Hi, we’re Drs. Ben Poulter (NASA), Thomas Gumbricht (CIFOR), David Olefeldt (University of Alberta) and Etienne Fluet-Chouinard (University of Wisconsin) — we study techniques to map wetlands around the world, how they change over time, and how this information can be used to understand how wetlands function and provide ecosystem services to people. Wetlands can be mapped using a variety of techniques, from sending people out into the field using inventory techniques to taking advantage of satellites in orbit around the Earth and using the electromagnetic spectrum. Recently, a new map of tropical wetlands was published by Thomas Gumbricht as well as a high-resolution map of global surface inundation by Etienne Fluet-Chouinard, both databases are being used for a variety of purposes, including to understand how wetland affect climate change by emitting methane. Join our AMA to find out how satellites are helping in the quest to learn more about where wetlands are located, how human activities affect wetland area, and how climate change is affecting methane emissions from wetlands. We’ll be back at 12 pm ET to answer your questions, AMA! Mapping tropical wetlands http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gcb.13689/full High-resolution global wetland mapping http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0034425714004258 Understanding wetlands and methane emissions http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aa8391/pdf
Hi there, r/science! We are postdoctoral researchers (aka postdocs) at the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle who are forming a postdoc union. Postdocs are researchers in academic labs who have already obtained a doctorate in their field of study and continue to conduct mentored research. In general, postdocs perform the bulk of the research that gets done at universities across the country and world. In theory and historically, a scientist would likely choose to become a postdoc to develop a project and new skills to prepare them to lead their independent research group. Today, due to a number of factors, including a lack of PhD-level jobs and increasing demand for postdoctoral experience for non-academic positions, more scientists with doctoral degrees than ever before hold one or more postdoc positions. In addition, a shrinking fraction of postdocs go on to stay in academia. We are working with our fellow postdocs to form a union because we feel it is vital to improve the working conditions and benefits of postdocs. After talking with hundreds of postdocs here at UW, we’ve heard that our colleagues top concerns are compensation, international workers’ protections, and gender equity. Despite being an integral part of the research apparatus at the university, many postdocs struggle to support themselves and their families in an expensive city, and feel the stress of job insecurity on a day-to-day basis. We hope to make meaningful changes and improvements to our jobs through bargaining with the UW Administration to obtain a contract that accounts for the real-life challenges that postdocs face. We are working together with the United Auto Workers (UAW) to run an effective union campaign relying on majority support among postdocs. UAW represents the largest number of academic workers in the country, including the academic graduate and undergraduate employees here at UW. Links The UW Postdoc United’s website has lots of information, including data and stories that highlight the value of unions for postdocs and academia in general. Check it out! Brian recently wrote an op-ed in Science highlighting why he’s a United Academic Worker. Carolyn wrote an opinion piece that outlines her hopes for the university administration’s response to our unionization efforts. Read the story of Joo-Young Lee, a former UW postdoc who dealt with the sudden termination of his position and wants to help other postdocs by forming a postdoc union. Read about the story of a postdoc who dealt with pregnancy discrimination in science here.
Hello Reddit, I’m Michael S. Okun. I received my M.D. from the University of Florida and was also trained at Emory University, one of the world’s leading centers for movement disorders research. I am currently chairman of neurology, professor and co-director of the Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration at the University of Florida College of Medicine. The center, which is part of the Center for Translational Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases and the McKnight Brain Institute, is unique in that it is comprised of 40+ interdisciplinary faculty members from diverse areas of campus, all of whom are dedicated to care, outreach, education and research. I helped construct a one-stop, patient-centered clinical-research experience for national and international patients seen at the University of Florida. In 2015, I was recognized at the White House for being a Champion of Change for Parkinson’s Disease. I serve as national medical director for the Parkinson’s Foundation and have been supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Smallwood Foundation, the Tourette Syndrome Association, the Parkinson Alliance, the Bachmann-Strauss Foundation, the Parkinson’s Foundation and the Michael J. Fox Foundation. During my research career, I have explored non-motor basal ganglia brain features and I currently hold two NIH R01 grants on deep brain stimulation. I’ve been an integral part of pioneering studies exploring the cognitive, behavioral and mood effects of brain stimulation. I hold the Adelaide Lackner Professorship in Neurology and have published over 350 peer-reviewed articles. I’m a poet (“Lessons From the Bedside,” 1995) and my book “Parkinson’s Treatment: 10 Secrets to a Happier Life” was translated into over 20 languages. My latest book, “Tourette Syndrome: 10 Secrets to a Happier Life” was recently published. I’ll be answering your questions about Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders at 1 p.m. EST. Ask me anything! Thank you for spending an hour with me. It was a lot of fun and your questions were great. Here are some recent articles that you may be interested in reading: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2650798 https://theconversation.com/parkinsons-disease-new-drugs-and-treatments-but-where-are-the-doctors-83334 Michael S. Okun, M.D.
