The future of GMOs
According to Jacob Moe-Lange from California Cultured, and Natasha Haveman from the UF Space Plant Lab, genetically modified food is the future. Both discuss the way that food is grown and how that is changing. Jacob takes us through cell-cultured chocolate, and the environmental and humanitarian benefits. Natasha forces our gaze upwards to the plant experiments happening in spaceflight conditions, where scientists are learning how plants adapt to new environmental stresses.
In this episode, Dodi puts forward her argument that plants are better than Conor’s mycelium. Who will win out? Let’s see.
The magical world of fungi (part 2)
Fungi are amazing in so many ways, and after learning that they could be used to build habitat on Mars, we had to have this bonus episode. Did you know that fungi can be used for building materials in low resource environments? Or that they could decrease the carbon in our atmosphere? Or that they could bring extra income for low-resource communities? Chris explains that he has been using mushrooms to make building materials in low-resource environments in Namibia. These materials prove even better than concrete.
Join Dodi and Conor for this episode on a truly amazing use of biology to solve our problems.
Women in STEM
March is the month of the Woman, and to celebrate International Women’s Day we speak with two agents of change who are passionate about opportunity and diversity within the sciences. Ruchi Sharma, CEO and Founder of Stemnovate Limited, and Sabrina Fleurimé, drug product development scientist and Corporate Partnership Director at BBSTEM, talk to us about what we can all do to become agents of change.
The years of dedicated work within their respective fields, have provided both Ruchi and Sabrina invaluable insights into not only where there remains a lack of opportunities but also where the scientific contribution of women is particularly paramount.
Biomimicry in space exploration
Sustained life and colonization in space is closer than ever, and biology holds the key. Biomimetic processes have applications for water filtration and for building homes on Mars. Jörg Vogel, VP of Open Innovation at Aquaporin, discusses how their Aquaporin Inside® Membrane Technology will help filter condensate and urine to make drinking water for astronauts.
We are also joined by Chris Maurer, an architect and founder of redhouse studios in Cleveland, Ohio. Chris is working on a project with NASA to build homes on Mars using mycelium.
Join Dodi and Conor for this truly ‘out-of-this-world’ episode.
Discovery Makers: Mustapha Bittaye
Meet Discovery Maker Mustapha Bittaye, a postdoctoral researcher at the Jenner Institute who helped create the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. Born in The Gambia, a scholarship took Mustapha to the UK to study microbial proteomics, and from then onwards he has made truly amazing contributions to global human health.
Conor and Dodi talk to Mustapha about his story, his truly brilliant mind, his hope for the future, including greater equitable access to vaccines across the world.
Meet Discovery Maker: Sebastian Falk
What drives a scientist? Well, according to Sebastian Falk, it is curiosity that drives him. Sebastian is a structural biologist who is leading a small research group investigating the structure and function of proteins, and how they work in RNA metabolism. In line with his curious-driven mindset, Sebastian also teaches at the University of Vienna where he is educating the next generation of up-and-coming scientists.
As part of our Discovery Makers series, Conor and Dodi discuss why Sebastian went into his research field, what motivates him, why he enjoys teaching, and what future research Sebastian is looking into.
Best of 2021
As 2022 rolls around the corner, we look back on the amazing topics we covered in 2021. Conor and Dodi were set an assignment to choose their favorite episode of the year, but as this was such a jam-packed year it made it very hard for them to complete their assignment. But as in all things, they delivered.
From fungi forays to an eye-opening conversation with Dr Joan Reede, President of the BSCP, Dodi and Conor discuss the best moments of the year, with a little input from the production team. Our podcast planner intern, Bethany shares her favorite episode, as does Thomas Henley our podcast editor and sound designer.
Stay to the end for a little surprise from us to you for the holiday season…
The pulse on the industry - BioPlan and the Biopharma Resilience Index
For this episode of Discovery Matters we are focusing on industry surveys and what they can tell us. This includes BioPlan and the Biopharma Resilience Index, huge reports providing insight into both the issues and opportunities facing the industry today.
Firman Ghouze, Cytiva’s Marketing Director in APAC, explains how the Biopharma Resilience Index came about, the industry issues it uncovers and potential solutions. We are also joined by Eric Langer, from BioPlan Associates, to discuss the BioPlan findings and how they echo many of the same themes. Finally, it was a delight to talk to Dr. Richard Wang, the founder and CEO of Neukio Biotherapeutics, who shares his insights as an industry leader.
This episode is an informative and accessible discussion on the state of the biopharma industry today. We discuss ways to tackle the most pressing challenges and how, if possible, we can best plan for the future.
