Working for the Run: How Does a Sports Bra Scientist Do Her Job?

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S1: This ad free podcast is part of your slate plus membership.

S2: Hello and welcome to working the show about what people do all day. I’m your host, Shannon Polys. I’m a writer for Slate, where I cover health and science. This season, we’re talking about the world of running with athletes, coaches and people who do all manner of things to help others go for a ride.

S3: This week, we’re talking to Amy sanjaya’s, a researcher who studies what running does to breasts, how they move around and how sports bras help hold them in place. In addition to basic breast physics, she works with companies to design and test sports bras and has lots of tips on what to look for in a supportive bra. As a woman who’s on a lifelong mission to find bras, I don’t hate. I was pretty jealous last year about all the products she gets to try out.

S4: What is your name and what do you do? My name is Dr. Amy Sanchez and I am a senior research associate with the research group in Breast Health at the University of Portsmouth. And what kind of research do you do? So my research is centered around breast health. Predominantly, I do fundamental research. So I look at skin damage on the breast caused by gravity, but also by exercise. But I’m also involved in more commercial research that quite often involves product testing or working with companies to develop better sports bras or everyday bras for women.

S1: So when you say that you sometimes help companies develop a better sports bra, how good are the sports bras that we have now for breasts?

S5: There’s obviously a massive range of sports balls available. We see a big range of results, though some really aren’t very effective at controlling breast motion. So that’s one of the ways that we normally test products, is how well they control breast motion because you don’t want your breast to be moving around all over the place when you’re trying to do your sport. So that’s one of the ways that we assess how good a sports bra is. Some of the bras, they not really much better than like a vest top and they’re quite stretchy and you get lots and lots of movement. So they’re not really very effective by that measure. Other bras we test do a pretty good job because some companies deeper a lot of time and effort into research and fitting and the kind of they really care about how their products are performing when we test them. So you can get you can get some pretty effective sports bars.

S1: So when I hear the word testing sports bra is I think of, you know, ordering a bunch online and then trying them out and going for a jog and saying, oh, this feels comfortable or this doesn’t feel comfortable. What does it mean to scientifically test a sports bra?

S6: So we have at the University of Portsmouth, we have like a standard bra testing method that most of the companies we work with will follow. We put electromagnetic sensors on the body, so we put two on the front and two on the spine. And that kind of shows us how your body’s moving. We then put a sensor on each nipple and that gives us a measure of what your breasts are doing. You would then kind of put a sports bra on and you would run on a treadmill. We usually run for about two minutes and each bra and we can use the data from the sensors to look at how much your breasts are moving inside the bra. We then compare this to a bare breasted run, say the bare breasted one represents the kind of worst case scenario and we can see how effective the bra is at reducing that movement that would have occurred without a bra. And we do that in lots of different bras. We also get some subjective data from our participants so they’ll have a questionnaire about each bra. So did they have breast pain? Was the bra uncomfortable? Did it rub or chafe anywhere? How easy was it to get on and off? Like, what did they like about it? What did they not like about it? So we collect quite a lot of data about each product that we test, and we use the same group of participants to test a big Riffauta so that we can compare all the all the results at the end.

S1: My entire body to shuddered when you said Bear Suder. Yes. It does not sound like fun. Do you find that folks are pretty good at assessing what bras are doing? Good job. Like if I feel comfortable in a sports bra in Iran and it feels like, you know, there’s not a lot of balancing that’s uncomfortable, does that match up with the quantitative data advancing or are there issues that can crop up where say, oh, this bra feels comfortable, but actually it’s doing this motion that’s going to cause problems down the line?

