The V-Word (Rebroadcast) #444

October 20, 2017

This week, we're looking at the social and biological science of female sex organs. We'll talk to Dr. Anthony Atala, director of the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center Institute for Regenerative Medicine, about the creation and use of lab-grown vaginas. Biology professor Marie Herberstein exposes the bias against female genitalia in scientific studies. And science writer Emily Anthes tells us about the history and promising future of female condoms


  • Anthony Atala
  • Marie Herberstein
  • Emily Anthes

Guest Bios

Anthony Atala

Dr. Anthony Atala, MD, is director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine in Winston-Salem, NC. He leads a team of 300 people who are working to build replacement organs and tissues in the lab. His team was the first in the world to engineer organs in the lab that were implanted in humans. Recently, his team reported success engineering vaginal organs for four women born with a rare genetic disorder in which their vaginas were malformed or absent.

Marie Herberstein

Marie Herberstein is a the head of the department of Biological Sciences at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. She studies the behavioural ecology of invertebrates including spiders and insects within an evolutionary framework. She is interested in behavioural and evolutionary research, deceptive signals, and mating behaviour and sexual selection in spiders and insects.

Emily Anthes

Emily Anthes is a science journalist and author. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Wired, Scientific American, Psychology Today, BBC Future, SEED, Discover, Popular Science, Slate, The Boston Globe, and elsewhere. Her book, "Frankenstein’s Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech’s Brave New Beasts", received the AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books. Emily is also the author of the "Instant Egghead Guide: The Mind". She has a master’s degree in science writing from MIT and a bachelor’s degree in the history of science and medicine from Yale, where she also studied creative writing.

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