How do you silence the naysayers or manage your self-doubt? Is there an upside to failure? On Dial an Idol, emerging researchers and physicians call their scientific heroes for guidance. They get advice that’s useful whether you want to be a scientist or anything else.

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Episode 1: 99 Percent of Us Are Underdogs 
Andrew Tran meets one of his scientific heroes: Barry Marshall. 

Andrew Tran struggled with self-doubt. But Andrew’s obsession with instant ramen led him to a scientist who changed his perspective. He learned about Barry Marshall, who discovered the cause of ulcers by taking matters into his own gut. (Marshall's work was recognized with a 1995 Lasker Award and later with a Nobel Prize.)


Episode 2: Nobody Wanted Me to be a Doctor
Dina Zamil meets Eqbal Dauqan.

When Dina Zamil was growing up, the people around her discouraged her from going to medical school. She took inspiration from Eqbal Dauqan, a biochemist and refugee from Yemen, who has succeeded in science despite enormous obstacles.


Episode 3: Reach Higher
Kwabena Kusi-Mensah meets Harold Freeman. 

Kwabena Kusi-Mensah, a child psychiatrist from Ghana, meets one of his scientific heroes: Harold Freeman. Early in his career, Harold Freeman recognized that poor Black Americans were disproportionately dying from cancer. He made it his mission to change that. (Freeman was honored with a Lasker Award in 2000).


Episode 4: I Wanted the Wrong Things
David Basta talks to his mentor Dianne Newman about something they’ve never discussed. 

When MD-PhD student David Basta started his PhD, he thought he wanted a mentor who would tell him exactly what to do. Instead, he got a helpful lesson in failure from his principal investigator, Dianne Newman, a MacArthur-Award-winning microbiologist.


Episode 5: Don’t be Dissuaded by the Naysayers 
Martyna Kosno gets advice from one of her science idols: Jennifer Doudna.

How do you explain complicated science and not put people to sleep? How do you balance home life with a career?  PhD student Martyna Kosno talks about it with Jennifer Doudna. Doudna won the Nobel Prize in 2020 for her discovery of the gene-editing tool CRISPR–Cas9.


Episode 6: I Doubted My Place
A Nobel laureate advises Emily Ashkin to trust herself and follow her nose.

Emily Ashkin met Nobel laureate J. Michael Bishop at a high school science fair. At the time, Emily didn’t feel like she belonged and Bishop gave her advice that still comforts her today. (Bishop received a 1982 Lasker Award for his contribution to the discovery of oncogenes.)