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Science Rehashed: A Podcast on a Mission

This article was featured in the blog Bench Press: science news and discoveries from the Mass General Research Institute.

Communicating Science | 26 August, 2020 | For Mehdi Jorfi, PhD, an investigator at the Department of Neurology and the Center for Engineering in Medicine and Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, giving back to the scientific community through his research was essential but not enough. Realizing that he was one of the lucky few in his poorly resourced neighborhood in Southern Iran to have an opportunity to study abroad and access cutting-edge science, Mehdi dreamt of a more direct way to give back. He knew that there were many challenges in becoming a scientist–but having access to the latest research should not have to be one of them.

“It takes a whole village to climb the ladder in a lower-middle-class family, 7000 miles away from the US, and I wanted to give back to the same community that was so instrumental in paving my way.” — Mehdi Jorfi, PhD

Mehdi realized that podcasting could be a solution to this problem. He recruited Shen Ning, a MD/PhD student at Boston University School of Medicine, as his business partner and a few days later, Science Rehashed—a podcast to share recent scientific breakthroughs with scientists and the public—was born.

“Starting a business is easy, but putting ourselves out there and being the ones behind the mic was terrifying.” — Mehdi Jorfi, PhD

From Scientists to a Team Podcasters The team found it challenging to start a business with no experience, but partnerships and science communication were crucial to success. Since its inception, the Science Rehashed team has grown to 13 scientists and students from different fields and cultural backgrounds in less than a year. The diverse team is a testament to the fact that science transcends culture, race and gender, which brings valuable insights to advocate for scientific communication and advancement. The Science Rehashed Creative Process The team designed the podcast episodes to include different episode series to cover a range of topics:

  • Rehashing Science covers recently published research in top-notch peer-reviewed scientific journals.

  • Meet the Legend covers pioneers of the life sciences, taking listeners through their lives, motives and ambitions for the future of their field.

  • 360ᵒ Perspective provides a comprehensive view of a disease, therapies, or technology, covering different perspectives and up-to-date information in the science.

  • (COMING SOON) Wonder Women in Science and Engineering will highlight female scientists to discuss the challenges they face due to the gender disparity in the STEM fields.

Each episode is a cumulative product of weeks of hard teamwork. The process begins with the team pitching recent inspiring research findings. From there, producers work together to choose the most compelling and impactful manuscripts and distill them into an engaging episode. The writing team works together to structure the interview prior to recording so it is a tailor-made experience for each guest. After recording the interviews, the raw audio files are edited for content and flow before the intro and outro music clips are mixed in by the team’s sound editors. Each episode inspires the creative team to design a unique cover graphic that serves as a visual representation for the episode. Once the episode is released, the principal investigator is notified, and the marketing team promotes the new episode on social media, so the latest content reaches as many listeners as possible. The Finished Product Science Rehashed has released 17 episodes over the past ten months, covering a diverse list of life science discoveries that were published in Cell, Nature and Science journals, and featuring scientific leaders including Dr. Bob Langer at MIT and Dr. Rudolph Tanzi at Mass General and Harvard. Having reached over 50 countries in the past months, Science Rehashed was listed in the “Top Podcasts in Life Sciences” on Apple Podcasts and awarded a spot on the Boston University Venture Innovation Pathway. The podcast expanded its entity and Science Rehashed Inc. is now recognized as a non-profit corporation (section 501(c)(3)). The Science Rehashed podcast is a grass-roots effort to make a difference in the science world. The team loves knowing that somewhere out there, in some time zone, an inquisitive mind is listening to the podcast, allowing their neurons to fire and connecting ideas together to inspire the next scientific breakthrough.

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