Second Opinion

A discussion series produced by L.A. Times Studios in conjunction with the Los Angeles Times newsroom.

About Second Opinion

“Second Opinion,” a discussion series produced by L.A. Times Studios in conjunction with the Los Angeles Times newsroom, takes you to the forefront of medical research and conversations about health, science and technology.

“Second Opinion” programming will feature more episodes like the ones below, columns by notable experts, as well as virtual events focused on medicine.

Scroll down to watch all available episodes.

About Our Host

Patrick Soon-Shiong is executive chairman of the Los Angeles Times. Dr. Soon-Shiong is a surgeon and scientist who has spent his career studying the human immune system to fight cancer and infectious diseases. He is the chairman and chief executive of NantWorks, and the owner of or investor in a number of companies, including ImmunityBio and NantKwest, which are currently researching vaccines and immunotherapies for COVID-19.

In mid-October, ImmunityBio received permission from the FDA to begin testing of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate. Dr. Soon-Shiong spoke with the San Diego Union Tribune about his search for a vaccine during a Zoom interview on October 16th. The San Diego Union Tribune together with the Los Angeles Times comprise the California Times, which is owned by Dr. Soon-Shiong.

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VIDEO | 31:37
ImmunityBio CEO Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong discusses the company’s upcoming COVID-19 vaccine trial

ImmunityBio CEO Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong discusses the company’s upcoming COVID-19 vaccine trial

SECOND OPINION VIDEO SERIES

Episode 6: Coronavirus at the White House

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Episode 6: Coronavirus at the White House

Our sixth episode of “Second Opinion” covers a story dominating the 2020 presidential race in its final, remaining weeks: President Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis and the spread of the coronavirus through the White House. For this discussion, Los Angeles Times Executive Chairman Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong speaks with Michael A. Genovese, president of Loyola Marymount University’s Global Policy Institute. A professor of political science and international relations, Genovese will offer insight on how presidential health has intersected with political life through American history. Also joining us will be Dr. William Lang, a former White House physician who ran the White House medical unit under President George W. Bush. Finally, the episode will feature Dr. Soon-Shiong’s analysis of the facts surrounding Trump’s medical treatment, and what they may suggest about his illness.

Michael A. Genovese is a professor of political science at Loyola Marymount University, and is president of the university’s Global Policy Institute. Genovese has written more than 50 books, many focused on the American presidency. His most recent book is “How Trump Governs.” He holds a PhD in political science.

Dr. William Lang was deputy physician to Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush, and directed the White House Medical Unit under Bush. He later served as a senior medical officer at the Department of Homeland Security, where he coordinated planning for disasters, including pandemics. Today, he is chief medical officer of WorldClinic, a concierge-style telemedicine company.

Episode 5: Wildfires

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Episode 5: Wildfires

Our fifth episode of “Second Opinion” examines the public health impact of wildfires. For this discussion, Los Angeles Times Executive Chairman Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong is joined by the University of Montana’s Chris Migliaccio, a professor of immunology, and Vanessa Silemovic, a postdoctoral researcher in atmospheric chemistry. Migliaccio’s work examines the effect of wildfire smoke on the human respiratory system, and Silemovic studies the composition of smoke, a field that is growing in importance as fire seasons become longer and more intense in the western United States. Also joining the discussion will be Kaiser Health News Montana correspondent Katheryn Houghton, who covers healthcare. Earlier in the episode we’ll hear from Northern California farm and vineyard owners whose businesses were affected by the recent fires.

Chris Migliaccio is research associate professor at the University of Montana. He specializes in the cellular and molecular mechanics of the body’s immune system and the immune response to contaminants in the environment. He is the lead author of a study tracking lung function among a community in Montana that was exposed to 49 days of wildfire smoke after a series of fires in 2017. The study is among the first to show a long-term effect of wildfire smoke exposure.

Vanessa Silemovic is an atmospheric chemist and postdoctoral research associate at the University of Montana, where she studies the composition of wildfire smoke. As part of a team at the university, she has helped to identify more than 150 gases in wildfire smoke, many of them toxic. Her data are used by the federal government to assess air quality.