Detecting sepsis: the role of single-cell
Single-cell sequencing is technology that is giving us new genomic capabilities. Dr. Luciano Martelotto joins us to explain how single-cell sequencing allows scientists to understand cells as building blocks, much like LEGO™, which form part of a much bigger structure such as an organ, a tissue, a disease, and so forth. Dr. James McLaren utilizes this technology to look at septicemia; in his work he is using single-cell analysis to better understand sepsis and to develop a rapid diagnostic test. Single-cell sequencing could hold the key to understanding why the body reacts to infections, and overall to help us advance healthcare.
Join Dodi, Conor and their guests, Dr. Luciano Martelotto, Scientific Director of Single Cell Lab at Harvard Medical School, and Dr. James McLaren, Systems Immunity lecturer at Cardiff University, in the latest episode of Discovery Matters.
Insects as biotech engines
We’ve talked about slime, seaweed, mushrooms, and now creepy crawlies. Insects are an important source of proteins in two forms: medicines and meals. Insect pupae can produce recombinant proteins that can be used for vaccines, which also has the potential to replace less sustainable raw materials. Insects are also excellent food sources, not just for bush tucker trials, but also doughnuts, croissants, oils, and hummus, all made from insect lipids.
Join Dodi, Conor and their guests, Dr. José Escribano, founder and CSO of Algenex, and Dr. Daylan Tzompa-Sosa, a researcher at Ghent University specializing in milk fat, in the latest episode of Discovery Matters.
Crossing the finishing line in biotech
We talk a lot about beginnings on Discovery Matters, but what about actually getting biologic drugs to people? Once the biologic is produced, aseptic filling and hybrid glass and plastic vials help to protect the biologic drug and the patient.
Join Dodi, Conor and their guests, Chris Weikart the Chief Scientist at SiO2 Material Science, and Ross Gold one of the founders of Cytiva's aseptic filling business, in the latest episode of Discovery Matters, talking about the end of the workflow.
mRNA – the talk of the town
Who (in the scientific community) would have guessed that mRNA would be such a popular word in everyone's vocabulary one day? Well, as Conor puts it, "all the research by the people on the edges of the scientific community for the past 20 years are really paying dividends."
Join Dodi, Conor and their guests, Clive Glover the General Manager of Gene Therapy at Pall and James Taylor General Manager in Vancouver for Precision NanoSystems, in the latest episode of Discovery Matters, talking about mRNA revolutionizing the genomics field.
Seaweed vs. climate change
Conor brings us into the world of slime: seaweed, agar, and algae. Algae gave us the atmosphere that we have today and is still coming to our aid against climate change. Photobiologist Peter Ralph, who once called himself Dr. Death, explains how algae has provided him with newfound hope for the future to solve climate change.
'Joan's Ideal': One real story - and advice - on inclusion in the sciences
The BSCP is working towards greater diversity and opportunities for people of colour and disadvantaged individuals within the biomedical and life sciences.
Join Dodi and Conor and their guest, Dr Joan Reede, for this important episode where we learn what more can be done by ourselves and the industry as a whole.
"You won't believe what happened next": a true crime special
How do you solve linked murders without witnesses? The answer, DNA.
In this episode of Discovery Matters, we have been inspired by the true crime genre. We discuss a 32-year-old cold case which was the first to be solved with DNA profiling, and a murder in Las Vegas that was solved with the smallest amount of DNA ever!
Join Dodi and Conor, and guest Kathryn Lamerton a former forensic scientist currently a Senior R&D Scientist at Cytiva, with a re-enactment helped by some of our colleagues at Cytiva for this exciting episode of Discovery Matters.
Innovating with intent
We adore happy accidents. But is that the only way to innovate? We talk to an innovation guru who's all about structure. Then we meet a scientist whose goal with innovation is to scale up. Enter the Testa Center in Sweden. Hear how it all comes together in this episode with Dodi and Conor.
The old biotech and the sea
Short and sweet - Conor brings an interesting story about role of horseshoe crabs in the pharmaceutical industry. Guest and subject matter expert is Ding Jeak Ling - or Lynne, as she prefers to be called. She is a professor at the Department of Biological Sciences National University of Singapore, and her main research interest is in Innate immunity and cancer immunomodulation.
The 5 R's in the life sciences industry
Sure, healthcare and pharma do a whole lot of good in the world - but this doesn't make us exempt from taking our plastic waste seriously.
So, join Conor and Dodi as they talk about the 5 R's with their guests:
Tom Szaky, Founder and CEO at TerraCycle; Cristina Peixoto, Head of Lab at iBET (Instituto de Biologia Experimental e Tecnologica, Portugal) and Joëlle Cristofani from Cytiva.