S5: Yeah, we do see very mixed results, especially when it comes to pain, because that’s such a subjective thing. So some women don’t really experience much breast pain at all, even if they didn’t have a bra on. And for them, I think it’s hard to quantify how effective the browser and then more thinking about kind of how soft the material is or how like how nice it feels against their skin, in which case the bras that, you know, they’re not as tight fitting. They’re just kind of more like what you might wear for yoga. They kind of feel really comfortable, but they’re not necessarily very supportive, whereas women that do have a lot of breast pain that kind of, you know, are saying they’re getting really bad breast pain when there’s when they’re not supported. They might be they might be better at distinguishing between supportive and not supportive bras when they’re doing the testing. But one problem we do, we do see quite often with the ones that are really good at stopping motion, they tend to be quite tight-fitting and they also tend to have like a high neckline, high and high under the arms. And that can sometimes be quite uncomfortable, especially if you’re not used to wearing something like that. So then it gets really it gets rated down on a comfort school. So it’s a bit of a minefield, really kind of analyzing the data and and presenting its companies. And I guess they kind of choose what’s most important for them when in there put a.

S1: Are there any other features that make a really solid, effective sports bra other than, you know, the high and the high underarms?

S6: So again, I’m going to assume that for effective sports bra, we’re going to talk about kind of reducing breast motion. OK. Again, that might not always be the case. That might always be what you want your sports bra to do. But we tend to find the encapsulation styles more effective. So that’s a bra is not like a cropped up. It’s it’s one that’s got two separate cups. They are supposed to fit each breast perfectly and the material is quite rigid. So that kind of holds your breasts in that in that steady position when you’re doing your activity. And the good thing about those bras is they tend to come in an undermanned and a cup size so you can get a much better fit with that style of bra than you can with like a cropped up that just comes in a small, medium or large. So we would recommend if if you want to control breast motion to kind of look at those encapsulation styles. But it is also really important that you get the fit right. Because if the fit is not right, the bra is not going to be very effective.

S1: And so you mentioned earlier when we were talking before the interview started that you do education with athletes about how to find a good fitting bra. How do you know that a sports bra is fitting? Well, other than it feels good.

S6: Okay. So we advertise a five point best fit method when assessing your bra. So we’d always recommend kind of if you’re going to go buy a new bra, you should take a few sizes of a bra you like into the changing room. Try one on and then once you’re wearing it, you need to check that the band is fitting tightly. So the bit that goes around your torso, that should be quite snug. So really it should be as tight as you can comfortably fit it because that’s kind of going to anchor the bra on to you. And that’s where most of the support should be coming from. So we usually say that you should only be able to pull the under-manned away about an inch and that should be on the loosest setting if you’re buying a new bra. If the band is incorrectly, you should then look at the cups so you don’t want any kind of gaping in the cups and you don’t want to be spilling out of them. They should just in case the breast perfectly. If the bra has got wirh, you want to check that the wire is sitting around the base of the breast and it’s not pushing on any breast tissue. You then want to check the straps so similar to the under band, they should pull away about an inch. A lot of women kind of over tighten the straps and that tends to pull the band up. And also it can cause damage like the shoulder grooves that you sometimes see in women. And that’s really not not very good for you. So we don’t want to be over tightening the straps. And then lastly, you should check the center of the bra at the front and that should sit flat against your body if it’s pulling away. Then the band is probably too loose in the cups are too small. So you got to check those five key points every time you try a bra on. And if you’re not meeting any of them, it should go up or down a size until you get that fit. Right.

S1: So you mentioned by individuals can sometimes have a hard time assessing whether a bra is doing your job if they don’t feel pain. But maybe there still is a lot of bounce happening anyway. Why would it be important to minimize that bounce for a long term breast health?

S6: Even if you go out for a run and it feels comfortable by your standards, even if you don’t feel pain, the movement of your breast can be damaging. The skin, which is the breast means supporting structure. So over time, if you are damaging the skin, it can lead to premature breast saige, which a lot of women will say they don’t. That’s not something they want. So if you think about that now and you’re wearing appropriate breast support, you can protect your breast from from damage. There’s also we’ve done studies looking at performance, so athletic performance and there’s lots of indicators that show you perform less efficiently if you’re in low breast support, inappropriate breast support. So you can actually improve your sporting performance by just wearing a better bra, particularly for athletes. That might be a real factor to think about.

