KYTOS PODCASTS

Enjoy podcasts on a variety of Biology-related topics

Podcasts are available on all major platforms - use the icon guide to stream or download each one:

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Counting down the Top 10 Deadly Poisons

November 12, 2018

The Top 10 Deadly Poisons are revealed in the first KYTOS Biology Podcast - with reference to real life cases!

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What are innate behaviours?

November 12, 2018

Why do we have innate behaviours, and what distinguishes them from learnt responses?

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How dangerous is fake medical news?

November 15, 2018

With stories of 'miracle cures' for diseases like cancer being shared thousands of times on social media, Mr I considers the consequences of fake medical news.

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Forensic Facial identification 

November 24, 2018

Just how unreliable are facial composites based on eyewitness testimony, and how might biometrics help?

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Could humans ever photosynthesise?

November 26, 2018

Emma T (Year 13 Biology student) discusses the mechanisms that might allow humans to use photosynthesis.

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Dementia - Causes and Complications

November 29, 2018

In this podcast, Mr I describes the group of symptoms that characterises dementia, with focus on Alzheimer's disease.

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Pathology - Estimating time of death

December 21, 2018

What happens to a body after death, and how can an autopsy reveal the exact cause, manner and time of death?

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Stem Cells - Embryonic vs Adult

December 24, 2018

What are stem cells, and how can we harvest them to treat disease? Moreover, which type of stem cell should we use?

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Why dogs are so loving - A Genetic Explanation

December 31, 2018

As I look into the eyes of my rescue greyhound Luca, I wonder if the connection goes deeper than him simply wanting to be fed. They say that dogs are man's best friend, but why is that? Is there a biological reason why dogs are so loving and trusting? 

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Current HIV Research - Targeting HIV reservoirs and markers for Cardiovascular Disease

January 5, 2018

In this podcast, Mr I discusses two recently published articles about HIV therapy. CD4 T lymphocytes are known to act as viral reservoirs in those on antiretroviral therapy, but could the use of metabolic activity inhibitors help to destroy them? Equally, could the inflammatory marker GlycA indicate a greater risk of atherosclerosis in HIV patients?

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The development of Cancer and the different types of tumour

January 16, 2019

What exactly do we mean by cancer? Essentially, cancer is the uncontrolled proliferation of cells which lead to the formation of a tumour. The distinct differences between benign and malignant tumours are explained in this podcast, along with current treatments for both. Mr I also reveals how gene mutations can lead to cancer.

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Genetic drift & the formation of new species

January 20, 2019

In this podcast, Mr I discusses how the founder effect and genetic bottlenecks (both sub categories of genetic drift) could lead to the formation of new species. 

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Teeth and Bite marks - An Introduction to Forensic Odontology

January 26, 2019

What is it about teeth that makes them such a useful forensic tool? With reference to infamous killer Ted Bundy, Mr I examines the scope of forensic odontology, and what bite mark analysis can reveal.

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What makes a heart beat?

January 27, 2019

The heart beats an incredible 115,200 times a day, but what exactly causes a heart beat? This podcast will discuss how the natural pacemaker (SAN) and AVN, along with the autonomic nervous system regulate heart contractions. 

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IVF and the Causes of Infertility

February 3, 2019

In the UK, around 1 in 7 couples experience difficulty conceiving. In this podcast, Mr I explains how the IVF process works, and discusses the causes of infertility in both sexes. 

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Pest Control - An Intensive Farming Practice

February 19, 2019

In this podcast, Mr I describes how cultural, chemical and biological pest control have all been used to increase yield and productivity. As a means of limiting the ecological damage that intensive farming causes, IMP (or integrated pest management) is now being employed. 

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Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection – Is it shaping Human Evolution?

February 19, 2019

"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change." Did Charles Darwin actually say this, and what exactly does his theory of natural selection mean for human evolution?

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Growing ‘made-to-order’ human kidneys

February 19, 2019

In this podcast, we takes a look at the current developments in kidney transplantation and discusses the key functions of these vital organs. 

