Science Studio

Sundays at 7pm

Science Studio is a fascinating 30-minute look into the ever progressing world of science. For nearly fifteen years, the show has taken in depth looks into all aspects of scientific researches and discoveries. Hosts Dr. Keith Pannell and Dr. Russell Chianelli, discuss their concerns on health and the environment. With two educated science connoisseurs, Science Studio helps you understand the inner workings of today’s science.

Science Studio also features Medical Discovery News, a weekly program that provide insights into a broad range of biomedical science topics. Biomedical science is research that addresses human health – from the study of important molecules, to clinical trials of new drugs and therapies. The story of these areas is a window on the future of medicine. We will also offer important basic information about your health. Our hope is that these episodes stimulate you to think, question and appreciate how science impacts you and your world. Medical Discovery News is produced by the University of Texas Medical Branch. 

  Russ talks with Cheryl Conrad, Associate Dean for Research and Professor in the Department of Psychology at Arizona State University.  As a behavioral neuroscientist, Cheryl researches how chronic stress affects the hippocampus and the amygdala.  Stress is vital for survival, but excessive or repetitive stress can often result in changes in the brain.

Aired Oct. 26, 2014.


   Russ talks with Kyriakos Porfyrakis, Head of Laboratory for Carbon Materials at the University of Oxford.  Kyriakos is studying endohedral fullerenes, or "qubits" - atoms that are inserted into spherical fullerene molecules in order to induce electronic properties.  Qubits may help revolutionize electronic devices in the near future.

Aired Oct. 19, 2014.


  Keith & Russ welcome Hiram Castillo-Michel, a UTEP alum who is currently working at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble, France.  Hiram is using the synchrotron to examine metal nanoparticles that are being taken up by plants and is analyzing how those nanoparticles affect the plants' functions. 

Aired Oct. 12, 2014.

  Keith travels to Sunspot, New Mexico, to visit with Steven Kyle, the retired director of the National Solar Observatory.  Kyle talks about the amazing discoveries made by the NSO during his directorship.  Kyle also explains how solar activity does and does NOT impact on our climate.  Learn more about the NSO at

Aired Oct. 5, 2014.

University of Michigan

  Keith talks with Shuichi Takayama, a Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Macromolecular Science & Engineering at the University of Michigan.  Shuichi studies microfluidics, which is a way of manipulating small volumes of fluids in useful ways.  Microfluidics can save research dollars, emulate cell function, and find the fastest, healthiest sperm that will produce healthier embryos.  Shuichi has a talent for metaphor - find out how baking a cake and tiny ants washing their hands fit in to how he describes his research!

Aired Sept. 28, 2014.

Courtesy of Binghamton University


   Keith & Russ welcome Kenneth McLeod from the Department of Bioengineering at Binghamton University, where he is also the Entrepreneur in Residence and the Director of the Clinical Science & Engineering Research Center.  Kenneth shares how his fascination with ideas spurred his career as an engineer and ultimately, an entrepreneur.  Kenneth has successfully helped launch 12 companies that produce innovative products. He also explains why the process of trial & error is essential in eventual success.

Aired Sept 21, 2014.

  Keith talks with William Robertson, aka "Dr. Skateboard."  Bill is the Associate Provost at the University of Texas at El Paso, and is an Associate Professor in the Teacher Education Department at UTEP.   Bill trains teachers to teach science, and tells us why the way today's students learn is different from just a generation ago because of technology.  In his alter ego as "Dr. Skateboard," Bill, an lifelong skateboarder, explains how he communicates the principles of math & science through sports such as skateboarding.

Aired Sept 14, 2014.

  Keith talks with Fraser Cameron, a Research Associate with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Southampton, United Kingdom.  Fraser is a systems design engineer who is working on developing a system that can effectively and steadily control the blood glucose levels of individuals with Type I Diabetes.

Aired Sept. 7, 2014.

