I'm excited to have a platform where I can share disease ecology and my own research with non-scientists. I think diseases are fascinating (obviously), and I figure if others were exposed to them in a fun non-infectious intellectual way...they might think so too! A lot of people are just really turned off (or perhaps scared is a better word) by biology. The study of diseases, especially local ones, is a good way to pique interest because it gives them a reason to care, it might actually affect their health one day. Of course, I don't want to be an alarmist scientist in any way.
I have to thank Dan Warren, another writer on the blog, for the name of this talk: "Hot, Wet, and Infectious: Tropical Diseases in the United States." The theme for this month is Hidden Structures. The organizers must have thought that there are patterns in disease occurrence, which there clearly are! The other speakers will be discussing Austin traffic and the origin and creation of words. For more information about this week's Nerd Nite check out the website: http://austin.nerdnite.com/
I hope to see you there!
Stavana Strutz is a doctoral candidate in the Parmesan Lab who studies disease ecology and evolution.