ChemTalk

Let’s Talk Chemistry- a Science Podcast by ChemTalk

In our podcast series, we interview chemists, scientists, and educators from across the globe who show the many career paths that involve chemistry, and how a love for chemistry can manifest itself in many unique ways. Each episode features a different chemist from a different part of the world and a new perspective of chemistry. The ChemTalk chemistry podcast can be listened to on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Anchor, and most additional streaming platforms.

Episode 44: Dr. Bomyi Lim on CRISPR and Genetic Editing

With great powers comes great responsibility. Gene editing is a powerful tool in the realm of biomedical advances. On this exciting episode of Let’s Talk Chemistry edited by Presley Vu, hosts Erin Suh and Alexander Seo talk about their interview with Dr. Bomyi Lim, Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. Her lab studies the regulation of chemical kinetics in biological systems. We hope you enjoy! If you would like to know more about Dr. Bomyi Lim, you can check out her research ⁠here⁠ or reach her by email at ⁠bomyilim@seas.upenn.edu⁠

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Episode 43: Dr. Donna Huryn on Medicinal Chemistry and Women in Organic Chemistry

Imagine being a detective in the world of molecules, uncovering secrets that could save lives. That’s what medicinal chemistry does—it helps us design drugs that target diseases like puzzle pieces fitting together. On this exciting episode of Let’s Talk Chemistry edited by Presley Vu, hosts Yeongseo Son and Jason Lu talk about their interview with Dr. Donna Huryn, Professor of Practice at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Huryn is also a co-founder of Empowering Women in Organic Chemistry, and she gives us more insight about this initiative. We hope you enjoy! If you would like to know more about Dr. Donna Huryn, you can reach her by email at huryn@sas.upenn.edu

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Episode 42: Dr. Lee Cronin on Digital Chemistry and Innovative Thinking in Science

What does it mean to digitize chemistry? How can we create artificial life forms? What are the origins of life? On this exciting episode of Let’s Talk Chemistry edited by Emma Stewart, hosts Grace Go and Alexander Seo talk about their interview with Dr. Lee Cronin, the Regius Chair of Chemistry at the University of Glasgow. Dr. Cronin is celebrated for his groundbreaking work in creating artificial life, exploring chemical evolution, and pushing the boundaries of digital chemistry. We hope you enjoy! If you would like to know more about Dr. Steven Clarke, you can check out his research here or reach him by email at Lee.Cronin@glasgow.ac.uk

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Episode 41: Dr. Steven Clarke on Biochemistry and Biochemists

What makes a good scientist? What makes a good student? On this exciting episode of Let’s Talk Chemistry edited by Emma Stewart, hosts Jasmine Winter and John Strojny talk about their interview with Dr. Steven Clarke, UCLA’s Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry. We hope you enjoy! If you would like to know more about Dr. Steven Clarke, you can check out his research here or reach him by email at clarke@mbi.ucla.edu

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Episode 40: Dr. Karen Wooley on Sugar Plastics and Sustainability

What if we could make bags out of the food we eat? On this electrifying episode of Let’s Talk Chemistry edited by Presley Vu, hosts Yeongseo Son and Alexander Seo talk about their interview with Dr. Karen Wooley, a Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at Texas A&M University. She shares her work with sustainability, sugars, and industry. We hope you enjoy! If you would like to know more about Dr. Karen Wooley, you can check out her research here or reach her by email at wooley@chem.tamu.edu. (Photo credit to Robb Kendrick)

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Episode 39: Dr. Martin Chalfie on his Nobel Prize Winning Work on Green Fluorescent Protein

The most humble creatures on earth sometimes reveal incredible solutions and secrets. GFP (Green Fluorescent Protein), naturally found in jellyfish, is a marker used in almost all biological laboratories. On this exciting episode of Let’s Talk Chemistry edited by Presley Vu, hosts Yeongseo Son and John Strojny talk about their interview with Nobel Prize Laureate Dr. Martin Chalfie, University Professor at the Department of Biological Sciences at Columbia University. He was the first to succeed in transferring and expressing the Gfp gene in organisms other than jellyfish. He shares with us his humble, nonlinear journey as a scientist as well as his astounding discoveries. We hope you enjoy! If you like to know more about Dr. Martin Chalfie, you can check out his research here or reach him by email at mc21@columbia.edu.

