What do polar bears, nightclub fires and electron microscopy have in common? All of them are topics from the most popular Proto podcast episodes. If you’ve missed any of those, here’s a chance to hear some of the conversations that resonated the most with Proto’s listeners.

More episodes are on the way. In the months ahead, look to learn about how the human body changes at high altitudes, the therapeutic use of great literature and what policymakers get wrong about the threat of e-cigarettes. To catch them all, subscribe to the Proto podcast on iTunes, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts.

Polar Lessons

How do animals survive the cold of the Arctic and Antarctic? The way that squirrels adapt to the winter and seals to frigid waters may hold exciting insights for researchers—and new ways to improve human health.




A Battle Plan for Sepsis

Every year more than a million Americans experience sepsis, a condition in which the immune system overreacts to an infection and causes the body harm. Yet while sepsis is the leading cause of death in hospitals, it often flies under the radar. A nationwide push is coming up with better protocols to help spot it.




Mothers in Medicine

The careers of women often hit a speed bump at childbirth. Nancy Tarbell, a noted pediatric oncologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Dean for Academic and Clinical Affairs at Harvard Medical School, discusses the gender gap that persists in medicine and what institutions can do to support women and their work.




The Important, Impossible Role of the Chinese Graduate Researcher

Chinese graduate students are the latest victims of the trade war. Political rhetoric from the United States in China is pulling them in two directions, and the toll on their mental health can be intense. Are institutions doing enough to protect this group, which contributes critical brainpower and funds to U.S. research projects?






Fire At the Cocoanut Grove

On Thanksgiving weekend, 1942, a Boston nightclub became the site of one of the largest civilian fires in U.S. history. Hear the extraordinary story of one survivor, and explore 75 years of innovation in burn care with John Schulz, medical director of the Sumner Redstone Burn Center at Massachusetts General Hospital.




Tiny and Cold

The 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry celebrates cryo-electron microscopy—a process that lets researchers observe the most important molecules of the body in minute detail. How does this fascinating tool work, and why is it advancing the frontiers of drug discovery?