I am an animal geneticist at UC Davis with a strong interest in science communication. I am in the documentary film called Food Evolution which is showing in New York City this week at Village East Cinema (https://www.citycinemas.com/villageeast/film/food-evolution). The film uses the debate around GMOs as a proxy for bigger questions around decision making, alternative facts, and asks why do many people make decisions with their hearts rather than their heads? The movie has reviews in Science, and the Hollywood Reporter. As someone working in agricultural science my entire career I see a lot of deceptive marketing designed to play on people’s fears, and recently a lot of misleading “absence-labeling” suggesting the absence of something that was never in the food product in the first place (e.g. gluten-free water). My own research focuses on genetic improvement of cattle, with some research focusing on using gene editing as discussed in Science Friday and illustrated in this video. I will be back at 11 am PT (2 pm ET); I look forward to your questions on genetic improvement of crops and livestock, and/or questions related to the movie Food Evolution. My twitter handle is @biobeef.
Ed: Thanks everyone for a fascinating AMA - some really great questions. Time for us to go now but we’ll check back later on to answer any more questions and comments. Did you know that if you use your voice for more than five hours a day you are considered a professional voice user? We are Gillyanne Kayes and Jeremy Fisher. Our expertise in the field of voice coaching saw us appointed behind the scenes to this year’s ‘The Voice’ on ITV and led to singer, Cerys Mathews, nicknaming us the ‘Voice Gurus’ on her Sunday Morning show Our bestselling books are described as must-reads for teachers, singers and students alike and we recently launched our One Minute Voice WarmUp app to help protect professional voice users from repetitive voice injury. We’re on a mission to help people make the most of their voice - not just professionals, but day-to-day voice users including teachers, call centre workers, vicars, receptionists, personal trainers, business coaches and more. Whether you want to know more about the science behind the voice (Gillyanne recently completed her PhD on the subject) or you’re looking for more practical, voice-related advice, we can help…we’ll be back at 1pmET to answer your questions, AMA!
Hi Reddit, I am Sara Carazo, a medical doctor working for a long time with MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières). In 2005 I participated to the MSF response to a Marburg epidemic in Angola and in December 2014-January 2015 I was the MSF medical referent person for the Ebola clinical trial testing favipiravir in Gueckédou, Guinea. Since 2014 I am doing a PhD in Epidemiology at Laval University, Québec. My current research topic is on measles vaccination. My colleagues and I recently published in PLOS NTDS the article: Challenges in preparing and implementing a clinical trial at field level in an Ebola emergency: A case study in Guinea, West Africa. It is a viewpoint where we critically review all the challenges that we encountered to implement a clinical trial in the context of an uncontrolled Ebola virus epidemic and a vulnerable resource-poor setting of rural Guinea. I will be answering you questions at 1pm ET – Ask Me Anything!
Neonicotinoids are a group of pesticides that can be applied as seed coatings and are designed to protect crops such as oilseed rape (also known as canola), but were banned by the EU in 2013 due to concerns regarding their impact on bee health. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued a registration review for four neonicotinoids which is expected to be completed in 2018. We allowed bees to forage on winter oilseed rape crops treated with neonicotinoids seed coatings on farms in the UK, Germany and Hungary over an area equivalent to 3,000 full-sized soccer pitches. You can read the peer-reviewed paper as published in Science here. http://science.sciencemag.org/content/356/6345/1393 I am on the Sense about Science Plant Science Panel, where anyone can ask a question and get an answer from a scientist. The Panel is made up of over 50 independent plant science researchers. You can ask questions to them on Twitter (@senseaboutsci #plantsci) or Facebook. Answers are sent back within a couple of days and posted online. The Panel has answered over 400 questions during the last five years and it’s a great way to cut through the noise around what can sometimes be a really polarised debate. I will be back at 12 pm EDT (5 pm GMT, 9 am PST) to answer all your questions.
