Conversations About Biology


Conversations About Biology is now available in electronic format and paperback format on all major booksellers, including:

Also available in this series: Conversations About Neuroscience, Conversations About Psychology, Volume 1 and Volume 2, and Conversations About Social Psychology.

This Ideas Roadshow Collection includes the following 5 Ideas Roadshow Conversations plus a detailed preface highlighting the connections between the different books. Each individual book is broken into chapters with a detailed introduction and questions for discussion at the end of each chapter:

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. Alcino Silva 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. 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. Stephen Scherer 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 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.


Also available in this series: Conversations About Neuroscience, Conversations About Psychology, Volume 1 and Volume 2, and Conversations About Social Psychology.