For our 100th episode, Dr Bahijja explains why she started Monday Science and looks back at take-home messages from some of our guests as we celebrate reaching this amazing milestone.
How did Monday Science begin?
“I wanted to start a podcast for many years” – Dr Bahijja
Dr Bahijja explains that she had planned to start a podcast for a while, along with others who were also interested, but it never came together. However, following a very challenging time after contracting COVID-19 in April 2020 and missing out on numerous opportunities, Dr Bahijja decided that she would never allow herself to just sit in her comfort zone going forward.
“I needed something that I could look forward to doing” – Dr Bahijja
She vowed to challenge and push herself, never letting fear get in the way; this feeling, coupled with the frustration at the lack of widely available, reliable information surrounding COVID-19, was a pivotal point in the creation of the podcast.
Take-home messages from our guests
The rest of this article will walk through several episodes and summarise the key take-home messages from our guests.
In our very first episode, Dr Bahijja introduces herself for the first time as a pharmacist and scientist, and leader of The Raimi-Abraham Research Group which focuses on solving pharmaceutical challenges in ageing and global health. Dr Bahijja describes how Monday Science was born out of an interest in areas outside of her own research, and to provide a platform where people can have their questions answered by experts.
Our second episode features our first ever guest, Dr Saskia Popescu, on zoonotic diseases and COVID-19, and its impact on health care. Dr Popescu highlights how life may never go back to normal after COVID-19 and emphasises the need to be kind to others, and
themselves, in the midst of such a testing and uncertain period. She stresses the importance of reminding others to follow the rules, wash their hands regularly and wear masks correctly in order to ensure the best outcomes following the pandemic, and states that public health must be prioritised more in the future.
As part of our Dementia Series, this episode features Dr Bahijja’s mother, Ms Feyi Raimi-Abraham – Founder and CEO of the Black Dementia Company, on her experience as a caregiver of a parent living with dementia. Ms Feyi Raimi-Abraham emphasises that everyone has a right to exist, and to be loved and happy, no matter what condition they may be suffering from. She highlights the need to be patient and understanding of what someone is going through in their own world.
This episode features Dr Zoë Ayres, analytical R&D scientist and mental health advocate, on academic mental health. Dr Ayres states that there are many people experiencing mental health issues in academia, so you are never alone in your struggles and shouldn’t hesitate to ask for help, just do the best you can!
In this episode, Dr David Leslie discusses artificial intelligence (AI) ethics and safety. He emphasises the importance of wider conversations that look at the bigger picture, in order to be responsible about AI and machine learning systems. He also highlights the need for
public engagement in discourse surrounding AI technology due to the amount of misconception and uncertainty about what is happening in the field, to allow people to feel informed and empowered.
As part of World Antimicrobial Awareness Week, this episode features Dr Tina Joshi on antimicrobial resistance, diagnostics and infection. Dr Joshi stresses that antibiotics and antimicrobials are precious medicines due to their limited supply and the prevalence of resistance, and that people need to be more aware of the importance of this issue. However, she states that people also shouldn’t be afraid of infections and need to be engaged with scientific research to understand what they actually are and how they work.
This episode features Dr Faith Uwadiae, postdoctoral training fellow at the Francis Crick Institute, on the ongoing challenge of poor diversity in STEM, especially for black STEM professionals. Dr Uwadiae encourages young people to say ‘yes’ more to opportunities, and not underestimate yourself or be afraid of potential failure. She also suggests contacting those who are in career positions or fields that you would like to be in, as well as finding mentors to support and help you in achieving your goals.
In this episode, Dr Mohga Kamal-Yanni, Global Health and Access to Medicines Consultant, discusses the organisation she works for – The People’s Vaccine Alliance, a coalition united under the common aim of campaigning for a ‘people’s vaccine’ for COVID-19. Dr Kamal-Yanni stresses the importance of pushing governments to share technology and legitimate medicines across countries to increase access and wellbeing of developing countries. She emphasises the need for maximal supply of COVID-19 vaccines, where everyone who can produce produces, in order to reach people all over the world.
Listen to the full episode here.