Hi Reddit, My name is Ronnie Sebro and I am an Assistant Professor in Genetics and Radiology at the University of Pennsylvania. As a statistical geneticist and radiologist, my research interests center around genetic analysis of quantitative imaging phenotypes. More recently, I have been exploring the impact of non-random mating on genetic association studies. I recently published a study “Structured mating: Patterns and implications” in PLOS Genetics in conjunction with collaborators at the University of California, San Francisco and Boston University School of Public Health. The aim of the study was to assess how the mating patterns in a European-American population changed over time (over 3 generations, starting in 1948) and to discuss the implication of these findings for current genetic studies. We found there were primarily three clusters of individuals – those with Northern/European ancestry, those with Southern European ancestry and those with Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry. In the first generation, we found that individuals were more likely to choose spouses with similar genetic ancestry (i.e. from the same cluster), however the strength of this association decreased with each successive generation, suggesting gradual intermixing between clusters. Some of the physical and behavioral similarities seen between spouses may be as a result of their similar genetic ancestry. I will be answering your questions at 1pm ET – Ask me Anything!
I’m Barani Raman, a biomedical engineer at Washington University in St. Louis. I started my career as a computer engineer trying to develop an “electronic nose,” (a non-invasive chemical sensing system). The current state-of-art systems that we fabricate are no match to the capabilities of the biological olfactory system. So, I have been studying the insect olfactory system for the past decade to understand their design and computing principles. Our current approach is two-pronged: (i) conduct basic neuroscience investigation to understand how a relatively simple insect olfactory system works, and from there take inspiration to design the next generation e-noses (ii) take advantage of recent advances in miniaturized, low-power, flexible electronics to create “cyborg insects” and use them as biorobotic sensing systems. Recently, my group has made several important findings regarding how locusts smell, what are some of the neural information processing principles, and what are the rules that govern how neural activity can get translated to behavioral outcomes. AMA! Thank you so much for the interest in understanding my work and all the terrific questions. This was fun and it is good to know what the tax payers care about as well.
I’m Dr. Adrian Owen, a professor of neuroscience, here to answer your questions about our breakthroughs in brain science. I’ve been fascinated with the human brain for more than 25 years: how it works, why it works, what happens when it doesn’t work so well. At the Owen Lab at Western University in Canada, my team studies human cognition using brain imaging, sleep labs, EEGs and functional MRIs. We’ve learned that one in five people in a vegetative state are actually conscious and aware (I recently wrote a book on it – www.intothegrayzone.com, if you’re interested). We’ve also examined whether brain-training games actually make you smarter (pro tip: they don’t). Now my team is working on a cool new project to understand what happens to specific parts of people’s brains when they get too little sleep. We’re testing tens of thousands of people around the world to learn why we need sleep, how much we need, and the long- and short-term effects sleep loss has on our brains. A lot of scientists and influencers, such as Arianna Huffington and her company Thrive Global, have already raised awareness about the dangers of sleep loss and the need for research like this. Since we can’t bring everyone to our labs, we’re bringing the lab to people’s homes through online tests we’ve designed at www.worldslargestsleepstudy.com or www.cambridgebrainsciences.com. We hope to be able to share our findings in science journals in about six months. So … if you want to know about sleep-testing, brain-game training or how we communicate with people in the gray zone between life and death … AMA! I will be here at 1:00pm EDT (10:00am PDT / 5:00pm UTC), with researchers from my lab, Western University and the folks who host the www.worldslargestsleepstudy.com platform—ask me anything! Update: We’re here now! Ask us anything! Proof that I am real: http://imgur.com/a/NvPMK Update 2: I appreciate all the questions! I tried my best to answer as many as I could. This was really fun. See you next time. Now, time for some pineapple pizza! http://imgur.com/a/Yy88r
