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. 

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.

UTEP College of Health Sciences e-newsletter


   Keith talks with Oralia Loza, Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at UTEP.  Oralia discusses her career path as a math teacher and statistician, and what led her to become interested in social justice and epidemiology.  Oralia has studied sex workers on the US/Mexico border and the perils that lead these individuals to become victims of the sex trade.  She also studies the high risk for HIV among the transgender community, in particular, transgender women, who are often also at high risk for suicide, depression, and sex work.

Aired Feb. 2, 2014.

  Keith & Russ talk with David Cocke, Associate Director of the Center for Innovation, Commercialization and Entrepreneurship (CICE).  CICE is helping universities get more involved in commercializing their research & technology.  David explains that universities often are mandated to produce research & technology which will create jobs, and critical funds are dependent on that output.  He also talks about why it's important for scientists & engineers to have a business background if they want to commercialize their technology.  David also talks about "Fast Forward," a wound healing accelerant currently being developed for animals with hopes to have it approved for humans.

Aired Jan. 26, 2014.

Alexander Magoun, David Sarnoff Research Center

    Keith & Russ talk with physicists George Cody and Benjamin Abeles, who developed the vehicle propulsion system for the Voyager spacecraft.  Their silicon-germanium thermoelectric power generator, developed in the 1960s, is still being used by interplanetary spacecraft today.  

Aired Jan. 19, 2014.

McMaster University


   Keith talks with Dr. Stephen Collins, Associate Dean for Research, Professor of Medicine, McMaster University.  Dr. Collins is a gastroenterologist, and he talks about his studies of individuals with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  Animal research shows that when the microbiome of the gut is altered, the individual's mood is similarly affected.

Aired Jan. 12, 2014.

UTEP Department of Communication


   Keith welcomes Stacy Sowards, Chair of the Communication Department, University of Texas at El Paso; Jennifer Ramos-Chavez, PhD student at UTEP; and Yaya Rayadin, professor at Mulawarman University in Indonesia.  They talk about the USAID grant that helped them collaborate with an Indonesian university for a number of research programs, including studying deforestation, changes in vegetation, and the eating habits and movements of orangutans in Indonesia. 

Aired Jan. 5, 2014.

Northern New Mexico College

    Keith & Russ talk with Ulises Ricoy, Chair of the Department of Biology, Northern New Mexico College.  He talks about his early start studying rats for memory research, and why he decided to study addiction and why addicts must unlearn or relearn behavior during their recovery.  He also talks about why heavy metals in the environment may affect the release of neurotransmitters in our brains, and how this may be useful in studying addictive behavior.

Aired Dec. 29, 2013.

University of California, Riverside


   Keith talks with Anandasankar Ray, Professor of Entomology at the University of California, Riverside.  Ananda talks about how odor molecules attach themselves to receptors in our noses, and why the structure of those molecules is so important in our perception of smell.  We'll also hear about the talents of female mosquitos in seeking out prey.  They are attracted to the carbon dioxide in our exhalations, and they can track us from several meters away.  Ananda also explains why some of us are tastier to mosquitoes than others.

Aired Dec. 22, 2013.

University of Western Ontario, Dept Physics & Astronomy


   Keith talks to Peter Brown, Professor of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Western Ontario.  What's the difference between a meteoroid, a meteor, and a meteorite?  Peter also talks about some of the impact sites he's studied, and tells us about the 2013 Chelyabinsk event, in which a meteor exploded over Russia, and  the resulting shock wave caused windows to blow out in the town of Chelyabinsk.

Aired Dec. 15, 2013.


   Keith & Russ conduct a trans-Atlantic conversation with Sir John Meurig Thomas, a Welsh chemist and educator known for his work in heterogeneous catalysis, solid state chemistry, and surface & materials science.  Sir John tells us about his fascinating start in science, and about his work in promoting "green" science; for example, producing niacin in a less environmentally-harmful or wasteful way.

Aired Dec. 8, 2013.

  Keith & Russ talk with Dennis Lichtenberger of the University of Arizona's Department of Chemistry.  Dennis talks about why the movement of electrons affect the behavior of molecules.  He also talks about the ups & downs of the so-called "hydrogen economy," and why it's not just limited to fueling automobiles.  Dennis first appeared on Science Studio 22 years ago in which he talked about C60 - Buckminsterfullerene, or "Bucky Balls" - a form of carbon whose electrons behave as if they belonged to a smaller molecule.

Aired Dec. 1, 2013

  Keith & Russ talk with Dr. Oscar Alzate, Senior Director of Proteomics, Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso.  Alzate explains proteomics and how proteoms relate to Alzheimer's.   He also engages Keith & Russ in a conversation about the restrictions of scientific research in America and whether it's beneficial to the populace.

Aired Nov. 24, 2013.

  In a conversation recorded at the 2013 Biomedical Research Symposium in El Paso, sponsored by the Medical Center of the Americas, Keith talks with Gregory Kovacs, Professor of Electrical Engineering, Stanford University.  Kovacs talks about his early interest in science, which spanned from lighting fires to dissecting a pig's head. Kovacs works on creating medical devices which could be used to affordably and effectively diagnose or read a person's vitals.  Kovacs also shares his experience in 2003 as an Investigation Scientist in the NASA's investigation into the breakup of the Shuttle Columbia.  Read more about Dr. Kovac's interesting career at

Aired Nov. 17, 2013.

  Keith talks with Paul Amrhein, Adjunct Professor of Medical Psychology at Columbia University Medical Center.  Amrhein talks about how the language patients use when undergoing therapy can predict how successful they will be in their recovery.  

Aired Nov. 10, 2013.

  Keith & Russ talk with Glenn Schrader, Associate Dean of Research and Administration, Chemical & Environmental Engineering, Institute of the Environment, University of Arizona.  Glenn talks about the possibilities of using water reserves from hydraulic fracturing and re-using those for drinking water, business, or agricultural purposes.  He also talks about the OASES project, which is public-private partnership between universities and private companies to search for "the next bucket of water" for the arid Southwestern U.S.

Aired Nov. 3, 2013.

Courtesy of


  Keith talks with Edward Kravitz, the George Packer Berry Professor of Neurobiology at the Harvard Medical School.  Kravitz studies the behavioral genetics of aggression and talks about the nasty behaviors of lobsters and fruit flies.  The genetic code of fruit flies allows researchers to easily create mutant passive or aggressive fruit files and study their patterns.

Aired Oct. 27, 2013.