S1: Can you talk a little bit about what the structure of the breast is like? Because that sounds kind of surprising to me that the skin is the main supporting structure. It strikes me as, you know, kind of flimsy.

S6: Yeah. Well, it’s quite is quite true. The breast is quite flimsy or malleable, I would say. So they’re basically there’s no bone or muscle inside the breast. All of that lies underneath the breast structure. So your breast is basically is covered in skin and inside the skin. You’ve got glandular tissue, which is the functional tissue that lets you breast feed. And then you’ve also got fatty tissue that are very, very thin ligaments inside the breast called the Cooper’s ligaments. But they don’t really add much structural integrity to the breast. It’s mainly just supported by the skin on the outside. And that skin is. Like the skin does stretch and is meant to stretch, but if you stretch it beyond a certain point, it won’t go back to its original length and that’s when you can get the damage on the breast side over time.

S1: I’m thinking back to like a basic physics class where you have a spring that like you stretch a little bit and it snaps back in the new stretch it too far and it’s just like a permanently damaged spring. Is that a good analogy for that?

S7: That’s a really good analogy. It’s pretty much exactly that. If you stretch it beyond its limit, it won’t go back to its original length. Then you’re left without permanent. The permanent stretch that that gives you the kind of the side of the breast came out kind of damage happen even in lighter sports, like yoga or walking.

S1: Or is that kind of damage more common in a higher impact sports?

S6: So it definitely does happen in low impact. So my p_h_d_ study was the first study to investigate this. And I found that for some women, even just standing still, the force of gravity on the breast was enough to stretch the skin beyond its elastic limit. So literally, just by standing still without breast support, you’re causing the breast to sag, which is crazy. And then if you add dynamic activity to that, so walking or running, you’re just adding to that stretch. So you’re more likely to go into that kind of damage region. But yes, even even standing still. Some women experienced damaging skin stretch.

S1: That’s terrible news. Thinking of all the times I go out and walk my dog without wearing a bra.

S7: Maybe you should get even just a low support bra. Well, we’ll help against a premature target.

S1: Yeah, I think I think you’ve sold me already on that. Mm hmm. Is that premature or. Obviously, like that’s not a great cosmetic issue, but are there any health reasons why you would want to avoid that?

S4: So it is mainly an aesthetic thing. There’s been a bit of research into a kind of disease.

S5: If there’s any kind of disease caused by breast, by poor breast, the poor and results have been a bit inconclusive. But the indication is that you’re you’re not gonna you’re not gonna get a disease or you’re not going to have breast cancer or any of those kind of illnesses because of the bra that you’re wearing. There are a few issues that have been reported with for profit, but not by just not wearing a bra. So you’re not going to be causing any kind of illness or sickness. It’s just kind of an aesthetic damage to the breast tissue.

S1: What are the issues that are caused by poor profit?

S7: As so, I’ve read a couple of studies. Again, it’s not a while, a widely researched field, but some saying that if though if the underwire is lying on the breast tissue, you can cause kind of poor drainage of the lymph nodes and stuff which can affect your immune system and make you and can cause an illness. I’ve also read studies about having the unbend too tight. I think that I think that caused issues for some women, but I don’t know exactly. It wasn’t always said that these do tend to be just the odd studies and we usually wouldn’t kind of. It’s not unaccepted fact, it’s just someone’s someone’s tested a few women and they found certain results. So, yeah, maybe poor fitting bras could cause a bit of damage. So that’s what is really important to have a well-fitting bra.

S5: But we would always advocate kind of kind of wearing some kind of breast support just to protect against all these other factors as well. Embarrassment, pain, reduce performance and then the damage and the sagging.

S1: So this sounds like a really young kind of exciting field. What made you want to study?