Hi Reddit, My name is Lillian L. M. Shapiro and I am a postdoctoral scientist at Vanderbilt University. My research focuses on how environmental changes affect the biology of mosquitoes and the diseases they transmit. I recently published a methods & resources study titled “Quantifying the effects of temperature on mosquito and parasite traits that determine the transmission potential of human malaria” in PLOS Biology. This work was part of my PhD studies and concerns how temperature shapes mosquito and malaria parasite traits, and how changes in these traits impact malaria transmission. We found that warmer temperatures increase the potential of malaria transmission up to about 26ºC (79ºF), but temperatures hotter than this may actually decrease risk, suggesting that the range where malaria can flourish could shift geographically under predicted climate change scenarios. I will be answering your questions at 1pm ET. Ask me Anything! EDIT: Because this AMA started a little late, I can continue answering questions (today) beyond the normal 2pm ET cutoff, I just might be a little bit slower in responding.
Hi reddit, My name is Marc Hurlbert and I am the Chief Mission Officer of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation https://www.bcrf.org/, the nation’s highest rated breast cancer organization. I lead BCRF’s $59.5 million research portfolio which is distributed in grants to over 275 scientists this year alone. We fund the best and brightest researchers in the world. They come from all disciplines of science and are given the freedom to pursue their most creative ideas and promising research leads. A scientist myself, I am particularly interested in metastatic disease and disparities that exist among various ethnic groups in breast cancer care. I will be answering your questions at 1PM ET today – Ask Me Anything!
Edit: Hi everyone! Many thanks for those who were interested in this topic, I really enjoyed answering your thought-provoking questions. I am signing out now, but will try to check back later and answer a few more. Hello Reddit! I’m a chemical ecologist at Rothamsted Research in the UK. Up until the age of eight I had wanted to become a pilot, an ambition that was stopped short after a failed attempt to fly a home-made glider. However, I think it was my innate curiosity that eventually made me realise that I wanted to do something connected to nature. Endless hours a day spent in the back garden, natural history books, influential teachers and, later in life, great mentors supported me on my way to becoming an ecologist. First at the Plant Protection Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (http://marton.agrar.mta.hu/start.php?lang=en), and later at Rothamsted (https://www.rothamsted.ac.uk/). I was amazed by the dedication and focussed work of inspiring scientists who wanted to make a difference, thereby setting a standard for me. After my third level studies, I was introduced into the amazing world of semiochemicals (behaviour- and development-modifying chemicals). Since then, I have found myself immersed in this magical world of chemical communication that invisibly governs key interactions among organisms! It is fascinating stuff! I mainly work with insect pests in agro- and forest ecosystems. I identify volatile compounds from the pests’ host plants or the insects themselves. I then use these compounds to manipulate the behaviour and development of the plant, or the insect, to help keep the pest’s population under control. I recently also started to study the chemical ecology under our feet. The soil is a tough one, because it is much less accessible, and therefore harder to research, than the environment above the ground. However, when something is discovered here, it has the potential to be ground-breaking! In a world where environmental, human and food safety are fortunately becoming increasingly important, we need alternative, non-toxic ways to tackle pests, and chemical ecology research offers such solutions. The recent ban of many key pesticides is also driving the focus of plant protection in this direction. It would be great to discuss my research with you. Feel free to ask me anything! On Thursday 26th October at 4pm (BST) I will be live on Reddit Science AMA. In the meantime, you are welcome to find out more about me in a blog entry I wrote for Rothamsted’s ‘A day in the life of a research scientist’ blog series (https://www.rothamsted.ac.uk/articles/day-life-dr-jozsef-vuts). (Rothamsted Research is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England at Harpenden, Hertfordshire, AL5 2JQ under the registration number 2393175 and a not for profit charity number 802038.)
