In a time when people believe the idea that even scientific “fact” can be interpreted, Jessica Steier and Andrea Love provide listener relief by ‘sifting through the noise’ in their show, Unbiased Science.
Inspired by the chaos of misinformation, Jessica and Andrea were driven to do something to tame it. Each brings different-but-crucial aspects to the show: Andrea is the immunologist and “bench/lab scientist,” whereas her co-host, Jessica, is the data scientist.
They went to undergrad together and kept in touch over the years, sharing their mutual frustration with the misinformation around science.
“I got a new glimpse into the horrors of misinformation on social media when I became a mom,” Jessica said. “I was joining all the different mom groups and saw things that really are my worst nightmare, particularly around vaccinations. There is so much pseudoscience out there.”
Andrea had been frustrated by the dearth of accessible science over the years. Working in infectious diseases doing immunology research, she found the more she learned, the more she saw the greater disparity in the information between the scientific community and the general public. She expressed her frustration:
“We see a lot of predatory behavior, even from people in the science or medical communities, who are promoting these unfounded treatments, or pushing unproven supplements, and spreading anti-science or pseudoscience.”
Both women are thought leaders in their areas of expertise who often guide discussions within their own networks. And when COVID came around, they were inspired to take action and combine forces, believing there had to be a better way to help people understand the science around the virus. After doing a few LIVE sessions on Instagram and Facebook and receiving a great response in regard to their unique chemistry and representation of both the macro and micro level of science content, they felt the need to take the obligation upon themselves to be the stewards of information.
They decided to launch the Unbiased Science podcast.
This dynamic duo has a beautiful rapport that allows the content to flow with a sense of fun and humor. Ensuring removal of bias and accurate data finding, they see “everything through a scientific lens and leave our own opinions and biases at the door.”
In a time when politics has had a huge impact on miscommunication, Andrea and Jess approach topics by inviting disparate views. With the exception of trolls, they want to encourage dialog and discussion. The invite their audience to submit questions to “Heard from the Herd” (a nod to herd immunity) to engage with them directly.
Working hard to avoid misinterpretations, they focus on evidence-based science. Re-orienting the listener on how they view science, they provide the steps on how data is collected, interpreted, and communicated from various sources. They aide the listener in removing their personal bias and assumptions through clear presentation of data and explaining when results are from correlative effect rather than a causal link. When covering topics like pesticides or debunking myths, specifying sample size and variables and explaining the impact on the data helps the listener think critically.
“We are passionate and nerdy about every single episode,” Andrea said.
As a public health data scientist and an immunologist, they both have a passion for vaccination information and virology (not limited to COVID). Their episode on protecting human subjects in trials—the systems put in place and the transparency required—tackles the “elephant in the room” by understanding the existing safety protocols and regulations in place in order to enforce them.
Their intent is to have a finger on the pulse of where the misinformation sits and to hear people’s concerns. For example, what is MRNA? How does it work, and is it safe?
Jessica and Andrea break down technical language into understandable and “reframed” accessible modalities and terms. This enables their diverse audience to interpret and explore the science without bias.
The goal is to provide accessible and free content for people who want to immerse themselves in the sciences. With that, they are building a community of amateur scientists inquisitive about the natural world.
In future episodes, they will help people learn how to spot pseudoscience and have a critical lens when reading scientific papers. They also hope to bring back the credibility of objective science and scientists and expertise.
When not hosting Unbiased Science, Jessica is the co-founder and CEO of Vital Statistics consulting (public health and data analytics firm) evaluating quality of care and findings. Her biggest role, though, is mother to Dylan (4) and Sophia (3) who “keep her on her toes.” She is also the wife of an ER doc. ‘On the side,’ she teaches a remote course in epidemiology and biostatistics to physician’s assistants in New York. “Never a dull moment,” as she says.
When not on air, Andrea works for a biotechnology company that develops instrumentation for research. She helps other researchers develop assays to answer a variety of questions and conduct experiments. She is currently writing, speaking, and managing a team of scientists while occasionally freelancing in immunology expertise.
She “fits in” podcasting with Jess on the weekends.
These two self-declared introverts love the podcast medium and look forward to sharing more content beyond COVID and vaccines as well as encouraging more girls to get involved in STEM careers. They hope to work more with media and reporters to aid and teach them how to provide more unbiased science in public communications.
May 2021 Issue