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New KPBS Podcast Introduces ‘Rad’ San Diego Scientists To The World

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Photo credit: Pascal Gagneux

UC San Diego associate professor of pathology, Pascal Gagneux, is dressed like a sperm to help describe the process of fertilization in this undated photo.

A new KPBS podcast is trying to bridge a connection between San Diego's scientific community and non-scientists. It's called "Rad Scientist," and its host, Margot Wohl is working towards her Ph.D. in neuroscience at UC San Diego.

“I've been part of the science community for about 10 years and the researchers I've met have been some of the most passionately curious folks. However, scientists don't always come across as the most accessible people - and that's why I want to make a show that can introduce these people and their passions to the world,” Wohl said.

The first episode features Pascal Gagneux, an associate professor in the pathology department at UC San Diego. Gagneux, a zoologist, decided to go into biology after a chance encounter with an Australian ecologist on a train in Thailand.

"After that train ride, I decided that this is what I wanted to do. I don't even remember his name," Gagneux said. "But this discussion had a big impact on me."

After a stint studying chimpanzees in West Africa, Gagneux now studies how sperm survive in the female reproductive system in order to fertilize the egg and relatedly, how infectious disease pathogens invade host cells, in order to understand how diseases like malaria can evade our immune systems.

"Rad Scientist" is one of seven local content projects selected for the KPBS Explore program.

Wohl previews "Rad Scientist" Wednesday on Midday Edition.

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