Modern Tek News

Modern Tek Interviews on KZSU, Stanford 90.1 FM
We bring you the latest biology and molecular biology research news!


Dr. Dahlia Weiss

We interviewed Dr. Dahlia Weiss about her work on drug design and we asked her to explain the incredible molecular biology revolution that is happening today.  Dr. Weiss received her Ph.D. from Stanford University where her Ph. D. research was  on creating a dynamic model of the motor protein known as myosin.

In this interview Dr. Weiss explained how new drug design is helping reduce the time and cost for drug design.  Dr. Weiss gave examples of how some new drug companies today, can create new drugs in two years that would have taken 10 years to make ten years ago.  This new drug design revolution is due to the ability to view the structure of the proteins that the drugs are designed to treat.  Being able to see the protein structure only happened in 2007,  Dr. Weiss mentioned that Stanford Professor, Brian Kobilka, won his Nobel Prize in 2012 for his work on visualizing the structure of protein receptors called G-protein-coupled receptors.  

Dr. Weiss added that today's drug design is 'more rational' today, due to the ability to visualize the proteins and to computationally find chemicals that would bind to these proteins, and help cure diseases, while reducing the side effects of the drugs.  Dr. Weiss also discussed how the revolution in molecular biology and drug design will present opportunities for personalized drug design today and personalized medicine.  Dr. Weiss added that the rosy picture for the future would be for physicians to be able to predict and cure a person's diseases based on genome analyis; she mentioned that companies like  23andme are collecting data that could be mined to show how certain changes in the genome correlate to different diseases, and that could help in future efforts to help in rational drug design.

Dr. Weiss will be joining Heptares, a new drug company in the UK that targets challenging diseases, like Parkinson. We wish Dr. Weiss all the best in finding drugs to cure many of the world's challenging diseases.

The interview will be broadcast on KZSU on July 31, 2013 and can be downloaded from this link.
Professor Rashid Deane

Professor Deane is a Research Professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center.   Professor Deane's recent study linking copper  levels in the blood vessels of the brain to alzheimer's was published in the Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences (PNAS); this paper was edited by  Stanford Professor, Thomas Studhof and can be downloaded from this link.  

In our interview, Dr. Deane discussed his12 year long research that led to this publication. Professor Deane discussed why he was interested in studying the changes that occur in the blood vessels in the brain and how he had previously done research on the levels of  lead and sugar in the brain.  Professor Deane explained that our brains produce Amyloid Beta Peptides (Abeta) which get cleared from our brains through different processes.  Professor Deane said that the accumulation of copper can interfere with a protein called Lipoprotein Receoptor-Related Protein 1 (LPR1) and that this LPR1 is what normally helps clear the amyloid beta peptides from the brain.  

In the interview Professor Deane mentioned that his work deals with finding why Alzheimer's occurs and that other groups are working on findings cures for Alzheimer's. Professor Deane also discussed the future plans of his research group.

Professor Dean's interview will be broadcast on KZSU on August 28, 2013. and can be downloaded from this link.

Professor Anthony Ricci

Stanford, Professor Ricci discussed Stanford's Ricci Lab's work to understand, restore, repair and protect hearing. We talked about their latest research that revolutionized the way scientists understand hearing by proving that adaptation and hearing is independent of Calcium; Dr. Ricci pointed out why this is significant and how it will change the way scientists might look for cures for hearing loss in the future..  Here is a summary of this research..

Dr. Ricci also talked about the other research efforts that his lab is currently working on at Stanford to help understand and help cure hearing loss.  He also had advice on how we can try to protect our ears from high noise levels.

Dr. Ricci's interview will be broadcast in June, 2014 and is available from this link.

Dr. Rodney Perkins

KZSU interviewed Dr. Rodney Perkins, founder of the California Ear Institute at Stanford.  Dr. Perkins is very well known in the Bay Area because of his pioneering work as an ear surgeon since the 1960s and his success as an entrepreneur.  The first part of the interview focused on Soundhawk, Dr. Perkins' latest entrepreneurial venture.  Soundhawk is the first ear wearable that uses mobile technology to help users adjust the levels of sounds they hear.  If you walk around Palo Alto and notice people sitting in restaurants with device in their ear, it is the brand new Soundhaw, which recently started shipping.

In the second part of the interview Dr. Perkins discussed what we can do to protect our hearing. 

The interview was broadcast on KZSU in February, 2015 and is available from this link.