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The Disease Model of Addiction (with Charlotte Isaacs)

February 19, 2019

Working as a counsellor in the criminal justice system, Charlotte (Mrs I) has seen first-hand how addiction can transform lives. In this podcast, she will discuss the disease model of addiction, whilst Mr I will delve a little deeper into the mechanisms of action of some of the most potent psychoactive drugs. 

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From Patients to Pupils - Why I left Medicine for Teaching

February 21, 2019

Leaving a career in Medicine wasn't a difficult decision for me to make - the thing is, I never really wanted to do it in the first place! In this podcast, I explain how I ended up down that path, and the reasons why I eventually opted for another. 

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Forensic Psychology and Offender Profiling

March 3, 2019

How useful is an offender profile in catching a perpetrator? In this podcast, we look at the field of Forensic Psychology, and discuss how criminal profiles have been used in a number of historic cases, along with other so-called 'disputed' forensic techniques. 

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Apoptosis - A very orderly cell death 

March 9, 2019

In this podcast, we look at the process of apoptosis, or programmed cell death. What is the exact mechanism behind this self destruction, and when   would the body employ such a tactic?

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The Story of Golden Rice 

March 9, 2019

In this podcast, I outline the steps involved in genetically engineering Golden Rice as a means of preventing Vitamin A (retinol) deficiency.  

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HeLa Cells and The Legacy of Henrietta Lacks 

March 17, 2019

The contributions that HeLa cells have made in the fields of Science and Technology are vast. In this podcast, I'm joined by Year 13 Biology student Anoushka, who will argue that the HeLa cell is one of the greatest biological discoveries of the 20th Century. 

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Fingerprints and their Forensic significance 

March 17, 2019

In 1901, Sir Edward Henry provided the foundations on which modern day fingerprint classification systems are based.  In this podcast, I refer to a number of high profile criminal cases where fingerprint evidence has been used, and talk about the biology behind the fingerprint itself – what exactly causes the distinct ridges and grooves that we see?

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Living with OCD - A study into psychopathology 

March 17, 2019

In this personal study of psychopathology, I describe the nature of obsessive compulsive disorders. This podcast will outline the key characteristics of these conditions, and provide some biological explanations for them. 

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Blood Pattern Analysis 

March 21, 2019

In this podcast, I discuss how blood pattern analysis can aid forensic investigators make sense of a crime scene, and reveal why the technique is viewed by some professionals as controversial. 

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The Fruit Fly - An unsung hero of 20th Century Science 

March 23, 2019

The common fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) has been the test subject from which some of the 20th century's greatest biological discoveries have arisen. In this podcast, I outline the reasons why this rather simple being is regarded as a ‘model organism’ for scientific research. 

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The Discovery of Insulin as a treatment for Diabetes

March 23, 2019

The development of insulin for the treatment of Diabetes mellitus by Banting et al, is regarded by many as one of the greatest biological discoveries of our time. In this podcast, I’ll put forward the argument as to why, and give some background into the discovery. As Hume stated in his biography of Banting, ‘no single event in the history of medicine had changed the lives of so many people, so suddenly’.

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Breaking Bad News - Why is it so difficult? 

March 23, 2019

Studies have suggested that there are 3 key reasons why medical professionals struggle to deliver bad news. In this podcast, I discuss what those reasons are, and the significant impact they potentially have on clinical outcomes. 

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Is making your own light the key to survival? (with Emma T)

March 26, 2019

In this podcast, Year 13 Biology student Emma T discusses bioluminescence, a phenomenon in which organisms produce their own light. She will describe the mechanisms through which light is produced, and how this form of chemiluminescence aids the survival of different species.   

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Are girls 'better' than boys? (with Mr Dan Wilkinson)

March 27, 2019

In this thought-provoking, and perhaps controversial podcast, Mr I sits down with the Head of Psychology at Tormead, Mr Dan Wilkinson, to explore the arguments for a world without males.

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Hair Fibre Analysis and the secrets it can reveal 

April 8, 2019

In this podcast, Mr I will discuss hair structure and morphology, and how forensic analysis of fibres can help bring about a conviction, or simply be used as a means of identification.

