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Rad Scientist

A KPBS Explore series taking listeners on a journey through the lives and discoveries of San Diego's raddest scientists — researchers pushing the frontiers of human knowledge. Hosted and produced by Margot Wohl.

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The Leaky Pipeline

Academia has a problem. Underrepresented minorities fall off at every step along the path to becoming a STEM professor. What we are left with is a professoriate that does not reflect the diversity of the general population. In this episode, we dive into what is known about this issue and how we can make the environment of STEM education more ... Read more →

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Pathways: The Professor And The Proteins

Gentry Patrick was born in South Central Los Angeles to a 16-year-old single mother. Through grit, serendipity, mentorship, and wits, he went on to study science at some of the most reputable institutions and ultimately earned his doctoral degree and landed a job as a professor of biology at UC San Diego. There he studies how proteins in the brain ... Read more →

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Sounds Of The Sea

When you listen to the ocean, you realize that there is a whole world of sound that our ears aren't made to hear. Goldie Phillips tells us what we can hear off the waters of San Diego, and what is threatening the rich soundscape of the Pacific Ocean.

This episode first aired in January 2019.

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Listen to "Port of Entry"

From KPBS and PRX, "Port of Entry" tells cross-border stories that connect us.

Subscribe to the podcast wherever you listen, or here:

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Brain Waves And Rough Waves

Austin Coley was told he was not “PhD worthy” while getting his masters. That didn’t stop him from getting his doctorate and continuing to research a mental illness that affected his uncle.

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Episode Music:
Rad Scientist Theme Motif - Grant Fisher
Golden Bunny - Daniel Birch
crystal life - Ketsa
Dontletthemin - Ketsa
Kitty ... Read more →

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The Grass Is Always Greener

When you ask Chandler Puritty who she is, she’ll give you many answers: Ecologist, social justice advocate, plant lover, cat mother, artist, psychic medium.

She cares deeply about the environment and climate change. Her thesis charted the resilience of exotic versus native plants of Southern California after drought. But she also cares about the environment, or culture, within STEM that ... Read more →

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Kissing Bugs

Kaylee Arnold grew up in Oceanside, but moved to Georgia to pursue a PhD in ecology. Despite her fear of heights, Kaylee climbs high up in the palm trees of Panama to collect her research subjects, kissing bugs. She studies the gut bacteria of these parasite-carrying insects to broaden our understanding of how microbiome diversity is affected by environmental factors ... Read more →

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Vocal Chops

Daril Brown wants to build vocal neuroprostheses, or devices that use brain signals to recreate speech. He tests his methods using zebra finches, who learn their songs through childhood. As a Black researcher in a field lacking diversity, he describes adjusting his own speech patterns to avoid being perceived as a threat in white academic spaces, an irony that does ... Read more →

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The Fever Effect

Melonie Vaughn’s desire to study neurodevelopmental disorders stemmed from watching her autistic brother struggle with navigating school and social relationships. Now she is a rising second year neuroscience Ph.D. student at UC San Diego. Melonie, an Afro-Panamanian, is the only black woman in her program.

Twitter handle: @melonievaughn_

Episode Music:
Rad Scientist Theme Motif - Grant Fisher
At Our Best ... Read more →

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Rad Scientist Is Back!

Recent events involving the killing of unarmed Black people have brought discussions about racism to the forefront, including at scientific institutions. This season is centered on Black scientists, from graduate students to faculty to those who have left the ivory towers. They study bug microbiomes, autism, neural prosthetics and more. But they will also discuss how racism has impacted their ... Read more →