Associate Professor, lab rat (microbiologist/infectious disease epidemiologist) and occasional blogger, full-time nerd

Movin’…

As several others have already noted, after almost 12 years, Scienceblogs is shutting down at month’s end. Though I’ve done most of my writing elsewhere over the last few years, I’d certainly like to keep the archives of this blog up somewhere, and maintain it as a place to post random musings that don’t fit…

The high cost of academic reimbursement

Spring, 2004. I was in the second year of my post-doc, with kids ages 4 and 2. Because I was no longer a student, the full brunt of my student loan payments had hit me, which were collectively almost double the cost of my mortgage. To put it generously, money was tight. Truthfully, we were…

Vaccine advocacy 101

I recently finished a 2-year stint as an American Society for Microbiology Distinguished Lecturer. It’s an excellent program–ASM pays all travel expenses for lecturers, who speak at ASM Branch meetings throughout the country. I was able to attend Branch meetings from California and Washington in the West, to Massachusetts in the east, and south as…

A claim that scientists need to quit making: I’ve written about these types of claims before. The first one–a claim that antimicrobial peptides were essentially “resistance proof,” was proven to be embarrassingly wrong in a laboratory test. Resistance not only evolved, but it evolved independently in almost every instance they tested (using E. coli and Pseudomonas…

The news over the past 24 hours has exclaimed over and over: HIV’s Patient Zero Exonerated How scientists proved the wrong man was blamed for bringing HIV to the U.S. Researchers Clear “Patient Zero” from AIDS Origin Story H.I.V. Arrived in the U.S. Long Before ‘Patient Zero’ Gaetan Dugas: “patient zero” not source of HIV/AIDS…

The 2013-2016 West African Ebola virus outbreak altered our perception of just what an Ebola outbreak could look like. While none of the three primary affected countries–Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea-have had a case since April 2016, the outbreak resulted in a total of over 28,000 cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD)–65 times higher than…

The Epidemiology of Greyscale

[Obvious warning is obvious: potential spoilers for A Song of Ice and Fire novels/Game of Thrones TV series below]. While no one will claim that George R.R. Martin’s epic series, “A Song of Ice and Fire,” is historically accurate, there are a number of historical parallels that can be drawn from the characters and plotline–particularly…

Wrong link–try this one!

We’ve been expecting it, and now it’s here. Yesterday, two article were released showing that MCR-1, the plasmid-associated gene that provides resistance to the antibiotic colistin, has been found in the United States. And not just in one place, but in two distinct cases: a woman with a urinary tract infection (UTI) in Pennsylvania, reported…

The Zika conspiracies have begun

Like cockroaches, the conspiracy theorists suggesting the Zika virus outbreak is anything but a normal, naturally-occurring event have begun to come out of the woodwork. To be expected, the theories they’re espousing make no sense scientifically, and each theory is incompatible with the others, but why should anyone expect that conspiracy theorists would actually use…