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| General Description |
Each of the 13 videos is 30 minutes long and is based three or more interviews with leading experts in the field. Rather than providing a comprehensive survey of the field, the videos examine the research and provide insights of the interviewees. Through these interviews, viewers will get a sense of how and why these scientists do their research, have a look at some of the equipment and techniques they use, and learn about recognized recent shifts in each field. Should you wish to see more of an interview with a particular researcher featured in the videos, the full edited transcripts are available in the Expert Interview Transcripts section of the Web site. The videos may also be viewed online.
Having determined the complete DNA nucleotide sequence of humans and several other organisms, today's research has shifted to identifying genes and determining their functions. This program details techniques such as microarray experiments, BLAST searches, and other genomics tools.
Experts Interviewed: David Altshuler, MD, PhD; James Carrington, PhD;
Jonathan Eisen, PhD; and Eric Lander, PhD.
Proteins and Proteomics
The proteins made by a cell determine what that cell does. This program explores the varying complements of proteins; their effects, structures and interactions; and introduces the larger picture of proteomics and systems biology.
Experts Interviewed: Hamid Bolouri, PhD; Ned David, PhD; Stanley Fields, PhD; Hunter Fraser; Aaron Hirsh; and Leroy Hood, PhD.
Evolution and Phylogenetics
The ability to compare DNA sequences from different organisms is refining our perspective on evolution. This program illustrates how molecular techniques are now combined with fossil evidence to explore relationships in organisms from whales to anthrax.
Experts Interviewed: Phillip Gingerich, PhD; Timothy Read, PhD; and Carl Woese, PhD.
Microbial diversity far surpasses that of the macroorganisms on the planet. This program examines recent studies of microbes (including extremophiles), the comparisons of Bacteria and Archaea, and the formation and life cycle of biofilms.
Experts Interviewed: Anne Camper, PhD; Bill Costerton, PhD; Dan Kotansky, PhD; Anna-Louise Reysenbach, PhD; Frank F. Roberto, PhD; Phil Stewart, PhD; and Paul Sturman.
Emerging Infectious Diseases
New diseases arise and old diseases, such as malaria and influenza, are returning with renewed vigor. This program studies the complex causes and far-reaching impacts of emerging infectious diseases around the globe.
Experts Interviewed: Capt. Daniel Carucci, MD, PhD; Rita Colwell, PhD; Laurie Garrett; Stuart B. Levy, MD; Judith M. Martin, MD; and Lukas K. Tamm, PhD.
HIV and AIDS
Studying individuals with natural resistance to HIV has led to insights into the infection process, and may produce new treatments or a vaccine. This program explores recent developments in the study of HIV and AIDS, the future global impact of the current infection levels, and the ethical issues surrounding current research and treatments.
Experts Interviewed: Edward Berger, PhD; Laurie Garrett; Jay Levy, MD; Rob Roy MacGregor, MD; Erik Vonmuller; and David Weiner, PhD.
Genetics of Development
Organisms as different as flies, fish, and humans share set of genes—known as a genetic toolkit—that guides development. This program explores new understanding of the remarkable similarity in these molecules and processes, and the ethical questions involved in this research.
Experts Interviewed: Judith Eisen, PhD; Markus Grompe, MD; John Incardona, PhD; Nipam Patel, PhD; and John Postlethwait, PhD.
Cell Biology and Cancer
Cancers result when genes required for normal cell function are mutated, and the resulting cells undergo other changes, ultimately leading to uncontrolled division. This program reveals new information on normal cell function, proto-oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes and their role in the cell cycle, and current research in drug design for specific cancers.
Experts Interviewed: Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD; Brian Druker, MD;
Leland Hartwell, PhD; Mary-Claire King, PhD; and Robert Weinberg, PhD.
Homo sapiens is now the only living representative of what was once a multibranched bush of hominid species. This program examines mitochondrial Eve and other fossil clues that increasingly point to Africa as the point of origin of our species. How did humans replace their hominid cousins, including the Neanderthals, leaving the chimpanzee as our closest living relative?
Experts Interviewed: Kari Stefansson, MD; Ian Tattersall, PhD; Ajit Varki, MD; and Christopher Wills, PhD.
Neurons' electrical activity results in release of neurotransmitters that account for everything from survival to addiction to learning and memory. This program explains how neurons communicate to achieve all these functions, and the recent technological advances that allow scientists to study them.
Experts Interviewed: Wolfhard Almers, PhD; Fred Gage, PhD; Richard Huganir, PhD; and John Williams, PhD.
Biology of Sex and Gender
Several genes help determine what makes a human embryo develop as female or male. This program examines recent findings that have challenged previous beliefs about the roles of anatomy, environment and genetics in the determination of gender, and the evolution of sexual determination.
Experts Interviewed: Holly Ingraham, PhD; David Page, MD; and Eric Vilain, MD, PhD.
With current extinction rates exceeding those of previous mass extinctions, many biodiversity studies focus on efforts to count the earth's species before they are lost. This program explores current field experiments studying complex ecosystems, and how environmental and biodiversity changes might affect their functions.
Experts Interviewed: James Miller, PhD; Richard Ostfeld, PhD; Peter H. Raven, PhD; Eleanor Sterling, PhD; and G. David Tilman, PhD.
Genetically Modified Organisms
While genetic modification of organisms has occurred for millennia, we now have the tools to insert specific genes from one organism into cells of unrelated species. This program illustrates the processes used; how such genetically transformed organisms are increasingly common in agriculture, industry, and medicine; and introduces the ethical considerations of GMO research.
Experts Interviewed: Leon Corzine; David L. Dornbos, Jr., PhD; Rebecca J. Goldburg, PhD; Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH; Thomas E. Newberry; and Gary H. Toenniessen, PhD.