CRISPR: developing an equitable technology amidst a global pandemic
In this episode, I speak to Geoffrey Siwo about CRISPR and the challenges facing its development into a technique that can be applied equitably across the globe. Geoffrey talks about the importance of seizing the opportunity to influence the progress of the embryonic gene-editing technology for the better, before the data bias in genomic data and the disparity in researchers working on the technique leads to ingrained differences in the success of the application in different populations. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on this development is also exposed.
We also discuss Geoffrey's work, using CISPR in antiviral research to as a way of identifying small molecules capable of inducing broad-spectrum antiviral responses, with the potential to combat SARS-CoV-2.
Tune in to find out how Geoffrey believes we can develop CRISPR to be a truly equitable technology and to hear just how hopeful he is for the future of the technique.
The Talking Techniques podcast is hosted and produced by Tristan Free for BioTechniques. We would love to here more from our listeners about your opinions on the podcast, what you would like to hear more of and what you think we could do better!
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2. Investigating the neurological pathways underlying vocal communication34:27In this episode of Talking Techniques, we catch up with Michael Long, Principle Investigator of the Long Lab at New York University (NY, USA), where he investigates the neural circuits that underlie vocal communication.Through the examination of animal models, from songbirds to the rare singing mice of Costa Rica, with cutting-edge imaging techniques Michael reveals fascinating insights into vocal communication. We also discuss his human experiments, working alongside neurosurgeons, with emerging electrophysiological probes to monitor the neural activity of participants as they speak and interact, ultimately revealing how this research could begin to provide solutions for neurological conditions impacting communication, such as autism.Contents:Introduction: 00:00 – 01:40Investigating neural circuits underlying vocal communication: 01:40 – 04:15Techniques to explore animal models of vocal communication: 04:15 – 06:25The impact of cooling brain regions on songbird singing: 06:25 – 07:50The techniques used to investigate animal models: 07:50 – 12:20Songbirds: 07:50 – 09:45The singing mouse: 10:00 – 12:20Investigating neural circuits in humans during speech: 12:20 – 16:30Investigating neural circuits in humans during conversation: 16:30 – 19:00Moving beyond neural area identification towards understanding neural pathways and mechanisms: 19:00 – 21:40Navigating neuropixels, big data and safety: 21:40 – 26:10If there was one thing you could ask for to help you better understand these pathways, what would it be? 26:10 – 27:55The experience of working with patients undergoing neurosurgery: 27:55 – 30:30The potential impact on speech disorders and autism: 30:30 – 33:15
1. Rare disease and pharmacogenomics20:18Launching our fourth season of Talking Techniques, this episode, supported by the University of Cincinnati (OH, USA) we delve into rare disease research and pharmacogenomics, their intersection and the key techniques used to explore them.Guiding us through these fields is Brenna Carey, an Assistant Professor at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center whose research focuses on rare disease pathogenesis, diagnostics and therapeutic development and who also runs key courses on the University’s Pharmacogenomics and Drug Discovery Masters degree programs.Contents:Introduction: 00:00-01:15An introduction to pulmonary alveolar proteinosis (PAP) and rare lung diseases 01:15-03:50Techniques to investigate the pathogenesis of PAP: 03:50-05:30Developing diagnostics and therapeutics for PAP: 05:30-08:20The importance of pharmacogenomics in drug development: 08:20-11:25Key techniques and approaches in pharmacogenomics: 11:25-13:00Emerging trends in pharmacogenomics: 13:00-15:05Key takeaways from your pharmacogenomics course: 15:00-18:00What would you ask for to improve our understanding of pharmacogenomics? 18:00-20:15This episode is supported by the University of Cincinnati Online
9. One man’s waste in another man’s treasure: using wastewater to monitor infectious diseases20:47In this episode of Talking Techniques, we talk to Andrew Lee, a senior research fellow in Queen’s University Belfast’s (UK) wastewater-based epidemiology group, about his work using wastewater to monitor and detect infectious diseases. Andrew discusses how wastewater surveillance acts as an early warning system, providing novel, unbiased insights into human and animal pathogens that are circulating within a community, and how this can contribute to a ‘One Health’ approach. He also explains how he has incorporated nanopore sequencing into his work, and the advantages that this provides.Contents:· 00:00–01:45: Introductions· 01:45–03:45: Wastewater surveillance for infectious disease· 03:45–05:35: Genomic surveillance approaches can complement established epidemiological methods· 05:35–07:25: Why look at wastewater?· 07:25–10:40: The advantages of nanopore sequencing for wastewater surveillance· 10:40–12:25: The experimental workflow· 12:25–15:05: Using wastewater surveillance to detect both human and avian influenza· 15:05–18:20: Wastewater surveillance as an early warning system· 18:20–20:47: Future perspectives: other environmental samples, antimicrobial resistance and what else can be found in wastewater?