S7: This is a new field. So I I came in to to work at the research group in 2012. I think they were about six years old at the time. And I actually heard about it through a friend who was a lecturer at the University of Portsmouth. And he was working with the research group. And I was actually doing a physics degree at the time. And it’s not really something I’d thought about. I don’t think many people really think about the science that goes into bras and breasts. But the more I spoke to him, the more I kind of realized what a big issue it is for a large chunk of the population. And I really thought that having my physics background would bring something quite unique to the research group. And I thought I could do something that would hopefully help a lot of women or will make a better product or kind of just do something useful with all the science that I had that I’d learned through my university. So I I went on to do a p_h_d_ with the research group and then from there I got a senior research associate position and yeah, I’ve kind of been there since then really.

S1: Well, is the most surprising thing going from an environment where you’re studying physics and you’re around other physicists going in to a multi-disciplinary group?

S7: I think it was quite refreshing for me, actually. A lot of people that do physics, they absolutely love physics and they want to talk about physics all the time, like including in their spare time. And I was never like obsessed with it to that extent. Like I was good at it. And I had a natural kind of inclination for quantitative data like numbers and graphs and things. But it wasn’t my whole life that I had. I definitely had many other interests. So I I found it really nice moving to the Breast Health Research Group, where you have psychologist physiologies by McKinnis, people with a sports background, people with kind of, you know, councelling background and kind of getting to talk to all those people. It’s really nice to see all the different perspectives on things and just the diverse out of work interests of all those people as well. It’s a really nice environment to work in.

S1: That sounds great. Yeah, I studied physics in undergrad as well. I definitely feel. What do the psychologists do? How do you work with them?

S6: We’ve had a few psychologists work with our group. Most recently they’ve been working on a project with SCHOOLGIRL’S. So they’ve been asking kind of school aged girls what their concerns are about their breasts, like kind of assessing their level of knowledge, which was actually quite poor. So then we developed it like an educational like a 50 minute educational workshop thing that could be delivered in schools. And we assessed the effect of that on their on their knowledge and awareness and found that it’s improved a lot and it’s kind of sustained improvement when we tested six months later. It’s also massively improved their willingness to exercise, which obviously has much kind of broader reaching implications if they’re exercising more. They’re pretty going to be healthier and kind of have more interest into their adult life. So that’s kind of something that’s come from a psychology background, but it has has had quite a big impact on a lot of schoolgirls that we’ve we’ve worked with. And we’re actually hoping to roll that program out across the UK through three meetings with the government. So that’s really an exciting project that’s happening at the moment.

S1: Has anything changed about your personal habits or your personal exercise habits or the kinds of garments you buy since you started doing this work?

S7: Yes, it has, though. I must admit, I was one of those people that I don’t think I even owned a sports bra because I’d never I didn’t have any breast pains, so I hadn’t thought of all those other implications. And I was like, I guess you just grow up from being a child to an adult. And if you don’t have any pain, like, why would you change anything? So I would just wear like a normal everyday bra for doing sport and my means for it was gymnastics. So again, like a lot of people in gymnastics are also very young. So I just like no one really said anything to me. And then working with the group, it pretty it pretty did take about six months for me to be like, okay, I really should buy it. Bisons votes because perhaps this isn’t the best thing to be doing. I’ve been persuaded and I’m really grateful for all the knowledge that I’ve gained because I think a lot of women are just really overwhelmed when it comes to buying stuff. Whereas I have the luxury of working in a lab full of sports bras and I can I can like try honour’s hundreds if I wanted I could. Try on, Michael, the new your new post, Thijs will kind of hear about everything that’s kind of going on in that world and decide what is good for me and what’s not good for me. Before I go out and buy something, because I completely appreciate that. Quite an expensive thing to buy. So if you if you don’t really know what you’re doing, I can understand why people either don’t buy them. They buy one that doesn’t really fit properly. And then they just think sports was a really uncomfortable. But they’re really not. If you put the time into finding finding one. That’s right. For you, they are much better than wearing a t shirt bra for doing sports.

