LabOratory Podcast

Lab Entry #6: Dr. Olivia Masih White

March 02, 2020 Laboratory Podcast / Olivia Masih White Season 1 Episode 6
LabOratory Podcast
Lab Entry #6: Dr. Olivia Masih White
Chapters
00:00:00
LabOratory Podcast Intro
00:00:21
Welcome Introduction
00:00:41
Sam and Rene Ocean Science 2020 Meeting Update and Shoutouts
00:06:27
Sam and Rene Dive into the Podcast and Introduce Olivia Masih White
00:08:27
Who is Olivia Masih White
00:09:58
Olivia's path toward becoming a Scientist
00:11:08
Olivia's fascination with Science
00:12:28
Olivia on Mentors
00:20:25
Olivia on moving from immunology to genetics
00:21:17
Olivia on Protein Synthesis
00:28:19
Olivia on foreign language and advancements in technology
00:38:07
Olivia on Computers as the biggest scientific advancement
00:40:22
Olivia on career serendipity and finding herself a part of the Human Genome Project
00:41:40
Sam and Rene's Recap on Olivia Masih White
00:43:03
Sam and Rene's Outtro
LabOratory Podcast
Lab Entry #6: Dr. Olivia Masih White
Mar 02, 2020 Season 1 Episode 6
Laboratory Podcast / Olivia Masih White

In this episode we interview Olivia Masih White, a retired professor of biology and genetics from the University of North Texas. We discuss her journey of immigrating from India to the United States when she was 25, her circuitous path from seminary school to working in the medical field to pursuing her PhD in genetics, and her research regarding adults with Trisomy 21, commonly referred to as Down Syndrome.   

Support the show (http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/laboratory-podcast/)

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode we interview Olivia Masih White, a retired professor of biology and genetics from the University of North Texas. We discuss her journey of immigrating from India to the United States when she was 25, her circuitous path from seminary school to working in the medical field to pursuing her PhD in genetics, and her research regarding adults with Trisomy 21, commonly referred to as Down Syndrome.   

Support the show (http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/laboratory-podcast/)

spk_0:   0:00
Hi. I'm Renee. Hi, I'm Sam and

spk_1:   0:03
this is laboratory podcast. I'm 82 years old. I would have gonna love your GTO. Welcome to laboratory podcast. Exploring the human side of Science with recorded interviews of emeritus and retired scientists on the evolution and history of scientific research throughout their careers. Welcome

spk_0:   0:41
back to lab oratory. Podcast. This is our sixth episode, and we just got back from our ocean sciences meeting, which was quite an adventure in San Diego. And this was Sam's for a science conference. So, Sim, tell me what you thought. Oh,

spk_1:   1:03
my gosh. I had so many thoughts. So right away. Um, it was big. It was in the San Diego Conference Center, which is large. Ah, but we had to present in the very first thing that we did when we attended this conference on Monday

spk_0:   1:23
8 a.m. After getting in at 11 p.m. The night before. Yes,

spk_1:   1:27
we had to present at 8 a.m. Luckily, it was only a three minute presentation, but we each wrote out a little script and did the best that he could 8 a.m. And then we had our poster sessions and from that point on the ball was rolling. We were interviewing people. We were talking to them about our project. We were exchanging ideas and just trying. Thio put our stuff out there in the world by learning as much as we can from other

spk_0:   1:56
people. And that post recession was a session focused on visual arts, storytelling, outreach and education in the sciences. So a lot of the folks who attended that session, we're really excited to talk with us. It seemed, and it is really nice being able to make those connections right off the bat.

