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. 

  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.

Washington State University


  Keith & Russ welcome K.W. Hipps, Professor of Chemistry and Materials Science at Washington State University.  Hipps tells us some of the childhood "mad scientist" experiments that inspired him to become a scientist.  He also introduces us to "tunneling," in which electrons "slide" through an electron cloud without losing any energy. Visit the Hipps Tunneling Group at WSU:

Aired March 30, 2014.

Ulm University

  Keith talks with Peter Bäuerle at the Institute of Organic Chemistry II and Advanced Materials of Ulm University, Germany.  Peter is researching the development of organic photovoltaics which can be used as an alternative to the more commonly-used silicon voltaics.  Organic solar foils can be more lightweight, flexible, and transparent than silicon solar foils, and may even be used to cover buildings, glass roofs of cars, and windows.  Read an article on the efficiency of the organic solar cell here:

Aired March 23, 2014.

  Keith talks with Wonyong Choi of Pohang University of Science & Technology in Pohang, South Korea.  Wonyong tells us about his research into generating hydrogen from water using sunlight.  The process called "artificial photosynthesis" is simply converting carbon dioxide to hydrocarbon. Wonyong also is looking into cleaning the environment using sunlight and photocatalysts.

Aired March 16, 2014.

  Keith talks with Fred Wudl of the University of California-Santa Barbara, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry.  Wudl is a materials scientist who is looking into whether carbon compounds can conduct electricity.  To create an organic photovoltaic, there need to be a compound that can donate electrons and another compound that can accept them.  The carbon molecules known as fullerenes have been found to work best as electron acceptors.  These photovoltaics can be used to effectively transform solar energy to electrical energy.

Aired March 9, 2014.

California State University - Sacramento

  Keith talks with Emir Jose Macari, Dean of the College of Engineering & Computer Science at California State University - Sacramento.  He is also the Director of the California Smart Grid Center.  Macari talks about his early fascination with taking things apart which eventually led to his career as an engineer.  He introduces us to smart grid, which will eventually help develop devices to monitor electronic usage on a more personal scale.  Currently, most electricity in the nation is centrally located and has to travel for miles to reach customers.  Smart grid hopes to improve the production, delivery, and usage of energy.  Visit the California Smart Grid Center at

Aired March 2, 2014.


  Keith talks with Clifton Poodry, Senior Fellow in Science Education at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.   Cliff grew up on the Tonawanda Seneca Indian Reservation in New York, and says that he was not a very good student, but the encouragement of teachers and friends helped lead him on a very successful career path.  Cliff has dedicated much of his career to increasing educational opportunities for underrepresented populations.

Aired Feb. 23, 2014.


  Keith talks with Peter Bandettini, Chief of the Section on Functional Imaging Methods, Director of the Functional MRI Core Facility, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).  Peter talks about how regular MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) works, and about the ways Functional MRI could further reveal how our brains process information.  Peter also explains that we might be able to learn more about the brain by studying it in its resting state than when it is active.

Aired Feb. 16, 2014.

Rice University

  In a rebroadcast from April 4, 2010, Keith & Russ talk with George McLendon, who, at the time of this taping, was professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Duke University School of Medicine (McLendon is now Howard R. Hughes Provost and Professor of Chemistry at Rice University).  George shares some early memories about his encounters with Keith while earning his bachelor's degree at UTEP.  He also talks about the ways chemistry is useful in cancer research, and tells us about the cytochrome C protein which can be effective in killing cancer cells.  

Aired Feb. 9, 2014.