Biological Sciences


BioPOD is the official podcast of the School of Biological Sciences, produced and presented by enthusiastic student volunteers.

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Latest Episodes


Biology Without the Wells with Dr Nadanai Laohakunakorn

June 28th, 2022  

In this episode, Louis and Liz chat to Dr Nadanai Laohakunakorn about his journey from a background in physics to now leading a group in synthetic biology. He describes how he adapted his thinking when he changed disciplines, interdisciplinary culture shocks, and how different sciences are taught. We then hear about his current research on building cell-free systems – building a functional cell from the ground up – and how this can be used to synthesise proteins. How are these systems built, how can they be optimised and how can they be used in manufacturing? Can we eventually make individualised drugs on a bench? Tune in to hear more!

​​​​Dr Nadanai Laohakunakorn



Art by Louis, intro and editing by Hend and Severina.



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Cell differentiation: When DNA met Sall4 with Raphael Pantier and Kashyap Chhatbar

June 12th, 2022  

Have you ever wondered what neglected regions of the genome do? In this episode we hear about the search for AT rich region binding proteins.

Jack Suitor talks to Raphael Pantier and Kashyap Chhatbar from the Bird lab at the University of Edinburgh about their work on the DNA binding protein Sall4. They discover that Sall4 binds to AT rich regions which affects large scale gene expressions and enables differentiation.

Jack Suitor 

Raphael Pantier 

Kashyap Chhatbar 

Sall4 could help time cellular differentiation as part of embryonic development and is therefore implicated in developmental disease. By getting more insight into proteins that bind AT rich regions we could learn more about the cause of some diseases.

Art by Chris Donohoe, intro and editing by Apple Chew.

Chris Donohoe

Apple Chew

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Psychoacoustic explorers: turning proteins into sounds with Edward Martin

May 31st, 2022 

In this episode, Rose Doyle (@RoseDoyle_) talks to BioPOD alumnus and PhD student Eddie Martin (@Sonifyed). They discuss different ways of visualising protein structures and how sound can help us get more information from protein sequences. In his research, he turns a protein sequence into a short melody. From this melody, it is then possible to “hear out” some distinct features of the protein. Eddie also explains the intricacies of sound design and how to best convey the variations between different amino acids.

Link to the paper

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PhD Advice from recent PhD grad Dr Lizzie Wadsworth

April 26th, 2022

In the second episode of our PhD advice series, Liz (@LizGaberdiel) talks to Dr Lizzie Wadsworth (@LizzieWadz), who recently finished her PhD at the University of Edinburgh. Looking back on her experience she gives very valuable advice to new and current PhD students about how to address common struggles with a graduate degree. She shares with us how she got started with her PhD, tips on how to have a good relationship with your supervisor, and strategies to deal with mental health issues. We also get to hear about her current work as a teaching fellow and discuss some less well-known career paths in academia.  

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COP26 Debrief: Food Security with Dr Annis Richardson

March 29th, 2022

In the second episode of our COP26, Chris (@donohoho) chats to Dr Annis Richardson (@Dr_AnnisR) about her research on food security. With climate change causing extreme weather, crop growth is getting increasingly difficult, so of course food security is a major topic of research. Annis Richardson works closely with the agricultural department on understanding how plants grow and how much food the plant then produces, so that we can more effectively feed the world. 

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Looking Back on COP26: Sustainable Biotechnology with Professor Louise Horsfall

March 15th, 2022

In this episode of our COP26 series, Chris (@donohohoho) talks to Prof. Louise Horsfall (@lehorsfall), Chair of Sustainable Biotechnology at the University of Edinburgh, about her experience attending COP26 in Glasgow. We get to hear about her experience as a scientist hearing the sometimes conflicting ideas of politicians and companies. Prof. Horsfall also talks about how her lab uses engineered microbes to recycle metals from battery waste. 

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PhD Advice from Dr Harriet Harris, the University Chaplain

February 25th, 2022

In the first episode of our PhD Advice series, Liz (@lizgaberdiel) talks to Rev. Dr. Harriet Harris, the University of Edinburgh Chaplain, about how PhD students can look after themselves through practicing mindfulness with everyday tasks, and overall building healthy habits. We get to learn about services being offered by the Chaplaincy to help support PhD students who may be struggling with mental health, as well as those who wish to find a community. 

Resources mentioned:  

Taming your inner critic and Imposter Syndrome

 ‘The Joy and Vitality of Not Knowing’, episode of the Chapliancy's podcast series.

The Chaplaincy of Joyful Abandon Podcast Series

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Living the PhD life

February 2nd, 2022

In this extra special episode, 5 different PhD students at different stages of their career discuss their own unique PhD journey. We hear from the recent graduate Miguel Cueva about how his career plans changed during the highs and lows of his experience. Rist Van de Weyer discusses how he dealt with getting scooped – and how he experienced fatherhood at the same time. Joan Cortada García moved with his supervisor from Glasgow to Edinburgh in the midst of his second year and talks about the impact this had on his research. We hear from Lindsay Williams what it was like to have children during her PhD and how working part-time has helped her with that. Finally, Liz Gaberdiel discusses the benefits and difficulties of moving to a new discipline when starting her PhD. 

 Miguel Cueva 

Rist Van de Weyer 

Joan Cortada García 

Lindsay Williams  

Liz Gaberdiel

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