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.

  In a re-broadcast from Nov. 28, 2010, Keith and guest co-host Tom Gill of the UTEP Geological Sciences Department talk with Tom Casadevall, Scientist Emeritus with the US Geological Survey.  Casadevall tells us about his early fascination with volcanoes, and what led him to become a vulcanologist.  He also reflects on the 2010 volcanic eruption in Iceland that disrupted air traffic across Europe.  And Casadevall explains why the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption was a career-defining event for him.

Aired Jan. 18, 2015.


  In a rebroadcast from Nov. 14, 2010, Keith talks with seismology professor Brian Stump, Albritton Professor of Earth Sciences, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, with SMU.  Stump explains why the earth's crust differs around the world, and why there is an increasing detection of smaller quakes worldwide.  An interesting question arises during the interview: Could nuclear weapons be used to relieve pressure along fault lines?  Plus, Stump explains how earthquakes cause low frequency acoustic waves in the atmosphere.

Aired Jan. 11, 2015.

KU Biodiversity Institute

  In a rebroadcast from Nov. 7, 2010, Keith and guest co-host Eli Greenbaum of the UTEP Department of Biological Sciences, talk with David Blackburn, an evolutionary biologist from the University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute.   Blackburn studies the vast diversity of frogs and amphibians, including of the fragmentation of frog species in the Sahara.  It's a fascinating conversation!

Aired Jan. 4, 2015.


   Keith & Russ welcome Steve Soper of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, from the Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Chemistry.  Soper is helping to develop devices that are reminiscent of the Star Trek tricorder...devices that can help with early detection and preventative medicine.

Aired Dec. 28, 2014.

  Sir Harry Kroto is the Francis Eppes Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Florida State University.  He is also the co-discoverer of C60, the Buckminster fullerene molecule, which is a cage molecule with 60 carbon atoms.  The discovery of these "Bucky balls" led to Kroto, Robert Curl, and Richard Smalley to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1996.  Kroto explains how his research in interstellar carbon led to this discovery, and about his early beginnings in chemistry.

Aired Dec. 21, 2014.

Cornell University

  Keith talks with Mariana Wolfner, Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Cornell University, about her research into the reproductive proteins of Drosophila (fruit flies).  These proteins reside in a male fly's seminal fluid, and when he mates with a female, these proteins can influence her reproductive tract and hormonal balance.  This research may lead scientists to one day learn how to control the reproductive cycles of disease-carrying vectors such as mosquitoes, and perhaps even help humans with reproductive problems.

Aired Dec. 14, 2014.

  Keith talks with Ann McDermott, Assistant Director of the Global Obesity Prevention Center at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  The Center is the only kind in the world, and uses community-based participatory research to better understand the causes of obesity that range far beyond just diet and exercise.  She also tells us about the variety of careers she had during her lifetime, and what led her to enter a 7-year doctoral program when she was in her 40s...a program that led her to her current field.

Aired Dec. 7, 2014.

  Keith is on location once again at the Galveston National Laboratory, University of Texas Medical Branch, to talk with Janice Endsley of the Department of Microbiology/Immunology.  Endsley studies coinfections, in particular, the common coinfection of HIV with tuberculosis.  About 30% of the world's population have latent TB and show no symptoms.  However, if they are infected with HIV, the latent TB has a very good chance of being activated.  

Aired Nov. 30, 2014. / Galveston National Laboratory, UT Medical Branch

  Keith is on location at the Galveston National Laboratory, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston TX.  He talks with Thomas Geisbert, an infectious disease researcher at the GNL, who was the co-discoverer of the Reston strain of Ebola, made famous in the bestselling book "The Hot Zone" by Richard Preston.  Geisbert talks about this first encounter with Ebola, and how the GNL is working to develop vaccines and treatments for this devastating disease.  Geisbert also describes why the virus is so difficult to contract, and why the virus must be stopped at its source - Africa.  

Aired Nov. 23, 2014.


  Keith is on location at the Galveston National Laboratory (GNL) at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas, to talk to the facility's director, James LeDuc.  LeDuc had an interesting career prior to his current post, including earning a degree in Zoology, spending a period of time collecting samples for the Smithsonian, serving in the U.S. Army, and dedicating himself to public health.  LeDuc talks about the viruses the GNL studies, and explains the different biological safety levels in which the lab technicians work.  He also touches upon the difficulty in designing a generic vaccine for the flu virus, and the history of the Ebola virus in humans.

Aired Nov. 16, 2014.

MD Anderson

  Keith is once again on location in Houston, Texas, at the MD Anderson Cancer Treatment Center Proton Therapy Center, and he talks with clinical physicist Michael Gillin.  Gillin explains why protons, and not other elementary particles, are used in this treatment...and why proton therapy harms less healthy tissue than standard radiation treatment for cancer.

Aired Nov. 9, 2014.

  Keith is on location in Houston, Texas, to talk with Steven J. Frank, MD, Medical Director of the MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center.   Steven was inspired by his background onboard the U.S. Navy's Submarine Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program to study medicine and to use his background in nuclear engineering to research radiation oncology.  Proton radiation therapy is the most advanced radiation treatment available to treat numerous types of cancers by more directly targeting cancerous tumors.

Aired Nov. 2, 2014.

  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.