In the news:
Episode 9: The helminth and its host: Are parasitic worms helpful or harmful?
We ventured into the wriggly world of parasitic worms in this podcast, and learnt about their interaction with our immune system and vice versa. The idea to look in more detail about the interplay between helminths and our immune system was inspired by the BBC4 documentary:
Unsurprisingly, Michael did not experience any improvements in his allergies once infested with a tapeworm, due to the fact most research highlighting the beneficial effects of parasitic worms on allergies/autoimmune diseases is not using tapeworms. We speak to Dr Rowann Bowcutt about the use of pig whipworm eggs to treat the autoimmune disease Ulcerative Colitis and why it is this worm that elicits beneficial effects for the condition.
We also spoke to Dr Mark Travis in this podcast about his research looking for novel ways to treat parasitic worms by manipulating the immune system. Mark’s research has featured in many articles:
Step forward in mission to tackle parasitic worm infections – Science Daily
Episode 8: The open access debate
In this episode, we are engaging in the debate on whether scientific literature should be freely available to anyone at anytime. Just after our podcast was released, ‘Science’ publishers have launched their own open access journal. This perhaps suggests in response to our question ‘is the transition to open access inevitable?‘, the likely answer is yes as the OA movement is ever-increasing!
AAAS Launches Open Access Journal – Science news
We asked Prof Jonathan Eisen in the podcast whether he felt young scientists may be resistant to the change, but here are two early-career scientists who are literally pushing for open access:
Push button for open access – The guardian
Even science minister David Willets is calling for a change to open access, suggesting publishers should charge less in subscription fees to Universities who are increasingly paying more gold open access charges:
Willets calls for publisher offsetting to encourage open access – Times Higher Education
Finally, after speaking to a large range of highly esteemed guests, we are now featured on Jonathan’s blog – ‘The Tree of Life’, and have been featured on The SPARC Weekly. The Scholarly Publishing Academic Resources coalition (SPARC) is an international alliance of academics and research libraries that work towards developing a fair scholarly publishing system.
Episode 7: The slow loris, a killer primate, and conservation
In this episode we hear from Prof. Anna Nekaris about the illegal trade of slow lorises and how various celebrities may have increased demand for this illegal trade through poorly chosen photo ops. Here are some articles relating to this issue:
Episode 6: The badger cull: Not so black and white
The badger cull has been the focus of a media storm, with almost every news avenue covering the topic, but here are a view snippets from the BBC and guardian:
Episode 5: November Movember, a month to remember!
After speaking to Dr Carsten Timmermann, I was intrigued to find out more about lung cancer and how the perception of a cancer type can very much influence funding and research. Here is an article where Carsten discusses:
Lung cancer surgery survival rates unchanged since 1950s – Manchester news
If you want to find out more about Nixon’s ‘war on cancer‘ and how it changed the way people viewed cancer, as discussed in the podcast, this article is a very interesting read:
Episode 4: Science in cells: Nobel prize and iGEM winners
Dr Lisa Swanton explains vesicle trafficking and its importance in cell physiology:
Cellular ‘shipping’ wins Nobel Prize – BBC News
Our latest podcast featured on the front page of Synthetic Biology Buzz #synbio due to our interview with the Manchester iGEM team who won ‘Best Human Practices’ for producing palm oil from bacteria!
The team also featured in our local student newspaper:
Biology team wins prize for synthetic palm oil – The Mancunion
Episode 3: Jurassic Park: The facts behind the fiction
Our guests, Prof. Terry Brown and Dr Dave Penney featured in the telegraph, discussing their inability to extract ancient DNA from insects trapped in amber:
This discovery called into question the likelihood of ancient DNA surviving from when dinosaurs roamed the earth, some 65 million years ago, and was further substantiated by palaeogeneticists led by Morten Allentoft at the University of Copenhagen and Michael Bunce at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia, who discovered DNA to have a 521-year half life. These results of the study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B were summarised in this article:
DNA has a 521-year half life – Nature News
Another study, however, have found traces of blood from the abdomen of a 46 MY old fossilised mosquito, suggesting mosquitos were blood-sucking pests even to ancient animals:
Blood-filled mosquito is a fossil first – Nature News
Episode 2: Interactions in science: Plants, soil and climate change plus science communication
After speaking to Prof. Richard Bardgett on the link between soils, land management and greenhouse gas emissions – and the potential to utilise different forms of land management to mitigate climate change, this article was published:
It seems like the UN Environment Programme agrees with the University of Manchester scientists!
Episode 1: Science behind compatibility
Check out the reviews on Prof. Dan Davis’s book ‘The Compatibility Gene’:
The Compatibility Gene by Daniel M Davis – review – The Guardian
The immune system, from the inside – The New York Times
In first episode, Dr Susanne Shultz discusses her recent paper on the evolution of monogamy in primates in our podcast, which is reported here:
Monogamy may have evolved to to prevent infanticide – ScienceMag News
She explains the opposing results discussed in this news article:
Conflicting results rekindle monogamy debate – Nature News