spk_1:   2:14
Yes. Shout out to everyone that we met. You made me feel very welcome, E. I can't speak for Renee, who I'm sure will say the same thing made us feel very welcome. But thank you. It was nice to be around a lot of comrade artists and storytellers. This is great. Ah, but then yeah, So we had the poster session for two hours, presented our work, and then we combined the to the storytelling and sciences. We would go to a storytelling workshop, and then Rene would bring me to a workshop about help or some other aspect of the ocean that I was unfamiliar about. And I would try my best to decipher what they were saying and all the pretty graphs that they were showing me It was a whirlwind, but it was very beneficial. I learned about Cy Calm and that it's a really big, an up and coming thing and shout out to shame third pod from the sun. Who

spk_0:   3:10
taught us about that Sai calm being signs communications,

spk_1:   3:13
which I hope everyone else knew, I'd I don't know. I'm still learning, but yeah, it was very enlightening, and I again I was happy to see that there is a community out there that is trying to do a lot of outreach to get them at such a scientists out to the general public and communicate their work. And there seems to be a riel, um, big shift of how people are talking about science. And I'm I'm really curious now to see how the rest of the science community outside of the ocean sciences are embracing this. And if they're taking an active role like the ocean sciences, including this aspect in their conferences, um, moving forward to get the general public on board. But all in all the week was beautiful. San Diego was stunning. Um, and the tacos tasted delicious. So that was my takeaway. Thank you to everyone that we met and talked Thio. And I hope to chat again with you all soon. What did you

spk_0:   4:11
think? I have a lot of the same takeaways. Um, I thought it was an amazing conference. It's gigantic to get a concept of how big this conference is. There are over 3000 posters that are shown and presented. Um, and on top of that, there are three sessions of talks a day, and there are about like, 10 to 12 different sessions happening at the same time, so the massive scale of it can be overwhelming. But it was very nice to find people that anyone who we went up to was very welcoming. We recorded some interviews while we were there. We talked to a lot of people and everybody was super engaging and fun to talk to. Um, personally, it was very interesting because I got to run into a lot of old comrades and old friends of mine and acquaintances that I did summer programs with 12 years ago. And so It's nice kind of seeing how close knit this community can be, and that's a nice comfort and is a great balance. Between the science communications went a storytelling workshops and education outreach workshops and actual research talks we got to go to so is nicely balanced between the two. And I felt like it was a good, productive meeting where I could go Talk About me is a plaid rick research and environmental DNA, but also discussed the art of storytelling and how best to reach out and communicate with others. Some it is definitely went in there with high hopes and came out there with even better results than I could've hoped

spk_1:   5:52
for. Yeah, thank you to a G U for including us in your conference and for putting on such a fantastic eating. In this episode, we interviewed Olivia White, a study of genetics. Renee, how did we meet Olivia?

spk_0:   6:34
So I met Olivia because I am part of Glow, which is gays, lesbians and others in Woods Hole. And Olivia is the mother of one of my co workers, who is also a member of Glow, and I met her while we're at one of these panels. We host where we talk about LGBT issues and we answer the audiences questions of things they've always wanted to know, but never knew how to find out about being LGBT. And she had attended this meeting. I had made cookies that were in the shape of whales, and we're different rainbow flag colors. What are they called? They're called hobo sexual whales and by sexual whales and transsexuals, actuals and all the whales under the sun. And so I had made these for this event on, and she was so excited by the and we were talking about them, and after the event, she actually was like, Yeah, I lived and worked in Texas as a geneticist and immediately my eyes lit up and I was like, I want to talk to you. And so I met her through the LGBT community and I followed up with her and she was fascinating to talk to you. She was such a sweetheart. There's a really great conversation with her, Um, and she's kept in touch ever since and will be Ah, it was be nice to continue this friendship with her. For

spk_1:   8:05
my part, it was a really beautiful beautiful conversation. She explained things and broke them down very well. On DDE it was. I can't stress enough how beautiful it was to be able to talk and get to know her.

spk_0:   8:19
So hopefully you will feel the same, and we're gonna dive into our

spk_1:   8:23
interview with Olivia. Wait.