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Episode 38: Dr. Robert Bergman on the Bergman Cyclization and Organic Synthesis

Organic chemistry is art. Each chemical structure comes with a certain number of lines, a certain shape, a certain essence to it. How can we manipulate a chemical reaction to produce a useful product? How can we defy what chemistry claims to be incredibly hard and accomplish unique mechanisms? On this episode of Let’s Talk Chemistry edited by KG Gude, hosts Olivia Lambertson and Jasmine Winter talk about their interview with Dr. Robert Bergman, the Gerald E. K. Branch Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at UC Berkeley with an Emeritus status. Elaborating on his work with the Bergman Cyclization and more, Dr. Bergman tells us about the motivations, results, and beauty behind organic chemistry. If you like to know more about Dr. Robert Bergman, you can reach him by email at rbergman@berkeley.edu.

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Episode 37: Dr. Robert Lefkowitz on his Nobel Prize Winning Work on G-Protein Coupled Receptors

With curiosity and creativity, there are no limits. We can be scientists. We can be doctors. We can be authors. Our guest today has done all three. On this riveting episode of Let’s Talk Chemistry edited by Presley Vu, hosts Yeongseo Son and Grace Go talk about their interview with Nobel Prize Laureate Dr. Robert Lefkowitz, a James B. Duke Professor of Medicine and Professor of Biochemistry and Chemistry at Duke University. He elaborates on his Nobel Prize-winning work on G-protein coupled receptors. We hope you enjoy! If you like to know more about Dr. Robert Lefkowitz, you can check out his research here or reach him by email at lefko001@receptor-biol.duke.edu. Check out his book “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Stockholm: The Adrenaline-Fueled Adventures of an Accidental Scientist.

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Episode 36: Dr. Sarah King on Ultrafast Spectroscopy and Studying Abroad

A tool to help us study the structures of atoms and molecules, spectroscopy is used everywhere to solve big problems. From astronomers who are determining the distance of a distant star to chemists who are solving biochemical problems, spectroscopy has a unified purpose: to see better. On this exciting episode of Let’s Talk Chemistry (edited by Presley Vu), hosts Jasmine Winter and Nina Deng talk about their interview with Dr. Sarah King, a Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the University of Chicago. She elaborates on her work on interface dynamics, ultrafast spectroscopy, and studying abroad in Germany. We hope you enjoy! If you like to know more about Dr. Sarah King, you can check out her research here or reach her by email at sbking@uchicago.edu

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Episode 35: Dr. Najat Saliba on Air Pollution and How Chemistry Can Influence Politics

Superheroes don’t just exist in our comic books. We find them, here, in the real world. They protect the innocent. They fight injustice. They use their powers and skills for good. And we have interviewed one such superhero—working as both a global research scientist and serving as an elected government official. On this riveting episode of Let’s Talk Chemistry (edited by Presley Vu), hosts Yeongseo Son and Nina Deng talk about their interview with Dr. Najat Saliba, a Professor of Analytical Chemistry at the American University of Beirut and a member of the Parliament of Lebanon. Elaborating on her work on smoking and air pollution, Dr. Saliba talks to us about the detrimental effects of hookas, e-cigarettes, and explosions. She weaves in her stories of cloud watching, of balancing politics and science, of enjoying the process rather than the success. We hope you enjoy! If you like to know more about Dr. Najat Saliba, you can reach her by email at ns30@aub.edu.lb.

