July 12, 2023

New podcast features ‘The Fundamentals’ of research at Michigan Medicine

The show examines what drives researchers and makes the U-M Medical School such a great place to do biomedical research

The Fundamentals podcast

How can we help relieve pain while simultaneously stopping the opioid epidemic? How can we most effectively use data to personalize health care for patients?

These are just two of the pressing questions to be addressed on The Fundamentals, a new show on the Michigan Medicine Podcast Network featuring conversations with researchers working within the U-M Medical School’s strategic research priority areas. The show launched its inaugural episode earlier this week.

In “The Fundamentals,” co-hosts Kelly Malcom and Jordan Goebig highlight the people behind the research, learn more about their fields and the fundamental questions they are trying to answer — and discover why U-M is such an amazing place for research.

“As a communicator, trying to decide what to highlight is like drinking from a fire hose. Even during the pandemic, our scientists managed to somehow churn out more than 8,000 publications,” said Malcom, lead research communicator for Michigan Medicine and research communication strategist in the U-M Medical School. “We do our best to let people know about the great minds and greater discoveries that originate here at the medical school and beyond.”

The importance of collaboration

For their first episode, Malcom and Goebig sat down with Executive Vice Dean for Research and Chief Scientific Officer Steven L. Kunkel, Ph.D., to discuss, “Good Collaborators are Why I Stayed.” On the podcast, which examines what drives researchers and makes the U-M Medical School such a great place to do biomedical research — Kunkel explains why he came to Ann Arbor, and why he has stayed for more than 40 years.

“I think when people initially come early in their career, they expect to be at their first institution for 3, 4, 5 years and then potentially move on,” Kunkel said. “But what I found is that this research community here was extremely welcoming, extremely collaborative, and I'll get into a little bit later some of our research strategies.

“But one of the aspects of whether people stay at an institution or leave is dependent upon the research community that they belong to, those collaborators which become instrumental to their career,” he continued. “Over my first five years here, I established a lot of very, very close colleagues and it would've been very hard for me to go to another institution and reproduce the number of collaborators I had here at Michigan. So, I ended up staying. Then by the time I got more well-known and had job offers, I had kids in high school who told me, ‘Dad, you can go wherever you want. We're staying in Ann Arbor.’”

The podcast, including a full transcript of the interview, can be found at: https://michmed.org/XwZZn. Future episodes will be posted at: https://www.michiganmedicine.org/fundamentals.

The podcast also will be featured on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google podcasts, among other places.

“I appreciate the variety of research we're going to be able to showcase this season, and I'm really looking forward to sharing more of these stories every episode,” said Goebig, social media strategist for the medical school. “We plan to provide links in the show notes and we hope you enjoy reading more.