Episode 010 – Biophysics and Microfluidics With Matthew Stilwell

Episode 10! Our first milestone! Thank you all so much for your support thus far. We are excited for the next ten episodes, and the next ten, and so on!

In this episode, we chat with Matthew Stilwell, a biophysics graduate student from The University of Wisconsin Madison. In his research, he focuses on the physical properties, and development of microfluidic devices used in the search for antibiotics.

We chat about:

  1. What does Matt do?
  2. What is a microfluidic device?
  3. Bacteria, and how they kill other bacteria.
  4. Matt’s worst moment story
  5. Matt gives some advice for students of science

Matt’s suggested books:
George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones 5-Book Boxed Set (Song of Ice and Fire series): A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows, and A Dance with Dragons

You can follow Matt on Twitter: @mdstilwellmd

If you have any questions at all, leave a comment, tweet at us, send us a Facebook message, or send us an email! Basically, we want to hear from you. If we can’t answer your question, Matt might be able to, and if not we will find an answer!

Until next week!

Episode 009 – Ben Eyer on the Science of Wine

In this episode, we chat with Ben Eyer and discuss some of the science behind the winemaking industry!

Ben attended Allegheny College and ultimately graduated with a BS in Chemistry and Spanish. During his undergraduate study, he studied Spanish in Seville, Spain for a semester, and completed summer research  internships in medicinal chemistry at Amgen in Thousand Oaks, CA as well as in total synthesis at the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After his graduation from Allegheny, he continued his chemistry studies at the University of Pittsburgh where he worked for Dr. Peter Wipf on several medicinal chemistry projects using peptide mimetics and small molecules for the inhibition of biologically interesting targets. While at Pitt, he completed an online certificate program in Winemaking through the University of California-Davis Extension. After he graduated with his MS in Organic Chemistry, he completed harvest internships at Viña Santa Carolina in Totihue, Chile, Frank Family Vineyards in Calistoga, CA and Trisaetum Winery in Newburg, OR. He currently works as a cellarhand at Rex Hill Vineyards and A to Z Wineworks in Newburg, OR.

His book suggestions:

Episode 008 – Polymers and Plastics

In this episode, we talk to Dr. Ryan VanHorn. Ryan is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania. He tells us what a polymer is and why some are flexible, while others are brittle. We also chat about his story of becoming a professor at a small liberal arts college.

If you have any questions that you came up with after listening to this episode, send them in to us! We will answer them, and if we don’t know the answer we will bring Ryan back on to help us work through them!


Episode 007 – Geophysics, Astronauts, and Space!

I am releasing this episode a little bit early, because I want you to really get a taste of what we have in store for you. Our Kickstarter is right down to the end, and we need you help! Please go back us at http://kck.st/1CKZH2S

In todays episode, Ian talks to Brian Shiro. Brian is a geophysicist with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) in Honolulu, Hawaii. In addition to his position at NOAA, he is President and CEO of Astronauts 4 Hire, which is a non-profit organization with a mission of developing a astronaut workforce for commercial spaceflight.

What we cover!

  • Brian’s story, and where his passion for the outdoors, science, and space came from
  • What goes on at the PTWC?
  • What exactly causes a Tsunami? How do we detect them?
  • What technology has come about in the last 10 years?
  • What exciting new technology is on the horizon for tsunami detection?
  • Brian’s journey in applying to become a NASA astronaut
  • What is Astronauts 4 Hire?
  • Types of Spaceflight
  • How will commercial companies be an important part in space exploration?
  • Brian’s advice to young scientists, and future young astronauts
  • His book recommendation:

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything
By: Col. Chris Hadfield

We are so thankful to Brian for bearing with us on the podcast through some technical problems with the recording. If you have questions for Brian, he is more than willing to answer them! You can contact him through his blog or twitter (@brianshiro).

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe on iTunes so that you get our new episodes every week!


Thanks again Brian!



Episode 006 – News Roundup (8/10/2015)

Similar to last week, todays episode is a roundup of some of the coolest stories. Today, Greg and Ian give you the run down.

1)Promising Ebola vaccine.



2)Skin cells to neurons!


3)Caterpillars drugging ants?


4)Gravity is… well… gravity!



