People Behind the Science

People Behind the Science

Are you searching for stories to ignite your curiosity, inspire your mind, and make you laugh along the way? Dr. Marie McNeely introduces you to the brilliant researchers behind the latest scientific discoveries. Join us as they share their greatest failures, most staggering successes, candid career advice, and what drives them forward in life and science.


September 6, 2021 58 min
Dr. Robert Malenka is the Pritzker Prof. of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Director of the Pritzker Lab, and Deputy Director of the Stanford Neurosciences Institute at Stanford University. He studies how brain cells communicate with each other via chemical and electrical signals, how connections between neurons (synapses) work at a molecular level, and how nervous subset, changes occur (plasticity). Rob is also an avid tenni...
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Dr. Wakenda Tyler is an Associate Professor in Orthopaedic Oncology and Metabolic Bone Disease and Adult Reconstruction at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Wakenda is an orthopedic surgeon with a clinical and research focus on cancerous tumours found in bones, tendon, soft tissue, ligament, and muscles. Wakenda likes to spend her free time running (especially in charity races), snowboarding, skiing, hiking, scuba diving,...
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Dr. Peter Crane is the Carl W. Knobloch Jr. Dean of the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and Professor of Botany at Yale University. He studies fossil plants, particularly plants from ~ 130 million years ago, to learn about plant evolution and the evolution of flowering plants. Peter also compares fossil plants to those alive today to understand the relationships between historic and present day plants. Outside work, he...
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Dr. John Whyte is Founding Director and Institute Scientist Emeritus at the Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute, as well as the Founding Director of the Responsiveness Program at the Drucker Brain Injury Center at MossRehab. The goal of John’s research is to help people perform the tasks and roles they are interested in doing, regardless of any diseases or disabilities. Much of his work has focused on traumatic brain injury. Out...
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Dr. Luke O'Neill is Professor and Chair of Biochemistry in the School of Biochemistry and Immunology at Trinity College Dublin. He also authored three popular science books and co-founded the company Inflazome. Luke studies the immune system, focusing mainly on understanding and developing treatments for inflammatory diseases like Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and COVID-19. ...
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Dr. Cassandra Extavour is a Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard University. She is examining the evolution of embryonic development to understand how genes direct cells during development to become different kinds of cells. She is also passionate about music. Cassandra enjoys listening to music and is a professional singer as well. Other activities that occupy ...
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Dr. Aleix Martinez is a Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Director of the Computational Biology and Cognitive Science Laboratory at the Ohio State University. To better understand the brain, his lab uses fMRI and computational methods to understand what areas of the brain are activated or work together to solve certain problems. Some of Aleix's favorite activities outside of science are hang...
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Dr. Carolyn Bertozzi is the Anne and Robert Bass Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Chemical and Systems Biology and Radiology at Stanford University. She is also an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Her lab develops tools from chemistry that can be used to study biology with the goal of ultimately creating new molecules that can cure diseases and help us live better, healthier lives. She has 3 sons, and she...
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Dr. Darryl Boyd is a Research Chemist in Optical Sciences at the US Naval Research Laboratory. He is also STEM Director at the Transformational Education Adventure Center and STEM instructor at Roots Charter School. His work focuses on developing materials that transmit infrared light, particularly leveraging properties of sulfur. He is also dedicated to STEM outreach. Outside science, he enjoys writing, playing trumpet or saxophon...
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Dr. Umesh "Umi" Venkatesan is an Institute Scientist and Director of the Brain Trauma and Behavior Laboratory at Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute. He studies behavior and cognition in people with neurological disabilities, particularly after traumatic brain injury. The arts have always been a big part of Umi’s life as well. He is a classically trained singer, has practiced Indian classical dance since the age of 5, an...
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