ACS AMA Hi Reddit! My name is Neelesh A. Patankar, and I am the Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence and Associate Chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Northwestern University. Following my Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at University of Pennsylvania, I was a post-doctoral associate with Prof. Daniel D. Joseph at the University of Minnesota until 2000. I then joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Northwestern University as an Assistant Professor in 2000, and have been a Professor since 2011. My research area is developing computational methods for immersed bodies in fluids and applying them to problems in biology (fish swimming, esophageal transport, rat whiskers) and engineering (vehicle aerodynamics). I have also been active in designing rough surfaces for non-wetting, super-wetting, anti-icing, and novel phase change properties. My group has published a series of papers on the thermodynamics of phase change on rough surfaces. Topics include keeping surfaces dry under water (see a short video here), restoring underwater superhydrophobicity, changing the boiling curve by extending or delaying the Leidenfrost regime, and the thermodynamics of sustaining vapor, “non-condensable” gases, and superheated liquids in roughness pores. I also recently acted as a scientific consultant for an ACS Reactions video on the Leidenfrost effect. The broader research vision is to engineer metasurfaces, that is surfaces that exhibit novel interfacial interactions during heterogeneous phase transition (e.g. condensation, boiling, freezing). Potential application areas include boiling and condensation heat transfer (e.g. in power plants), anti-icing, anti-fouling, and atmospheric water harvesting, among others. I will be answering your questions on the topics of rough surfaces for non-wetting, super-wetting, or novel phase change properties at 11am EDT (10am CDT, 8am PDT, 3pm UTC) -ACS edit text formatting 08:45 ET
This week we will be hosting a series of AMAs addressing the scientific and medical details of being transgender. Honest questions that are an attempt to learn more on the subject are invited, and we hope you can learn more about this fascinating aspect of the human condition. However, we feel it is appropriate to remind the readers that /r/science has a long-standing zero-tolerance policy towards hate-speech, which extends to people who are transgender. Our official stance is that derogatory comments about transgender people will be treated on par with sexism and racism, typically resulting in a ban without notice. To clarify, we are not banning the discussion of any individual topic nor are we saying that the science in any area is settled. What we are saying is that we stand with the rest of the scientific community and every relevant psych organisation that the overwhelming bulk of evidence is that being trans is not a mental illness and that the discussion of trans people as somehow “sick” or “broken” is offensive and bigoted1. We won’t stand for it. We’ve long held that we won’t host discussion of anti-science topics without the use of peer-reviewed evidence. Opposing the classification of being transgender as ’not a mental illness’2 is treated the same way as if you wanted to make anti-vax, anti-global warming or anti-gravity comments. To be clear, this post is to make it abundantly clear that we treat transphobic comments the same way we treat racist, sexist and homophobic comments. They have no place on our board. Scientific discussion is the use of empirical evidence and theory to guide knowledge based on debate in academic journals. Yelling at each other in a comments section of a forum is in no way “scientific discussion”. If you wish to say that any well accepted scientific position is wrong, I encourage you to do the work and publish something on the topic. Until then, your opinions are just that - opinions. 1 Some have wrongly interpreted this statement as “stigmatizing” mental illness. I can assure you that is the last thing we are trying to do here. What we are trying to stop is the label of “mental illness” being used as a way to derogate a group. It’s being used maliciously to say that there is something wrong with trans people and that’s offensive both to mental illness sufferers and those in the trans community. 2 There is a difference between being trans and having gender dysphoria. Lastly, here is the excerpt from the APA: A psychological state is considered a mental disorder only if it causes significant distress or disability. Many transgender people do not experience their gender as distressing or disabling, which implies that identifying as transgender does not constitute a mental disorder. For these individuals, the significant problem is finding affordable resources, such as counseling, hormone therapy, medical procedures and the social support necessary to freely express their gender identity and minimize discrimination. Many other obstacles may lead to distress, including a lack of acceptance within society, direct or indirect experiences with discrimination, or assault. These experiences may lead many transgender people to suffer with anxiety, depression or related disorders at higher rates than nontransgender persons. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), people who experience intense, persistent gender incongruence can be given the diagnosis of “gender dysphoria.” Some contend that the diagnosis inappropriately pathologizes gender noncongruence and should be eliminated. Others argue that it is essential to retain the diagnosis to ensure access to care. The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) is under revision and there may be changes to its current classification of intense persistent gender incongruence as “gender identity disorder.”