  Keith talks with Carl Hart, Associate Professor of Psychology at Columbia University, and author of "High Price: A Neuroscientist's Journey of Self-Discovery that Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society."  And, indeed, Hart's views on drug use challenge much of what were are brought up to believe - that drugs are bad.  Are drugs really as destructive as we think? Hart believes that most people who use hard drugs like cocaine and heroin are not addicts or drug abusers, but instead know how to use those drugs responsibly...within limits.  Hart, who believes in the decriminalization of drugs, does not discount, however, the destructive nature of these drugs for some users.

Aired Aug. 31, 2014.

  Peter Lucchesi, former Vice President of Exxon Research and Engineering, passed away earlier this year, March 19th, at age 87.  We re-air this Oct. 10, 2010, interview with Lucchesi in tribute.  Keith & Russ talk with Lucchesi about his early career in which he performed risky radioactive experiments.  Lucchesi also talks about the jet fuel he produced which was used by England during the Battle of Britain, and about his failed efforts to create food from oil.

Aired Aug. 24, 2014.


  In a rebroadcast from October 3, 2010, Keith & Russ talk with Sarah Brooks, Associate Professor in Texas A&M's Department of Atmospheric Science.  Sarah explains the basics of cloud formation and cloud seeding.  She also discusses how pollution can inadvertently affect cloud formation, and ultimately, weather.  And Sarah & Russ engage in a brief, but lively, debate on whether clouds and water vapor contribute to climate change.

Aired Aug. 17, 2014.


  In a rebroadcast from Sept. 26, 2010, Keith talks with Faustin Kamena of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology.  He talks about the need for vaccines for neglected tropical diseases.  In particular, he is working to develop a vaccine to keep the malaria parasite from evolving to be resistant to already-existing medicines.

Aired Aug. 10, 2014.

  In a rebroadcast from September 12, 2010, Keith & Russ talk with William J. Evans, Professor of Physical Sciences, Dept of Chemistry, University of California-Irvine.  Bill introduces us to lanthanides and how they can lead to better fertilizers, synthetic rubber, and even better sutures for surgeons.

Aired August 3, 2014.

  In a rebroadcast from Sept 5, 2010, Keith & Russ talk with Rueben Gonzales, Professor of Pharacology and Toxicology at the University of Texas at Austin.  Gonzales tells us about the connection between the consumption of alcohol and out-of-control behavior.  How does alcohol alter parts of the brain that affect impulsive behavior?  

Aired July 27, 2014.

  In a rebroadcast from July 4, 2010, Keith talks with Craig Lee Hanis of the University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston.  Hanis tells us about the differences between Type I and Type II diabetes, and why there are genetic susceptibilities for both types.  

Aired July 20, 2014.

  In a rebroadcast from June 20, 2010, Keith talks with UTEP alumnus Dr. Ralph E. Holsworth, Jr., DO.  Dr. Holsworth is a former student of Keith's.  Dr. Holsworth has been studying nattokinase, an enzyme derived from an ancient Japanse food known as Nattō, which is derived from fermented soybeans.  Nattokinase has been shown to break up blood clots.  Holsworth also tells us the difference between a DO (Doctor of Osteopathy) and an MD.  Dr. Holsworth is currently working as a family practitioner at the Tahoma Clinic in Seattle WA.

Aired July 13, 2014.

University of Michigan

  In a rebroadcast from June 13, 2010, Keith & Russ talk with Rod Ewing, Edward H. Kraus Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences at the University of Michigan.  Ewing talks about how to keep materials from losing their structures when irradiated.  He also explains how biological species are capable of storing radioactive material.

Aired July 6, 2014.

  In a rebroadcast from May 30, 2010, Keith talks with Dan Arvizu, Director of the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory.  The lab is responsible for moving renewable energy technologies to the marketplace.   Arvizu discusses the challenges that face a successful energy economy, including energy economy, energy security, and environmental impact.  Arvizu believes that the type of energy we choose to rely upon - nuclear, coal, solar - doesn't matter, as long as they are reliable and economical.

Aired June 29, 2014.

Texas A&M

  In a rebroadcast from May 23, 2010, Keith and guest host Tom Gill of the UTEP Geological Sciences Department interview Franco Marcantonio from the Texas A&M Department of Geology and Geophysics about dust.  Helium from our solar wind gets implanted in dust particles from outer space...up to 40,000 tones every year!  The dust that accumulates in ocean sediment conserves the helium isotope and can help determine the earth's early climate.  

