11/22/16 Show feat. Lian Zhu on cellular engineering and optogenetics + Harrison on Blood Falls glacier


Featured image: HeLa cells, all derived from one human, being imaged with fluorescence. Proteins tagged with light-sensitive tails travel through the cell. (courtesy NIH)

This week, I’m happy to have interviewed Lian Zhu, a Princeton PhD candidate in Chemical and Biological Engineering. Her fascinating research on the cell’s nucleolus will bring us through the science of RNA creation and how cell parts can exist without membranes. She’ll explain how light can engineer cellular dynamics, and how she’s used this optogenetics technique to stiffen or loosen various proteins inside the cell nucleus–a feat which mimics the cell’s own formation and dissociation of globs inside the nucleus. Track proteins and affect their motion with light: it’s a hands-on way to look inside the cell! Her interview starts an hour into the track above.

As an added bonus, Lian shared this video of cells inside a worm egg dividing until they form a multicellular animal – and she’s seen this happen under a microscope with her own eyes.

Preceding the main interview (0:40 on the recording), Harrison Blackman covers the rust-red Blood Falls, an Antarctic glacier whose bacteria produced a horror-movie set. Afterwards, we share science news about space telescopes and craters on Earth, and the whole show features music from all over the Middle East for flavor. Enjoy!

The Blood Falls glacier in Antarctica.

Relevant links:

See our event calendar for upcoming events, and check out the playlist for the show at WPRB.com or below.



2 thoughts on “11/22/16 Show feat. Lian Zhu on cellular engineering and optogenetics + Harrison on Blood Falls glacier

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