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292 – Gene Editing with CRISPR/Cas

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CRISPR is a family of DNA sequences in bacteria and archaea that are a part of these organisms’ cellular defense system. A recent discovery showed how this mechanism can be used to edit genes much more easily than legacy methods. In this episode I chat with Sam Sternberg about the naturally occuring CRISPR systems, how they work, and how CRISPR together with its associated enzymes can be used to cut, and subsequently, edit, DNA. We conclude the episode with an outlook on the potential use in medicine.

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233 – Bio-Inspired Systems at EPFL

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Last fall I visited EPFL for a programming languages workshop when I saw a poster on bio inspired systems. Darja’s name was on the poster because she coordinates the programme; I sent her an email and asked if she wanted to talk a bit with me about this field while I am at EPFL. Her calendar had some free time, and so we met. In the episode we discuss why it makes sense for system designers to look at biology and nature as an inspiration and then explore lots of examples that are currently being researched at EPFL.

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199 – Mass Spectrometers

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Mass spectrometers are devices for measuring the mass-to-charge ratio of molecules and ions. They use many different measurement principles and are used in various areas of science. Our guest Alexander Makarov works as a Director Global Research for Thermo Fisher‘s Life Sciences Division and has invented the Orbitrap principle used widely in modern mass spectrometers. We talk about mass spectrometry in general, the different measurement principles, engineering challenges, the invention of the Orbitrap, use cases for mass spectrometers and the different machines sold by Thermo Fisher.

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174 – Stem Cells

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Stem cells are an important part of today’s medical practice, and their importance will grow in the future based on research conducted today. One of the researchers in Derrick Rossi of Harvard and the Boston Children’s Hospital. In the episode we introduce the different kinds of stem cells and their role in the body and in medical treatments. We then discuss some clinical use cases as well as current research (in general and in Derrick’s group).

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121 – Perceptual Systems

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In this episode we discuss perception and perceptual systems with Wilson S. Geisler, who is the director of the Center for Perceptual Systems at UT Austin. We discuss perception in general and about approaches used in perception research including neuroscience and computation and modeling. We discuss in some detail Bill’s own field work work on vision and visual perception.

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