spk_2:   8:27
I am Olivia Massie. White and I came to United States in 1962 to go to graduate school at Southern Methodist University and a Dallas, Texas, and I hit full scholarship to go to seminary theology school. Even though my interest was science, I thought, It's a good opportunity to come to United States. So I got a master's degree in, uh, theology, and I switched from there to University of North Texas and started working on my master's degree in biology, because that's where my interest Waas and then I had met my husband and sm you. We got married in 1966 and then I had a child in 1971 so it took a little high. Addison. After my master's degree, I worked in the medical school doing researchers, a research scientist in Ah, the Department of Immunology, and then I decided to go back for my PhD in 1980 p. I got my PhD in 1983. So I I went to school after my daughter was born, and I taught at the university for 20 years. So I'm a retired professor off the allergy and genetics,

spk_0:   9:48
so yes. Oh, you studied theology first. How was that switch going from theology into wanting to study science?

spk_2:   9:57
You know, when I was in India, I really wanted to be a doctor, and I'm one of seven Children. I was number five and my parents couldn't afford to send me to medical school and was very hard to get into medical school, er especially state related, and was no way that I could get to the state school that was in my town and that that means you too, go to private medical school, which we couldn't afford. And by the way, I grew up as 1/3 generation Christian. So I grew up in church Anglican Church. That was the only way I knew. And I knew somebody who was studying at Southern Methodist University. So I applied for biology and theology, and I got full of scholarship, so I figured that I'll just go ahead it. Take that. And then after I get that, I can make a switch. And I did. And I have used my seminary degree working with the church, all as a volunteer for a long time. So I have not wasted the time that I did. But I assumed as I graduated, I went and started my work in science. Because that's where my interest waas what

spk_1:   11:05
interests you in science?

spk_2:   11:07
Well, you know, it was interesting because we were my parents. Neither one of them finished high school. My mother was teaching primary school seven Children. They were very interested in education, and, uh, they send all of us to college. I was the 1st 1 that went in size, but it was in high school that I just got fascinated with biology and chemistry and physics. And so since ninth grade in, In, In, in India, if you're in a science, you take science track classes. So I didn't study any civics and history or geography. I was sized track from ninth grade.

spk_1:   11:48
Do you remember anything from ninth grade That

spk_2:   11:50
it was interesting? Because, uh, I still ask my daughter all the time. You know what physics book did you use because the textbook that we use where all the one that we're English or American text When I had the willows, text forks and a famous physics checks that everybody use and I still remember willows textbook of physics, but nothing about any biology textbook or anything.

spk_0:   12:15
But I'm tryingto remember text books I used in college and I can't remember them. Did you have any specific mentors when you were doing your masters or your PhD or even in high school, that led you to this? You

spk_2:   12:28
know, when I was in high school, we did have one of the teacher, and I was very impressed with her because she cheesed off on that thought our chemistry and botany and zoology. And I think that I liked her more than I liked that subject part of it. So, you know, I was so fascinated with her that I think that that sort of led me into size. So

spk_1:   12:54
it's always important to have good mentors and good teachers. They really guide.

spk_2:   12:58
Exactly. Exactly.

spk_0:   13:00
And even if it wasn't necessarily the subject that you remember, it's the fact that you were so interested in that that you wanted to do more for that subject. And then that led you down a certain path, even if it wasn't exactly what she is teaching in that moment.

spk_2:   13:15
And I was also growing up in India. My parents wanted us to have very good education. So I went to boarding school. I'm going to, ah, boarding school. That was started by English missionaries. So this is guards boarding school and except for to all of the teachers were female. So all my role models have bean women. And so, yes, and this we're talking about back, you know, in the forties and fifties, where I had all the mentors were female because I went to boarding school and all with all the girls and all the teachers were women. And we had only two male teachers. 11 in music and one is in math. That's it in a high school.

spk_1:   14:02
Was science looked upon in any particular way, or is it just kind of looked upon? It's the same ways, all the other.

spk_2:   14:09
You know, when I look at back to that in India, as I was growing up the women and signs was treated so equally because, you know, I agree up fair. Indira Gandhi was the prime minister in India when I was a little girl. Look at United States today in 2000 and 20 Reese Total Talking. But could we really elect a female of the president? So I grew up where we had political leaders and woman is leader, so that just never even crossed her mind.

spk_0:   14:40
Was there a big change when you moved to America? Did you see a big difference in a female role? Models in sciences or elsewhere or No.