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Episode 34: Dr. Emily Ryan on Computational Methods and Sustainability

With the rise of AI and machine learning, how are scientists incorporating these new tools in their research? With these computational methods, how are scholars stretching new limits and advancing our understanding of the world around us? On this exciting episode of Let’s Talk Chemistry, hosts Yeongseo Son and Ankur Rao talk about their interview with Dr. Emily Ryan, an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Associate Director for the Institute for Global Sustainability at Boston University. Elaborating on her entirely computational lab, Dr. Ryan delves into her projects that deal with new generation batteries, carbon capture, and more! She gifts us with the stories of her discoveries, her motivations in working on sustainability, and her advice for the youth. We hope you enjoy! If you would like to know more about Dr. Emily Ryan, you can check out her research or reach her by email at ryanem@bu.edu

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Episode 33: Dr. Richard Zare on the Mystery of Droplets and Life on Mars

What if we could use water droplets to “pull bread out of air” and drive agriculture? What if we could use a drop of our sweat to understand our health? On this riveting episode of Let’s Talk Chemistry, hosts Yeongseo Son and Olivia Lambertson talk about their interview with Dr. Richard Zare, a Marguerite Blake Wilber Professor of Natural Science and a Professor of Chemistry at Stanford University. Awarded the Wolf Prize in Chemistry by a unanimous decision in 2005, Dr. Zare is known for his applications of laser techniques in complex molecular mechanisms and analytical chemistry. He gives us a glimpse of his recent discoveries on water droplets, his honest motivations for his career pursuits, his endless love for humans and science. We hope you enjoy! If you like to know more about Dr. Richard Zare, you can check out his research or reach him by email at zare@stanford.edu

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Episode 32: Dr. Syeda Razia on Chemical Security and the Dangers of Chemical Weapons

Many of us are familiar with lab safety and the precautions we take when doing simple experiments in school laboratories. But how does this safety look different on a larger scale and how do we avoid the potential danger of large amounts of chemicals? On this episode of Let’s Talk Chemistry, hosts Yeongseo Son and Olivia Lambertson talk about their interview with Dr. Syeda Sultana Razia, a Professor of the Department of Chemical Engineering, at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) and has served as the Head of the department for two terms. She also has served as the Member of the Scientific Advisory Board, of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), The Hague, Netherlands for two terms and has collaborations with Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Centre, Texas A&M University System. We talk about chemical security threats and how to address them, the importance of chemical safety and risk prevention, and new technology to create products with safer materials. We hope you enjoy it! If you would like to know more about Dr. Syeda Sultana Razia, you can check out her research or reach her by email at syedasrazia@che.buet.ac.bd.

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Episode 31: Dr. Miriam Rafailovich on Flame Retardant Trees and Material Science

Have you ever noticed that the sequoia trees in California have continued to survive forest fires? What if we told you that they had a natural flame retardant that scientists are attempting to recreate? On this episode of Let’s Talk Chemistry, hosts Yeongseo Son, Nicholas Molitor, and Nina Deng talk about their interview with Dr. Miriam Rafailovich, a Distinguished Professor of Materials Science and Chemical Engineering at Stony Brook University. We talk about the importance of material chemistry, how science can have unexpected collaborations, and using nature to explore the possibilities of chemistry. We hope you enjoy! If you would like to know more about Dr. Miriam Rafailovich, you can check out her research or reach her by email at miriam.rafailovich@stonybrook.edu.

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Episode 30: Dr. George Schatz on the Mystery of Colloidal Gold Nanoparticles

Many of us are familiar with stained glass and the beautiful translucent colors that display breathtaking artwork. Would you ever imagine that these colors are the result of nanoparticles? On this episode of Let’s Talk Chemistry, hosts Yeongseo Son and Bella Liguori talk about their interview with Dr. George Schatz, a Professor of Chemistry at Northwestern University. We talk about plasmonic nanoparticles, the development of Raman spectroscopy, and photocatalysis. We hope you enjoy! If you would like to know more about Dr. George Schatz, you can check out his research or reach him by email at g-schatz@northwestern.edu.

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Episode 29: Dr. Damià Barceló on How Our Actions Impact Our Water and the Perception of Chemicals

Pharmaceuticals are an important technology in our world that help save so many people. But sometimes, drugs that are good for humans can get into our water supplies and harm other organisms. But why is something helpful for us, but hurtful for other animals? On this episode of the Let’s Talk Chemistry, hosts Nicholas Molitor, Olivia Lambertson, and Yeongseo Son talk about their interview with Dr. Damià Barceló, a Professor of chemistry at the Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research and a Scientific Director of the Institute for Water Research in Catalan, Spain. We talk about unlikely contaminants in water, the environmental impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the harm of plastics in our environment. We hope you enjoy! If you would like to know more about Dr.Damià Barceló, you can check out his research or reach him by email at dbcqam@cid.csic.es.