Hi Reddit, My name is Ke Lan and I am a professor and the Director of the State Key Laboratory of Virology at Wuhan University, Wuhan, P.R. China. My researches focus on the mechanism of latent infection and oncogenesis caused by Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpes virus. Dr. Xing Wang and Mr. Zhe Zou who worked in my lab before will join me to answer questions. Dr. Xing Wang is now a professor at the Department of Gastroenterology, Xinqiao Hospital affiliated to the Third Military Medical University, Chongqing, P.R. China. And, Mr. Zhe Zou is now a technician at the Department of Gastroenterology, Xinqiao Hospital affiliated to the Third Military Medical University, Chongqing, P.R. China. We recently published an article titled “Male hormones activate EphA2 to facilitate Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus infection: Implications for gender disparity in Kaposi’s sarcoma” in PLOS Pathogens. Previous studies have shown that the incidence of Kaposi’s sarcoma is higher in males, however the reason has not been addressed. In our study, we found that male hormones and its receptor (AR) can promote KSHV infection by activating an important cellular signaling pathway. Our findings suggested that males are more vulnerable to infection of KSHV due to the male hormones, providing an explanation to the higher incidence of Kaposi’s sarcoma in males. We will be answering your questions at 1pm ET – Ask Us Anything!
I’m James Owen Weatherall, a professor of Logic and Philosophy of Science at the University of California, Irvine, where I’m also a member of the Institute for Mathematical Behavioral Science. I’m interested in the mathematical and conceptual foundations of physics, model-building in finance, and epistemology more broadly. In my new book Void: The Strange Physics of Nothing, I talk about the historical and conceptual issues related to the physics of “nothing,” from controversies about empty space in the 17th century to the strange features of the vacuum state in quantum field theory today. You can read more about it in this interview with Physics Today. I’m also the author of The Physics of Wall Street, which looked at how modeling ideas moved from physics into finance during the 20th century. And right now I’m writing a book on why false beliefs persist and spread, even when everyone cares about believing true things about the world. I’m looking forward to talking about the philosophy of physics, finance and mathematics, and of course, nothing. I’ll be back at 4pm EDT to answer your questions! EDIT: That’s a wrap. Thanks for the great questions!
Hi Reddit, my name is Haig Kazazian and I’m a geneticist at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. For the past 27 years, I’ve been studying human genetics and I am passionately committed to understanding how “jumping genes,” also known as retrotransposons, affect how genetic diseases manifest in my patients. These pieces of DNA are capable of moving around the genome and can potentially disrupt functional genes and lead to diseases like hemophilia and muscular dystrophy. Interesting fact about myself, in 1999, my colleague Arupa Ganguly and I received a “cease and desist” letter from Myriad Genetics, for studying the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes because they held the patent. We became the first plaintiffs in the 2013 Supreme Court Case, which unanimously ruled that naturally occurring DNA sequences aren’t patent eligible. More on the ruling here [ http://www.scotusblog.com/2013/06/details-on-association-for-molecular-pathology-v-myriad-genetics-inc/]. I’ve recently published a review on the last fifty years of “jumping gene” research and you can read all about it here: [http://www.fasebj.org/content/31/9/3712.full]. I’ll be back at 1pm ET today to answer your questions.