ACS AMA Hi—we’re Raychelle Burks and Brandon Presley. We recently attended the 2017 IUPAC General Assembly and World Chemistry Congress, held July 8-14 in São Paulo, Brazil, as part of the U.S. Young Observers program. I’m Raychelle Burks, Ph.D., an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas. I’m an analytical chemist with crime lab experience and am focused on creating low-cost colorimetric sensors for detecting chemicals of forensic interest, including explosives and illicit drugs. My group utilizes smart phones, along with image analysis, to maximize the field readiness of developed sensor systems for potential use by crime scene analysts, law enforcement, and military personnel. I earned my B.S. in chemistry from the University of Northern Iowa, my M.S. in forensic science from Nebraska Wesleyan University, and my Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. I’m also passionate about science communication and serve on the advisory board of Chemical & Engineering News and UnDark Science Magazine. I’m Brandon C. Presley, a Ph.D. candidate studying analytical chemistry at Temple University. I earned my bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 2010 from Temple University. I am employed as the Team Leader in the Abuse-Deterrent Formulations department at NMS Labs where I manage technical projects and conducts in-vitro testing for major pharmaceutical organizations. I’ve worked previously as a forensic chemist and bench chemist in clinical and forensic toxicology; I was also employed as a chemist at Intertek Testing Services. I have served at Temple University as a Graduate Teaching Assistant and joined the adjunct chemistry faculty in 2017. I was recently recognized as a Future Faculty Fellow by Temple University. I’m a member of the American Chemical Society (ACS) and an Associate Member of the Division of Chemistry and Human Health in the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC). My research interests include determining the metabolic profiles of novel drugs of abuse as well as determining Quantitative Structure-Retention Relationships (QSRR) of various classes of compounds. IUPAC is the global authority on chemical nomenclature and terminology—including naming of new elements in the periodic table—as well as setting other standards for measurement and other critically-evaluated data. Established in 1977 to foster interactions with internationally acclaimed scientists, the IUPAC Young Observer Program sends U.S. Observers under the age of 45 from industry, academia, and national laboratories to the IUPAC World Chemistry Congress and General Assembly, held every two years. The program aims to introduce the work of IUPAC to a new generation of researchers and to provide them with an opportunity to address international scientific policy issues. To help support participation of U.S. Young Observers, ACS is helping us share our experiences, learnings, and how the Congress and GA are helping to advance our scientific interests, priorities, networks, and careers. Learn more about our and our fellow Young Observers’ experiences in this blog post . Ask us anything about being an IUPAC Young Observer, using technology for science communication, presenting at international chemistry conferences, or balancing a career with pursing advanced education. We will be back at 12:30 p.m. EDT (11:30 a.m. CDT, 9:30 a.m. PDT, 4:30 p.m. UTC) to answer your questions. 12:30pm We’re here to answer questions until 1:30pm ET! 1:30pm Thanks, y’all! We’re signing off!