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Episode 28: Dr. Sibrina Collins on the Benefits of Storytelling in STEM

Wouldn’t your chemistry class be so much more engaging if you were able to talk about superheroes and theoretical elements like vibranium? This educator is working to do just that. On this episode of Let’s Talk Chemistry, host Olivia Lambertson interviews Dr. Sibrina Collins, an Executive Director of STEM Education and Associate Professor of Practice in Chemistry at Lawrence Technological University. We talk about how storytelling can help us learn chemistry better, STEM education, and inorganic chemistry. We hope you enjoy! If you would like to know more about Dr. Sibrina Collins you can reach her by email at scollins@ltu.edu.

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Episode 27: Nobel Laureate Dr. Danny Schechtman on Quasicrystals and Early Science Education

Most of us were learning the alphabet or how to read in kindergarten. But what if you could have been doing scientific experiments? On this episode of Let’s Talk Chemistry, hosts Yeongseo Son and Olivia Lambertson talk about their interview with Dr. Danny Schechtman, the 2011 Nobel Laureate and Distinguished Professor of Material Science and Engineering at Iowa State University. We talk about transmission electron microscopy, quasicrystals, a science kindergarten, and facing backlash in science. We hope you enjoy! If you would like to know more about Dr. Danny Schectman you can check out his Nobel Prize-winning discovery or reach him by email at dannys@iastate.edu.

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Episode 26: Dr. Ewine van Dishoek on Creating Telescopes and Water in Space

Have you ever seen those beautiful photos of nebulas or stars in space and wondered what they are made of? This scientist researches just that! On this episode of the ChemTalk Podcast, hosts Bella Liguori and Olivia Lambertson talk about their interview with Dr. Ewine van Dishoek,  a professor of Molecular Astrophysics at Leiden University. We talk about water in space, the creation of telescopes, and collaboration in science. We hope you enjoy! If you would like to know more about Dr. Ewine van Dishoek you can check out her research or reach her by email at ewine@strw.leidenuniv.nl.

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Episode 25: Dr. Russ Algar on Luminescent Materials and Your Potential to Work with Them

Have you wondered how something like luminescent materials can be used to diagnose diseases through your mobile? How is a discovery like this even possible? Through analytical chemistry- the branch of chemistry that focuses on experimentation! In this episode, ChemTalk hosts Isabella, Riya and Siya meet Dr. Russ Algar and discuss the spectroscopy research that he and his team are conducting at UBC. We discuss how he’s able to apply various concepts in chemistry to solve problems one would’ve never thought could be done with that knowledge- and suggests to our listeners how they can do so themselves! If you would like to know more about Dr. Russ Algar you can check out his research or reach him by email at algar@chem.ubc.ca.

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Episode 24: Dr. George Whitesides on the Lorenz Effect and the Importance of Curiosity

We have seen how gas stations have changed the way humans can travel. So what if there was a gas station on the moon? On today’s episode, hosts Olivia Lambertson and Riya Jain interview Dr. George Whitesides, a Woodford L. and Ann A. Flowers University Research Professor at Harvard University. Hosts Bella Liguori and Olivia unpack the contents of the interview including discussion on the Lorenz effect, why we should follow our curiosity, and how high costs cause problems in industry. We hope you enjoy! If you would like to know more about Dr. George Whitesides you can check out his research or reach him by email at gwhitesides@gmwgroup.harvard.edu.

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Episode 23: Dr. Sourav Pal on Quantum Chemistry and How to Choose What Subject to Pursue

Chemistry is involved in everything around us, including the clothes we wear and the device we listen to podcasts on! So why is chemistry not taught as a fundamental science? On this episode of the ChemTalk Podcast, hosts Olivia Lambertson Siya and Riya interview Dr. Sourav Pal, Head of the Department, Chemistry and Professor of Chemistry at Ashoka University. We talk about the benefits of taking interest in chemistry, computational chemistry, and the differences surrounding universities in India. We hope you enjoy! If you would like to know more about Dr. Sourav Pal you can check out his research or reach him by email at sourav.pal@ashoka.edu.in.

