Episode 16 – Gender inequality in Science

This latest episode of the Naturally Speaking podcast explores the increasingly prominent issue of gender inequality in science and engineering. With the help of four Institute researchers: Prof. Dan Haydon, Dr Michelle Bellingham, Dr Winnie Boner and Dr Richard Orton, we first explore the evidence for women being underrepresented in scientific research and why this bias exists. Then, we discuss the Athena Swan Charter and the action we can take to reverse this bias and promote more diverse working environments.


The Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine recently obtained an Athena Swan Bronze Award for its commitment to addressing gender inequalities. Further information on this process and some of the statistics in the podcast are available at the following links:

Athena Swan Charter

University of Glasgow Gender Equality Steering Group

Blog commenting on bias in research fellowships by Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society

New episode and blog posts coming soon…

Hello! Apologies for the extended Summer break… We have just recorded a 16th episode, discussing gender bias in the Sciences, which will soon be available! We are also planning to release regular Naturally Speaking blog posts from members of the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative medicine at the University of Glasgow. Watch this space!

Episode 15 – The Science of Jaws: from shark attacks to marine biology!

In this episode, we feature a Q&A discussion that followed a recent screening of the 1975 film Jaws held at the Glasgow film theatre as part of the 2014 Glasgow Science Festival. Dr David Bailey, Dr Deborah McNeill and Dr Shaun Killen are the experts answering the questions and exploring the relative risk of shark attacks, the impact of overfishing and the realities of being a marine biologist! This event was sponsored by the British Ecological Society.

Not to add a spoiler, but I think we can conclude that it is safe to go in the water…

Episode 15- The Science of Jaws


Episode 14 – Linking science and policy

Science is awesome, but how do you ensure your science is relevant?

We got thinking about this after reading a comment piece offering tips on interpreting scientific claims published in Nature by Bill Sutherland and colleagues. The Guardian then produced a response listing tips academics should know about policy making here.

So in the latest episode of Naturally Speaking, the two James’ chat about communicating science into policy with colleagues from across the Institute. We ask: how do you link research with fisheries management? how does science inform rabies policy in the developing world? and how do we get scientific findings to policy makers?

With us to discuss these topics are; Sophie Elliott, David Bailey, Rodney Beard, Lisa Boden and Katie Hampson

Episode 14 – Linking science and policy

Episode 13 – The Science of Jurassic Park

This episode marks the first in a series in which we discuss the science behind some of our favourite science fiction movies. Why start with Jurassic Park? Well, it’s loaded with sciencey concepts, but this year is also 20 years (!) since it was first released and so we thought it would be a good time to check back on how it holds up.

Joining the chat in this episode are Rod Page, Barbara Mable, Kirstyn Brunker, Julie Nati, , James Buckely, Darryl McLennan, and Shaun Killen.

Episode 13 – The Science of Jurassic Park

Episode 13 - The Science of Jurassic Park

Episode 12 – Research Roundup: Bacteria in Chicken Eggs, Antioxidants and Lifespan, and Maternal Effects on Growth in Salmon

In this Research Roundup episode we summarise three recent research papers published by Institute members. First we discuss Maureen Bain’s recent work examining the extent to which bacteria may pass through the shells of the chicken eggs we use for food. We then chat about Colin Selman’s recent paper showing that dietary antioxidant supplements may actually decrease lifespan in some animal populations. We then finish up by reviewing Tim Burton’s research examining maternal effects on early growth trajectories in Atlantic salmon.

We also touch on whether or not the titles of academic papers have become too “spoilerific”, patent a foolproof device for measuring E. coli levels in grocery store eggs, and propose that living with your parents until your middle age might actually be an optimal life-history strategy.

Episode 12 – Research Roundup: Bacteria in Chicken Eggs, Antioxidants and Lifespan, and Maternal Effects on Growth in Salmon

Papers Discussed:

MM Bain, K McDade, R Burchmore, A Law, PW Wilson, M Schmutz, R Preisinger, IC Dunn. 2013. Enhancing the egg’s natural defence against bacterial penetration by increasing cuticle deposition. Animal Genetics. 44:661-668

C Selman, JS McLaren, AR Collins, GG Duthie, JR Speakman. 2013.  Deleterious consequences of antioxidant supplementation on lifespan in a wild-derived mammal. Biology letters 9 (4)

Tim Burton, S. McKelvey, D. C. Stewart, J. D. Armstrong, and N. B. Metcalfe 2013. Early maternal experience shapes offspring performance in the wild. Ecology 94:618–626. http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/12-0462.1