Katheryn Houghton is Montana correspondent at Kaiser Health News, where she covers healthcare. She has been a fellow of the Assn. of Health Care Journalists, and a grant winner from the Solutions Journalism Network. Houghton spent the earlier part of her career at Montana news organizations, including the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

Episode 4: The Long-Haulers

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Episode 4: The Long-Haulers

Our fourth episode examines the long-term health impact of COVID-19 on survivors of the disease. Los Angeles Times Executive Chairman Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, a surgeon and scientist, is joined by Dr. Carlos Cordon-Cardo, professor and chair of the Department of Pathology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Dr. Cordon-Cardo’s work offers a unique glimpse at the ways COVID-19 interacts with, and harms, the human body. We will also hear from a group of recovering coronavirus patients who continue to suffer from a variety of symptoms months after contracting COVID-19. The discussion is moderated by Eli Stokols of The Times’ Washington bureau.

Dr. Carlos Cordon-Cardo is chair of the Department of Pathology at the Mount Sinai Health System in New York, and a distinguished professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, where he teaches pathology, genetics, and the science of cancer. Dr. Cordon-Cardo is known for his work bridging the disciplines of pathology and molecular medicine, translating science into clinical care of patients afflicted with cancer and other diseases.

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, Dr. Cordon-Cardo has led a team conducting more than 120 autopsies on COVID-19 victims. Their work is credited with showing that COVID-19 is not simply a disease affecting the lungs, as had been commonly thought, but instead a threat to multiple organs, including the heart and brain. Prior to Mount Sinai, Dr. Cordon-Cardo held senior positions at Columbia University’s medical school, and created and led the molecular pathology division at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Cordon-Cardo holds an MD as well as a PhD in cell biology and genetics.

During the course of the pandemic, Los Angeles Times Executive Chairman Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong has collaborated with Dr. Cordon-Cardo to develop a theory of COVID-19 that compares the disease to cancer. Dr. Soon-Shiong’s family foundation has also been a philanthropic supporter of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, endowing a professorship in cardiovascular research.

Episode 3: Path to a Vaccine

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Episode 3: Path to a Vaccine

In our third episode, Los Angeles Times Executive Chairman Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong speaks with biologists Alessandro Sette and Shane Crotty, whose research on cellular memory of the coronavirus offers clues about paths to a vaccine against COVID-19.

Shane Crotty is a professor at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology. Crotty’s work focuses on the relationship between the immune system and vaccines, and in particular the development of antibodies and cellular memory. Aside from his work on COVID-19, Crotty’s research is devoted to finding clues that might lead to vaccines for diseases for which no cure has yet been found, including HIV. Crotty holds a doctorate in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and is author of Ahead of the Curve, a biography of the scientist and Nobel Laureate David Baltimore.

Alessandro Sette is a professor at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology and a member of the institute’s Infectious Disease and Vaccine Center. Sette is a leading expert on immune response, especially as it relates to allergies, autoimmunity, and a variety of infectious diseases. Sette’s work, with Crotty, on T cell memory of the novel coronavirus was referenced by Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, during congressional testimony in July. Sette is also responsible for the design of the La Jolla Institute’s Immune Epitope Database (IEDB), the largest bioinformatics resource of its kind. Sette holds a doctorate in Biological Sciences.

Episode 2: Controlling the Outbreak

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Episode 2: Controlling the Outbreak

For this discussion, Los Angeles Times Executive Chairman Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, a surgeon and scientist, is joined once more by renowned biologist William Haseltine. Together Soon-Shiong and Haseltine examine how various coronavirus tests work, and explain how members of the public can determine which tests are right for them.

Episode 1: COVID-19’s resurgence

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Episode 1: COVID-19’s resurgence

In our first episode, Los Angeles Times Executive Chairman Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, a surgeon and scientist, is joined by renowned biologist William Haseltine for a discussion about COVID-19 and the public health implications of its recent resurgence. The discussion is moderated by Eli Stokols of The Times’ Washington bureau.

Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, executive chairman of the Los Angeles Times, is a surgeon and scientist who has spent his career studying the human immune system to fight cancer and infectious diseases. He is the chairman and chief executive of NantWorks, and the owner of or investor in a number of companies, including ImmunityBio and NantKwest, which are currently researching immunotherapies for COVID-19.

William Haseltine is a former professor at Harvard’s medical and public health schools, where he performed groundbreaking research on cancer and HIV/AIDS. Haseltine is also the founder and CEO of biotechnology companies responsible for drugs treating HIV/AIDS, cancer, diabetes and autoimmune disease. He is chair and president of the nonprofit think tank and advisory group Access Health International and is the author of seven books on health systems around the world. His most recent book is “A Family Guide to Covid: Questions and Answers for Parents, Grandparents, and Children.”