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Episode 22: Dr. Laura Bickerton on Life as a Grad Student

There’s got to be some good science in cooking because this scientist changed career paths from chef to chemist! On today’s episode of the ChemTalk podcast, Olivia Lambertson and Nafeesa Mamhood interview Dr. Laura Bickerton, who at the time of the interview was a grad student at the University of Oxford. We talk about what it is like to be a grad student, standardized tests, lipids, and how anion transport can respond to stimuli. We hope you enjoy! If you would like to know more about Dr. Laura Bickerton, you can reach her by email at laura.bickerton@ed.ac.uk.

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Episode 21: “Professor Dave Explains” Farina on Youtube and Working as a STEM Educator

Have you ever seen a tweet saying two of your favorite celebrities are dating, only to find out that it was misinformation? We’ve been there too. Even worse, this happens all the time in science! On this episode of the ChemTalk Podcast, host Olivia Lambertson interviews Dave Farina, otherwise known as “Professor Dave Explains” on YouTube to his 2.3 million subscribers. We discuss what it is like to have your own YouTube channel, how to combat misinformation, and the importance of science communication. We hope you enjoy! If you would like to know more about Dave Farina you can check out his YouTube channel or reach him by email at professordaveexplains@gmail.com.

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Episode 20: Dr. Helmut Cölfen on the Applications of Biologically-Based Materials

Have you ever stepped on a sea urchin? If you have, you were probably too busy thinking about the pain in your foot rather than how these unique creatures get to be so sturdy and sharp. Would you ever imagine that these creatures could have insight into creating almost indestructible buildings? On this episode of the ChemTalk Podcast, host Olivia Lambertson interviews Dr. Helmut Cölfen, Professor of Physical Chemistry at University Konstanz. We discuss how physical chemistry can create more natural tooth fillings, how a sea urchin’s skeleton can show us how to make new concrete, and how calcium disappearing from an experiment led to the possibility of liquid painkillers. We hope you enjoy! If you would like to know more about Dr. Helmut Cölfen you can check out his research, or reach him by email at helmut.coelfen@uni-konstanz.de

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Episode 19: Dr. Devleena Samanta on DNA as Materials

Have you ever thought about your DNA as something other than your genetic material? What if we told you that you could fold DNA to make a smiley face? What about a map of the United States? On this week’s episode of the ChemTalk Podcast, host Roxanne Salkeld interviews Dr. Devleena Samanta, Assistant Professor of Chemistry and an associate member of the Livestrong Cancer Institutes at The University of Texas at Austin. We discuss Dr. Samanta’s research regarding the use of DNA as a material in detecting diseases like cancer at earlier stages. We hope you enjoy! If you would like to know more about Dr. Devleena Samanta you can check out her research, or reach her by email at dsamanta@utexas.edu.

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Episode 18: Dr. Kayunta Johnson-Winters on Enzymology and Diversity in Science

This week’s interviewee’s advice you may ask? Think about the questions that are not answered in existing projects. On this week’s episode of the ChemTalk Podcast, host Olivia Lambertson interviews Dr. Kayunta Johnson-Winters, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Texas at Arlington. Dr. Johnson-Winters discusses her work involving enzymology and its clinical applications for diseases like tuberculosis. Additionally, Dr. Johnson-Winters shares her experience as a first-generation college student, being unapologetic about speaking her mind, and her experience as a woman of color in STEM. We hope you enjoy! If you would like to know more about Dr. Kayunta Johnson-Winters you can check out her research, Twitter, or reach her by email at kayunta@uta.edu.

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Episode 17: Dr. Joaquín Rodríguez-López on Electrochemistry

How can we use chemistry to make an impact on climate change? Can we reduce carbon dioxide and make it a new fuel? You can find out on this week’s episode of the ChemTalk podcast, where hosts Roxanne Salkeld and Olivia Lambertson interview Dr. Joaquín Rodríguez-López, Associate Professor of Chemistry at the University of Illinois. Dr. Rodríguez-López speaks about the broad applications of electrochemistry (including reduction of carbon dioxide), diversity, and pushing the boundaries of chemistry. We hope you enjoy! If you would like to know more about Dr. Joaquín Rodríguez-López you can check out his research, Twitter, or reach him by email at joaquinr@illinois.edu.

