The Liverpool Scientific
By Cara Hawkins
The Liverpool ScientificApr 21, 2021
CHRISTMAS SPECIAL: Big Data & Public Health with Iain Buchan
In this bonus Christmas special, Cara chats to Professor Iain Buchan about his work using 'big data' to inform public health policy. Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Iain and his team have provided analysis of large datasets to understand how the virus is spreading and how to contain it, as well as analysing the consequences of COVID-19 measures to plan for public health and economic recovery. This year, he also orchestrated the pilot testing events down at the Docks and in Sefton Park which helped provide information about the transmission of COVID-19. We discuss how his childhood experiences of living in North Liverpool inspired him to follow a career in Public Health, the importance of using big data for good and the impacts of the spread of misinformation about COVID-19, as well as what he has learnt over the course of the pandemic.
S3 E2: Predicting Pandemics with Maya Wardeh
In this episode, Cara is joined by Dr Maya Wardeh, a research fellow in the Institute for Veterinary and Ecological Sciences, who uses machine learning techniques to study interactions between different species to try and predict where the next coronavirus might come from. We also talk about her most recent work that identifies potential sources of new coronaviruses and the artificial intelligence behind these results, her love for computer science and the importance of linking studies to allow a big picture view of the diseases that affect wildlife, livestock and humans.
S3 E1: COVID-19 & The Brain with Benedict Michael
In this episode, Cara chats to Dr Benedict Michael, a neurologist here at Liverpool who looks at understanding the biological mechanisms behind why certain patients infected with Covid-19 suffer from severe neurological issues like swelling of the brain. We also discuss how his research has changed since the start of the pandemic, his experience of studying at Harvard Medical School as a postdoc and what he’s learnt from working on front-line research over the past 18 months. z
This episode is part of The COVID Scientific, a bonus season of The Liverpool Scientific that focuses on the pioneering COVID-19 research at the University of Liverpool.
S2 E8: The Physics of Life with Peter Weightman
In this episode, Cara chats to Professor Peter Weightman about his work looking at how we can use the laws of Physics to understand the mechanisms that cause cancer, and how in turn this knowledge could improve cancer treatments in the future. We also chat about the wide-ranging nature of his research over the course of his 50 year career at Liverpool, his experience of learning with dyslexia whilst at school and the big biological questions he’d still like to answer.
S2 E7: Protecting Biodiversity with Jenny Hodgson
In this episode, Cara sits down with Dr. Jenny Hodgson, a conservation biologist at Liverpool who uses theoretical models of how species in certain habitats will adapt to the effects of climate change and habitat loss in order to help conservation organisations direct resources in the most effective way. In this episode, we talk about the importance of using land sustainably, her childhood interest in the natural world and how farms in the UK are helping to promote biodiversity.
S2 E6: Glaciology with James Lea
In this episode, Cara sits down with Dr. James Lea, a glaciologist working in the Department of Geography and Planning here at the University of Liverpool who uses a combination of satellite images, numerical modelling and fieldwork to predict the past, present and future changes of glaciers around the world and understand their impact on our environment. We also talk about the wide-ranging effects of glacial melting as a result of climate change, his favourite glaciers (including Kangiata Nunata Sermia in Greenland) and his work as chair of the LGBTQ+ staff and postgraduate network here at Liverpool.
S2 E5: The Psychology of Resilience with Kate Bennett
In this episode, Cara chats to Professor Kate Bennett of the School of Psychology here at the University of Liverpool about her work looking into what makes us more or less resilient, in particular studying the effects of issues like widowhood and bereavement on the mental health of older people. As well as her work on the psychology of later life, she is also involved in several studies looking into the psychological and social impact of COVID-19 on household members. In this episode, we discuss what ecological resilience is, the results of the Covid-19 studies so far and why Kate decided to pursue a career in psychology.
S2 E4: Materials for Nuclear Power with Maulik Patel
In this episode, Cara chats to Dr Maulik Patel of the Department of Mechanical Materials and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Liverpool about his work looking to understand the damage that radiation does to materials and to design compounds better at withstanding this for use in the Nuclear Power industry. In this episode, we discuss the promising radiation-stable materials he is exploring in the School of Engineering, his incredible experience of working at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and why he thinks nuclear power will remain a strong contender in today’s energy mix.
S2 E3: The Physics of Cancer Treatment with Laura Harkness-Brennan
In this episode, Cara chats to Professor Laura Harkness-Brennan about her work looking into how existing methods of radiation treatment like gamma-ray spectroscopy can be improved in order to provide the most efficient treatment of cancer, work that has led her to create a nationwide network of interdisciplinary scientists working together to tackle the challenges of cancer treatment. In this episode, we cover her incredible research, her decision to leave academia to spend some time working in industry and why outreach work has been so important to her over her career.
S2 E2: Oceanography with Jonathan Sharples
In this episode, Cara chats to oceanographer Professor Jonathan Sharples about his work applying Physics to explore the relationship between processes in the ocean, such as tides and currents, and the growth, distribution and characteristics of plankton populations. We also talk about his academic journey from Astrophysics to Physical Oceanography, what it’s like to take part in a research ‘cruise’ and the experience of seeing hundreds of dolphins in the Celtic Sea.