Hi reddit! My name is Ralph Vetters, and I am the Medical Director of the Sidney Borum Jr. Health Center, a program of Fenway Health. Hailing originally from Texas and Missouri, I graduated from Harvard College in 1985. My first career was as a union organizer in New England for workers in higher education and the public sector. In 1998, I went back to school and graduated from the Harvard Medical School in 2003 after also getting my masters in public health at the Harvard School of Public Health in maternal and child health. I graduated from the Boston Combined Residency Program in Pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital and Boston Medical Center in 2006 and have been working as a pediatrician at the Sidney Borum Health Center since that time. My work focuses on providing care to high risk adolescents and young adults, specifically developing programs that support the needs of homeless youth and inner city LGBT youth. I’m Jenifer McGuire, and I am an Associate Professor of Family Social Science and Extension Specialist at the University of Minnesota. My training is in adolescent development and family studies (PhD and MS) as well as a Master’s in Public Health. I do social science research focused on the health and well-being of transgender youth. Specifically, I focus on gender development among adolescents and young adults and how social contexts like schools and families influence the well-being of trans and gender non-conforming young people. I became interested in applied research in order to learn what kinds of environments, interventions, and family supports might help to improve the well-being of transgender young people. I serve on the National Advisory Council of GLSEN, and am the Chair of the GLBTSA for the National Council on Family Relations. For the past year I have served as a Scholar for the Children Youth and Families Consortium, in transgender youth. I work collaboratively in research with several gender clinics and have conducted research in international gender programs as well. I am a member of WPATH and USPATH and The Society for Research on Adolescence. I provide outreach in Minnesota related to transgender youth services through UMN extension. See our toolkit here, and Children’s Mental Health ereview here. I also work collaboratively with the National Center on Gender Spectrum Health to adapt and expand longitudinal cross-site data collection opportunities for clinics serving transgender clients. Download our measures free here. Here are some recent research and theory articles: Body Image: In this article we analyzed descriptions from 90 trans identified young people about their experiences of their bodies. We learned about the ways that trans young people feel better about their bodies when they have positive social interactions, and are treated in their identified gender. Ambiguous Loss: This article describes the complex nature of family relationships that young people describe when their parents are not fully supportive of their developing gender identity. Trans young people may experience mixed responses about physical and psychological relationships with their family members, requiring a renegotiation of whether or not they continue to be members of their own families. Transfamily Theory: This article provides a summary of major considerations in family theories that must be reconsidered in light of developing understanding of gender identity. School Climate: This paper examines actions schools can take to improve safety experiences for trans youth. Body Art: This chapter explores body modification in the form of body art among trans young people from a perspective of resiliency. We’ll be back around noon EST to answer your questions on transyouth! AUA!
I am Karim Brohi, a trauma surgeon and director of the Centre for Trauma Sciences at Barts Health and Queen Mary University & London. The Centre for Trauma Sciences has a broad research into all areas of trauma care. My research especially focuses on how the body responds to critical injury and how this understanding can lead to new survivors. And I’m Martin Schreiber, MD, the Chief of the Division of Trauma, Critical Care & Acute Care Surgery at Oregon Health & Science University. I am the head of the Trauma Research Laboratory at OHSU and we focus on resuscitation, novel blood transfusion strategies and cellular therapies in trauma. We (Karim and Martin) recently co-edited the PLOS Medicine Special Issue on Trauma. In the collection we also published a paper on how the body’s immune system responds to critical injury in the first 2 hours after injury. This is a difficult time window to study in trauma but we found it holds very specific signatures of how the body responds in the early activation of inflammation (which is the first stage of healing). We also found that some patients had a different response in certain cell death and survival pathways that were associated with them developing organ failure later in their clinical course. Organ failure is a common complication of trauma patients with a high associated death rate in its own right. It appears this immediate post-injury period is critical to understanding the response to trauma and therefore is likely to be a critical period for interventions that may improve survival and reduce complications. And I’m Tim Billiar, Chair of the Surgery Department at the University of Pittsburgh and current President of the SHOCK Society, USA. My research focuses on how trauma, which induces a sudden and massive activation of the immune system, leads to an abnormal immune response in some individuals. This is important because this dysregulated immune response after severe injury has been linked to dysfunction of organs such as the lungs and an increased susceptibility to infections. My colleagues and I (Tim) recently published a perspectives article titled “Time for Trauma Immunology” in PLOS Medicine as well as the results of a study in humans and mice titled “IL33 Mediated ILC2 Activation and Neutrophil IL5 production in the Lung Response After Severe Trauma: A Reverse Translation Study from and Human Cohort to a Mouse Trauma Model” in the same journal. In the perspectives piece we make the argument that trauma should be viewed like many other major disease processes that result from a dysregulated immune response (e.g. autoimmunity); as a specialized area under the broader field of immunology. We posit that this way of looking at trauma would bring the tools and expertise of the rapidly advancing field of immunology to the study of severe injury. In our experimental study, we reverse translate observations made in a large cohort of injured humans into mice genetically engineered to study the IL33-Innate Lymphocyte Cell type 2 axis. We show that an immune pathway discovered for its role in allergic airway diseases appears to contribute to acute lung injury after trauma. This study supports the idea that the study of trauma is ripe for sophisticated immunologic studies based on observations made in injured humans. We will be answering your questions at 1pm ET – Ask Us Anything!
