Learn Real Good

Hosted ByVinny Francois & Katie Pagnucco

Learn Real Good is a podcast that brings science to the masses by combining comedy and cutting-edge science. We create a friendly and casual atmosphere to discuss STEM research with grad students. We want to peel back the curtain on how science is done and what it means to be a scientist while improving scientific literacy in the general public. We also want our audience to laugh their butts off.

All Episodes

E22: Designing new cancer treatments with Vanessa Ruscetta

Medicinal chemistry is the study of building synthetic medicine in the lab. Our guest, Vanessa Ruscetta, researches how to synthetically copy an already existing successful cancer treatment drug that will be effective, safe, and affordable. Katie and Vinny talk about the distance to the moon and butterfly wings.

E21: Rebuilding Cell Skeletons with Claire Edrington

Our bodies are made up of bazillions of cells, each one specialized to serve a function. Cells have an external structure to give it shape called a cytoskeleton. Researcher Claire Edrington is looking into the microtubules that make up cytoskeletons and how they can be grown in the lab. Katie and Vinny share facts about particle accelerators and giraffe necks.

E20: Making Insulin Using Stem Cells with Emily McGaugh

Too much sugar in the blood can lead to all sorts of health problems, including diabetes, and we rely on insulin to properly process it in our bodies. But...

E19: Scaring Lamprey Using Sound with Victoria Heath

Sea Lamprey are an invasive species in the Great Lakes. Our guest Victoria Heath works in marine labs doing research into chasing them out of sensitive areas using sounds that don’t harm the environment. Vinny and Katie share the latest research about babies and moon dirt.

E18: Teaching Semantics to Computers with Frederick Gietz

Talking to computers is tricky because people use a lot of context clues to figure out exactly what people mean. Computers like to take things literally so it’s a challenge for them to untangle any ambiguity or multiple meanings. Frederick Gietz is a computational linguist working on research to help computers understand how these messy humans use verbs. Katie and Vinny talk about mosquitofish and what happens to DNA in microgravity.

E17: Detecting Pesticides Using Biofilm with Moira Ijzerman

Pesticides can be found in so many of our waterways thanks to industrial farming. Monitoring the levels of pesticides in our water is important to ensure the health of our water supplies and everything that lives in them. MSc student Moira Ijzerman studies new ways to detect and measure their presence using a new type of material, biofilms. Vinny and Katie share facts about Mars and millipedes.

E16: Listening for Slow Earthquakes with Meghomita Das

When you think of an earthquake, you think of a sudden destructive event that lasts minutes or even seconds. Our guest this week is Meghomita Das who studies “slow earthquakes”. Slow earthquakes release the same amount of energy but over a timescale of weeks or even months. We talk about what slow earthquakes can tell us about the Earth’s history and earthquake predictions. Katie and Vinny talk about the whales and the bees.

E15: Swaying to Prevent Fainting with Erin Williams

Fainting is an unpleasant and sometimes dangerous experience. We talk to Erin Williams about the cardiovascular system and research into new and simple tools, like swaying, to prevent fainting (aka: syncope). Vinny and Katie talk about wild animals getting drunk and nuclear missiles.

E14: Precisely Pinpointing Bosons with Ben Davis-Purcell

The world of sub-atomic physics is always fascinating and most people know that the CERN lab is where lots of the latest experiments run. Our guest this week is Ben Davis-Purcell who did his research as part of the ATLAS experiment running at CERN, examining the fundamental particles that make up our universe. Katie and Vinny talk about plant tubes and robots that fight fires.