And finally, a quote:

“To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science.” – Albert Einstein

Thanks for listening! We have some cool things coming up in the next few weeks, so stay tuned!


Episode 005 – News Roundup (8/3/2015)

Well, here is your episode from this week. We will be releasing an episode every week, but the good juicy ones will be staggered for now! We will have an interview or discussion every other week with a news roundup thrown in between. Here are links to the stories mentioned:

  • Fiat Chrysler Recall
    • http://www.wired.com/2015/07/hackers-remotely-kill-jeep-highway/
  • Legionnaire’s Outbreak
    • (Update, they may know the source) http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/05/nyregion/new-york-officials-move-to-regulate-towers-tied-to-legionnaires-disease-outbreak.html?_r=0
    • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/5-things-you-need-to-know-about-legionnaires-disease_55c12f99e4b0d9b28f04b54c
  • Modifying T-Cells
    • http://www.popsci.com/scientists-modify-t-cells-using-crispr
    • http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/07/150727153727.htm
  • Philae Finds Organic Compounds
    • http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/07/150730172518.htm
    • http://www.popsci.com/philae-finds-organic-molecules-comet


On Twitter and Facebook, we put out a request for you to send us a voicemail with your thoughts on what a Scientist is, or does. The number for that is (814) 315-2478

If you have any questions about todays show, let us know! Comment below, or send us a tweet, facebook message, or email!



Episode 004 – The Story of a New Drug

On todays episode, Greg moderates a discussion between John Milligan and Ian Armstrong on the how the pharmaceutical development process works. The process is boiled down into a few steps:

  1. Understanding the Biochemical pathway that leads to disease
  2. High Throughput screening/Molecular modeling
  3. Initial Hits are obtained (small molecule, or biologic)
  4. Hits are optimized for Safety and Efficacy using cell cultures and assays
  5. Pre-clinical studies in animals
  6. Phase I -> Typically healthy patients. Side effects are determined, and tolerable dosages are determined
  7. Phase II -> Afflicted patients, typically to fine-tune effective dosages, and to determine if any new side effects are found in sick patients.
  8. Phase III -> Large scale study to further ensure that the drug is safe and effective.
  9. New Drug Application –
  10. Approval
  11. Market Exclusivity (including pricing)
  12. Patent expiration
  13. Generics!

Novartis has put together an excellent video on the process of how a drug is brought to market, which you can find here!

One final note: Drug development is hard work, and doesn’t happen overnight. It is important to remember that research costs money, and that the final product needs to make money. It is our recommendation to never purchase pharmaceuticals from other countries as you cannot guarantee that it will be safe and effective.

If you have questions, or comments send us an email, tweet, or facebook message and we will personally respond to you!

The featured image is thanks to “Be.Futureproof” on Flickr, and is used under a CC BY 2.0 license

Episode 003 – What is the Maker Movement?

In this episode Greg and Ian talk to Vyasar Ganesan about makers, makerspaces, and the maker movement.

Check out more cool content from Vyasar at his blog

We talked about:




Misc Stuff

Episode 002 — What is a toxin?

In this episode, my friend and colleague Greg joins me to talk (ramble, rant, etc) about the topic of food additives. Greg is a graduate student in Chemistry at a large midwestern university. His research focuses on the photochemical and photophysical interactions of particles. (Greg will likely be a regular contributor on Stop. Think. Science! so I’m sure we will hear more about this).

Things we talked about in this episode:

  • You can’t believe everything you read, or every expert on the internet
  • What exactly is a “Toxin”?
  • The “toxicity” of a compound is dependent on its dose
  • Food Babe
  • Dr. Oz
  • Food Babe and airplane travel
  • The IARC list of carcinogenicity
  • Pumpkin Spice Lattes

If you like what you heard, subscribe and rate us! If not, leave us some constructive feedback!


Music: www.bensound.com

Episode 001 — What’s a windtunnel?

In this episode, I talk to Alex Karns who is a test engineer at the Florida State University Center for Advanced Aero-Propulsion. Alex got his start playing with Lego’s as a kid, and always had a fascination with airplanes. He got both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at Penn State University, and moved on to FSU.

Listen to our conversation about his journey, and the different types of wind tunnels, their uses, and their applications!

A quick apology: We are still trying to get a handle on the audio quality, and its apparent in this episode. Hang in there, it will get better!