Aired June 22, 2014.

  In a rebroadcast from May 9, 2010, Keith & Russ talk with Olof Sundin, Associate Professor of Biomedical Sciences at Texas Tech University Sciences Center in El Paso.  Dr. Sundin talks about nanophthalmos, or "dwarf eye," syndrome, an unusual genetic condition in which one of the eyes is fully functional, but smaller than the normal eye.  How do genetic mutations cause this syndrome, and what generally regulates the growth & shape of the eye?  

Aired June 15, 2014.

  In a rebroadcast from May 2, 2010, Keith & Russ talk with John Simmons, museum consultant with Museologica, a consulting company that assists museums with collections care and management.  He talks about the importance of collections in museums, and about the human need for collecting that dates back thousands of years, including John's need to collect books.

Aired June 8, 2014.

  In a rebroadcast from April 18, 2010, Keith talks with Ben Evans, an evolutionary geneticist with McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.  He talks about the possible causes for the decline of amphibian species, and about the amazing diversity of macaques in Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Aired June 1, 2014.

Purdue University

  In a rebroadcast from April 11, 2010, Keith & Russ talk with Mary Wirth, W. Brooks Fortune Distinguished Professor of Analytical Chemistry at Purdue University.  She talks about her research into finding the biomarkers which can exacerbate cancer, and how synthetic opals could assist that search.  

Aired May 25, 2014.

Melody Parra, El Paso Inc.

  Keith talks with William A. Hartman, President & CEO of Premier Biomedical, Inc., which is collaborating with the U.S. Army and the University of Texas at El Paso to, as Hartman describes it, "revolutionize medicine as we know it."  Hartman talks about his early days as an engineer with Ford Motor Company, and how a serendipitous meeting with a doctor who treated Hartman's wife's neurological condition led to their partnership and the eventual creation of Premier Biomedical.  Through their partnerships, this company is conducting ground-breaking research on neurologic and blood-borne diseases such as Alzheimer's, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Breast Cancer.

Aired May 18, 2014.

  Keith talks with Tamara Phillips, Professor & Vice-Chair, Behavioral Neuroscience, Oregon Health & Science University.  She talks about her interest in the genetic risk for addiction - what genetic factors make some people more prone to addiction?  Her research on mouse models involves trying to isolate a receptor in the brain that sensitizes an individual to alcohol.

Aired May 11, 2014.

  Keith & Russ have a fascinating talk with Aaron Bauer, Gerald M. Lemole Endowed Chair in Integrative Biology at Villanova University.  Aaron has studied lizards & snakes on islands in the Pacific, in Africa, and other varied locales.  He has discovered 150 new species of reptiles, including the largest gecko that ever lived.

Aired May 4, 2014.

Texas A&M

  Keith & Russ talk with Perla Balbuena, principal researcher of the Balbuena Research Group in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University.  She is involved in the computer modeling of batteries, and is exploring ways to improve electrolytes in batteries.  Improving the electrolyte improves the whole chemistry of a battery.

Aired April 27, 2014.

  Keith & Russ talk with Andrew Gaunt, a chemistry researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory.  Gaunt explains the 3 types of radioactivity, and the work he does at LANL  with plutonium compounds.  He also talks about the problems the U.S. is facing in disposing spent nuclear fuel, and presents possible solutions.

Aired April 20, 2014.

  Keith & Russ talk with Carlos Salgado, Professor of Physics & Astronomy at Norfolk State University.  The conversation touches on a number of physics-related topics, including cosmic rays, whether technological advances will alter the standard model of physics, and the expansion of the universe.

Aired April 13, 2014.

University of Idaho



   Russ visits with David McIlroy of the University of Idaho's Department of Physics.  David talks about the "green" nature of nanosprings - they are efficient, inexpensive to create, and keep harmful metals from passing into the environment.  Visit the McIlroy Group Homepage at

Aired April 6, 2014.