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LSS 112: Building DIY Neuroscience Tools

In today’s show, we feature an report about three neuroscientists who have developed inexpensive “Do-it-yourself” neuroscience research tools. Cornell researchers Drs. Bruce Johnson and David Deitcher, and Hobart and William Smith Colleges professor James Ryan hope that their epifluorescence microscope and micromanipulator can be used in undergraduate laboratory courses. Cornell undergraduate student Joanna Papadakis also speaks about her experience building and using the microscope in her neuroscience lab course.

To learn more, visit:, and

Eastern Screech Owl (photo courtesy of Esther Racoosin)

Later on in the show, you’ll hear about how Ithaca-area birders Mark Chao and Miyoko Chu introduced passers-by on their evening walks to an Eastern Screech Owl roosting in a dead tree.

We also recognize Asian American and Pacific Islander History Month by profiling the late Nobel Laureate, Dr. Roger Y. Tsien. He, along, with Dr. Martin Chalfie and Dr. Osamu Shimomura, received the 2008 prize in chemistry for the discovery of and development of the green fluorescent protein, GFP for use in cell biological applications.

Producer: Liz Mahood

Interviews: Esther Racoosin

Music: Joe Lewis and Blue Dot Sessions

LSS 110: Studying Migration of Metastatic Cancer Cells and Embryonic Neural Crest Cells

In today’s episode, we begin by listening again to an interview from March 2020 to re-explore how metastatic cancer cells migrate. In our second interview, we hear about a recent study showing similarities between the metabolic behavior of migrating embryonic neural crest cells and metastatic cancer cells.

Tracking migrating breast cancer cells (photo courtesy of Dr. Mingming Wu)

First off, Dr. Mingming Wu talks about her laboratory’s studies of how tumor cells migrate in response to exposure to chemokine hormones. This work models cancer cell chemoinvasion and its implications in cancer metastasis. Dr. Wu is a Professor in the Cornell Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering. For more information, visit

In the second part of today’s show, we speak with Dr. Marcos Simoes-Costa, Assistant Professor in the Cornell Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics. One area of investigation in Dr. Simoes-Costa’s lab is the study of the developmental fate of neural crest cells in the chicken embryo. 

In today’s interview, Dr. Simoes-Costa talks about a recent study investigating what genes are expressed when neural crest cells start to migrate. The neural crest cells began to produce high levels of enzymes related to glycolysis, an anaerobic form of metabolism. This is similar to the metabolic behavior of metastatic cancer cells. For more information about Dr. Simoes-Costa’s work, visit

Producer : Liz Mahood

Interviews of Drs. Mingming Wu and Marcos Simoes-Costa: Esther Racoosin

Music: Joe Lewis and Blue Dot Sessions

LSS 109: Women in Paleontology; City Nature Challenge

Dr. M. Alejandra Gandolfo, a paleontologist depicted in the “Daring to Dig” exhibit. Photo taken at a field research site in Argentina.
(Photo courtesy of Dr. Gandolfo)

Just in time for Women’s History Month, the Museum of the Earth has opened an exhibit called “Daring to Dig, Women in American Paleontology”.

The exhibit explores the achievements, adventures, and discoveries made by women in American paleontology over the past few centuries.

In today’s show, you’ll hear an interview of Kate Rowell, the organizer of the new exhibit.

For more information about the exhibit, visit

Volunteer Lucy Gagliardo searches for snails
in leaf litter during 2017 Bioblitz
at the Cayuga Nature Center

Later on in the show, we speak with Dr. Alexandra Moore, Senior Education Associate at the Paleontological Research Institution. She discusses how citizen scientists can get involved in the City Nature Challenge, an international effort for people to find and document plants and wildlife in cities across the globe.

The local City Nature Challenge is taking place in the Eastern Finger Lakes region from April 30 to May 3. Anyone can participate! For more information about how to take part in this local “bioblitz”, visit:

Producer and Interview of Dr. Alexandra Moore: Esther Racoosin

Interview of Kate Rowell: Dr. Anna Levina

Music: Joe Lewis and Blue Dot Sessions

LSS 108: Women’s History month: recognizing women scientists in the Finger Lakes region

Similar to previous years, in March we recognize women scientists who have connections to the Finger Lakes.

Isa Betancourt is an entomologist and science communicator who received her B.S. from Cornell University and M.S. from Drexel University. She runs The Bugscope! a very popular live broadcast every Thursday ~2:45 pm ET. Her followers can learn about 6 and 8 legged creatures on her Facebook account and on Twitter as well.

She talks to Mark Sarvary about insects and science communication (they share a passion for both of those topics) and her super exciting upcoming adventure with National Geographic.

In a historical piece, Kitty Gifford tells us about Anna Botsford Comstock (September 1, 1854 – August 24, 1930) and her best-selling book The Handbook of Nature Study.

Anna Botsford Comstock, plate III. Wood engraving. Insect life; an introduction to nature-study and a guide for teachers, students, and others interested in out-of-door life (1897), by John Henry Comstock.

Dr. Anna Levina is an Active Learning Postdoctoral Researcher and potato expert at Cornell University. Nancy Ruiz talked to her about potatoes, teaching, pedagogy, and life in general.

Producer: Mark Sarvary

Music/Voiceover: Joe Lewis

Contributors: Kitty Gifford, Nancy Ruiz & Mark Sarvary