S2 E1: Drugs & Mental Health with Suzi Gage
In this episode, Cara chats to Dr. Suzi Gage, a psychologist and epidemiologist here at Liverpool, about her work looking at using population-size datasets to try and understand how using substances like cannabis, tobacco and alcohol can affect people's mental health. We also cover how she started her award-winning podcast 'Say Why to Drugs', which aims to debunk the myths surrounding different recreational substances and understand the science behind their physical effects.
S1 Bonus: 3D Printing with Kate Black
In this bonus, hour-long episode, Cara chats to Dr Kate Black about her research focused on Additive Manufacturing (also known as 3D Printing) where she works on developing new techniques that will allow us to 3D print a wider range of materials, like metals and ceramics. We also cover her background in Chemistry, her resilience in overcoming adversity during her incredibly inspiring academic journey and whether there will ever be 3D printers in every home.
S1 E10: The Ecology of Infectious Diseases with Mike Begon
In this episode, Cara chats to Professor Mike Begon about his work focused on understanding how wildlife populations are affected by infectious diseases, research that has taken him across the world. We cover his work on the Bubonic Plague in Central Asia, his new project looking at improving wellbeing in slum communities in Brazil and how his research has been affected by the global pandemic.
S1 E9: Antimicrobial Materials with Raechelle D'Sa
In this episode, Cara chats to Dr Raechelle D'Sa about her work developing antimicrobial biomaterials to prevent the adhesion of bacteria onto surfaces such as medical implants, whilst also reducing our reliance on antibiotics. As well as looking back at her academic career and time in industry, we also cover her work using this technology to purify drinking water in developing countries and how her team is now developing new antiviral materials to aid in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.
[Note: the joys of recording over online video platforms mean there were some audio issues during the recording of this episode which is why it sounds a bit muffled at certain points - I hope you still enjoy the episode though!]
S1 E8: Muscles, Ageing & Microgravity with Malcolm Jackson
In this episode, Cara is joined by Professor Malcolm Jackson to chat about his ground-breaking 'MicroAge' research, a project that is looking to understand how we age by sending muscle cells up into Space. We also cover his journey from studying Biochemistry as an undergraduate to his work at Liverpool today, and the importance of a healthy lifestyle in maintaining a good quality of life as we get older.
[Note: the audio is a bit scruffy for the first few minutes, but it goes back to normal for the rest of the episode!]
S1 E7: Accelerator Science with Laura Corner
In this award-winning episode, Cara chats to Dr Laura Corner about her work focused on applying laser technology to particle accelerators in the Department of Engineering at Liverpool and at the Cockcroft Institute. We also cover her family's tradition of studying physics, how plasma wakefield acceleration works, and how producing a hologram in labs led her into a lifelong career studying laser physics.
S1 E6: Game Theory with Rahul Savani
In this bonus, hour-long episode, Cara talks to Professor Rahul Savani of the Department of Computer Science here at Liverpool about his work applying Game Theory to real-world situations such as financial markets and the politics of cleaning up space junk. We also cover his academic journey to his role today as Professor of Economics and Computation, why he turned down the world of commerce for academia and how he'd like to understand more about how deep-fakes are developed.
S1 E5: Space Engineering with Stefania Soldini
In this episode, Cara chats to Dr Stefania Soldini about her work developing advanced Astrodynamics, Guidance, Navigation & Control algorithms for controlling the movement of satellites around small celestial bodies, as well as her role working on the Japanese Space Agency's Hayabusa2 Mission. We also cover the European Space Agency mission she is involved with which is looking to find out how well we can deflect an incoming asteroid away from Earth, and why she is passionate about making Space more accessible.
S1 E4: Astrophysics & Extinction with Steve Longmore
In this episode, Cara talks to Professor Steve Longmore about his work using astrophysics technology to help ecologists understand and track changes in the populations of endangered species. We also cover his astrophysical research focused on understanding how our universe has evolved over time, as well as his academic career and the BBC Wildlife documentary he has recently been involved in.
S1 E3: Volcanoes with Janine Kavanagh
In this episode, Cara sits down with Dr Janine Kavanagh, a volcanologist in the School of Earth, Ocean and Ecological Sciences here at Liverpool, who studies how magma moves under the Earth's crust. We cover how she became a volcanologist, her favourite volcano and the excitement (and fear!) of watching a live volcanic eruption in Japan.
S1 E2: Infectious Diseases & Climate with Matthew Baylis
In this episode, Cara sits down with Professor Matthew Baylis to discuss his research understanding how infectious diseases are being affected by climate change, as well as his work with the HORN project, an initiative which is training early career researchers in the Horn of Africa. We also cover his journey from Oxford to the wilderness of Kenya to his work in Liverpool today.
S1 E1: Particle Physics with Tara Shears
In this episode, Professor Tara Shears joins Cara to discuss her research at CERN's LHCb experiment, as well as her journey into Particle Physics, her pioneering outreach work and her lifelong aim to understand the true meaning of 'dark matter'.
Trailer: Welcome to The Liverpool Scientific
Hello and welcome to The Liverpool Scientific, the podcast that meets the incredible people behind the cutting-edge research happening here at the University of Liverpool.