Episode 52

Reproductive Immunology

Dr. Melanie Conrad

Sep 23, 2021 | Science

In this episode, we talk all about the impact of the environment on asthma, antibiotics in pregnancy, and all of the cool research being done by Dr. Conrad and her team!

Listen on Spotify

About This Episode

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!

Visit the Conrad Lab: https://www.conradlab.net/

Follow Melanie on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MLConradLab

Topics and Timestamps

  • (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.

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