Hi Reddit, I am Michaeleen Doucleff, a global health reporter for NPR, and I am joined by Rick Ostfeld and Felicia Keesing – disease ecologists from the Cary Institute in New York and Bard College, respectively, who have worked on Lyme disease for more than 20 years. In March, I reported a story for NPR on Lyme disease and tick-borne diseases in the U.S. The premise: Ostfeld and Keesing predict that 2017 will be a particularly bad year for Lyme. But they’re testing a way to stop it. Lyme is already on the upswing. From 2001 to 2015, cases in the U.S. have more than doubled, and they’ve spread around the Northeast and northern Midwest. Ask us anything. We’ll be here from 1PM to 3PM ET to answer your questions about how tick-borne diseases spread, why they’re spreading and what scientists are doing to stop it. Looking forward to hearing from you!
Hi Reddit, My name is Samuel Kou and I am a Professor of Statistics at Harvard University. My research interests include infectious disease tracking and forecasting, big data analytics, mathematical modeling in biology, and development of statistical methodologies. I recently published an article titled Advances in using Internet searches to track dengue in PLOS Computational Biology. In the article, we presented a mathematical model that uses Google search data and government-provided clinical data to track dengue fever. The accurate tracking of dengue fever by our model in multiple countries shows that Internet search information, properly utilized, can help governments and health officials track infectious diseases, which is particularly important for countries with less advanced clinical based surveillance systems. I will be answering your questions at 1pm ET. Ask me Anything!
We are members of Livermore Computing (LC) at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in Livermore, California. LC is home to some of the world’s fastest supercomputers, including Sequoia, the 4th fastest in the world. Scientists use our High Performance Computing (HPC) machines to run physical simulations: from geology, astronomy, and cardiac arrhythmia, to the US nuclear stockpile and other problems of national interest. We bring in the machines, keep them running fast, and provide scientists with the tools they need to run these simulations. We have varying roles in system administration, software development, data archiving, visualization, operations, facilities management, user interfaces to the center and data, user support, and research. Our developers lead and contribute to many open source projects: From Linux kernel infrastructure like file systems, such as Lustre and ZFS on Linux; to industry spanning cluster management tools, such as SLURM, Flux, and pdsh; and beyond to all aspects of scientific and cluster computing with spack, STAT, and SCR. For more info about our various open source efforts, visit https://software.llnl.gov/. For more information about our center, visit https://hpc.llnl.gov/. So if you have a question about any part of running or using supercomputers at HPC centers, we’ll be back at 1 pm ET, feel free to ask and we will answer as many questions as we can! EDIT: Good Morning from the West Coast! We see that everyone has started asking fantastic questions! We will start answering some questions! EDIT 2: Thanks for all the great questions. We hope to come back soon. Next time, we plan to try to answer your questions in parallel! Learn more, contact, or apply to join us here: https://computation.llnl.gov/. Our thanks to Reddit and r/Science for providing us with the opportunity to have this AUA! We leave you with a photo of some of us in front of Sequoia today! Have a nice day everyone! :)