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Episode 16: Dr. Scott Cushing on the Power of Lasers

Did you know that lasers are more than a unique toy for your cat? On this week’s episode of the ChemTalk podcast, hosts Roxanne Salkeld and Claris Chan interview Dr. Scott Cushing, Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Caltech. Dr. Scott Cushing’s research specializes in the development of laser-based instrumentation for applications in chemistry and beyond. Dr. Cushing talks about how to make a tabletop chemical instrument, life as a professor, and the importance of mental health in all professions. Dr. Cushing’s enthusiasm for lasers will leave you wanting to learn more. We hope you enjoy! If you would like to know more about Dr. Scott Cushing you can check out his research, or reach him by email at scushing@caltech.edu.

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Episode 15: Dr. Elizabeth Bess on the Human Gut Microbiome

How many microbial cells do you think you have in your body? A million? A billion? Would you guess that you have as many microbial cells in your body as cells that make up your body (which is approximately 30 trillion)? We didn’t! On this week’s episode of the ChemTalk Podcast, hosts Roxanne Salkeld and Claris Chan interview Dr. Elizabeth Bess, Assistant Professor of Chemistry at UC Irvine. Dr. Elizabeth Bess’ research specializes in the human microbiome and the chemical reactions that bacteria perform. Dr. Bess explains how gut bacteria can affect more than just whether or not you digest your lunch, but perhaps even your mood and brain. We hope you enjoy! If you would like to know more about Dr. Elizabeth Bess you can check out her research, Twitter, or reach her by email at elizabeth.bess@uci.edu.

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Episode 14: Dr. Philipp Zerbe on Plants’ Use of Diverse Chemistry

Tell me something- before you took a literature class, did you enjoy reading just for the sake of it? And now, do you find yourself identifying motifs, classifying steps in the hero’s journey, or internally (or externally, we don’t judge) commenting on how the color of the rug elevates the mood of a certain scene? Well, we’re about to do that to you, only in this case, we’re gonna tell you everything you need to know about maize, and, maybe, strawberries. Have you heard of Terpenoids? Terpe-WHAT?- you may be asking. Well never fear! On this week’s episode of the ChemTalk podcast, hosts Roxanne Salkeld and Alejandra Valenzuela speak to Dr. Philipp Zerbe, Associate Professor of Plant Biology at UC Davis. Dr. Philipp Zerbe’s research focuses on plant terpenoids and why this field is so important to study. Dr. Zerbe explains how the primary focus of his research lab is to better understand the diversity of chemistry that plants utilize to defend themselves against stress and react to their surroundings. This information can be used to optimize crop yield and formulate medicines. We hope you enjoy! If you would like to know more about Dr. Philipp Zerbe you can check out his research or reach him by email at pzerbe@ucdavis.edu.

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Episode 13: Dr. Elizabeth Neumann on MALDI MSI

If you’re wondering what on earth MALDI MSI is, you’re not alone. We were right there with you. On this week’s episode of the ChemTalk podcast, host Roxanne Salkeld interviews Dr. Elizabeth Neumann, Assistant Professor of Chemistry at UC Davis. Dr. Elizabeth Neumann’s research revolves around the use of MALDI MSI (matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry imaging) to identify neurological disease elements without causing disorder in the sample. We also talk about starting a lab from scratch (sort of), and how to get what you want as someone in academia. We hope you enjoy! If you would like to know more about Dr. Elizabeth Neumann you can check out her research, Twitter, or reach her by email at ekneumann@ucdavis.edu.

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Episode 12: Dr. Irene Chen on Bacteriophages

Pop quiz! What biological agent is most abundant on all of planet Earth? Hint: it’s a type of virus with hyper-specificity, allowing infection of different bacterial species. If you guessed bacteriophages, you’re correct! These phages are viruses that target bacterial cells and subsequently kill their host as they use parts of the bacterial cells to replicate. On this week’s episode of the ChemTalk podcast, hosts Claris Chan and Roxanne Salkeld interview Dr. Irene Chen, Associate Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at UCLA. We discuss what these viruses are, how they work, and the challenges and benefits of using them in the realm of human health and infectious diseases. We hope you enjoy! If you would like to know more about Dr. Irene Chen you can check out her research or reach her by email at ireneachen@ucla.edu.