spk_2:   14:49
Well, you know, when I came to this country, that's where I noticed the lack of female because I always had good role models and there were female. And then I've been to, uh, graduate school, too. Non Vin was doing. I'm Esther's. But when I've been for my PhD, there was only one female who was an immunology department and all over mail. It's a big department. We had a 28 faculty members, and with one female, there were two female one that have only masters degree. So they really didn't counter this faculty. But she just thought the biology to education major, but one female was the Imola immunology Professor was believing that I knew. And that was the area that I wanted to go in. So I was gonna do my PhD in the immunology and everybody said she's not gonna be here next year. You better select a different major because she's not gonna be here. And later I found out that they were not gonna give her 10 year because she was a lesbian. And sure enough, next year she was gone, and I ended up switching from immunology to genetics.

spk_1:   16:00
What year was that?

spk_2:   16:02
Um, so I will say it was 70 1978 hours. Yeah.

spk_0:   16:10
So while

spk_1:   16:11
we were talking to Olivia about her upbringing and having such influential female role models, it occurred to me that I had a few female role models in my life. Growing up that really stood out. I definitely wanted at one point to bring if I had kids. When I had kids back to my second grade teacher, Mrs Coffman. I always wanted them to learn from her. But as I was growing up, I never really had any other female role models in the way that Olivia was talking about how she had this plethora of fleet female role models. So it was really eye opening for me, too. I don't know, hear her story and reflect on that.

spk_0:   16:51
I also liked how she talked about. While it wasn't necessarily the subject that they were teaching all the time, it was that they inspired her to pursue something. So while she definitely recalls her physics text book and what they did there and not necessarily her biology work, it was the fact that she saw these females in these roles ahead of her, and she could look up to them and learn from them and see paths that she could follow was really great, because it shows you that your role model doesn't need to be somebody that you want to exactly emulate in your own career. But somebody that you can look up two as a guiding light innocence. It's

spk_1:   17:35
true. And when I kept thinking about how she had a woman as ah leader of our country and how they had no question about the fact that women can lead a country and look they have done in a lot of other countries, do it and she even makes a comment like in America. Boy, what's holding us back? Why we still questioning this? When? Ever since Olivia was a child, there have been countries with female leaders. So for me, that has resonated. Get your act together. America,

spk_0:   18:06
please. Another thing that really resonated with me was it was so unfortunate the way that her career shift happened because the person she wanted to study with this immunologist, she was told that she wasn't gonna be able to advance in her career because of her sexuality, which to me is absolutely heartbreaking because that should never define what you can or cannot pursue as a career in your life. And it also makes me feel so grateful for what I have here in what's hole at this moment, where I can very outwardly say I'm part of this glow community where we talk about LGBT Q in the workforce and in the community, and the fact that that's how I met Olivia really spoke to me that she had this experience that completely shifted the dynamic of what she ended up studying for the rest of her life because of these deeply personal issues, that should not be brought into the professional world. It just also

spk_1:   19:19
makes me think of how many other paths have shifted over the course of time through beliefs or people not being positions because of whatever is happening. Um, how it can change the courses of life and career and the magnitude of all of that. It's so much bigger. And whether you believe in fate or serendipity, it goes to show that there are forces in action kind of guiding us along the way, either in a good way or a bad way. And I hope that that woman is out there thriving.

spk_0:   19:52
Probably so. While that was a very unfortunate shift that had to happen, it definitely was something that worked to the advantage of Bolivia, where she went from immunology, which was a pretty well known and very set field at that point in time to her studying genetics, which was this new emerging field where she was thrust into this world which had a plethora of options and new experiences ahead of her.

spk_2:   20:25
Exactly because little did I know that word lot would immunologist back then. Then there were geneticists. It was very new feel and I started taking genetics and, you know, the more I knew that I got more than we were interested in it. And that was a gentleman who was from India. And he was the geneticist and s o. We became a major professor and I did my work, my PhD, with him. So So, yes, it worked out very well.

spk_0:   20:54
I I personally see So my master's my thesis was in computational genetics. And so I see genetics is such a computational based field. So what was it like learning genetics And what were your course is late as this field was becoming so prominent.

