Iris of a human eye, overlaid words say "driven to discover.".

Driven to Discover is a podcast that explores innovative University at Buffalo research through candid conversations with the researchers about their inspirations and goals.

Listen on your favorite platform

  • David Jacobs talks to host Laurie Kaiser about medication overload

    David Jacobs, graphic of pills and capsules in the background.

    Episode 13: Medication Overload with David Jacobs

    18:01 Run Time | April 30, 2024

    More than 750 older Americans are hospitalized every day due to severe side effects from their medications. Many of them will die prematurely as a result. In this episode of Driven to Discover, host Laurie Kaiser talks to pharmacy researcher David Jacobs about the systemic failures in our health care system driving this alarming trend, and how he and other members of an interdisciplinary initiative called Team Alice are working to reverse it. Jacobs recounts the story of Alice Brennan, the vibrant, 88-year-old woman for whom Team Alice is named; explains how the team has grown over the years to involve researchers from across the university as well as the greater community; and shares what individuals can do now to keep themselves and their loved ones safe from medication-related harm.

Coming this fall: Season 3 of Driven to Discover

Background image of an eye, words read, "Driven to discover UB University at Buffalo.".

Season 3 of Driven to Discover

We're taking a break for the summer. We will be back in late August with a whole new slate of UB experts and innovators discussing what drove them to focus their life’s work on their subject and what makes their research meaningful for the world at large.


  • Danielle Meyer on Nutrition and Cancer
    A love of food led Danielle Meyer to become a dietitian. The joy of giving a cancer patient permission to eat ice cream led her to become a board-certified specialist in oncology nutrition. In this episode, she dispels common myths about trendy diets, superfoods, the sugar/cancer connection and more, and gives us all permission to eat chocolate cake for dinner if that’s what the day calls for.
  • Patricia Logan-Greene on Preventing Gun Violence
    Patricia Logan-Greene discovered her passion for social work after volunteering at a rape crisis center. Now she’s co-leading a national initiative aimed at giving social workers the tools to tackle firearms, the No. 1 killer of children and teens in the U.S. In this episode, she explains why she thinks social workers are uniquely positioned to reduce firearm deaths in America.
  • Mark Frank on Detecting Deception
    Working as a bouncer during college, Mark Frank found he could learn a lot about people by observing their gestures and expressions. Today the communications professor is a globally recognized expert on nonverbal communication who advises the FBI and the CIA. In this episode, Frank explains how he’s able to get the truth out of even the most practiced liars.
  • Jinjun Xiong on AI for Social Good
    He was a young computer scientist at IBM when the company’s Watson computer beat its human rivals on “Jeopardy!”. Today, as the director of UB’s Institute for Artificial Intelligence and Data Science, Jinjun Xiong is focused on how AI can help humans, not defeat them. In this episode, he discusses all the ways AI can make our lives better, and why we shouldn’t be so afraid of it.
  • R. Lorraine Collins on Cannabis Legalization
    In middle school, R. Lorraine Collins was fascinated by the fact that some people could control their cravings while others couldn’t. Today the public health researcher is a renowned expert in addictive behaviors, with a focus on cannabis. In this episode, she weighs in on the country’s grand experiment with cannabis legalization, looking particularly at the rollout in New York State.
  • Samantha Barbas on Free Speech and the Supreme Court
    While other children played house, Samantha Barbas played journalist. Today, she is a leading authority on the intersection of media, culture and the law. In this episode, she discusses the subject of her latest book: New York Times v. Sullivan, the 1964 case that transformed free speech in America and that could now be in danger of reversal by a very different Supreme Court.
  • Arin Bhattacharjee on Opioid-Free Pain relief
    As a kid, Arin Bhattacharjee imagined scoring the winning goal in the World Cup. Now, as a neurobiologist, he’s imagining new ways to treat pain. In this episode, Bhattacharjee tells host Ellen Golbaum about his development of a novel treatment that could not only alleviate suffering and hasten surgical recovery, but also curtail addiction.
  • LaGarrett King on Teaching Black History
    Black history wasn't part of the curriculum when LaGarrett King was a boy. Now he's on a mission to change that. In this episode, King tells host Vicky Santos why Black history is essential learning for all students, and how his center is helping teachers to get it right.
  • Diana Aga on Forever Chemicals
    After seeing the river she swam in as a child turn black with pollution, Diana Aga became determined to help clean up the planet. In this episode, the renowned environmental chemist talks to host Cory Nealon about PFAS, or forever chemicals: what they are, why they're so dangerous, and what she's doing to take the "forever" out of them.
  • Nicholas Rajkovich on Climate Resiliency
    As a kid, Nick Rajkovich built a wastewater plant in his parents' basement. Today, as an expert in climate resiliency, he is still using design and building to help others. In this episode of Driven to Discover, Rajkovich tells host David Hill how we can (and must) adapt our built environment to withstand an increasingly hostile climate.
  • Stephanie Poindexter on The Slow Loris
    As a child, Stephanie Poindexter loved watching the apes at the zoo. Now she's an expert in the slow loris, a noctural primate that inhabits Southeast Asia. In this episode of Driven to Discover, Poindexter tells host Vicky Santos what it's like to track down this shy creature in a Thai jungle in the middle of the night, and why she does it.
  • John Crassidis on Space Junk
    His first Halloween costume was an astronaut. Today he is a world-renowned expert in space junk. In this episode of Driven to Discover, aerospace engineer John Crassidis talks to host Cory Nealon about what space junk is, the threat it poses to the future of space travel, and how he and his students are working to solve the problem.

Meet your hosts

Thomas Dinki.

Tom Dinki, News Content Manager
Tom, a UB alumnus, joined University Communications in 2023 from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Prior to working at UB, he was a journalist for over six years at a small daily newspaper in New York’s Southern Tier, and later, at Buffalo’s NPR station.

Ellen Goldbaum.

Ellen Goldbaum, News Content Manager
Ellen has been with UB since 1990 and has covered the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences since 2011. Before coming to UB, she lived in New York City (her hometown) where she worked for several magazines, including Mademoiselle.

David Hill.

David Hill, Director of News Content
Following a nearly 10-year career in community newspapers, Dave joined University Communications in 2011. His UB résumé includes writing for the alumni magazine, editing school newsletters and, since 2015, serving on the media relations team.

Laurie Kaiser.

Laurie Kaiser, News Content Manager
Laurie has worked as a journalist and PR professional in Dallas, Chicago and other cities across the country. She moved to Buffalo in 2010 and served on the media relations team at Buffalo State before joining University Communications in June 2023.

Cory Nealon.

Cory Nealon, Director of News Content
Cory joined University Communications in 2012 after writing for newspapers in Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in business administration, both from UB.

VIcky Santos.

Vicky Santos, News Content Manager
Vicky began her career as a reporter in the Adirondacks. She then spent 17 years in Alabama as the director of news and media services at Auburn University’s College of Liberal Arts before moving back north in 2021 to join University Communications.

Laura Silverman.

Laura Silverman, Director of Content Strategy
Prior to joining University Communications in 2013, Laura worked as a managing editor in New York City for magazines including Vibe and Maxim, and then as group managing editor for Condé Nast India in Mumbai, where she launched Vogue India and GQ India.