Two Scientists Walk Into a Bar

From research on cancer vaccines to why we feel pain, scientists are tackling some of the biggest challenges in human biology. Want to find out what they’re working on? Pull up a stool with host Jane Grogan, Principal Scientist of Cancer Immunology at Genentech, for “Two Scientists Walk Into a Bar.” Subscribe below to catch each episode as it goes live.

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Latest Episode

If your body was a city, then connective tissue would be the infrastructure tying everything together. It’s a hidden universe that helps many types of cells talk to each other and helps us fight diseases like rheumatoid arthritis or cancer. That’s why Shannon Turley has dedicated her research to uncovering the complexities of connective tissue, from her days as a graduate student shuttling ice boxes of live cells on the train to Principal Scientist of Cancer Immunology at Genentech. Hear more from Shannon on our debut episode of Season 2!

Season Two Teaser

Jane Grogan and her producer Wellington Bowler are back for a second season of Two Scientists Walk Into a Bar. After a summer hiatus, Jane is eager to take on a new season of topics, including the 101 on proteins, infectious disease, how tumor microenvironments work and cell death. Subscribe today so you don’t miss an episode!

Season One

Designing a clinical trial is fascinatingly complex. There are dozens of variables that could influence the ability of any given trial to be successful. Navigating this complexity is truly a science unto itself. In our latest episode, Merdad Parsey, Senior Vice President of Early Clinical Development, explains how the science of clinical trial design has evolved, and where it’s headed.

Each person’s cancer is unique, so trying to match the right treatment to the right person is one of cancer biology’s biggest remaining challenges. In our latest episode, Priti Hegde, Director of Oncology Biomarker Development at Genentech, talks about how big data and advanced technology are guiding the future of personalized cancer immunotherapies.

Some types of breast cancer can become “addicted” to estrogen signaling, so treatments that target the estrogen receptor were once thought to be a magic bullet against this disease. But breast cancer is sneaky, and some mutations can allow it to sidestep these types of targeted therapies. In our latest episode, Lori Friedman, Senior Director of Translational Oncology at Genentech, talks about the ways scientists are trying to stay one step ahead of breast cancer.

Bacteria are remarkably fast shape-shifters. As soon as we develop new antibiotics against them, they mutate, leading to drug-resistant strains the world has never seen before. This could mean that one day we end up weaponless against an army of drug-resistant superbugs. But a new generation of “super antibiotics” could hold the key to overcoming this problem. Learn how as we sit down with Rick Brown, Vice President of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at Genentech, in our latest podcast.

In 1848 an explosion launched an iron rod through Phineas Gage’s brain. He miraculously survived, but wasn’t the same person, giving scientists the first clues into how neurodegeneration can affect what it means to be human. In our latest episode, we sit down with Geoff Kerchner, Neurologist and Medical Director of Early Clinical Development at Genentech, to learn about the latest ways scientists are trying to halt the neurodegeneration seen in diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and ALS. As both a practicing neurologist and research scientist, Geoff gives us an inside peek at how his findings from the clinic can help unravel some of the most fundamental mysteries about the brain.

Communication is the key to good relationships. That’s true not only for people, but for our cells as well. If cellular communication goes wrong, your brain may stop processing information, or your organs might form tumors. So how do cells talk to each other? This week Jane Grogan sits down with Shiva Malek, Director and Principal Scientist of Discovery Oncology at Genentech, whose work focuses on “eavesdropping” on the chatter between cells to understand what they’re saying and what goes wrong in a diseased state like cancer. We’re sure the cells don’t mind.

Pain is actually good for us. Until it’s not. Discovering how to fight chronic pain, while leaving acute pain intact, is no easy venture. Join Morgan Sheng, Vice President of Neuroscience and Molecular Biology at Genentech, as he takes us on a tour of the different pain systems in our body, and how a family of Pakistani street performers helped scientists identify a novel target for treatment.

A revolution in cancer care is happening right now. In our debut episode, Jane Grogan sits down with Ira Mellman, Vice President of Cancer Immunology at Genentech, one of the world’s foremost experts in the field of cancer immunotherapy, about the “a-ha” moments that could mean the next breakthrough, from checkpoint inhibitors to cancer vaccines. Plus Ira waxes poetic about transitioning from a life of music to a life of science.

The only thing Jane Grogan loves more than doing science is talking about it. In addition to being an accomplished scientist leading research on inflammation, autoimmunity and tumor immunobiology, Jane has a background in radio. So when we decided to record our first podcast series—Two Scientists Walk Into A Bar—she was the natural choice to host. Subscribe today to learn what our top scientists are working on.


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The name Two Scientists Walk Into A Bar is under license and used with permission from the Fleet Science Center.