Conversations About Biology

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Open Agenda Publishing, Oct 1, 2020 - Health & Fitness - 300 pages

Conversations About Biology include the following five carefully-edited Ideas Roadshow Conversations featuring leading researchers with a detailed preface highlighting the connections between the different books:

I. Autism: A Genetic Perspective - A conversation with Jay Gargus, Professor of Physiology, Biophysics and Pediatrics and Director of the Center for Autism Research and Translation at UC Irvine. This wide-ranging conversation examines the recent explosion in our genetic understanding of autism and its implications for the future of medicine, together with the importance of understanding the underlying molecular mechanisms in order to successfully treat a wide range of genetic disorders. Jay Gargus focuses on autism, dispelling myths associated with the condition, advocating why a treatment should be actively pursued, and illustrating what we can learn from the recent breakthrough in cystic fibrosis research.

II. Learning and Memory - A conversation with Alcino Silva, Distinguished Professor of Neurobiology, Psychiatry and Psychology at the David Geffen School of Medicine and Director of the Integrated Center for Learning and Memory at UCLA. This book is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Alcino Silva who runs a learning and memory lab at UCLA that is focused on a vast number of topics, from schizophrenia and autism to learning and memory. This fascinating conversation explores how he and his colleagues focus on understanding the specific molecular mechanisms of neurobiology with the goal of being able to intervene and repair these mechanisms when they go awry. 

III. A Matter of Energy: Biology From First Principles - A conversation with Nick Lane, Professor of Evolutionary Biochemistry at University College London. This book is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Nick Lane.. After an inspiring story of Nick Lane’s career path, this wide-ranging conversation covers his bioenergetic view of early, evolutionary history, the origin of life and how all complex life is composed of a very particular cell type that we all share, and more. 

IV. Our Human Variability - A conversation with Stephen Scherer, the GlaxoSmithKline Research Chair in Genome Sciences at the Hospital for Sick Children and University of Toronto. This book is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Stephen Scherer who discusses his lifelong passion for science that culminated in his groundbreaking discovery of copy-number variation. This conversation also covers his exciting work in autism research and how copy number variation brings us a deeper understanding of both human variability and disease.

V. Sleep Insights - A conversation with Matthew Walker, Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology and Founder and Director of the Center for Human Sleep Science at UC Berkeley. This book is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Matthew Walker. This extensive conversation gives a clear and compelling picture of our recent understanding of sleep's essential role in our daily lives, from reinforcing learning and memory to regulating emotion.

Howard Burton is the creator and host of Ideas Roadshow and was the Founding Executive Director of Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.


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Selected pages


James Watsons Legacy II In the
E Pluribus Unum
A Leg to Stand
Smart Mice
Manipulating Memories
Individual Differences
Ethical and Societal Issues
Future Possibilities
Contact with Autism
Nobel Thoughts
The Human Condition

Justified Optimism
Continuing the Conversation
Chromosome 7
Back to Basics
Revolutionary Stirrings
Going Global
Variability and Evolution
Causes and Implications
Towards Treatment
The Definition of Disease
Probing Deeper
Stages of Sleep
Parasomnias and Evolution
Learning and Memory
Sleeping Better?
Emotional Regulation
Sleep and Aging
Sleep Stigma
Further Questions
Lots To
Continuing the Conversation

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About the author (2020)

Howard Burton, the founder and creator of Ideas On Film, holds a PhD in theoretical physics and an MA in philosophy. For his award-winning initiative Ideas Roadshow, Howard has hosted and filmed in-depth conversations with more than 100 world-leading experts, including 3 Nobel Laureates, through a focused yet informal setting. 

Howard has been able to capture candid, behind-the-scenes insights which offer a detailed portrayal of the world of today's top researchers across all disciplines. Howard was the Founding Director of Canada’s Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and his experiences at developing the research and outreach mandates of PI were described in his book, First Principles: Building Perimeter Institute, featuring a foreword by Nobel Laureate Roger Penrose.

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