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‘Make no bones about it!’ – The Role of Forensic Anthropology

April 8, 2019

As the title suggests, this podcast is all about bones – why study them, what can they tell us about their owners, and how can that information be applied in a court of law. Forensic anthropology is a special sub-field of physical anthropology that involves applying skeletal analysis and techniques in archaeology to solving criminal cases.  

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UCAT and BMAT – Admissions tests for Medical Schools 

April 8, 2019

Thank you for listening to this special podcast on the UCAT (formerly known as UKCAT) and BMAT – these are the two big entrance exams that students must sit to get onto certain Medical, Dental, Veterinary and Biomedical undergraduate courses. In this podcast, I describe what both tests entail, but more importantly, give tips on what candidates should be doing to maximise their chances!

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Understanding how vaccines work

April 15, 2019

A vaccine is the administration of a weak or dead pathogen, designed to stimulate a primary immune response. What exactly does that response entail, and why would anyone deliberately inject a pathogen into themselves? In this podcast, Mr I will answer these questions by explaining how vaccines work in controlling the spread of infectious disease. 

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Courtship, Birdsong and The Biology of Flirting

May 7, 2019

Why is it important to breed with members of the same species? Is there any benefit to forming a committed pair bond with your partner...and what exactly are birds saying to one another through their birdsong? Discover the answer to all of these questions in this podcast on courtship behaviours and 'flirting'.

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The Aspirin Story - From Willow to Wonder Drug

May 24, 2019

In this podcast, I delve into the story behind Aspirin, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory that scientists often hail as a wonder drug. Quite astonishingly, there are thought to be over 1000 clinical trials involving Aspirin conducted every single year - in 1950, it was declared the biggest selling painkiller in the world.

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Miscarriages of Justice and The CSI Effect

May 30, 2019

Do shows like CSI have a negative influence on peoples’ interpretation of the criminal justice system, and on forensic science practices? In this podcast, Mr I discusses what the latest research suggests is the case.

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The Biology of The Lion King

June 02, 2019

On the face of it, you can look at this movie as a coming of age story, or perhaps one about family, redemption and even power struggles. If we take a slightly different approach, however, you might be surprised at just how many key biological concepts and principles are in this film. 

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Is the vast amount of money spent on wildlife conservation worth it?

June 03, 2019

Research suggests that conservation investment will become inconsequential as the human population grows. Why is that? In this podcast, I try to provide some answers to one of the biggest questions, we as a society, must ask ourselves - is the vast amount of money spent on wildlife conservation actually worth it?  What is clear, is that conservation must be focused on crucial organisms that maintain environments and our efforts must be redesigned to better protect these species in a more economically efficient way.  

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How to write the perfect Synoptic Essay in A-Level Biology

June 06, 2019

This podcast is aimed at those students sitting their Biology A-Levels, or more specifically, those sitting the AQA Paper 3 at A2, with the synoptic essay question. In this podcast, I give an overview of the essay in terms of general structure and marking policy, then give some tips and advice about how best to approach it, including a more detailed look at the planning aspect.

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Comparing Ventilation Mechanisms in Humans, Fish and Insects

June 06, 2019

Imagine that you can design your own respiratory airways – what would they look like? This is a question I ask my own students, to see if they bring in ideas about Fick’s law, and the factors that increase the rate of diffusion. That’s what ideal airways would do – maximise diffusion, specifically of oxygen from the air to our blood. In this podcast, I discuss the gross structure of the human respiratory system and compare it to that of fish and insects – there are surprising similarities between all of these organsisms, and in each case, diffusion of oxygen remains the key goal. 

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To Speak the Truth - The Role of Forensic Voice Analysis

June 09, 2019

How well do you know your neighbour? Well enough to recognise the sound of their voice - even in a crowded room...well enough to testify in a court of law to that effect? In this podcast, I discuss the key areas of Forensic Science where voice and audio analysis is utilised, and discuss high profile criminal cases where voice evidence has been used to wrongly convict the innocent. 

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First Aid Essentials - Carrying out a Primary Survey

June 11, 2019

In this podcast, the first of a series on First Aid Essentials, I discuss how to ascertain the level of responsiveness in a casualty, how to carry out checks for open airways and normal breathing and explain the technique of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

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CRISPR - The Science behind the hype (with Emma Thornton)

June 25, 2019

In this podcast, I'm joined by former A-Level Biology student Emma Thornton, who describes the CRISPR gene editing technique and its possible future applications. 