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Episode 11: Dr. Jennifer Lillig on Listeria Monocytogenes

Ever had a bad case of food poisoning? And while you were curled up in the fetal position waiting for it to be over, have you ever googled what might have caused it? This podcast episode might answer all your questions. On this episode of the ChemTalk podcast, hosts Roxanne Salkeld and Claris Chan interview Jennifer Lillig, Professor of Chemistry and Interim Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies at Sonoma State University. Her research focus is Listeria monocytogenes, a pathogenic bacteria capable of causing severe food-borne illness. Listen to understand why she and her students are breaking apart molecules and experimenting with bacteriocins, and how she’s trying to prevent us from getting so ill in the future. We had lots of fun speaking with Dr. Lillig and we hope you enjoy this episode as much as we do! If you would like to know more about Dr. Jennifer Lillig you can check out her research or reach her by email at whilesli@sonoma.edu.

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Episode 10: Dr. Kim Janda on Vaccines for Opioids

You’ve had your fair share of flu vaccinations, and probably ones for mumps and measles too! But did you know that one of the most insidious crises of our time could also be treated with a simple shot? On this week’s episode of the ChemTalk podcast, host Roxanne Salkeld interviews Dr. Kim Janda, Professor of Chemistry at the Scripps Research Institute. We discuss his research journey to produce a vaccine to combat the opioid crisis, how he became interested in chemistry, and his proudest moment in the lab with one of his students. If you would like to know more about Dr. Kim Janda you can check out his research or reach him by email at kdjanda@scripps.edu.

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Episode 9: Dr. Carl Denard on Synthetic Biology

You can change your hair, you can change your clothes. But did you know if you change a genetic sequence of an organism, it will affect not just itself, but its entire lineage to come? On this week’s episode of the ChemTalk podcast, host Lawton Long interviews Dr. Carl Denard, Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Florida, along with one of Dr. Denard’s Ph.D. candidates, Sam Martinusen. We discuss the research conducted in Professor Denard’s lab, what the field of synthetic biology may look like in the near future, and the pressing issues affecting underprivileged communities in regard to their exposure to the STEM field. If you would like to know more about Dr. Carl Denard you can check out his research, Twitter, or reach him by email at cdenard@ufl.edu.

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Episode 8: Dr. Eric Scerri on What Defines an Element

Would you believe that this periodic table expert has a side hobby of playing blues guitar? On this week’s episode of the ChemTalk podcast, host Scott Gietler from ChemTalk interviews Dr. Eric Scerri, Professor of Chemistry at UCLA and periodic table expert. Dr. Scerri has written many books on the periodic table and is specifically interested in philosophical chemistry. With his knowledge of the periodic table, he discusses important figures involved in its development, what happens when an element is disproved, how he became interested in chemistry, and his love for blues guitar. We hope you enjoy! If you would like to know more about Dr. Eric Scerri you can check out his website or Twitter or reach him by email at scerri@chem.ucla.edu.

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Episode 7: Dr. Dino Spagnoli on the Tobacco Industry

You may have done titrations on acids or bases in chem lab, but have you ever thought about titrating tobacco? On this week’s episode of the ChemTalk podcast, host Nafeesa Mahmood interviews Dr. Dino Spagnoli, a Lecturer and Coordinator of First-Year Studies in Chemistry at the University of Western Australia. Dr. Spagnoli speaks about his experiences as a research assistant at UC Berkeley in California, the process by which he developed his own app, what it was like working in the tobacco industry, and more. We hope you enjoy! If you would like to know more about Dr. Dino Spagnoli you can check out his research or Twitter, or reach him by email at dino.spagnoli@uwa.edu.au.