spk_2:   21:17
Yeah. And you know, we we computer was not that big a TTE that time. So it was aborted rhetorical than it is computational at that time. But it was just starting. I still remember. As a graduate student, I was asked to give a paper on protein synthesis. I was scared to death. So that now do you think about it? You all take for granted protein synthesis. Everybody know the poor. It insisted, but I had to explain to everybody what is the d n a and how Deanna is transcribed into Arnie from how Are and it is translated into protein and this whole process. So when I was talking to my professor, he said, I want you to know none of the faculty member. No. Any idea what protein synthesis is? Forget about the graduate student. You will be giving this paper to see all of the student general of the faculty. That's how far we have come

spk_0:   22:17
for those who don't know protein synthesis. I remember protein synthesis from a painting in my high school's biology walls because there's a picture of the, uh, amino acids getting transcribed. And that's what I remembered from way back when in my brain I was like, Oh, this is such accounted for Like this is taught in textbooks when you're in, like, seventh and eighth grade and then, like maybe ninth grade biology now off you transcribe and you translate or an A. But for those who have not taken biology in a little bit of time, me,

spk_1:   22:54
I am a little in the dark over here. Thank you for the explanation.

spk_0:   22:58
What? So if you could walk through put protein synthesis for Sam right now, what would you say?

spk_2:   23:05
Well, you know, people really do not see the connection between protein and DNA. And we just say that well, a protein, it's just a string. And it have amino acid attached to it and a dusting to make enzyme. A lot of things happen, but the information how you make a protein is really in the d n a. And that is in these four letter word we talk about a CTG and it's in there. And how you take from that information and bring it into amino acid is the process that took a long time for people to understand, which now they take it for granted.

spk_0:   23:43
All right, so Renee here gonna break down the process of protein synthesis for you guys. Um, protein synthesis involves two main parts. It is the transcription, and then translation transcription is when you get your d n A and you transcribe it into r N a r N A. Is typically single stranded while DNA is double stranded. But our DNA is holding the same information that your DNA is carrying. So it is a direct copy of your D N A. But in a single strand, your translation of your or in a to your protein is when you have your four nucleotide bases, which is a G T and see each amino acid is coded by a combination of three of those nucleotide bases. So can be a G T a. T C a. T G. There are 64 different ways to combine those letters into three letter words, and those 64 combinations yield a total of 21 possible amino acids. So that means that sometimes a G T and possibly a g g yield the same amino acid. However there sometimes where One word, maybe it a C A. T, is the only combination of nucleotides that can yield a certain amino acid. These amino acids are then the backbone of your protein. So it's this amino acid string that then forum secondary and globular protein structures, and that forms your protein. Are you

spk_1:   25:40
saying cats for my protein,

spk_0:   25:44
not cats? There's no acid, just cat over and over again. Cats. I'm

spk_1:   25:53
sure many people will be happy to hear

spk_0:   25:55
that. I'm sure this process of protein synthesis the transcription and translation is what Olivia was working on, and clearly it is something that has stuck with her through the years now.

spk_2:   26:15
I could still always see myself in front of that in that auditorium, giving that talk. I wouldn't ever forget that. How petrified I work. I'm giving a talk how protein is synthesized.

spk_0:   26:27
Yeah, and that's wild because nowadays, when you think of, oh, genetics, you don't think of protein synthesis as genetics as a topic exactly exactly. That's so fun, because I think so. I think a protein synthesis. I would think of biophysics as the field, or I think of there's a lot of people who do chemical biology and biological interactions and cellular biology things that are happening within the cell, things that are, ah, ble actual synthesis. People are making love synthetic proteins and making synthetic versions of natural occurring compounds to use for other reasons in the world that they need. And so that's what I think.

spk_2:   27:13
And I also think as I look at it while the geneticists are doing it is now it is Ah, all of the information that earlier geneticists have produced, how they're taking and applying that information so you now we know what our genes and how you take the gene to do identify diseases or special. Those kind of think it's do because all of the information is computer. Now when you pull it out and do that. So it's almost application of what we did before.

