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LSS 113: Plant Sociability and Chronic Wasting Disease

Horticulturist Brandon George leads a tour of the Cornell Botanic Gardens Bioswale (photo courtesy of B. George)

In today’s episode, you’ll hear interviews of two Cornell scientists who are observers of vastly different organisms living in the great outdoors.

Brandon George (photo courtesy of B. George)

First off, horticulturist Brandon George talks about his observations of the characteristics of how different plant species and cultivars grow in their natural habitat. George talks about the concept of plant sociability in exploring the plantings in the Cornell Botanic Garden Bioswale ( Brandon George is receiving a Masters in Professional Studies in Public Garden Leadership at the Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He explores the field of horticulture at his podcast, “Horticulture Rising” (

White-tailed Deer
(photo courtesy of Creative Commons (by Mike Tewkesbury licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0))

The second half of today’s show features an interview with Dr. Krysten Schuler about the incidence of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in wild and captive deer populations. CWD was discovered in captive deer in Pennsylvania near the New York border in late May 2021. Schuler discusses the measures being taken to prevent the spread of CWD to deer in New York State.

Schuler is Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences at the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine.

For more information about Chronic Wasting Disease, visit (

To close out today’s show, we feature a number of local science events happening in the month of August:;instance=20210813100000

Producer: Esther Racoosin

Host: Fred Balfour

Music: Joe Lewis; Blue Dot Sessions

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