One hundred years of insulin and the future diabetes vaccine
After one hundred years of insulin, Ulf Hannelius, CEO of Diamyd, says we are on the verge of having a diabetes vaccine.
Citizen Science and the science of gamification
What's the science behind apps like Duolingo and Yousician? Gamification! And what happens when you apply this science to ... scientific discoveries?
Join Dodi and Conor and their guests, Zoran Popovic, University of Washington and Helen Spiers, Zooniverse.
Discovery Makers: Dorraya El-Ashry
What keeps a scientist going through doubts and difficulties? Rock-solid self-belief? The drive to save lives? Curious, we met some Discovery Makers. Next in the series is Dorraya El-Ashry who’s leading the battle against breast cancer.
Meet Discovery Maker: Robert “Bob” Lefkowitz
This episode almost became a 3 hour long one - Robert "Bob" Lefkowitz, PhD., is a phenomenal, infinite source of knowledge. Dodi and Conor are still in awe and deep appreciation for the time spent with the 2012 Nobel Prize laureate for Chemistry (shared with Brian Kobilka).
Dive in and listen to the #discoverymakers story of Bob Lefkowitz talking about humour, creativity and resilience in science discoveries.
Treating rare diseases with oligonucleotide technology
Remember our first episode on oligonucleotides, telling the story of Roy living with spinal muscular atrophy? We were so amazed by this technology, we promised to follow up at a later date - and today is the day! Listen to find out how Roy is doing today, and hear from Harvard medical doctor and researcher, Tim Yu and Nikki Reyes-McIntosh, mother of Miles who also lives with SMA and is treated by oligos.
The science of science denial
Why do some people embrace science while others ignore it? The answers might surprise you. Join Dodi, Conor, and guests as they tackle this question with COVID vaccines in mind.
The hidden world of fungi
Conor finally brings the 15 minutes of fame to fungi – mushrooms being second only to his ’microbiomania.’ We invite you to the beginning of the journey to understand fungi and mushrooms.
Best of Discovery Matters podcast 2020
We end 2020 a bit worse for the wear, but we learned every day. Discover our highlights from the inaugural year of this gnarly yet emotional science podcast.
Putting tumors on the map
Why can’t we predict who’s going to benefit from a cancer treatment, and who isn’t? Turns out we’ve been missing an important piece of the puzzle. Grab your explorer hat and pop it on your head, because we’re going mapping.
It all adds up: mathematical simulations in biopharma research
Computer simulation helps us design better cars before we make a physical model. What if we could use this technology to do the same for purifying new biotherapeutics? These podcast guests think we can and will by bridging math and biochemistry.
Breast cancer research in COVID times
In 2020 much of life has been paused. But breast cancer keeps going. In this podcast episode hear from Dr. Margaret Flowers at The Breast Cancer Research Foundation on the impact of COVID and how every woman can still look after her health.
Chill out: from cryotherapy to cryopreservation
What do cryotherapy, endangered species, and cancer patients have in common? You might want to grab your woolly jumper before joining Dodi and Conor in this week’s episode.
The making of a COVID-19 vaccine
In this episode of Discovery Matters podcast, we learn how researchers primed for a pandemic got a jump-start on developing a COVID-19 vaccine.
Biotech food industry inspiration
Biotech has taken inspiration from many places, including the food industry. Tune in as Dodi and Conor explore this topic and learn why biochemistry labs used to be near breweries. Cheers!
The ancient Greeks might have been right
In this bonus episode inspired by a popular UK podcast, Dodi, Conor, and guest Kaycee share fun facts about science from the Pleistocene to now.
The big thing about seeing small
Biology and telecom have more in common than we think. Dodi, Conor, and their guests draw parallels between seeing inside a cell and computing in the telecom industry. Learn what that could mean for our future.
The discovery of protein A
Is it possible to love one protein? Dodi and Conor learn that it is, in the special case of a protein that’s integral in purifying many of today’s biologic drugs.
Quantum biology: going subatomic
How do birds know where to go in the winter? And why are plants so efficient at making food? Dodi and Conor chat with researchers studying whether quantum biology might come into play.
How does your brain discover what it wants
Have you every felt terror in the grocery store, dodging the marketing blitz to find what you need? If so, you might relate to this podcast guest who’s also a neuro economist.
The artistry of vaccine development
Dodi and Conor chat with a scientist who fulfilled her childhood dreams, a professor with a passion for vaccine design, and a medical doctor turned pharmacovigilante. Tune in to learn what the heck that is and how vaccine development is like ballet.