spk_0:   27:43
Yes. Oh, they did a lot of base work so that we can do this. Applied science from all this knowledge. Now, now that we know how to find the original set of data

spk_1:   27:54
Awesome. Thank you for doing all so learning from Olivia, it seems to me that genetic studies were varied, complex and could probably benefit from technological advances. A que computers. And we asked Olivia what she has seen throughout the course of her career in this advancement of technology and how it's help benefit her. And this is what she had to say. You know, I did not

spk_2:   28:20
use any computer technology. As a matter of fact, after I graduated that Ah, when you are doing for your PhD, you are required to do one foreign language. That's the requirement for PhD program. But because I was a foreigner, you know, English is a foreign language, so I didn't have to do language, but the students that were coming with me they can substitute for a language for computer. So those students who were with me getting their Ph. D. They were doing computer science and learning. And so I will when I was doing my certainly have data. I remember that we will literally punch cards and put it in the machine to get the information on. That's how four frame you know, that computer technology and I would do that kind of work in A And I even remember that my daughter was at that time and seventh or eighth grade, and she was learning some of the things that I was doing at the same time and just learning how to computer doing my result that I get and can use it on computer to do that instead of doing health calculation.

spk_0:   29:40
I can't imagine do all my work on hand calculations, right?

spk_1:   29:44
Remember the first time you encountered a computer like that?

spk_2:   29:47
You know, I remember that I bought a T I. Texas instrument is the big company in Dallas, Texas. My first handheld calculated it was not a computer. It's a calculator that I paid $79 and I remember a few just few years later, you get calculators free that they come to you. I couldn't believe it that I had paid $79 where it will do calculation. And then you can do all your trigonometry. And when you're taking calculus classes that we use $79 handheld computer. So, yes, we have come a long way.

spk_0:   30:27
Kind of long way Now you can have that on your phone in your pocket

spk_1:   30:31
or on your watch or your watch. Exactly. Exactly. Do you think that, um, with speedy nous of how technology is do you think that has helped or hindered science progress?

spk_2:   30:44
Well, I will say that it's sort of hinder because things are moving just so fast that you do not have a time to grasp and internalize what you had them. I remember when I used to teach. I will say that the genetic information is doubling every two years. I said, I got my PhD in 82. I don't know anything anymore because the information is coming so fast. So even as a teacher that you know, I couldn't keep up the things we got that every two years the information had doubled, so I think that in some ways I will say it's really been a hindrance.

spk_0:   31:22
Yeah. What was the lab technology that you were using when you were doing your graduate work? What might have a typical day in lab seemed like work. Waas.

spk_2:   31:31
Well, you know, my my research that I did was that I worked with a Down syndrome and because of my interest in immunology, I wanted to see the immunological difference between a down syndrome patient for Susie Normal individual and back when I was doing it at the time Down syndrome, individuals usually didn't live past 15 or 16 years because they have a very poor immune system and they would die off either the heart complication or immune sponsor. So yeah, in Texas and Dentyne, bit of a studying the header State hospital for all mentally retarded individual. That's how used to say it. And anybody who had Down syndrome, they were all institutionalized. So I wanted to look at the adult down syndrome and s o what I was looking at. It's that I have Ah ah! We'll get the blood from down syndrome, adults and Down Syndrome Children. And then I will look at it and the normal individual. And I look at the different enzyme studies. So by in that respect, I was looking at the end time study based on all those things. And I found out that there was really not much difference between the Children in adults and that they had the same thing. That so my research was more by your chemical. Yeah, an immunological for down syndrome.

spk_1:   33:00
Were there any Raider like discoveries out of that or any?