8. Next-generation antibody therapeutics24:52In this episode of Talking Techniques, we speak to two experts from Sino Biological US Inc. (PA, USA) about the latest developments in antibody technologies and how these developments have led to the next generation of antibodies that are revolutionizing therapeutic approaches to a number of diseases.With the guidance of Field Scientist Ritwika Biswas and Technical Account Manager Grace Liu, we explore the challenges of developing and working with next-generation antibodies, the latest developments and applications of these molecules and the holy grail that antibody designers are driving towards.Contents:Introduction: 00:00 – 02:40The history of monoclonal antibody therapeutics: 02:40 – 04:40The working principles of multi-specific antibodies: 04:40 – 08:15Recent developments in ADCs: 08:15 – 11:35Challenges with the development of multi-specific antibodies and ADCs: 11:35 – 13:55Solutions to address these challenges: 13:55 – 16:25Clinical applications of multi-specific antibodies and ADCs: 16:25 – 20:30The dream of real-time adaptability for the next generation of antibody therapeutics: 20:30 – 24:52
7. Investigating resistant leukemia with single-cell technologies09:50In this episode of Talking Techniques, Rachel Thijssen, an Assistant Professor at Amsterdam University Medical Centers (UMC; the Netherlands), discusses her research using single-cell analyses to investigate treatment-resistant leukemia cells. Rachel explains her single-cell technique called rapid capture hybridization sequencing (RaCH-seq), how she utilizes nanopore sequencing, and how she hopes that this technique can be used to gain new insights into disease and improve therapies. Contents:00:00–01:35: Introduction 01:35–03:25: Single-cell sequencing in leukemia research03:25–05:15: What is single-cell RaCH-seq?05:15–06:10: Using nanopore sequencing for RaCH-seq06:10–07:30: How can other researchers apply RaCH-seq to their work?07:30–09:50: Looking to the future: spatial biology, collaborations and improved therapies
6. CAR-T and CAR-NK cell therapies27:35In this episode of Talking Techniques, Ritwika Biswas, Field Scientist at Sino Biological US Inc. (PA, USA), walks us through the chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) development process and how T and natural killer (NK) cells can be utilized to carry these modular synthetic molecules. Ritwika also addresses the safety and efficacy of these cell therapies as well as the ethical considerations around them.
5. Mitochondria, the immune system and cancer: discovering new insights with spatial technologies24:28In this episode, supported by Fortis Life Sciences, we delve into the relationship between mitochondria, inflammation and cancer, discussing the new techniques that are bearing fruit in this field, such as spatial analysis.Our expert insight for this episode comes from Phillip West, Principle Investigator of the West lab at Texas A&M Medicine (TX, USA). Philip explains the role mitochondria can play in cancer and heart disease, reveals some of his most exciting discoveries of late and provides technical tips for investigating this field.Listen on to discover how his use of spatial techniques has helped uncover mechanisms linking mitochondrial damage to the stifling of the immune system in the tumor microenvironment and the latest breakthroughs at the intersection of mitochondria and cancer.Contents:Introduction: 00:00-01:30The innate immune system, in inflammation and disease: 01:30-04:20The role of mitochondria in innate immunity: 04:20-07:00Categorizing DAMPS and their role in cardiovascular disease: 07:00-08:40Mitochondria and cancer: 08:40-11:55Techniques for the investigation of mitochondria: 11:55-15:20Best practice techniques for spatial studies: 15:20-17:35Discoveries made using spatial approaches to mitochondrial investigations: 17:35-19:55The latest developments in the intersection of mitochondria, cancer and inflammation: 19:55-22:20What is one thing you would ask for to improve your understanding of this field? 22:20-24:20
4. Long-read sequencing, metagenomics and the microbiome22:18In this episode, sponsored by Zymo Research, we explore the microbiome and how long-read sequencing techniques are changing our approach to the field and the exciting discoveries that they have led to. To do this we speak to Kris Locken, Molecular Biologist in the Research & Development department of Zymo Research (CA, USA), and Jeremy Wilkinson, Global Marketing Specialist for Microbial Genomics at PacBio (CA, USA).Find out how microbes compare to nuts and what this means for the challenges of metagenomic sample preparation, how long reads can stack up vs short reads for metagenome assembly and much more, all in this latest episode of Talking TechniquesContents:Intro: 00:00-01:55What is metagenomics and why is it important for microbial studies? 01:55-03:55How has long-read sequencing impacted metagenomics? 03:55-06:05Long-read vs short-read sequencing workflows: 06:05-07:15Addressing barriers to long-read sequencing: 07:15-08:45Sample preparation for long-read sequencing: 08:45-12:20Development of long-read sequencing to improve accuracy and capabilities: 12:20-14:40Best practice for assembly and analysis: 14:40-17:40Exciting examples of the benefits of long-read sequencing: 17:40-20:00What would you wish for to improve the ability long-read sequencing in microbiomics: 20:00-21:40
3. Open neuroscience and the meaning of FAIR37:53This episode, our second recorded at Neuroscience 2022 (13-19th April 2022; San Diego, CA, USA), delves into the importance of open data in neuroscience and the FAIR guidelines, which encourage researchers to make their data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable.Sharing her considerable expertise in this area is one of the authors of the FAIR guidelines, Maryann Martone, who provides some key examples of the successes that open data practices have delivered so far and cautionary tales for how current practices are damaging the field.Listen on to find out how to implement open data practices, how they can help your lab and why Maryann sees it as our responsibility to resolve!Contents:Introduction: 00:00-02:00Introducing open neuroscience and the meaning of FAIR 02:00-03:00Exposing outdated paradigms in science: academic targets, publications, reproducibility and data accessibility: 03:00-06.30Incentivizing open data and reassigning value restructuring academia: 06:30-08.40The impact of FAIR within labs: 08:40-09:50Challenges of establishing and barriers to Open and FAIR neuroscience 09:50-12:00The reception of these guidelines in the field: 12:00-16:50Examples of the impact of open data in the spinal cord injury community: 16:50-18:10Marryann’s experience of enacting changes early in her career: 18:10-21:20Judging value in scientific research and understanding your purpose: 21:20-24:20The importance of investment: 24:20-26:30The impact of industry on lab data: 26:30-27:50Practical tips for addressing your lab data: 27:50-31:10Key tips for preparing data for an open-source repository 31:10-33.15The FAIR data principles explained: 33.15-37:50