S1: That sounds like so much fun to have access to all those products. Is there like I’m just imagining a closet full of sports bras is doing something like that?

S7: Yes, I originate was a closet and now it’s literally like the whole lab is just full of. Yeah, we do it. We work with lots of companies and a lot of the work that we do is testing products. So we always are getting products kind of shipped into the lab. We use it for a study and then we’ll send within the bag. But it means you get to see a lot of a lot of product and some of them are ones that are already available so that the same ones you’d see in the high street. But some are like really innovative prototype designs where a company is just trying something crazy to see if it’s good or not good or what people think of it. So, yeah, we get to see a lot of interesting stuff. And it’s yeah, it’s quite a fun place to take visitors to the to the breast research lab. Who is amazed at how many how many bras there are everywhere?

S1: What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen on a sports bra where you’re like, I didn’t know that they could do that.

S7: So I’m probably I’m not allowed to talk about a lot of these things just because, like the prototype things we get tend to be under non-disclosure. So. Topsy Yeah. I can’t really. Yeah. Can’t really say too much.

S1: Is there an example of something that is cool and is already on the market or innovative that like most people might not know about, that you can go out and buy right now?

S7: Say there’s a product that came out based on my p_h_d_ work and that is commercially available now. So that’s perfect. Kate to talk about it and say my p_h_d_ was focusing on more on the damaged side looking at skin strain. So where I said that most sports balls are tested by just how much movement they reduce.

S6: I came up with a different way to test them, which was kind of finding that non-straight in position. And then that bra has to has to lift and position the breast in that zero strain position and then it has to stop any stop movement beyond the kind of 60 percent damage limit. So rather than just referencing the bare breasted like motion of the breast, there’s actually this optimum position that the Brock and aim for.

S5: And so there was a bra made by shock absorbers, shock blowfly bra, and that was based on my p_h_d_ stuff. So you think considering the strain on the breasts. So trying to to minimize that so that you’re minimizing any risk of damage to the tissues. So that’s quite an innovative thing because it’s not based on the on the movement side of thing that pretty much all the other sports balls have been based on.

S1: That’s so cool that there’s actually a sports bra based on your view. Do you work?

S7: Yeah. So they made a whole range of products, so we tested a lot of them. And that’s the one that’s currently available I did in the future. Hopefully they would be more like a whole range. But we’ll see.

S1: What is that 00:00 Stream position for breasts?

S6: Say that there is for every person because every person’s breast is different to the way I did it in my p_h_d_ was you kind of have to find a way to counteract the effect of gravity on the breast. So I did a mixed like review of literature looking at all the different densities of women’s breasts, and that basically isn’t a nice, convenient value that is the same for everyone.

S7: So I used the density of water and the density of oil to be kind of either side of breast density. So I met people in water. I missed most people in oil and they found the midpoint of the position of the breast and that was there a non-stranger 0 strain position that was kind of a one off study because of the oil.

S5: So now you just do it using water. So we use water to support the breast and that is our reference position for the zero strain. And then from that position, we can look at how the breast deforms when they’re standing still, but also when they’re doing various activities or or running on a treadmill, for example.

S1: So it’s kind of the position that your breast would be on if you’re floating in outer space and there wasn’t anything pulling down on it. Yeah, exactly. How do you immerse the study’s subject in oil?

S7: Oh, say that was a one off thing, really? Because it was a bit crazy. Vaizey got a big $600 a water tank and bought a lot of cooking and filled it up and he did it and they just climbed in science.

S8: Yeah, it was a lot of health and safety things to go through for that because obviously a quite slippery when you come as well.

S1: I mean it doesn’t not sound relaxing to be sitting tight or VAT of oil.

S7: It’s not a bit like a chip shot by the end of the day. It was it was fun.

S1: So obviously that’s an anomaly for your work day. I’m wondering if you could take us through what, like an average day at the office looks like for you. What do you do in the morning? What are you worried about?