I’m Chris Cogswell, a PhD in Chemical Engineering and host of “The Mad Scientist Podcast”, a show that discusses scientific concepts by teaching the history and philosophy of pseudoscience! I’m here to answer any questions you have about scientific outreach to the public through non-conventional means, my research background (both scientific and non-scientific), and any skeptical or weird science questions you may not normally get to ask. I received a Bachelors of Science in Chemical Engineering and Philosophy from the University of New Hampshire in the spring of 2012, where in Chemical Engineering I did research on electrochemical plating methods for computer chip design. In the realm of philosophy I did a lot of research on the conversion from science to pseudoscience, and why the public accepts some technologies while others lag behind due to political, economic, and sociological barriers. In the fall of 2012 I joined Northeastern University for my PhD studies under Dr. Sunho Choi, where I performed research on the creation of nanomaterials for a variety of applications in the realm of green chemistry and sustainability. The materials I worked on include Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs), a class of self-assembling porous structures with extremely high surface areas and chemical activity, and lamellar (layered) silicates such as zeolites and clays. I like to tell people that MOFs are like K’nex, while the lamellar structures are like Lego. While in my PhD I realized that what was really important to me was scientific outreach to the public. I had members of my own family and friends who believed all number of wacky theories, and would argue with me constantly about them. I had also spent a lot of time with undergraduate students as a TA and then as a lab manager for our research group, as well as middle school and high school students through lab tours and outreach events. Through these teaching experiences I saw that students loved to learn about these myths and legends, and how they fit into the larger narrative of scientific history. Probably what put the final piece of the puzzle together for me was working with Dr. Lucas Landherr, aka Dante Shepard of the webcomic Surviving the World! His research group is attempting to find interesting new ways to teach STEM through art or the use of non-conventional tools. We wrote a comic together on the use of assumptions in Engineering, which has been really well received in the engineering education community, and this caused me to attempt to start up something of my own. In the final year of my PhD I started The Mad Scientist Podcast, and have been teaching science through the history of pseudoscience ever since. I’m really excited to answer any questions you have on the way technologies change over time, pseudoscientific topics, engineering, nanomaterials, doing something unconventional with your science training, and podcasting as a means of education! As long as I keep getting questions I will keep answering them, so feel free to ask whatever. You can find my show here: https://audioboom.com/channel/themadscientistpodcast Or on our website! https://www.themadscientistpodcast.com/ You can find our webcomic and the work of Dr. Landherr here: https://www.northeastern.edu/landherr/stem-comics/science-comic-assumptions/ And we are part of two podcast networks, the Dark Myths collective and Blank for non-Blank (an educational network). EDIT: Well, looks like things are wrapping up! Thanks to everyone who took the time to ask a question and read my responses. I’m on Reddit all the time on my regular account, so I’ll be sure to pop in and continue answering questions as you have them! Thanks to the Mods for setting this up! -Chris
Hi Reddit, My name is Natasha Agramonte and I am a Research Fellow at the CDC Entomology Branch and a PhD Candidate at the University of Florida. My research focuses on how insecticide resistance affects mosquito blood-feeding behavior. I recently published a study titled ‘Pyrethroid resistance alters the blood-feeding behavior in Puerto Rican Aedes aegypti mosquitoes exposed to treated fabric in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases. Insecticide resistance is a problem in mosquito control, because it increases disease risk, control costs, and environmental damage. Using a pyrethroid-susceptible and a pyrethroid-resistant strain of Ae. aegypti, we observed the blood-feeding behavior using fabric treated with four distinct but related insecticides. The results of this study indicated that higher amounts of pyrethroid chemicals are necessary to reduce blood-feeding behavior in the resistant Puerto Rican strain of Ae. aegypti, but interestingly the blood-feeding resistance was different (and lower!) than when the chemicals were directly applied to the mosquitoes for two chemicals: permethrin and etofenprox. I look forward to answering any and all of your mosquito questions at 1pm ET. Ask me Anything! Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @mosquito_PhD.
