Dr. Travis Block is senior scientist at StemBioSys, Inc., a biotech company working on stem cell biology, and also the president of San Antonio Science, an organization that promotes science awareness. Dr. Block talks about the promise of stem cell research in treating various diseases, including cancers and degenerative diseases, and the challenges of developing technologies that can be affordable and useful for everyone. Dr. Block discusses ethical issues associated with stem cell research, whether humans can live forever, and how important it is for scientists to communicate to the public. The MicroCase for listeners to solve is about Lucia Ricardo, a first grade teacher who comes down with a mysterious illness after helping clean up a coastal town wiped out by a hurricane.

 

 

 

Participants:

Karl Klose, Ph.D. (UTSA)

Travis Block, Ph.D. (StemBioSys)

Neal Guentzel, Ph.D. (UTSA)

 

Dr. Anthony Griffiths and Dr. Ricardo Carrion are scientists at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute who work on some of the most dangerous viruses in the world under Biological Safety Level 4 (BSL4) containment. BSL4 is the highest form of biological containment that is required for viruses that have a high level of lethality and for which there is no cure. The ebola virus caused a huge outbreak in Western Africa in 2014 that led to over 11,000 deaths, and when an ebola-infected patient arrived in the United States it led to widespread panic.  Dr. Griffiths and Dr. Carrion are performing research with the ebola virus within a BSL4 laboratory, and are developing therapeutics and vaccines against ebola infections. Dr. Griffiths and Dr. Carrion discuss what it’s like to work in a BSL4 laboratory, what is the outlook for an effective ebola vaccine, and how to work with ebola-infected fruit bats in a BSL4 lab.  The MicroCase for listeners to solve is about Prickly Pete, a crusty ranch hand who comes down with a mysterious disease after Mrs. Butterworth, his favorite cow dies.

 

Participants:

Karl Klose, Ph.D. (UTSA)

Jesus Romo (UTSA)

Anthony Griffiths, Ph.D. (TBRI)

Ricardo Carrion, Ph.D. (TBRI)