tsmith

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Tara C. Smith

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

Posts by this author

October 17, 2005
Andrea Bottaro has an excellent review of prion genetics over at Panda's Thumb. Prions are, of course, the transmissible agents that cause diseases such as kuru and Creutzfeldt-Jakob in humans, and related disease such as "mad cow" disease, scrapie, and chronic wasting disease in animals. Though…
October 12, 2005
On Monday, I mentioned a survey MSNBC and Zogby conducted regarding attitudes about sex and STDs. Today on MSNBC, they have another article on the rise of STDs in America, highlighting some depressing trends. Meanwhile, in what you'd think would be across-the-board good news, a vaccine has been…
October 12, 2005
In the October issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, James Hughes and Jeffrey Koplan discuss the problem of safe water. Hazardous drinking water and poor sanitation is something that gets brought up when there's a disaster (like Katrina, or the tsunami earlier this year), but many people don't…
October 10, 2005
Okay, so it's just an MSNBC survey (aided by none other than Dr. Ruth), but geez, when will people ever wise up about sex? MSNBC.com and Zogby International asked online readers to share some intimate details about their personal lives, and more than 56,000 adult men and women -- one of the largest…
October 7, 2005
Thus far this week, I've discussed the history of pandemic influenza in general, and avian flu in particular. I've discussed some issues that must be addressed to prepare us for a pandemic, and the groundbreaking resurrection of the Spanish influenza virus. Today I want to end the series with a…
October 6, 2005
I know I said I was going to discuss a bit more about pandemic preparedness today, but I think I'll hold off on that to discuss this story: It sounds like a sci-fi thriller. For the first time, scientists have made from scratch the Spanish flu virus that killed millions of people in 1918. Why? To…
October 5, 2005
The scientific community is all too familiar with the dangers an influenza pandemic could bring. The politicians and general public are starting to become aware of the issue as well; indeed, one can hardly open a newspaper or turn on the television without hearing about "bird flu." So, what's…
October 4, 2005
Anyone working in the area of influenza virus epidemiology is familiar with the name Robert Webster. A virologist at St. Jude's Children's Hospital in Memphis, the native New Zealander has been leading the charge against influenza for well over 40 years. Barely out of graduate school, Webster…
October 3, 2005
It's hard to avoid hearing about influenza virus these days. In all the noise, it's tough to sort out the facts from the rumors and conspiracy theories. I've already discussed a bit about the basic biology of the virus in this post, so I'm not going to review that here (though a good overview can…
October 3, 2005
But I thought biologists were too "close-minded?" Australians Barry J. Marshall and Robin Warren won the 2005 Nobel Prize in medicine Monday for showing that bacterial infection, not stress, was to blame for painful ulcers in the stomach and intestine. The Australians' idea was "very much against…
September 27, 2005
As if it wasn't bad enough already... Mold now forms an interior version of kudzu in the soggy South, posing health dangers that will make many homes tear-downs and will force schools and hospitals to do expensive repairs. It's a problem that any homeowner who has ever had a flooded basement or a…
September 26, 2005
Canine flu strikes in Westchester county, NY. A NEW strain of influenza that began infecting dogs in Florida early last year has recently struck hard in the Westchester area, forcing the temporary closure of two kennels after more than 100 dogs being boarded there became ill, veterinary officials…
September 16, 2005
The Washington Post today reminds us that there has been little progress in uncovering the source of the 2001 anthrax attacks. [1] First, a disclaimer. I'm not an "evolutionary biologist," per se. I have what is I swear the longest job title ever--molecular infectious disease epidemiologist. As…
May 22, 2005
Every now and then, I check in over at The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) to see what new projects they're up to, as well as to see if they've released a particular genome sequence I'm waiting on. Yesterday I noticed this project: Innovative Metagenomics Strategy Used To Study Oral Microbes…