Hi Reddit! EDIT: And that’s all for us from the Swope Team! Thank you for the great questions. Sorry we couldn’t answer every one of them. And thank you for the reddit gold, even if it wasn’t made in a neutron star-neutron star collision. We are Ben Shappee, Maria Drout, Tony Piro, Josh Simon, Ryan Foley, Dave Coulter, and Charlie Kilpatrick, a group of astronomers from the Carnegie Observatories and UC Santa Cruz who were the first people ever to see light from two neutron stars colliding. We call ourselves the Swope Discovery Team because we used a telescope in Chile named after pioneering astronomer Henrietta Swope to find the light from the explosion that happened when the two stars crashed into each other over a hundred million years ago and sent gravitational waves toward Earth. You can read more about our discovery–just announced yesterday–here: https://carnegiescience.edu/node/2250 Or watch a video of us explaining what gravitational waves and neutron stars even are here: https://vimeo.com/238283885 We also took the first spectra of light from the event. Like prisms separate sunlight into the colors of the rainbow, spectra separate the light from a star or other object into its component wavelengths. Studying these spectra can help us answer a longstanding astrophysics mystery about the origin of certain heavy elements including gold and platinum. You can watch a video about our spectra here: https://vimeo.com/238284111 We’ll be back at 11 am ET to answer your questions, ask us anything! Dr. Ben Shappee: I just completed a Hubble, Carnegie-Princeton Fellowship at the Carnegie Observatories and am mere weeks into a faculty position at University of Hawaii’s Institute for Astronomy. I’m a founding member of the ASAS-SN supernova-hunting project. Dr. Maria Drout: I am currently a NASA Hubble Postdoctoral Fellow at the Carnegie Observatories and I also hold a research associate position at the University of Tornoto. I study supernovae and other exotic transients. Dr. Tony Piro: I am a theoretical astrophysicist and the George Ellery Hale Distinguished Scholar in Theoretical Astrophysics at the Carnegie Observatories. I am the P.I. of the Swope Supernova Survey. Dr. Josh Simon: I am a staff scientist at the Carnegie Observatories. I study nearby galaxies, which help me answer questions about dark matter, star formation, and the process of galaxy evolution. Dr. Ryan Foley: I am a a faculty member at UC Santa Cruz. I represented the Swope Team at the LIGO and NSF press conference about the neutron star collision discovery on Monday in Washington, DC. Dr. Charlie Kilpatrick: I am a postdoc at UC Santa Cruz. I specialize in supernovae. Almost Dr. Dave Coulter: I am a second year graduate student at UC Santa Cruz. I am a founding member of the Swope Supernova Survey. EDIT: Here’s our team! https://imgur.com/gallery/8lZyg
I am Sue Natali, Associate Scientist at Woods Hole Research Center (http://whrc.org/staff/susan-natali/). I’ve been working in the Arctic since 2008, and my research has involved fieldwork across Alaska and in northeast Siberia. I study the effects of climate change on arctic ecosystems and the consequences of these changes for carbon cycling. My research addresses these questions: How do climate change and fire affect permafrost thaw? How do plant communities respond to warmer temperatures and ground thaw? How does permafrost impact soil moisture? What are the impacts of these changes on carbon cycling? What are the implications of permafrost thaw for global climate? I’ll be back at 1 EDT to answer all your permafrost and climate change questions. Ask Me Anything! The AGU AMA series is conducted by the Sharing Science (http://sharingscience.org) program. Sharing Science: By scientists, for everyone. More at sharingscience.agu.org.
Hi Reddit! Sunday, October 8th, is National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day, so let’s look at how far hydrogen fuel cell technology has come, and more importantly, where emerging technologies can take us. For decades, hydrogen fuel cells were an aspirational technology. Today, this ultra-low emission technology is on the brink of mainstream adoption, but it will require widespread support of a hydrogen supply and refueling infrastructure. The Achilles heel of this clean energy future: generating enough liquid hydrogen at a low enough cost. Hydrogen—the most abundant element in the universe—must be cooled to ~20 K (-253 °C/-423 °F) – and that’s currently a rather energy-intensive process. At PNNL (with partners at Emerald Energy NW, LLC, and AMES Laboratory), we’re developing a novel approach based on magnetocaloric refrigeration. The system works by taking advantage of a physical phenomenon called the magnetocaloric effect. We believe this new method can reduce the cost of liquefying hydrogen by 25 percent or more. I’ll be back here at 12 am PST (3 pm EST) to answer your questions. Update: Dr. John Barclay, the inventor of active magnetic regenerators, a partner on our work, is also joining us this day. He is the President and CTO of Emerald Energy NW LLC. Update: Thank you for your questions, Reddit! We will check back later to follow up on these threads. In the meantime, read more on this research area at http://energyenvironment.pnnl.gov/highlights/highlight.asp?id=2487. And to learn more about our work in energy, visit https://energyenvironment.pnnl.gov/. We also encourage you to follow PNNL on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PNNLgov and Twitter at @PNNLab and for more energy-focused topics on Twitter, @energyPNNL. You’ll also find PNNL on Google+ and LinkedIn. Thanks again!