Spinning out: from bench to biotech company
In this episode, Dodi and Conor chat about what it takes to spin a good idea into a successful biotech business. Interviews with an innovator and two people who help technology like his get off the ground.
Making sense of antisense oligo therapy
In this episode Conor tells Dodi about 4-year-old Roy Muhrbeck who was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Learn how an oligonucleotide (oligo) therapy helps Roy and where he is today. Ionis Pharmaceuticals’ Max Moore explains the science.
Scratched knees, smelly yogurt, and speedy wound healing
So, what does yogurt have to do with wound healing? In this episode, Evelina Vågesjö from Ilya Pharma helps Conor and Dodi see the connection. It’s all about getting help from our small bacterial friends, lactic acid, and chemokines. Tune in to learn how it all connects.
School’s never out: Educating the next gen biopharma talents
Education matters for sure. But what is special about biopharmaceutical education? And what does the future hold? Dodi and Conor are about to find out. Their guides in this episode are Killian O’Driscoll at NIBRT, Ireland, and Ron Kander at Thomas Jefferson University, US.
Fighting fake news in biotechnology: Sense about Science
Can you trust the scientific claims on products you buy? Conor's curiosity led him down a three-pronged investigation about what you can and should believe when it comes to science statistics and statements. His journey starts with Alex Clegg from the Sense about Science Ask for Evidence campaign.
Learning about blockchain in healthcare
Blockchain is everywhere. But what is it, really? And what can the blockchain technology bring to healthcare? Dodi and Conor unravel these questions together with Dr. Cathy Mulligan at Imperial College London in this week’s podcast episode.
Innovation: exploring cyborgs, jugaad, and inside-the-box thinking
Follow Dodi as she dives into the world of innovation. More specifically, the difference between talking innovation and being innovative. Meet Tobias the cyborg that likes thinking inside the box and learn what Goud has to say about the concept of jugaad in India.
Microbiome transplant: cooties can cure you
Conor has what he calls "microbiomania". Whatever the topic, he can bring it back to microbiomes in about three sentences. So, imagine his excitement when he got to meet up with two fellow microbiome enthusiasts, Colleen Cutcliffe, CEO of Pendulum and Jacques Ravel, professor at University of Maryland.
The Framingham Heart Study
During a lively lunch chat about the popularity of wearable fitness trackers, the curious question came up: where would healthcare be now if we’d been able to generate all this data 50 to 70 years ago? Dodi directly thought of the world’s longest running human study, the Framingham Heart Study, which is still ongoing after 70 years.
CAR T cell therapy: how it helped 2 brave young women fight cancer
This is a serious but inspirational story where a few brave souls blazed the trail and are now paying it forward. This is the story of Emily Whitehead, the first CAR T pediatric patient. And this is the story of Nicole Gularte, the leukemia patient who received CAR T cell therapy three times! You can support the Emily Whitehead Foundation here.
A map of humankind from the inside out—the Human Protein Atlas
We humans have been mapping things since the beginning of time. In this episode, Dodi takes Conor on an explorer’s journey. Their destination? The Human Protein Atlas project. Strap on your seatbelt—it’s a bumpy ride connecting the dots between explorers, chemists, geneticists…and even sociologists.
Bonus episode: The role of AI in healthcare, more specifically pandemics
A pandemic can start with a picnic. But can we prevent pandemics without cancelling feel-good gatherings? Enter artificial intelligence (AI) into the world of healthcare and life sciences. Dodi meets up with an AI expert panel and gets examples of the real potential of this very trendy topic.
A kidney surgeon who fixes the plumbing
The list of people needing kidney transplants is tragically long, and donor lists are desperately short. Conor and Dodi find scientists who are coming up with alternative solutions to this problem. Some enable transplantation of less-than-perfect organs, and others dream of 3D printing important organs.
How a Chinese hamster came to dominate production of biopharmaceuticals
Little did you know, but a single hamster has been a force of innovation and massive biomedical production. Scientists devote entire careers to so called CHO cells from this Chinese hamster’s ovary. Dodi and Conor talk with a couple of those scientists to figure out why this hamster rules the biopharma world.
How the hunt for a new way to make jam changed the way we make medicines
Dodi and Conor discover how jam played a part in paving the way for biopharmaceutical drugs. Sixty years ago, Swedish scientists happened upon a new method of protein separation through chromatography. The very same technique continues to be the foundation for modern biomedical manufacturing.
Trailer: Discovery matters…because it does!
Ever wondered what jam and hamsters have done for medical science? Or if there are 3D-printed kidneys? Prepare for mind-boggling discussions on scientific discoveries as two curious minds, Conor McKechnie and Dodi Axelson, chat with scientists, historians, and experts in the field of life sciences.