S7: I like to say that pray quite a hard one to answer as well, because it is so varied. I think is the same with a lot of research jobs. So I guess most days I’d pretty like come in and check my e-mails as I’m sure most people at work in an office do.

S6: And then it really depends like what stage of projects I’m at because I might be in the lab, so I might be meeting participants all day and just be collecting data or I might have kind of finished that part and I’d be just like doing some data analysis, like running stuff through a program, producing some charts or graphs or something, or I could be writing a report and that could be a report for a company because I’ve done some company testing or it could be an academic publication. So if I’d been doing some more fundamental research, I’d tell you want to be publishing that in an academic journals so I could be writing a paper or kind of making amendments to a paper. We also quite often do events like educational workshops or kind of industry days where we meet people in the industry.

S7: So I might be doing a presentation or meeting with a with a company, or I could just be reading a lot of paper papers and kind of yeah, reading information because I’m preparing for a study or because I’ve got some weird results. I don’t really understand them. So I’m kind of trying to find if anyone else has done something similar in the past. So yeah, it’s really it’s really varied. Probably most days I’d only be doing one of those things, but it could really change week to week just because of of the work that comes and goes through our research group.

S1: What research are you working on right now?

S6: As are the majority of my time. I’m still doing the skin damage project. So the stage is at now. So we all kind of working to develop products. So it could be it could be product testing for that. So using the water immersion and then looking at how the breast moves when you go out the water and when you start doing activity. But I’m also doing a project working with the British elite athletes. So, again, part of that is, is education. So kind of teaching them about breast support and the implications it can have for their performance. But also, we wanted to get feedback from them because a lot of sports balls have been developed based on running. But obviously, there’s hundreds of different sports and not all of those sports are the same as running or have all of that kind of movement involved. So the requirements are really athletes. Actually, we found quite often don’t meet the requirements that we’ve kind of assumed in the sports bar industry. So it’s really interesting to hear from them actually what they want in a sports bar.

S5: And then we’re trying to develop some custom sports bars for specific athletes in specific sports. So that’s a really interesting project I’ve been working on as well.

S1: That’s interesting. So running has kind of become the gold standard, I assume, because it involves the most movement of all the sports or is there something that is even more challenging?

S5: So in terms of best movement, we’ve found, well, we’ve only we’ve only tested a small selection of activities, but we’ve found jumping actually elicits a lot more movement than running. I think running has been chosen because the highest number of athletes do running, mate. Most of these are recreational athletes that just go for a run once a week. But there’s many, many more people that do running than, for example, play lacrosse or like water polo or kind of competitive swimming is. I think that’s that’s why it’s been based on money. It’s always a quite easy like quite an easy thing to test because a lot of sports do have running. So you can kind of argue, yeah, the hockey play is going to run or football is going to run and a run overs over the Yoona run. So you can kind of apply it to a lot of different areas. But other sports have a much more complicated demands than if you’re just going to test something whilst running.

S1: What makes someone good at doing the kind of work you do?

S6: So most people that work in our group, they have some kind of academic background again, that can be really varied. So they could they could have done a psychology degree.

S5: A lot of people had done a sport science degree. So they’ve got some kind of biomechanics understanding. Or you can come more from science like I did with a physics degree. You have to be good with people because obviously we’re working with ladies all the time and sometimes in quite vulnerable situations. If, for example, we’re doing better rested testing what you have to be comfortable chatting to people and make them feel comfortable. You have to have the kind of practical skills to be able to work all the lab equipment. We work with quite a lot of different pieces of technology. So you have to be quite confident in yourself that you can kind of get things to work and you can troubleshoot issues when they arise, which they always do. And then also you have to want to communicate your findings to people. So quite good kind of oral and written communication skills, because that’s one of the most important things we did as a point doing well, the science. If we don’t, then kind of. Shout about it and tell people kind of everything we find out and give them advice.

S1: Did you have that those skills and that desire to communicate to the public and work with study subjects before you got to this lab, or was that something you had to kind of develop on the fly?