I’m Mike Liemohn, a Professor in the Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering (http://clasp.engin.umich.edu/) at the University of Michigan (umich.edu). You’ve probably seen Gravity, The Martian, or The Fantastic Four, so you know that outer space is a dangerous place. But isn’t outer space a vacuum of nothingness? Beyond no air to breathe, what else could possibly hurt you? It turns out…lots! I investigate the physics at work in the almost-nothingness of our solar system. I am also the Editor in Chief of the Journal of Geophysical Research – Space Physics2169-9402/) a leading journal in this field of understanding the Sun, solar eruptions, magnetic storms, the radiation belts, and the aurora at Earth and other planets. I am also currently teaching a very fun course at U-M called SPACE 101: Intro to Rocket Science. I hope to have an engaging discussion with you about the fascinating physics happening in the near-emptiness of outer space, and explore the many ways that space might pose a danger to astronauts, to satellites, or even to power grids here on Earth. I’ll be back at 12 pm ET to answer your questions, Ask Me Anything! The AGU AMA series is conducted by the Sharing Science (sharingscience.org) program. Sharing Science: By scientists, for everyone. More at sharingscience.agu.org.
Hi Reddit, My name is Graham Lord and I am the Professor of Medicine at King’s College London. My research focuses on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms that cause inflammatory bowel diseases. And my name is Richard Jenner and I am a Reader (Associate Professor) in Molecular Biology at University College London (UCL). My research focuses on understanding how gene transcription and chromatin modification regulate immune cell function in health and disease. We recently published a paper titled “Genetic variants alter T-bet binding and gene expression in mucosal inflammatory disease” in PLOS Genetics. We found that the transcription factor, T-bet bound to genetic variants associated with human mucosal inflammatory diseases, such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. We also developed a new technique called “OligoFlow” that allowed us to identify altered transcription factor binding to these variants. We will be answering your questions at 1pm ET – Ask Us Anything! Click here for more information about Dr. Jenner’s lab.
Hi fellow dataviz enthusiasts! My name is Nadieh Bremer and these days I freelance as a data visualization designer, under the name of Visual Cinnamon. Since July of 2016 I’ve been doing a personal collaboration with Shirley Wu called data sketches, creating an elaborate visualization ±each month, during which I created works about the words spoken in the LotR movies, all Olympic gold medal winners, the fights in Dragon Ball Z, a “breathing” Earth and more. In 2011 I graduated as an Astronomer (still very much drawn towards the subject, either in data such as in this exoplanet visual and HR-diagram, or in design elements, such as in Royal Constellations). I then became a Data Scientist for Deloitte Consulting where I gradually discovered my passion for the visualization of data (and Self-Organizing Maps), making complex things accesible to non-experts. From December 2014 I finally decided to go heads-on into data visualization, and started freelancing in 2017. I find myself focusing on making non-standard visualizations that convey a lot of information, so people can also find their own stories beyond the general point the visual wants to make, while also being visually appealing to draw people in. But I also like to experiment with web techniques that haven’t quite found their way into dataviz, such as the gooey effect and other experiments And finally, I enjoy diving into the world of data-art every now and then with works such as The art in pi & Marble butterflies I’ll be back at 18:00 CET / 9:00am PST to answer your questions (proof that it’s me)! Update: Here now and answering questions! Update: And done! All questions answered, thanks for tuning in, hope some of the answers were helpful