Category Archives: Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine

YJBM Medicinal Plants Issue: Tyler Ramsey et al. Interview

In this episode, Kelsie and Felicia interview the authors of an Essential Oils and Health Review, featured in YJBM’s June 2020 Medicinal Plants issue. Tyler Ramsey, Tibor Nagy, Kevin Chambers and Carrie Shropshire discuss both the benefits and concerns regarding essential oils and the role they might play in medicine. As medical students at Campbell University, Tyler and colleagues offer unique insight into the roles that clinicians can play in researching essential oils and educating their patients and peers. Link to their review:

YJBM Special Series: Racism and Health – Episode 2: Interview with Dr. Monica Bell

Although we typically cover topics that address the biomedical sciences, epidemiology, and healthcare practice, it is no secret that the systemic biases, residential segregation, violent responses to protesting, and further injustices that we see today all drive healthcare inequality and inform the topics and methods of research/practice for our audience. In light of the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Elijah McClain, among others, we’ve decided to use our platform as an avenue of communication for esteemed researchers in the fields of policing, Law, and criminal justice. In this episode, Wes interviews Dr. Monica Bell regarding race and class segregation, police reform and abolition, and minimizing harm to marginalized communities within clinical and behavioral research. Dr. Bell also shares resources, frameworks, and major questions that motivate her work and give context to recent legislation and proposals.

References and Resources (informal):

The Wandering Officer
@BenGrunwald and @JohnMRappaport

Anti-Segregation Policing
Twitter: @monicacbell

Police Reform and the Dismantling of Legal Estrangement
Twitter: @monicacbell

Reform and Abolition:

Toward A Radical Imagination of Law
Twitter: @orangebegum

Abolition Constitutionalism
Twitter: @DorothyERoberts

Critical Resistance
Contributions by Rachel Herzing

Power Over Policing
Twitter: @j_simonson

Bail Nullification
Twitter: @j_simonson

Twitter: @j_simonson

Toward Democratic Police Reform: A Vision for Community Engagement Provisions in DOJ Consent Decrees
Twitter: @ProfSPatel

Moonlighting: The Private Employment of Off-Duty Officers
Twitter: @PoliceLawProf

YJBM Medicinal Plants Issue: Dr. Anja Loizaga-Velder Interview

In this episode, Wes interviews Dr. Anja Loizaga-Velder. Dr. Loizaga-Velder is a German-Mexican clinical psychologist and psychotherapist who has investigated the therapeutic potential of psychedelics in both indigenous and modern mental health contexts for over 25 years. She is also a founding member and director of research and psychotherapy at the Institute for Intercultural Medicine Nierika in Mexico. As yet another exploration into the field (no pun intended) of medicinal plants, this interview involves explorations of when and how ayahuasca may be used within the contexts of psychotherapy and as a treatment for myriad conditions and disorders. Dr. Loizaga-Velder explores some of the training concerns needed to enable the next generation of psychotherapists and psychiatrists to utilize psychedelic medicine in an informed and appropriate manner.

References (formal):Loizaga-Velder, A. (2013). A psychotherapeutic view on therapeutic effects of ritual ayahuasca use in the treatment of addiction. MAPS Bulletin 23(1), 36-40. Available online:

Loizaga-Velder, A., & Loizaga, A. (2014). Therapist and patient perspectives on ayahuasca-assisted treatment for substance dependence. In B. Labate & C. Cavnar (Eds.), The therapeutic use of ayahuasca. Heidelberg, Germany: Springer (p 133-152).

Loizaga-Velder, A & Verres, R. (2014). Therapeutic effects of ritual ayahuasca use in the treatment of substance dependence -qualitative results. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs. 46(1), 63-72. doi: DOI:10.1080/02791072.2013.873157

Lafrance, A., Loizaga-Velder, A., Fletcher, J., Renelli, M., Files, N., & Tupper, K. W. (2017). Nourishing the Spirit: Exploratory research on Ayahuasca experiences along the continuum of recovery from eating disorders. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 49(5), 427-435.

Renelli, M., Fletcher, J., Loizaga-Velder, A., Files, N., Tupper, K & Lafrance, A. (2018). Ayahuasca and the Healing of Eating Disorders. In Embodiment and Eating disorders: A Handbook of Theory, Research, Prevention and Treatment. (Edited by H. McBride and J. Kwee), Routledge Press.

Renelli, M.; Fletcher, J., Tupper, K., Files, N.; Loizaga-Velder, A., Lafrance, A. , 2020: An exploratory study of experiences with conventional eating disorder treatment and ceremonial ayahuasca for the healing of eating disorders. Journal of Weight and eating disorders 25, 437–444

Cooking your way through the COVID-19 lockdown

Remaining productive while staying at home can be difficult for graduate students who live and breathe experimental science. In this episode, Mai Ly overcomes that challenge by exercising her scientific skills through the art of cooking. Similar to the scientific method, Mai Ly envisions a dish with certain characteristics, does some prior reading on ingredient substitution, designs a protocol, and systematically modifies variables to make her vision a reality. And just like any good experimentalist, Mai Ly makes sure that her products are reproducible!

YJBM Special Series: Racism and Health – Episode 1

In this episode of our special series, Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine Podcast host Felicia interviews Dr. Raja Staggers-Hakim about pathways to adverse health in African-Americans due to racism and police brutality as a public health concern. Dr. Raja Staggers-Hakim is a Social & Behavioral Sciences lecturer at the Yale School of Public Health and a medical sociologist who studies racial and ethnic health inequities by examining the effects of social stratification, environmental justice, and police brutality.

How to pick a lab during a pandemic

Choosing a thesis laboratory is one of the most important decisions graduate students make during their research careers. In this episode, Edgar Perez, a first year PhD student at UCLA’s Molecular Biology Institute, discusses his experience in choosing a research lab despite not being able to perform research physically in the laboratory space and how both remote communication and asking the right questions – to senior students, his rotation mentors, and potential colleagues – were essential in this process.

This has actually solidified my career path

Through the COVID Conversations series, YJBM is preserving the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on graduate, medical, and professional students the world over. This series aims to share these stories in a way that underscores the unique humanity and shared experiences of graduate, medical, and professional students. Our ultimate hope is that in doing so, this series will culture a deeper sense of community.

Graduate school has a way of throwing curve balls at students, however, few students expect to completely change their research project entirely — especially during a pandemic. Mary Petrone, a PhD student in the Lab of Dr. Nathan Grubaugh at the Yale School of Public Health, did exactly that. In this conversation with Brian Thompson, a fellow PhD student at the Yale School of Public Health, she discusses the COVID-19 Pandemic and the implications that it has for her PhD research and career trajectory.

Death: Science @ Brewery

YJBM and Yale Science Diplomats (YSD) present a podcast version of our recent Science @ Brewery live event inspired by the December 2019 issue of the YJBM on the topic of Death. Hear from our speakers, Emma Carley, Elizabeth Nand, Michael Bond, and Amanda Leiss speak about cell death, poisons, scientists who died as a result of their scientific investigations, and forensic anthropology. For more information on YJBM and our podcast, please visit For more information on YSD, please visit their website, , or check them out on Facebook. Special thanks to Amanda Leiss and Hannah Weinberg-Wolf of YSD for coordinating the live version of this event.

Immortality – YJBM December 2019 Death Issue

For this episode of the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine Podcast, Carrie Ann & Kelsie discuss immortality, or rather, the best examples of pseudo-immortality found in the animal kingdom. For more information about YJBM or to read our latest issue on Death (Dec 2019), visit