Dr. Dan Riskin is the host of the Animal Planet show about parasitic infections, Monsters Inside Me, and he also hosts a nightly science show broadcast in Canada, The Daily Planet.  Dr. Riskin studied vampire bats while earning his Ph.D., and to this day is still bat crazy. His career promoting science for general audiences and his entertaining and enthusiastic personality have led him to be a guest on various late night talk shows, and he is the author of the book “Mother Nature is Trying to Kill You”.  Dr. Riskin discusses various topics ranging from his bot fly infection, to the thrill of watching bats emerge from a cave, and touching on how to communicate science to a general audience, will make you want to keep listening!  The MicroCase for listeners to solve is about SouthEast Carwashian, a celebrity who gets a mysterious disease while spending time in a remote village filming an episode for her reality TV show.

 

Participants:

Karl Klose, Ph.D. (UTSA)

Dan Riskin, Ph.D.

Jesus Romo (UTSA)

Robert Richardson (Alamo Heights High School)

Jonathan Berman is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas Health San Antonio, and also one of the organizers for the March for Science.  The March for Science was an amazing global phenomenon that occurred on April 22, 2017, where people all over the world participated in local marches in support of science.  He discusses the genesis of this movement, the politicization of science, how to combat fake information on the internet, dealing with feedback through social media, and his favorite joke when he was a stand-up comedian. The MicroCase for listeners to solve is about Helen Wheels, a high powered international lawyer, who gets a mysterious disease when the passenger sitting next to her on an international flight is dragged off the plane.

Discussants (in alphabetical order):

Jonathan Berman (UTHSCSA)

Karl Klose, Ph.D. (UTSA)

Jesus Romo (UTSA)

Janakiram Seshu, Ph.D. (UTSA)

 

Jonathan Berman visited the Department of Biology at the University of Texas at San Antonio

Dr. Damian Krysan is a physician and an Associate Professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Dr. Krysan studies fungi, which in addition to their known roles in e.g. food spoilage and alcohol fermentation, can cause significant disease in humans.  Fungi typically cause serious and potentially fatal disease in immunocompromised people, which presents a challenge to the medical community to come up with ways to treat and prevent fungal infections in this population. Dr. Krysan is doing research to identify new anti-fungal medications. Dr. Krysan discusses fungi and fungal infections, the difficulty of identifying new anti-fungal drugs, and his interest in tiny bugs stemming from his father’s career as an entomologist studying bigger bugs. The MicroCase for listeners to solve is about LaFontaine Miraculous, the superstar baseball player with the San Antonio Fire Ants, who comes down with a mysterious illness after riding his ATV.

Discussants (in alphabetical order):
Dr. Karl Klose (Professor and director of STCEID, UTSA)
Dr. Jose Lopez-Ribot (Professor and Associate director of STCEID,  UTSA)
Dr. Floyd Wormley (Professor, STCEID, UTSA)

 

Dr. Sangkon Oh is an Investigator and Adjunct Professor at the Baylor Institute for Immunology Research in Dallas. Dr. Oh studies dendritic cells, which are critical cells of the immune system that are typically the first cells to recognize invading microbes and alert the rest of the immune system to develop a protective response to eradicate the threat.  In this regard, they act as a “burglar alarm”, and by manipulating and shaping the dendritic cell response during vaccination, the immune system can be coaxed into providing protection against not just invading microorganisms, but also autoimmune diseases and cancer.    Dr. Oh discusses some of the exciting possibilities of targeting dendritic cells to vaccinate against cancer and autoimmune disease, and philosophizes whether humans can keep curing diseases until they live forever. He talks about his passion for science that led him to sleep in the lab so he could do more experiments.  The MicroCase for listeners to solve is about Sally, who got very sick after eating a can of beans.

Discussants (in alphabetical order):
Dr. Neal Guentzel (Professor and Parliamentarian of STCEID, UTSA)

Dr. Karl Klose (Professor and Director of STCEID,  UTSA)