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Episode 6: Dr. Fun Man Fung on Online Chemistry Education

How would you feel if your professor was more popular on YouTube than you? This interviewee’s students may actually have to consider this question. On this week’s episode of the ChemTalk podcast, hosts Scott Gietler and Nafeesa Mahmood interview Dr. Fun Man Fung, an Instructor of Chemistry at the National University of Singapore. Dr. Fung speaks of the passion involved in being a professor, how online learning can change the world for the better, and the importance of honest feedback. We hope you enjoy! If you would like to know more about Dr. Fung you can check out his YouTube or Twitter or reach him by email at fun.man@u.nus.edu.

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Episode 5: Dr. Jen Heemstra on Nucleic Acids and Coping with Failure in STEM

Chemistry podcast interview - Jen Heemstra

Can’t decide between chemistry and psychology? This interviewee shows that you can do research on both! On this week’s episode of the ChemTalk podcast, hosts Nafeesa Mahmood and Scott Gietler interview Dr. Jen Heemstra, Professor of Chemistry at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. The Heemstra Group studies nucleic acids and their applications, specifically how they may differ from their traditional roles (such as acting as antibodies). Dr. Heemstra speaks of her research group, how she got to where she is in academia, coping with failure in the STEM world, and much more. Since speaking with her, Dr. Heemstra has moved her lab to Washington University in St. Louis. We hope you enjoy! If you would like to know more about Dr. Heemstra you can check out her website or Twitter or reach her by email at heemstra@wustl.edu.

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Episode 4: Dr. Timothy Dore on Medicinal Chemistry and Working Abroad


Did you know that chemistry could take you to Abu Dhabi or even Kyoto? It took this interviewee to both. On this week’s episode of the ChemTalk podcast, hosts Nafeesa Mahmood, Shreya Sangani, and Melissa Valqui interview Dr. Timothy Dore, Associate Professor of Chemistry at New York University’s campus in Abu Dhabi. Professor Dore speaks of his experience with medicinal chemistry research, his time as a visiting professor in Kyoto, how COVID-19 changed the direction of his research, and how to travel as a chemist. If you would like to know more about Dr. Dore you can check out his website or reach out to him by email at timothy.dore@nyu.edu.

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Episode 3: Dr. Lauren Zarzar on Material Chemistry

What would you do if your kitchen table came to life? But in all seriousness, what would happen if materials had life-like properties? On this week’s episode of the ChemTalk podcast, hosts Nafeesa Mahmood and Olivia Lambertson interview Dr. Lauren Zarzar, an Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Materials Science and Engineering at Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Lauren Zarzar’s research focuses on material chemistry. Tune into the riveting interview to hear about how science and art overlap, the importance of creativity in research, and how we can work as a community to change the perception of chemistry. Since the interview, Dr. Zarzar has joined the ChemTalk team as an advisor. If you want to know more about Dr. Zarar, you can check out her website or Twitter, or contact her by email at ldz4@psu.edu.

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Episode 2: Dr. Roald Hoffmann on Being a Nobel Prize Winner

Chemistry podcast interview - Roald Hoffmann


This interviewee says that the winner of the Nobel Prize is never a surprise. Tune in to learn why this is the case! On this week’s episode of the ChemTalk podcast, host Scott Gietler interviews Nobel Laureate Roald Hoffmann about how his love for chemistry began, nanoparticles, who’s going to win the next Nobel Prize, his friendship with Oliver Sacks, the real purpose of a research group, and so much more. Dr. Hoffmann won the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1981. If you want to know more about Dr. Hoffmann, you can check out his website or email him at rh34@cornell.edu.

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Episode 1: Dr. Michelle O’Malley on Biomaterials

Chemistry podcast interview - Michelle O'Malley

Would you believe it if we told you this interviewee met President Obama because of science? Tune in to find out! On this week’s episode of the ChemTalk podcast, hosts Scott Gietler, Lawton Long, and Rylie Maziek interview Dr. Michelle O’Malley, a Professor of Chemistry at UC Santa Barbara. Dr. O’Malley speaks about her research on biomaterials, her education, and what it’s like to be a professor. Dr. O’Malley’s lab studies how proteins are synthesized, but approaches the mystery as both a biologist and an engineer. If you want to know more about Dr. O’Malley, you can check out her website or Twitter, or reach out to her by email at momalley@engineering.ucsb.edu.

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Stay Tuned for more ChemTalk Chemistry Podcast Interviews!

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