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Audio Profile: Your Brain on DMT

Brandon Canino

The “Mad” Neuroscientist
Brandon Canino takes a break from tracking brain neurons to shoot a selfie at the Janelia Research Campus in Virginia.

My discussion with Brandon Canino transpired rather naturally, as he is someone I have engaged in numerous conversations with concerning his background and education in biology and chemistry (more like he talks and I listen). I was surprised when he informed me of his profession, initially. I met the neuroscientist at a music festival, and customary introductions were not at play while we danced late into the night. Without his lab coat and goggles to prove he was, in fact, a scientist I was hesitant to believe him. That was, until he began to speak on the research he was handling in Virginia. He articulated convoluted, yet interesting, information in a manner that I could understand. Since then, Brandon has flooded my brain with immense neuroscientific knowledge. 

I really enjoyed this interview with Brandon mostly because I gained a great deal of knowledge over the course of our conversation. I learned a lot during this project. Both from Brandon (as usual) and the experience of structuring a dense story. 

As someone with audio recording and editing experience I didn’t feel too stressed conducting this interview. Canino, however, was not. At first his responses were monotone and fast moving, so I tried to slow things down by introducing the topic of his DMT experience after a couple questions. His responses became a lot more organic, and after this the interview went smoothly. 

Editing this audio was difficult for me, because I felt like I had to compact a lot of information into two minutes. I separated the audio file into clips attempting to condense the interview, but within a short time of editing I became confused of what content was where. If I were to do this differently, I would organize the audio clips of my interviewee’s responses by information immediately after separating them.  

The controversy surrounding DMT, an illegal substance, was also awkward during this project. I wanted to elevate the conversation associated with this topic, by clearly establishing Brandon as a credible source of information to avoid being considered negligible. The purpose of this blog post is to solely inform and relay Brandon’s experience from a scientific standpoint. I plan on utilizing this approach when implementing audio into my future career, specifically working in public relations. To receive donations nonprofits must inform its public in regards to its services and brand, which must be presented structured well for viewers to understand.  

I was unable to take the photo of Brandon, unfortunately, as he resides almost 2,000 miles away from me. Although, we did share some laughs over photos he shared to potentially be used for this blog post of himself in his lab coat. The photograph isn’t very professional, but it accurately captures Brandon for the mad scientist he is.

Reflecting on the assignment, I was surprised by how often I use the words “um” and “like” when I am nervous. It was painful for me to listen to myself talking when I wasn’t reading a question directly out of my notes. I’m very glad Brandon’s sound bites are included in the final interview and not mine. 

I look forward to exploring with audio and learning more about our brains from Brandon.

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