In the words of Dr. Ali Khademhosseini, "There is no question that tissue engineering will one day transform medicine.” After his first research experience at the University of Toronto, Dr. Khademhosseini fell in love with tissue engineering and its significant and life-changing impact on healthcare. Today, at the Terasaki Institute in Los Angeles, Dr. Khademhosseini focuses his research on developing various approaches to merge microfabrication techniques with hydrogel biomaterials to generate complex 3D tissues that mimic the natural cellular environment. In addition to being the author of more than 500 journal papers and speaker at more than 300 invited lectures, he is also the recipient of more than 60 major national and international awards and has been selected by Thomson Reuters as one of the World’s Most Influential Minds for five consecutive years. In this episode, Dr. Ali Khademhosseini tells us his story of discovery and passion for tissue engineering and shares some of his secrets for success. Are you in need of some inspiration? This episode is for you.
“Believe that you are resolving important things; if you do your work, you can change the world.” - Dr. Ali Khademhosseini
In 1846, Dr. John Collins Warren and William T. G. Morton performed the first public demonstration of surgery under an anesthetic. Today, anesthesiologist and statistician Emery Brown combines his fields of expertise and applies a computational approach to answer questions about neuroscience and to research how anesthetics interact with the central nervous system. Brown is a faculty member at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard, and MIT, and in this episode, he highlights that, while anesthesia practices in the operating room have evolved over the 175 years since Warren and Morton’s first anesthesia demonstration, medical understanding of how anesthetics work is still limited. His work pioneers a new approach to administering anesthetics to patients—by reading and using electrical activity in the brain to determine the appropriate dose of anesthetic. Brown’s curiosity is inspiring, as his exploration of diverse interests expands beyond biomedicine to foreign languages—in this episode, he also speaks on his approach to language learning and how he utilizes language learning in a clinical context. Music by Kevin MacLeod licensed under CC BY 4.0.
Have you ever felt demeaned, harassed, or humiliated at work? During their training, our future doctors and scientists may often encounter hostile work environments upheld by their supervisors. The academic culture emboldens the bullies and discourages students from speaking up when they experience harmful treatment. Why do bullies continue to thrive in academia, and how can the scientific community take action? In this episode, we discuss abusive supervision in academia with Dr. Sherry Moss, Professor of Organizational Studies at Wake Forest University, and Dr. Morteza Mahmoudi, Assistant Professor of Radiology and Precision Health Program at Michigan State University. We consult Dr. Bob Sutton, an organizational psychologist and author of “The No Asshole Rule,” and Dr. Steve Anderson, former Director of the Driskill Graduate Program at Northwestern University, to render a multi-layered perspective on the state of bullying in academia.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is considered one of the major innovations in the world of diagnostic radiology. By virtue of its flexible and noninvasive nature, MRI is one of the best tools we have to image the human body. However, conventional MRI scanners are gigantic machines that cost millions of dollars and weigh up to three tons - they are therefore limited in their distribution and point-of-care applicability. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could shrink conventional MRI scanners into portable machines that could be plugged in almost everywhere and provide imaging diagnostics in situations where it would otherwise be impossible? Does this sound like science fiction to you? Listen to this episode to learn how Dr. Clarissa Cooley and her collaborators at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging are working on transforming room-size scanners into TV-size machines that can be transported by cart.
How wonderful would it be if you could deposit your skin cells at a medical facility and get an organ you need within weeks, ready to be transplanted? For decades, scientists have relentlessly worked to recapitulate functionally and physiologically relevant human organs in the lab. Some approaches rely on engineering an unfeasible number of genes in cells or on external cues like growth factors and mechanical signals. But these organs are far from overcoming the barriers of complexity, reproducibility, and time sensitivity, and are thus not ready to be applied in the real world. In today's episode, Dr. Mo Ebrahimkhani, a scientist at Pittsburgh Liver Research Center, discusses how his team used a machine-learning algorithm (called CellNet) to engineer genetic nodes in the stem cells, resulting in the generation of human liver organoids in less than three weeks. Importantly, these organoids were able to capture the complexity of a mature liver. Also learn here how the body map of organs can contribute to the rapid advancement of the field of regenerative medicine. Inspired by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under CC BY 4.0.
Have you ever wondered whether the brains of computer programmers are wired differently? Are there specific parts of the brain that are dedicated to computer coding? Scientists have outlined other networks in the brain, like those involved in language, but the neural basis of computer code comprehension has remained a mystery. We might call Python, Java, and C++ programming “languages,” but are they represented in the brain in the same way as natural languages? Anna Ivanova, a scientist at MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, chats with us to uncover the answer. Her research uses functional MRI to find the areas in the brain most activated by reading computer code and whether they overlap with those activated by reading natural language. We also discuss the history of coding and the possibility that humans could evolve a brain network solely responsible for computer programming. Music by Kevin MacLeod licensed under CC BY 4.0
Professor Paula Hammond is a pioneer in chemical engineering, as well as the Department Head of Chemical Engineering at MIT and a faculty member at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. Her interdisciplinary work focuses on nanoparticle technology with wide-ranging applications. Hammond’s work has and will greatly shape the future of drug delivery, with her nanoparticles able to target hard-to-treat cancers like ovarian cancer. Using her nanoparticle approach, she is currently developing a way to regenerate bone and treat osteoarthritis. She is proud of her visibility within her field, both as a testament to her passion to create new solutions to big problems and to show African Americans and women that their voices are both necessary and important in scientific research. Music by Kevin MacLeod licensed under CC BY 4.0.
Keywords like "tissue-engineering", "bio-engineered organs", and "3D printing" were considered to be science fiction until only a decade ago. Today, creating living tissue that can repair or replace damaged organs is rapidly becoming reality. The field of regenerative medicine holds enormous potential in changing the way doctors treat many medical conditions. However, the road to advance lab-grown organs from the bench to the bedside is still a long one and requires scientific superheroes to overcome the challenges posed by the anatomical complexity of the human body. Whether this is your first time learning about regenerative medicine or you’re an expert, you won’t want to miss this episode. Dr. Anthony Atala, a world leader in the field of Regenerative Medicine, discusses his 18-year project of developing a lab-grown uterus that can support live birth in an animal model that may one day soon provide a significant treatment option for women with uterine factor infertility. "Half Mystery" by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under CC BY 4.0.
It’s 10 pm on a Friday night. You already had dinner, and you could swear your stomach couldn’t handle even another crumb of bread. All of a sudden, your friend offers you some chips, and you tentatively pick just one. Twenty minutes later, all the chips are GONE…! Wondered how that happened? You are not the only one! While the mechanisms by which the brain regulates and controls our appetite are still largely unknown, Dr. Scott Sternson and his team have developed cutting-edge tools for integrating molecular and systems neuroscience which hasadvanced our understanding of the neural circuits associated with thirst and hunger. Ready to listen? Well then, sit back, relax and… go grab your chips!