This week's show

May 14, 2018

You Are Exposed
How your microbiome and exposome influence health.

There’s no place like “ome.”  Your microbiome is highly influential in determining your health.  But it’s not the only “ome” doing so.  Your exposome – environmental exposure over a lifetime – also plays a role. 

Hear how scientists hope to calculate your entire exposome, from food to air pollution to water contamination.

Plus, new research on the role that microbes play in the development of neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s, and the hot debate about when microbes first colonize the body.  Could a fetus have its own microbiome?

Also, choose your friends wisely: studies of microbe-swapping gazelles reveal the benefits – and the downsides – of being social. 

And, why sensors on future toilets will let you do microbiome analysis with every flush.


  • Rob KnightProfessor of Pediatrics, Computer Science and Engineering, and Director of the Center for Microbiome Innovation at the University of California, San Diego
  • Vanessa EzenwaEcologist at the University of Georgia

  • Indira MysorekarMicrobiologist at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri

  • Gary MillerProfessor of public health at the Rollins School of Public Health and director of the HERCULES Exposome Research Center at Emory University. After August 2018, his lab will be at Columbia University.

Descripción en español

May 07, 2018
We Are VR
Will virtual reality make you virtuous?

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Will virtual reality make you a better person?  It’s been touted as the “ultimate empathy machine,” and one that will connect people who are otherwise emotionally and physically isolated.  The promise of the technology has come a long way since BiPiSci last took a VR tour.

What Have You Got To Move?
Apr 30, 2018
What Have You Got To Move?
The physics of motion.

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ENCORE  Whether they swim, slither, jump, or fly, animal locomotion is more than just an urge to roam: it’s necessary for survival.  Evolution has come up with ingenious schemes to get from here to there.  Hear how backbones evolved as a consequence of fish needing to wag their fins, and why no animals have wheels. 

High Moon
Apr 23, 2018
High Moon
Who’s going loony this time?

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“The moon or bust” is now officially bust.  No private company was able to meet the Lunar X Prize challenge, and arrange for a launch by the 2018 deadline.  The $30 million award goes unclaimed, but the race to the moon is still on. Find out who wants to go and why this is not your parents’ – or grandparents’ – space race.

Political Scientist
Apr 16, 2018
Skeptic Check: Political Scientist
Is activism good or bad for science?

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Hundreds of thousands of scientists took to the streets during the March for Science.  The divisive political climate has spurred some scientists to deeper political engagement – publicly challenging lawmakers and even running for office themselves.   But the scientist-slash-activist model itself is contested, even by some of their colleagues.