to better understand the efficacy of public health messaging in a pandemic, a team of Penn State researchers designed and deployed an unusually open-ended survey that has been translated into 23 languages and reached more than 73 countries. This episode recorded via Zoom on May 20, 2020.

    Relevant Links:

  • Penn State College of Medicine COVID-19 Survey
  • The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME)
  • CDC Coronavi...
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    In this episode, recorded via Zoom on May 11, 2020, we talked to Penn State personnel about their involvement with the Manufacturing and Sterilization for COVID-19 Project, or MASC. We discussed how University staff and researchers used their resources and expertise to produce and extend the effective life of personal protection equipment needed by medical providers during the pandemic.

    Relevant Links

  • Manufacturing and Sterilization ...
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    For this special collaborative episode recorded via Zoom on May 6, 2020, we partnered with the Democracy Works podcast to explore the dynamic and sometimes tense relationship between peer-reviewed scientific research and public policy decision-making. And we discuss how these tensions have been brought to the forefront by the coronavirus pandemic. 

    Our discussion focuses on the work of our guest Taylor Scott, Associate Director of t...

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    In this brief “special announcement” episode, Symbiotic Podcast host Cole Hons lays out the new direction and format for Season 2, a series of COVID-19 Research Briefs that explore radically open and transparent efforts currently underway worldwide to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Relevant Links:

  • Season 01, Episode 06: Confronting Global Outbreaks
  • Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences COVID-19 Research Response
  • AskCIDD.psu.edu (Center ...
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    February 27, 2020 72 min

    On February 4, 2020 as the COVID-19 virus began to go global, Cole spoke with three scientists from the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics to hear their perspective on the outbreak. The resulting conversation uncovers aspects of humanity’s complex relationship with viruses that don’t often reach the mainstream media. 

    Relevant Links:

  • Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics
  • McGraw Lab (Vector Biology Group)
  • Matt Ferrari Lab
  • The Bhart...
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    January 30, 2020 50 min

    In this episode, Cole and his guests discuss a transdisciplinary effort at Penn State to advance the printing of living tissues, from skin to bone to organs. Combining the efforts of engineers, nanotechnologists, and surgeons, the team has coined a new term – “intraoperative bioprinting” – to describe their approach.

    Relevant Links:

  • Bioprinting Lab
  • Machine sucks up tiny tissue spheroids and prints them precisely
  • Guests: 

  • Ibrahim Ozbolat...
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    December 19, 2019 57 min

    In this episode, Cole and his guests discuss Penn State’s launch of the world’s first Center for Parasitic and Carnivorous Plants. These fascinatingly strange organisms have much to teach us about the outrageous diversity of life - especially now that we have the capacity to study them at every scale, from the molecular to the ecological.

    Relevant Links:

  • The Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences
  • Guests:

  • Claude dePamphilis, Professor of...
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    This special live episode was recorded at SciWri 2019 - a national conference for science journalists hosted by Penn State in 2019. The panel featured a panel of ground-breaking Penn State researchers sharing their trials, tribulations, and hard-won best practices for trans-disciplinary life sciences research. The taping includes a live Q&A with the audience.

    Relevant Links:

  • National Association of Science Writers
  • The Geomicrobiol...
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    In this episode, we discuss a unique, collaborative research project that brought together experts in infectious disease and communications to explore appropriate interventions for reducing the threat of antibiotic resistance. Through a collaboration with Penn State's Student Health Services, a Big 10 campus became a living laboratory for the first stages of this innovative and important experiment.

    Relevant Links:

  • The bugs are ...
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