S7: I definitely had to develop that because like doing physics, you never you never work with living subjects. It’s always like springs and bits of wood or lasers. So that was definitely a skill I had to pick up very quickly. Like one of the very. I think it was pretty. My second week on the job, I had to do some company testing. So I had kind of twelve women turn up at the lab and I had to, you know, seemed confident and like make them feel at ease when I really didn’t know what I was doing. So that was something I definitely picked up very quickly. And also on the writing side of things, again, for my undergraduate, we didn’t we never really had to do presentations or anything like that, which you do have to in other degrees. So that was something I had to learn quite quickly. But having done the p_h_d_, I got quite a lot of support from my supervisors and other people in the research group. And the department is really good at giving like postgraduate students the opportunity to present their ideas so you get more and more confident as you go along.

S1: Do you have friends come to you for advice about sports bras law?

S7: They do tend to ask sometimes. Perhaps if they were gonna buy a new bra, for example, they might be like, oh, it is the best one. Now, it’s unfortunate I’m not laughed out to say, but I can definitely give them fitting advice. Well, you know, sometimes if they’re bored, not quite right. I’m happy to let go and have a look for them and check.

S1: Oh, you’re actually not allowed to tell your friends. Like if you have an opinion on a certain brand or a certain bra performing well in studies, I can give them my opinions.

S7: They’ve. For example, I might if they were doing the same sport that I do. I could say, well, I like this bar for this activity. But if they asked me, which is the best performing bar, we’re not allowed to share that information. Like in terms of the ones that we’ve tested, it might get back to other companies. And I dunno, that would freestyle.

S1: So it really is top secret work that you’re doing.

S7: Yeah, I think every few years we go through a cycle of wondering whether we should just publish all the names of all the brands. But it always comes back to no, because a lot of brands really like the confidentiality aspect of it. But a lot of people do say, especially if we test products like companies will get a graph of where their products six compared to all the others we’ve tested. So then obviously questions like, well, who who’s was that one or his was the best one? Whose is the worst one? And we don’t share that information currently.

S1: So what’s the argument against just publishing a research paper where you’re like, yeah, we have all this data, here it is. And here are the names.

S7: So we have published research papers where we’ve given the brand to the bra. But that tends to be like a much more fundamental question that we are asking. So it’s not a direct comparison of one product dresses another product. It will be, for example, like how much did your breast accelerate during this activity in a high support condition vs. a low support condition? I think the way the university works is they have separate the kind of the commercial side on the research side kept quite separate. And the companies will sign different kinds of contracts and the people who work on those will be focused on different things. And I think the commercial side at the moment is very much separate to that research side because a lot of the companies like that, we don’t share the data. So I think we would. We haven’t evershed it all because we might lose some of those relationships that we’ve had for quite a long time with companies.

S1: So you mentioned that there is kind of the commercial side and the research side. What side do you consider yourself on?

S7: In the past, I’ve always been much more on the research side as my project has evolved. It’s become a bit more on the commercial side just because we’re now at the stage where we wanted to develop and kind of market products based on my research. But I’m probably much more on the research side than other members of our research group that almost exclusively just do company testing.

S1: Is there one piece of advice that you would give someone who’s like brand new to the research group about being successful there?

S7: It’s probably like being good at listening for, say, listening kind of, you know, in all aspects, listening to companies when you’re meeting with them, listening to a lady, when she’s telling you about all the issues she has with her breast. You have to really kind of listen and try and understand where they’re coming from. And that’s when you can give the best advice, I think.

S1: Well, thank you so much for joining us. This is really fun. Thank you. Lovely to talk to you.

S2: That’s it for this episode of Working Again. I’m Shannon Palis. If you liked this episode, please remember to rate review and subscribe an Apple podcast. And if you have any comments or questions, please feel free to email us at working at Slate.com. Working is produced by Justin and Molly. Special thanks to Justin. Do you write for our ad music? Thanks for listening. Catch us next week for another episode on running.