By Mishka Narasimhan and Will Leidig
(The political opinions of our experts do not necessarily reflect those of the entire Master Minds Podcast Team.)
Master MindsJan 12, 2022
Stopping the Clock with Dr. Erik Herzog
This week on Master Minds, we talked to Dr. Erik Herzog, Viktor Hamburger Distinguished Professor in Arts & Sciences and Professor of Biology at Washington University. Dr. Herzog is a chronobiologist - a scientist that studies how organisms create biological rhythms to help adapt to their environment. He is an expert on how the brain regulates circadian rhythms, which are physiological processes that follow a roughly 24-hour cycle. Circadian rhythms are relevant to nearly all other aspects of biology, including fluctuations in body temperature, hormone levels, and sleep as well as in the context of disease. Throughout the interview, Dr. Herzog explains the molecular mechanisms behind circadian rhythms and how a structure in the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) serves as the master clock for all cells in the body. He also talks about the ways in which circadian rhythms can be used to optimize sleep and performance.
Journey Through the Cosmos with Prof. Ramanath Cowsik
Professor Cowsik is considered by many to be the 'Father of Astroparticle Physics' for his invention of the leaky box model for the observation of cosmic rays and his discoveries characterizing neutrinos and dark matter as having a role in the Big Bang. The James S. McDonnell Professor of Space Sciences here at WashU, he has been compared to Enrico Fermi for his immensely productive career in theoretical and experimental physics. In this episode, we talk to Dr. Cowsik about the origin of the universe, dark matter, neutrinos, Grand Unified Theory, and more.
Rice, Research, and Russian Wolves with Dr. Barbara Schaal
Today, we will be learning about genetics and evolution with Professor Barbara Schaal, evolutionary biologist and the Mary-Dell Chilton Distinguished Professor in Arts and Sciences at WashU. A pioneer in the field of plant evolution, she was one of the first to apply molecular genetic techniques to understanding evolutionary processes. Professor Schaal has served as president of the Botanical Society of America, the Society for the Study of Evolution, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She has also served as vice president of the US National Academy of Sciences and as a member of President Obama’s Council of Advisors for Science and Technology, as well as received the National Science Board Public Service Award in 2019 for her work in national science policy and education.
Making (False) Memories with Dr. Henry Roediger
Today, we are taking a deep dive into the brain to learn about psychology of memories. We sat down with Dr. Henry Roediger, James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences here at WashU and co author of the book, “Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning”. Dr. Roediger has been a pioneer in studying memory accessibility and retrieval, particularly false memories. Our conversation spanned topics from improving the Navy SEAL’s training to testing the reliability of eyewitness accounts in court.
Preventing Cancer and Chronic Disease with Dr. Graham Colditz
In this episode of Master Minds, we sit down with Dr. Graham Colditz, epidemiologist and public health expert. Dr. Colditz is the Associate Director for Prevention and Control at Siteman Cancer Center and Chief of the Division of Public Health Sciences in the Department of Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine. He is also an adjunct professor of epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Dr. Colditz is an internationally recognized leader and researcher in cancer and chronic disease prevention and is currently the 4th highest cited researcher in the world with an h-index of 299. Throughout this episode, you will hear about Dr. Colditz’s background coming from Australia to the US, cancer epidemiology and prevention, and specific risk factors for cancer.
Admission to Med School and the Emergency Room with Dr. Greg Polites
In this episode of Master Minds, we sit down with someone who is somewhat of a celebrity among the pre-med students at WashU. Dr. Greg Polites is the founder of MedPrep, a series of classes that students can take to learn more about the field of medicine. He is, by training, an emergency medicine physician and currently serves as the chair of the central subcommittee on the Admissions Committee for the Washington University School of Medicine. Over the course of this episode, you will see how Dr. Polites’ love of medicine and love of teaching coevolved and led to his extensive career in both clinical practice and guiding students on their own journey into medicine.
Contagion, Cadavers, and The Human Comedy with Prof. Rebecca Messbarger
Mission to Mars, Venus, and the Moon with Prof. Raymond Arvidson
The Race Against the Virus with Dr. Michael Kinch
Blazing Trails in Academia (Literally) with Chancellor Mark Wrighton
Rat Economics 101 with Prof. Leonard Green
The Price and Politics of Healthcare with Dr. Karen Joynt Maddox
Dr. Karen Joynt Maddox is the co-director of the Center for Health Economics and Policy at the Institute of Public Health here at WashU. By trade, she is both a Duke/Harvard-trained physician and health policy researcher. She now focuses on how to best improve healthcare administration—Where should hospitals funnel the most money into? What is the most equitable payment model? How do we make care more accessible across vulnerable populations? If you have ever asked any of these questions, but like me, have also been too turned off by American politics to research this stuff yourself, this episode is so for you.
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Neuroscience: The Final Frontier with Dr. Nupur Ghoshal
Dr. Nupur Ghoshal is a physician-scientist and associate professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at the WashU School of Medicine. She primarily treats patients with neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Her research focuses on the tau protein, a molecule that forms neurofibrillary tangles in the brain and has shown to be a promising biomarker for Alzheimer’s. Dr. G is also a committed medical educator, holding many teaching positions throughout WashU at the undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate levels. In this episode, we discuss the exciting “final frontier”-like aspect of neuroscience and how doctors and researchers at WashU are revolutionizing care for patients with neurological diseases.
Curing Childhood Cancer with Dr. Abby Green
Dr. Green is a physician and scientist in the Department of Pediatrics at the WashU School of Medicine. Her practice and research focus on the etiology of genome instability in pediatric cancers and the resulting genome-protective responses, also called DNA damage responses, that are central to them. She spent her residency and fellowship at the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia and is double board certified in infectious diseases and hematology-oncology. Her journey to get where she is today is both exciting and impressive, and started at the mere age of 7 years old. In this episode, we discuss everything from how leukemia is diagnosed to how COVID-19 is affecting patient care.
A Perspective on Health Inequity with Dr. Julia Lopez
Today, I’m talking to Dr. Julia Lopez—public health researcher, licensed social worker, and instructor at the Washington University School of Medicine. Dr. Lopez focuses her work on addressing gaps in research and clinical care in the areas of sexual and gender minority health, racial disparities, HIV care, and women’s health. Her goal is to provide a platform for these populations through practice, research and community collaboration.
Candidate Matchmaking with Terry Crandall
Feet, Forks, Fingers, Sleep, Stress, and Love with Dr. Pankaj Vij
Today I’m talking to Dr. Pankaj Vij, wellness physician, speaker, and author of the book Turbo Metabolism. Dr. Vij is passionate about preventing and reversing metabolic diseases by treating their root causes. He is a Director of the Lifestyle Medicine Global Alliance and the Chief Architect of Crack the Wellness Code - a global community platform for health promotion. Personally, I’m interested in his extremely successful holistic approach to medicine.