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Scientists' Interviews

Select the scientist interview you would like to view.   Feel free to view the questions asked these scientists.

Scientists Interviewed Description of Interviews
  Cell Biologist
Dr. Ken Olden   (29 minutes)


   (Former Director of NIEHS funding PEER)
Dr. Olden shares his experiences of growing up in a small, rural, Tennessee school during segregation and his path to his current position.  As past director of NIEHS, he describes the mechanism that NIH uses to direct funding to address environmental health science concerns.  Dr. Olden’s laboratory continues to work on cell surface molecules and their possible roles in cancer.
  Reproductive Physiologist
Dr. Larry Johnson   (8 minutes)


   (Principal Investigator/Director of PEER)
"How do they know that?"  Dr. Johnson talks about the kinds of questions that interested him in science as a child as well as discusses his current work with rural school students.
  Animal Geneticist
Dr. Bhanu Chowdhary   (5 min.)

Dr. Chowdhary discusses his background growing up and attending school in India. His work involves comparing human, mice, and livestock genomes.  Dr. Chowdhary’s urge to students is to remember the “magic words” of ‘dedication’ and ‘hard-work’.
Dr. Vincent Cassone   (22 minutes)


Dr. Vincent Cassone is quick to encourage future scientists, saying that an intense interest and a willingness to work are just as important as intelligence.  He also discusses his current research with how cellular traits in birds translate into physical and behavioral conditions.

  Chemical Engineer
Dr. Mark Holzapple   (25 minutes)

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Dr. Holtzapple divulges how his science education and experience in the army ROTC molded his ultimate interest in biomass fuels and helping to solve the energy crisis. He encourages students to be curious about science, ask questions, and set goals. Dr. Holtzapple shares about his successes and failures in school, and the importance of learning to deal with them and remain independent and self sufficient.
Dr. John Fackler   (18 minutes)

Dr. Fackler’s earliest experiences with chemistry were in his basement “lab” of his parent’s house.  Prompted by questions such as “What makes things work?”, Dr. Fackler went on to pursue the studies of metal ions and radioactivity, with a particular interest in gold.
Dr. James Womack   (15 min.)

Dr. Womack shares his personal history as he went from an aspiring basketball star to a renown geneticist.  Details of Dr. Womack’s work in comparative genetics is included in this interview.
Ian Tizard   (9 minutes)

Originally from Ireland, Dr. Tizard shares his interest in wildlife conservation, avian diseases, and vaccine development.  He also discusses specific aspects of his research involving aloe vera, alternate methods of vaccination, and a disease-causing fungus of parrots.
  Molecular Biologist
Dr. Stephen Safe   (9 minutes)

Dr. Safe tells about his influences while growing up and attending urban, public and private schools in Canada.  Hear how his college geology and chemistry classes first kindled his interest in science. Dr. Safe also talks about his work in Molecular Biology with a focus on cancer research (drug development, risk factors, gene therapy, and more!).
  Molecular Endocrinologist
Dr. Nancy Ing   (5 minutes)

“Life-long student” Dr. Ing talks about her scientific beginning as a 7th grader who got hooked on biology!  Listen as Dr. Ing goes into detail about being observant, how molecules work in an animal’s body, and the importance of working with young people.
Dr. W. R. (Bill) Klemm   (6 minutes)

Dr. Klemm talks about overcoming early difficulties to succeed in a career in science.  He also discusses his interest in the brain, as well as his views regarding the importance of curiosity and creativity.
Dr. Louise Abbott   (11 min.)

Dr. Abbott discusses the support she received from parents and teachers in her decision to pursue a career in science.  Hear about the progression of her research from invertebrate biology studies to mammalian brain development and neurological disorders, as well as her views about teaching and communication.
Dr. Evelyn Castiglioni   (11 min.)

From her early experiences with her father who was a science teacher, to her work with Lead and the study of Neurotoxicology, Dr. Tiffany-Castiglioni discusses her influences.  Also included in this interview are some of her opinions about science as one of the few disciplines that offers intellectual freedom!
Dr. Ron Tjalkens   (13 min.)

Listen as Dr. Tjalkens relates his transformation from a San Diego kid who loved to surf, to a Texas A&M professor and Neurotoxicologist. Dr. Tjalkens talks about the early influences of his junior high school classes and nature programs, and discusses his research on Parkinson’s Disease and the effects of poisons on living systems.
Dr.Joanne Lupton   (6 minutes)

Dr. Lupton discusses how her career as a nutritionist has led her to make real-world applications of science.  She works to answer interesting questions such as, “What should astronauts eat in space?” or “Why do people get cancer of the large intestine instead of the small intestine?”
Dr. Garry Adams   (7 minutes)

Dr. Adams tells how science brought him from his beginnings in a small school to international work in such places as South America and East Africa.  Dr. Adams also describes other experiences – everything from showing sheep to researching pathology of animal diseases.
Dr. Deborah Kochevar   (5 min.)

Dr. Kochevar relates how a love of science and interaction with pets first led her to an interest in veterinary medicine.  She also talks about research and the importance of keeping up to date on recent discoveries.
  Protein Chemist
Dr. Larry Dangott     (7 minutes)

“Life is a web” according to Dr. Dangott, and in this interview, he explains the various connections between the subjects he has studied – everything from marine biology, to the way sperm and egg cells communicate, to how blood pressure is controlled by the body.
Dr. John Williams     (6 minutes)

Growing up, Dr. Williams was unsure what he wanted to do as a career.  But in this interview, he talks about his experiences working with the poultry industry and eventually with computing.
Dr. Tim Phillips     (11 minutes)


Dr. Tim Phillips discusses how curiosity as a child grew into his love for science and a desire to fix things.  He now uses his chemistry background to solve contemporary problems, focusing on food safety and toxicology.

Dr. Raymond Loan     (12 min.)

Born to be a scientist!  Dr. Loan describes his journey from life on a cattle ranch and in a one-room schoolhouse to his current work on Infectious Animal Diseases. This video also includes Dr. Loan’s philosophies on the real-world application of science, science’s contribution to society, and the importance of hard work.

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© 2000 Partnership for Environmental Education and Rural Health
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The PEER Program is composed of three grants entitled "GK-12 Fellows Integrate Science/Math in Rural Middle Schools", "Integrating Environmental Health Science in Rural Schools," and a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) entitled "Science Promotion in Rural Middle Schools".

Major funding for the PEER Program is provided by the
National Science Foundation, the
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences,
National Institute of General Medical Sciences, and the National Institutes of Health.