Beyond the Abstract

Science and research for everyone

Episode 3

Published on:

27th Nov 2019

(Cilia) Size Matters

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On this episode of Beyond the Abstract, Derek and Ellen invite Lindsey Avery Fitzsimons, a PhD student at the University of Maine, to discuss new research in the intersecting worlds of heart valve disease and cell biology. A new paper combining mouse genetics and human genome sequencing data uncovers a new role for primary cilia, which are small 'sensors' on cells, in causing mitral valve prolapse. This exemplary study demonstrates the importance of collaboration between physicians and scientists and how basic science can bring about answers to clinical questions.

You can find Lindsey on Instagram @laf_in_the_lab

Toomer et al. Primary cilia defects causing mitral valve prolapse. Science Translational Medicine, 2019. 11(493). PMID: 31118289.

Episode 2

Published on:

13th Nov 2019

An Astrocyte is Born

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This week on Beyond the Abstract, Derek, Ellen, and fellow MD/PhD classmate Jacob are talking about Parkinson's disease. A recent paper highlights how a new drug targets astrocytes and microglia, two types of brain cells, in order to treat Parkinson's disease by reducing inflammation and brain cell death. Listen as they discuss the importance of this discovery in the field of neurodegenerative diseases and improving quality of life for Parkinson's disease patients.

Yun et al. Block of A1 astrocyte conversion by microglia is neuroprotective in models of Parkinson's disease. Nature Medicine, 2018. 24(7):931-938. PMID: 29892066.

Episode 1

Published on:

30th Oct 2019


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In this inaugural episode of Beyond the Abstract, our hosts Ellen and Derek along with their guest and fellow MD/PhD classmate Jenna discuss a paper on interspecies chimeras to create "Franken-organs." They discuss the potential medical implications of the paper, the promise that this research holds for organ transplantation, and what this could mean for the thousands of patients currently waiting for an organ transplant.

Wu et al. Interspecies chimerism with mammalian pluripotent stem cells. Cell, 2017. 168(3)473-486. PMID: 28129541

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About the Podcast

Beyond the Abstract
Science and research for everyone
Hey science nerds! Welcome to Beyond the Abstract, a science podcast dedicated to discussion of the coolest cutting edge, basic science research papers in a way that just about anyone can understand. We're your hosts, Derek and Ellen, two MD/PhD students at the University of Pennsylvania who are passionate about science communication and bridging the gap between science and medicine.

In each episode, we’ll dive into a paper and talk about the experiments these scientists did, what it means for the future of research, and even potential impacts on human health and medicine. We've invited experts in these fields to help us understand and dissect these complicated but impactful papers.

We can't wait to share all this cool science with you.

Disclaimer: This podcast is for informational purposes only and NOT intended as medical advice. The views and opinions expressed are those of the hosts and guests and do not reflect the University of Pennsylvania.

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About your hosts

Ellen White

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Ellen is a 3rd year MD/PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania interested in microbiome research with the hopes of specializing in GI medicine. She is a co-developer and co-host of Beyond the Abstract. You can find her listening to Work by Rihanna (feat. Drake) on repeat, getting too invested in college basketball games, or shamelessly watching Real Housewives.

Derek Sung

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Derek is a 3rd year MD/PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania interested in developmental and vascular biology with plans to apply into Obstetrics & Gynecology. He is the founder, co-developer, and co-host of Beyond the Abstract.

In his spare time, he likes to listen to All Star by Smash Mouth on repeat, smile too big for photos, pretend to be a sommelier, and throw epic Halloween parties with his roommate.