Interviews with Experts

Beginning in the spring and extending through the summer of 2021, we are taking advantage of web-based videoconferencing to interview senior researchers who study various aspects of bioluminescence, fluorescence, and optogenetics.

We have asked these world experts about their career paths, their favorite discoveries, challenging moments, the attributes of their ideal environment, and more.

In a format made possible by technology and a culture shift, these interviews provide valuable insight for undergraduates considering graduate school and a career in research.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram to be notified when our next interview is available!

On May 6, 2021, we hosted Henry M. Colecraft, PhD, the John C. Dalton Professor of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, and Professor of Pharmacology at Columbia University Medical Center. Listen in to learn Dr. Colecraft's thoughts on what event truly triggers the start of an interesting project and the conditions under which he gets his best ideas.

On May 20, 2021, we were joined by Steven Haddock, PhD, Senior Scientist/Marine Biologist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. Listen to our interview to hear about Dr. Haddock's blue water diving adventures and the bioluminescent and fluorescent discoveries that have (so far!) surprised him the most.

On June 3, 2021, Professor Stefan Herlitze, PhD from the Research Department of Neuroscience at Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany called us from the Alps to tell us, among many things, about his journeys to Egypt and Indonesia to study bioluminescence in the flashlight fish.

On June 10, 2021, our hot seat was occupied by Jennifer Prescher, PhD, Professor of Chemistry, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of California, Irvine. Listen in to hear Dr. Prescher explain why "The worst type of experiment is an inconclusive one; a failed experiment still tells you something" and have her persuade you that "Creativity... is a skill; it can be learned."

On July 15, 2021, we interviewed Peter Hegemann, PhD, Professor and Head of the Department for Biophysics at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Germany. Prof. Hegemann told us about his co-discovery of channelrhodopsin and how his research led to the invention of optogenetic techniques.

On August 5, 2021, we interviewed Elena Goun, PhD, Associate Professor of Chemistry at the University of Missouri. Watch our interview to learn how Dr. Goun followed the data from an accidental discovery to develop the use of an imaging technique that has increased survivorship for cancer patients.

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