spk_2:   33:05
Well, what I would say is that what they have found out is that what actually is not working. And so now they have come up with ways to make the corrections so that a Down syndrome people are living much longer. And it used to be also considered that if you have down syndrome, maybe readies put in the same basket. But now we have found out that if a person has down syndrome, which means they have one extra chromosome, we just chromosome 21. We call it Trisomy 21 but they find out that even within trisomy 20 when you have some that are very mildly retarded, worse it then that are very seriously retarded. So there's a spectrum from one into the other. And so those who have mildly retarded that a lot of things they have done to improve the quality of life. And now we have down syndrome, individuals that movie stars and working and, you know, all kinds off field because they're that well off course is some that are very severely retarded.

spk_0:   34:07
Were they? Ah, they're aware of the genetic cause of down syndrome. At the point in time when you're working on this, yes, at

spk_2:   34:14
that time, you have to try that. Well, it's a decided discovered long time ago that it was try so much 21.

spk_0:   34:20
So they knew the genetic difference exactly. Rules that just looking at the progression of the aged. Interesting. Do you know if there were any certain cutting edge technologies that you remembered learning about being like, wow, like they could do this nowadays compared to what I was doing? You

spk_2:   34:40
know, it was interesting that when we used to do amino acid and our analysis used to run things through the columns on a huge, huge columns. And you take your brute in and drew doing through that and then you will run those through, and then you'll see the blip, and then you can figure out it die scene. And this, I mean no acid. And through grab. Now there's a machine that all you did you put sample there, and it doesn't mean no analysis all by itself directly. Don't have to do that. So it is something that we would do for a whole week Now they could do it in five seconds. Yeah, so? So technology certainly have improved things that much faster.

spk_1:   35:24
What are the columns? What you're talking about when you mentioned the columns

spk_2:   35:28
thes air, little glass tube, and then you put a different kind of resume. And so you put your sample on top, and then, uh, you put liquid on it. And based on the molecular weight off that particular amino acid, they move, so the heaviest one will come out first, and then the next one, the next one and the come out as a peak. And then we measure that and each peak. Then we can figure out which peak is victim, you know, as it. It was a very complicated process. And with the chemical we used was called in Hydra which colors everything. Your clothes get purple, your hands are purple and it'll take 2 to 3 days to run columns and analyze all the stings.

spk_1:   36:14
Three days? Yes. Amazing. I have a question, but I think it's a little silly. What else did you do during that time? I mean, I'm sure you didn't just, like, sit around in total your thumbs for two days.

spk_2:   36:29
No, no. When your column is running that you are doing other things beside all those that going on. And yes, so

spk_1:   36:36
Okay, so So you like run several columns?

spk_2:   36:38
Exactly. Either you're running the column or you have that on a previous column. So you are doing the calculation based on that. And another thing we used to do it that in order to, uh, do the columns or anything that you have to make your media. So you measure chemicals and you, you know, make solution than you autoclave it and sterilize it. Well, another thing they do is nobody makes media anymore. You just by the media that comes in bottles and you just order it. We used to make our own media do on old sterilization

spk_0:   37:13
media being any buffer you might be using or growth medium if you're growing back Materia or any other organism in it like yeast. Um, and like in college, we were taught how to make these things. But yeah, nowadays, when you think about that time and money and effort, it takes for an individual to make this media versus the cost to just order it pre sterilized and premade and will come to your door within the next, like three days, everybody's gonna order it for the most part. Do you? Do you remember? What if there's a time when there's a new technology that it took the community? Whether is the scientific or the public community a while to adapt to or to like, accept Asael a good method or a new piece of knowledge that now kind of is readily use?

spk_2:   38:07
I will say use of computer. And I would say that that was when I was teaching that Ah, every faculty member was given given a black and white IBM computer for our deaths. I mean, that was the biggest gift that I got. As a faculty member, we had our IBM computer on our desks. We all were given And that was there were a couple of faculty members who had big grants and they had bought computers and they were doing things. But rest of the faculty members, you know, they didn't have you couldn't afford it because they were very expensive. So I still remember the big, huge IBM computer. That was the technology that we use and what that did Waas. That we used to have every quote, every two faculty member that will be a secretary. So we had 28 faculty member So v head poutine secretary in the biology department. A few years later, maybe we were had three or four because everybody was doing their own typing. Because when we use the secretary, if I have to write a letter and send it to somebody, we just gave it to secretary. Either we handwrite it or we will do it on a tape. So this was, uh, that was a change that I

