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Episode from the podcastPlanet B612

Reproductive Immunology with Dr. Melanie Conrad

Released Thursday, 23rd September 2021
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What role might the environment play on autoimmune diseases, like asthma? What could we learn about antibiotic use in pregnant women? Reproductive immunologist, and researcher, Dr. Melanie Conrad joins me to talk about these topics, and about the work she, and her team, are doing to uncover new information about how the immune system works!


  • (0:00:45) Moving to Germany and accents.

  • (0:02:42) Research and the study of asthma.

  • (0:04:07) The journey to studying asthma.

  • (0:06:22) Environmental causes of asthma and the role of traditional farms.

  • (0:08:00) Generational studies and the Dutch Hunger Winter.

  • (0:09:35) Why growing up on a farm can help your respiratory health.

  • (0:11:35) The mouse model.

  • (0:12:38) Mechanisms, contributing factors and the immune response.

  • (0:14:08) The chronological study of the fetus, newborns and breast milk.

  • (0:16:06) Moving from mouse to human: The ethics and physiology involved.

  • (0:17:47) Fruit flies studies and why they are important.

  • (0:19:02) Farm analysis and the chosen bacteria.

  • (0:20:34) Urban environments and pollution: Getting back to nature.

  • (0:22:36) The Protection Model and the Antibiotic Model.

  • (0:24:30) Antibiotics: Not always the best solution.

  • (0:25:31) Microbiome Analysis and the Antibiotic Model.

  • (0:26:30) The importance of fetal development of microbiomes: Where they come from.

  • (0:29:05) Pre and postnatal development of microbiomes and antibiotics.

  • (0:30:55) Targeted antibiotics: Is it a possibility in the future?

  • (0:32:00) Bonnie Bassler and Quorum sensing.

  • (0:33:39) Antibiotics, Hives and Mites: A need for new research and advances.

  • (0:35:09) Five more questions.

  • (0:37:03) When does science become medicine? Research and medicine.

  • (0:39:05) Open access and publishing.

  • (0:40:17) Science and policy: The need for a middle person.

  • (0:41:43) Science communication and Twitter.

  • (0:43:31) What's next? Models, models models and metabolism. 

  • (0:45:35) PhD students.

  • (0:46:15) Partner Acrobatics: A great hobby.

  • (0:47:58) The cultural differences between Canada and Germany.

  • (0:50:02) Being a scientist in Germany.

  • (0:51:39) Berlin: Still loving it after over 10 years.


Visit the Conrad Lab: https://www.conradlab.net/
Follow Melanie on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MLConradLab
Visit Planet B612 on the web: http://planetb612.fm/
Follow Planet B612 on Twitter: https://twitter.com/PlanetB612fm
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