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9 July 2020

Danse Macabre, Not as Fun as it Sounds

Wildlife diseases not only impact the health of humans and animals, but they also play a large role in generating artistic trends. One such trend in, or genre of, art was the Danse Macabre, also known as the Dance of Death. This French term comes from the artistic genre that was seen in 1250 to 1500 CE Europe, during the Late Middle Ages. It symbolizes the fact that the journey of life and death is expired by all, and is a uniting theme despite its morbid tone.  


8 July 2020

The Deadliest Disease that had Claimed Many Lives in the Pre-Columbian Americas

One of the most well-known infectious diseases that had existed throughout history is Smallpox. The Variola virus is the type of virus that is involved in causing this disease. Smallpox tends to spread easily between one individual to another, which makes this disease highly contagious. Fever, vomiting, rashes, body aches, and fluid-filled blisters that are covered with scabs are the kind of symptoms that usually occur among Smallpox infected individuals.


7 July 2020

First you were like, “whoa!” Then we were like, “WHOA!” And then you were like, “Fibropapillomatosis.”

There is currently a disease that is costing green sea turtles, Chelonia mydas, more than just a fin or some “noggin” – it is taking their lives. Fibropapillomatosis (FP) is a disease with a cause that is unknown. Here is what we know.


6 July 2020

Viruses as Medicine for Antibiotic-Resistant Bacterial Infections

One of the most groundbreaking medical discoveries has been the development of phage therapy. Phage therapy refers to the use of bacteriophages, viruses that infect bacteria, as a mechanism to defeat antibiotic resistant infections. Phage therapy was first researched due to the fact that, globally, 1.5 million people die from tuberculosis each year. 


2 July 2020

Rabies: What Do You Really Know?

When people think of rabies, they are most likely visualizing an aggressive animal foaming at the mouth and ready to viciously attack any living thing in sight, but is this image always the case?


1 July 2020

Myth Busting: Lyme Disease

There have been many claims that Lyme disease has correlations to the presence of autism within people…However, there is an experiment done by Armin Alaedini that has proved against this myth.


22 June 2020

Writing about wildlife diseases

It’s that time of year again when I head to rural Pennsylvania to teach a field course in disease ecology for undergraduates at my alma mater, the University of Pittsburgh. 

No it’s not. But it should be.


20 November 2019

Having “The [Climate Change] Talk” with your family

Thanksgiving can be a time for food, football, and family. And sometimes…uncomfortable family chats, especially around science. We live in a nation where there are disconnects between understanding and acceptance of major scientific issues such as GMOs, evolution, vaccinations, and (especially relevant to AGU scientists) climate change.


14 August 2019

Wakelet – the new (& in my opinion better) Storify

I spend a lot of time on social media, specifically Twitter. It’s my job. Our @AGU_SciComm account is one of the primary ways to disseminate Sharing Science information, AGU happenings, new science in the field of scicomm, popular science pieces around policy and communication, and more. Twitter is also where I turn to for hashtag campaigns, especially those centered around AGU.


12 July 2019

Tuberculosis: One of the Biggest Killers of All Time

Throughout human history, it is estimated that over 1 billion people have succumbed to Tuberculosis. The deadly bacterial infection targets the immunocompromised population as well as those who have weakened their lungs through smoking.  It is believed that the first cases of tuberculosis appeared over 17,000 years ago in the wild by infecting bison. There is also a theory that puts the disease in humans around the same time. But, it is unclear whether humans or bison were the first carriers of Tuberculosis.


11 July 2019

Transmission of Leprosy in the US via Armadillos

Repeatedly referenced throughout the Bible, leprosy, also known as Hansen’s Disease, may often be perceived by the general public to be an ancient disease that has ceased to endanger the modern world.  Much to the misfortune of people living in Africa, Brazil, India, and the Philippines, where the majority of outbreaks occur, nearly 700,000 people throughout the globe annually contract leprosy. 


10 July 2019

Hey, farmer, farmer, put away the DDT now

Music has often been used as an outlet for activists to reach a broader audience on issues concerning politics, social issues, and environmental crises. Joni Mitchell was a prominent and very influential recording artist in the 1970’s that embodied this idea of using music to educate the public.  One of her most popular songs “Big Yellow Taxi,” called out various environmental issues like deforestation and, what stood out the most to me, the use of DDT.k


9 July 2019

Human Rabies Mortality in India: Why Is This Still An Issue?

There are an estimated 25 million stray dogs within the country of India. These animals serve as carriers for one of the deadliest diseases in the world – one that has ravaged the country and surrounding areas within Southern Asia. This disease is rabies, and India makes up 36% of the world’s rabies deaths each year. About 30% to 60% of rabies victims within countries where the disease is endemic are children under the age of 15. Some of them don’t even know they’re infected until symptoms begin to show and it’s too late.


8 July 2019

Cicadas + Magic Mushrooms = ?

Magic mushrooms, also known as shrooms, are not allowed for human consumption, but cicadas are also experiencing the same drugs via a different route. Does it affect them the same as it does humans?


5 July 2019

Lyme Disease in Winter

Similar to other wildlife diseases, there are myths about Lyme disease. While many myths exists, one of the most interesting myths about Lyme disease pertains to transmission. People believe that ticks cannot survive in the winter; so, Lyme disease cannot be transmitted during winter.


4 July 2019

Are possums actually awesome?

It is a common misconception that possums are rabid, disease carrying animals with no good intentions. When someone says the word “possum” the one thought that will probably pop into most people’s head is rabies.


3 July 2019

Toxoplasma: A Cat-astrophe?

Could your pet cat really be carrying a dangerous disease?

Some people might be afraid of adopting cats due to the fear of contracting Toxoplasma, a disease caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii which is one of the world’s most common parasites. While this disease is usually correlated to cats it is more often contracted through eating contaminated food.


Climate Change is Now Harming… Our Dogs?

As if climate change did not seem to be negatively impacting everything as we know it already, it also has recently been shown to trigger the spread of diseases throughout the United States.


1 July 2019

It’s the most, wonderful time, in the field!

Every summer I take a break from the concrete jungle of DC and head to rural Pennsylvania to teach a field course for the University of Pittsburgh Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology (my undergrad alma mater). 


4 March 2019

So, you wanna start a science blog?

I’m not the type of person who’s always thought that I’ve had something to say (at least anything that people would listen to). Back in my grad school days, while I saw the value in science outreach, the “communication” part of that was a little tricky for me. “Who cares what I have to say?” Turns out, some people did.