Stowers Institute for Medical Research

Alex Smith / KCUR 89.3

In the cooler section of any Whole Foods store or maybe the cup holder of your crunchy neighbor’s VW bus, you can find Kombucha, the yeast-fermented tea sold with some pretty over-the-top marketing claims.

Andy Marso / KCUR 89.3

The director of the University of Kansas Cancer Center says it will continue to pursue “comprehensive” status after the National Cancer Institute denied it that coveted designation this week.

“We’re just going to be absolutely fearless in moving forward with this initiative,” says Dr. Roy Jensen, who has led the KU Cancer Center since 2004.

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

Geneticist Scott Hawley has a way with words — especially when it comes to explaining science to non-scientists.

For example, he remembers the connections he made the first time he saw "Star Warswhen he was in graduate school.

Paul Andrews / www.paulandrewsphotography.com

He's a man with many titles: investigator; Dean of the Graduate School at the Stowers Institute; Professor of Molecular and Integrative Physiology at KU Med; Adjunct Professor at UMKC. We hear about how his career has its roots in a high school gym class ... and what exactly he does in his lab.

Plus, a report from SXSW on the MidCoast Takeover, a showcase of KC bands.

Guests:

Mike Sherry / Flatland

With the infusion of $10 million in philanthropic support, two of the region’s largest medical centers have established four high-level research positions aimed at making Kansas City an international hub in the fight against pediatric cancers.

Children’s Mercy Hospital and The University of Kansas Cancer Center announced the new endowed chairs Monday evening at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research.

TEDxKC

For the second year running, Up To Date has invited presenters from TEDxKC to fill us in on their work.

Eduard Solà / Wikimedia Commons

Seeing a planarian for the first time, you might not even know what you’re looking at. Brown, black, or white in color, these flatworms are about the size of a toenail clipping and have two light-sensing spots on their triangular-shaped heads that make them look cross-eyed. Their simple appearance, though, belies a surprising ability.

 

“You can take one of these animals and cut them into 18 fragments,” says Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado, who does this for a living, “and each and every one of those fragments will go on to regenerate a complete animal.”

Eduard Solà / Wikimedia Commons

They may not look like much, but research scientist Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado thinks planaria — tiny freshwater flatworms —might hold the key to cell repair and duplication. The hope is that studying these self-cloning little invertebrates can help scientists figure out the biological mechanism behind their renowned regenerative abilities.

Nicolas Rohner

Bob Caviar has seen his share of heavy eaters.

He’s the owner of Papa Bob’s Bar-B-Que in Kansas City, Kansas, and the creator of a sandwich he’s christened “The Ultimate Destroyer.”

“This wasn’t designed as a challenge,” Caviar says. “It was really designed to feed families.”

But the football-sized sandwich, which contains four and a half pounds of meat, has turned out to be irresistible to eaters with something to prove.

Though many heed the call, the years have shown it takes a rare breed to conquer the Ultimate Destroyer.

Alex Smith / Heartland Health Monitor

Early hearing loss was hard for Rob Jefferson to accept, even though it runs in his family.

“No, it couldn’t have been me,” he says. “It wasn’t my hearing. Everybody was mumbling.”

The 56-year-old resident of Belton, Missouri, started losing his hearing when he was 17 years old, the result of premature degeneration of the hair cells in his inner ear.

By the time he reached his mid-30s, everyday communication had become difficult, and Jefferson gradually retreated from social activities.