spk_0:   39:31
saw so clearly. Olivia has seen a wild change in technology over her 10 year from computers, two columns where that technology went from three days to five minutes, and the amount of change and difference that that makes in her career and in your timeline as a scientist is drastic, to say the least. It's

spk_1:   39:58
true, and as we all find, in the course of our careers, things change and ebb and flow. And like so many of us, Olivia had found herself moving about a career that not a crossroads, and this crossroads, through some serendipitous events, led her to work on a very famous project. As she will explain now,

spk_2:   40:22
it was interesting that when I switched from immunology to genetics because I did not get the immunologist I wanted. So when I was as studying and finishing my PhD that were too geneticist and one of the gentleman who was a major professor and he, uh I've got my degree September. Then he left. So there was only one person who was left a sort of has a mentor, And the year I finished my Ph. D. He was gonna go to Texas A and M for his sabbatical. So I graduated in August, and they hired me to teach there in September to fill in while he's gone for his sabbatical. So I started teaching and teaching genetics and general biology. Second year, he decided not to come back and extend another year. So I talked for the second year also. Well, after two years, he got the permanent position, a Texas E, and I mean, he never came back and I got his position and I stayed there for 20 years. But while I was there, it was at that time were, uh, Watson and Crick. They were talking about that We really need to do Human Genome Project.

spk_0:   41:39
Olivia could have never dreamed that taking this teaching job that was supposed to last one year turned into two years turned into a lifelong position that also granted her this opportunity to be involved with the Human Genome Project and the work that she is able to dio through connections she is able to make. And the community that she has developed through the years because of this project has been monumental for her, and she couldn't stop grinning ear to ear when she's talking about this and it is great to see. And for that you're going to have to wait until next week's episode where we will discuss her involvement in the Human Genome Project, especially with the ethical, legal and social implications side of the Human Genome Project. We will talk about representation and diversity in science as well as accessibility to science and what she thinks We need to get better.

spk_1:   42:44
So many things stay tuned. Also, shout out to Rosalind Franklin. Since we're talking about the Human Genome Project, they also thanks for tuning in with us. Please stay tuned for Olivia's wrap up episode. It's Justus, Good as the first part. We square family support us because guess what? We're still a new podcast, so check out our website at laboratory dash podcast dot com. We

spk_0:   43:21
have an instagram at laboratory podcasts.

spk_1:   43:24
We are on Facebook. Just search laboratory podcast guys.

spk_0:   43:28
We started a Twitter, and Twitter is scary and overwhelming and amazing.

spk_1:   43:32
Please understand love. Please send us in love. We're at laboratory pod because Lord Torii podcast was too many letters. That's okay, we're still on there now, so get ready to be treated that scary. Or you can always email us at laboratory podcast at gmail dot com. Review us raid us. Send us your thoughts. We love to hear any constructive, hopefully criticism and comments. If you think that you know somebody, we should reach out to to interview. Let us know if you think that we should interview you. Please let us now

spk_0:   44:10
way. Had a lot of amazing contacts at Ocean Sciences meeting this week with some great suggestions were excited to follow up on, and we're always happy to hear more.

spk_1:   44:20
So yeah, that's also a plug to stay tuned for Ocean Sciences podcast episode. But before that, Olivia wrap up. So until then, happy science ing everybody.

LabOratory Podcast Intro
Welcome Introduction
Sam and Rene Ocean Science 2020 Meeting Update and Shoutouts
Sam and Rene Dive into the Podcast and Introduce Olivia Masih White
Who is Olivia Masih White
Olivia's path toward becoming a Scientist
Olivia's fascination with Science
Olivia on Mentors
Olivia on moving from immunology to genetics
Olivia on Protein Synthesis
Olivia on foreign language and advancements in technology
Olivia on Computers as the biggest scientific advancement
Olivia on career serendipity and finding herself a part of the Human Genome Project
Sam and Rene's Recap on Olivia Masih White
Sam and Rene's Outtro