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Seizures and Epilepsy Part 2 - A Patient Interview

July 24, 2019

My mother-in-law (Lesley) has a clinical diagnosis of epilepsy, and experiences complex partial seizures. The condition has had a profound effect on her day to day life – not just in terms of the medication she takes, but the activities which she can involve herself in. Lesley suffered a major head trauma, but following MRI scans, doctors were unable to find any physical damage or injury relating to her seizures, which only began after the injury...perhaps the accident induced them? This podcast is of a telephone interview that I conducted with Lesley, where she discusses her diagnosis and management of the condition. 

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Seizures and Epilepsy

July 24, 2019

In this podcast, I discuss the nature of partial and generalised seizures, and explain how a diagnosis of epilepsy is made. With reference to clinical cases in my own family, I describe how the condition can be managed through surgery and anticonvulsants, and highlight the need for greater awareness and education, on what is generally thought to be a poorly understood condition. 

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The Science of Sleep (with Poppy GT)

September 09, 2019

In this podcast, I'm joined by Year 9 student Poppy GT, who discusses what really goes on in our brains when we sleep. She will also explain the science behind some of the most fascinating concepts, including REM sleep and how to achieve a lucid dream state.  

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The Functions of The Thyroid Gland

September 10, 2019

In this podcast, I’ll describe the location of the thyroid gland with reference to key anatomical landmarks, discuss the significant and rather diverse roles the thyroid hormones T3 and T4 play in our body, and consider diseases and disorders of the gland, including hyper/hypothyroidism and cancer. 

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Epigenetic Control of Gene Expression

October 20, 2019

Epigenetics is the study of heritable changes to gene function and expression that are a result of environment factors, and not the result of altering the base sequence of DNA itself. In this podcast, I discuss how acetylation and methylation alter the chemical tags that make up the epigenome, and how, despite being part of normal development, they may trigger diseases such as cancer.

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Gunshot Residue and its Forensic Significance

October 22, 2019

How much value can we place on GSR evidence? With reference to past criminal cases, I describe what GSR (gunshot residue) is, the methods we employ to detect it, and why GSR evidence has, on occasion, been inadmissible in a court of law. 

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ATP - An Important Biological Molecule

October 26, 2019

In this podcast, I describe the structure of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and the important roles this macromolecule performs. 

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Can dementia patients have independence?

October 27, 2019

Dementia is an umbrella term that describes a group of symptoms associated with a decline in mental ability, severe enough to affect daily life. The key question that this podcast wishes to raise, is to what extent sufferers can live independent lives; both the pharmacological and non-pharmacological components of dementia care will be discussed. (With thanks to Jhyni R for conducting the research and providing the content for this podcast)

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Do animals have beneficial effects on autistic children?

October 27, 2019

ASD, or autistic spectrum disorder is a developmental disorder that affects communication and behaviour. Animal-assisted therapy is a therapeutic intervention for patients with ASD, that incorporates animals as part of their care plan. In this podcast, I will examine how effective this has been. Current research suggests that animal exposure enhances both mental health and physical well-being, not only in autistic children, but for the general population. (With thanks to Laureanne H for conducting the research and providing the content for this podcast)

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Diagnosing medical conditions from an ECG

October 27, 2019

An ECG (electrocardiogram) is a medical test that records the electrical activity of the heart (or more specifically, the depolarisation and repolarisation of the myocardium). In this podcast, I describe what a normal ECG trace looks like, and then explain how an atypical one may appear. The ECG is just one diagnostic tool that medics can use to form a differential diagnosis. 

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Evolution of Animal Behaviour

October 28, 2019

In this podcast, I discuss three key aspects of animal behaviour, namely social organisation, the evolution of altruistic behaviour and the expression of exaggerated traits.  

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The Origin of Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes

October 28, 2019

Why would an animal cell contain mitochondria with 70S ribosomes, organelles typically found inside prokaryotic cells? This podcast aims to answer that question, by discussing the origin of both eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells, the development of the early atmosphere and the fascinating endosymbiotic theory.

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