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You are browsing the archive for SciComm Archives - Page 2 of 15 - The Plainspoken Scientist.

10 July 2018

Brains for breakfast: Can cannibalism lead to disease resistance?

The Fore tribe in Papua New Guinea has a long history of ritualistic cannibalism, resulting in a crippling outbreak of a degenerative brain disease called Kuru in the 1950’s. The epidemic devestated the tribe, but some survivors of the Kuru epidemic are now found to show signs of evolved Kuru resistance and possibly other degenerative neurological diseases.

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9 July 2018

Gene modification: How it could save the pig industry billions

Scientists have recently produced pigs with the ability to resists a highly problematic and costly disease. Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) is a pathogenic disease that infects pigs, and it ultimately causes the industry to lose approximately $2.5 billion in revenue annually.

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6 July 2018

Holy worms: Historical depictions of Guinea Worm disease in Medieval art

This 15th-century altarpiece depicts St. Roch, a Catholic saint from the 14th century known for his work with plague victims. The prominent feature in this, and almost all depictions of St. Roch is the wound/mark on his upper thigh. It has been speculated to be a birthmark, a boil, or a sore and until recently, art historians said this particular piece shows a long drop of pus leaking from a wound. Now, researchers believe this actually depicts Guinea worm disease (GWD).

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5 July 2018

Zombie shrimp?

Parasites are known to manipulate their hosts’ behavior in a variety of ways to aid parasite survival and reproduction.

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4 July 2018

A new bacterium that causes Lyme isease

This is part of a series of posts from our own Shane Hanlon’s disease ecology class that he’s currently teaching at the University of Pittsburgh Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology. Students were asked to write popular science posts about (mostly) wildlife diseases.

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3 July 2018

Diseases and blogs and fieldwork, oh my!

While my day-to-day life has shifted to science communication, storytelling, and podcasting (check out our newest episode!), I’m still and always will be an ecologist at heart. That’s why I’m so happy that AGU permits me to leave my desk job for three weeks every summer to serve as a professor of disease ecology for the University of Pittsburgh (my Alma mater) Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology.

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25 June 2018

In Praise of Hashtags

My first year in grad school, I was wrapping up a check-in meeting with the PI of the lab I was doing a rotation in; we’d stopped talking research and were just chatting. As she sipped her coffee, apropos of nothing in the conversation, I asked, “So, are there queer people in biology?”

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19 June 2018

On creativity in science

By Bonnie McGill. This is a cross-posting of a post originally found on her blog, AGua. Until eleventh grade I had no inclination to be a scientist. Zero. I was going to be a graphic artist. Magazines, fonts, photographs, and layouts were my thing. The secret scientist in me was awoken in an eleventh grade environmental science class (thank you, Mr. Betts). At the time, I thought I was putting …

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29 May 2018

Webinars for scicomm: Consider me a convert

I thought webinars were basically lectures online, and don’t get me wrong, they can be. But I quickly realized that they can also be, and are, a great tool to share content and engage with audiences who normally wouldn’t be able to participate in person.

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14 May 2018

The humans behind climate science – a podcast

“I’m too busy,” I said to myself. “I should be writing papers,” I protested. Nevertheless, the idea wouldn’t go away. It refused to die.

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