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

April 8, 2011
Via Skepchick, CBS will be airing ads from the National Vaccine Information Center and Mercola on the CBS Jumbotron in Time's Square (NVIC announcement here). This, while there's a measles outbreak in Minnesota (and another one being investigated in Utah), and we're on the heels of the worst…
April 4, 2011
Next to Ebola, my favorite virus would probably be smallpox (Variola virus). I mean, now that it's eradicated in nature, what's not to love about the mysteries it's left us--where it came from, why it was so deadly (or, not so deadly, as in the emergence of the "mild" form, variola minor), and will…
March 29, 2011
One of the reasons I've not been blogging as much over the past 2 years or so is that it's been just insane in the lab. As I was still living off start-up funds and pilot grants, I didn't have anyone full-time to take care of everything, so all the work has been done by myself and a handful of…
March 28, 2011
There has been a surge of interest recently in science denial, particularly revolving around the issue of vaccines. Last year saw the release of Michael Specter's Denialism; in the last few months, three others have been released: Seth Mnookin's Panic Virus, Robert Goldberg's Tabloid Medicine, and…
March 24, 2011
Over at the Worms and Germs blog, Scott Weese has a great post on MRSA testing. He notes the he's frequently asked by human MRSA patients whether their pet should be tested as well, since several studies have documented transmission of MRSA between humans and their companion animals. His first…
February 24, 2011
It's been a busy few months. I'll have some additional announcements (and long-overdue book reviews) coming up soon, but in the meantime, one of my projects is humming along and is to the point where I can provide some detailed information about it. Those of you who follow American Society for…
November 18, 2010
The second edition of the Rock Stars of Science is now out online, and in the November 23rd ("Men of the Year") edition of GQ magazine. As Chris Mooney notes, this is a campaign funded by the Geoffery Beene Foundation, working to raise recognition of scientists' work (and scientists, period, since…
October 4, 2010
This is great. The College of Physicians of Philadelphia has launched a site on The History of Vaccines. I've been poking around, and there's an incredible amount of stuff to check out. They have a nice FAQ, Top 20 questions about vaccination, as well as some great activities (herd immunity! learn…
September 30, 2010
The Dog Zombie has an interesting post discussing women in vet med--and why there are so many. She notes that her school is only 12% male, versus more of an even distribution in med schools, and the recent discussion of gender imbalance in science blogging. This is interesting to me, as my personal…
September 27, 2010
Mike and David Dobbs both have great posts up discussing "whither rewards for scientists who communicate to the public?" This ended up being one of the themes of my recent SciencePub talk in Columbus--what are the incentives--and disincentives--to scientists for bringing their work to the public…
September 16, 2010
Interesting discussion over at The Spandrel Shop and Cackle of Rad on doing field work in the sciences--and the potential dangers that might be encountered. Now, Prof-like Substance and Cackle of Rad are discussing field work along the lines of biological sample collection, sometimes in the middle…
September 7, 2010
Just realized that I failed to mention this here, but I'm in the Buckeye state to give a talk at the first Columbus Science Pub get-together. All the details are at the link, but the quick rundown: Hampton's on King 234 King Avenue Columbus, OH 7PM-whenever Hope to see a few of you there!
August 24, 2010
Readers may be interested in participating in this, from Dave Wessner at Davidson College: Building on a project I piloted last fall, I will explore the potential role of Twitter more intentionally this fall in a course I teach on HIV/AIDS at Davidson College. I invite you to join me in this…
August 18, 2010
The Skepchicks are sponsoring a pertussis vaccination clinic at Dragon*Con over Labor Day weekend. They're teaming up with the Georgia Dept. of Health, who is providing free assistance and vaccines, but they need some assistance raising funds to cover space rental, posters, and other miscellaneous…
August 13, 2010
PZ has some additional thoughts on the Bibleflugate retraction up at Pharyngula. Choice quote: This is a serious concern, to my mind. Scientists are expected to be open and communicative about their work, explaining all the details about how we achieve our results. Yet then we hand that work over…
August 11, 2010
Well, that was quick. Yesterday's post highlighting a really terrible paper in BMC's Virology Journal drew a lot of comments here and at Pharyngula, and attention at the journal (where it currently stands as the 5th most-accessed article in the last 30 days). The journal's Editor-in-Chief, Dr.…
August 10, 2010
Via Bob O'H and Cath Ennis comes this truly bizarre article from the Virology Journal: "Influenza or not influenza: Analysis of a case of high fever that happened 2000 years ago in Biblical time". Now, regular readers will know that I normally love this type of thing; digging back through history…
August 5, 2010
Interesting post today at juggle.com, showing the evolution of a conspiracy theory akin to a game of telephone. Interestingly, it starts with an article in Wired by author (and former Scienceblogger) Johah Lehrer. Lehrer wrote an article on the effects of chronic stress on health outcomes, and one…
July 28, 2010
At his new digs, PalMD discusses recent news revealing the presence of dengue virus in the Florida Keys--the first appearance in the state in almost 75 years. Dengue is a mosquito-borne virus that can cause serious disease, including a hemorrhagic manifestation, and the current outbreak is pitting…
July 13, 2010
Blogging from Atlanta at ICEID, the perfect venue to highlight today's story in the NY Times by Carl Zimmer discussing gut microbes in health and disease--including an introduction focusing on fecal transplants to treat Clostridium difficile infections. If you're at ICEID, be sure to swing by…
April 29, 2010
Student guest post Dayna Groskreutz Pulmonary hypertension (PH) refers to a condition in which there is high blood pressure in the vessels carrying blood from the heart to the lungs. Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a subset of PH referring specifically to an increase in the pressure within…
April 29, 2010
Student guest post by Raj Nair. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory demyelinating disease that affects the central nervous system (CNS) consisting of the brain and the spinal cord [1]. It is thought to be an autoimmune disease since individual's immune system attacks their own…
April 27, 2010
Student guest post by Shylo Wardyn "Of all the parasites I've had over the years, these worms are among the... hell, they are the best". Was Fry from the animated show 'Futurama' right in his assessment of worms being good for him? Did he know something about parasitic worm infections that I was…
April 27, 2010
Student guest post by Desiré Christensen Colorectal cancer (aka colon cancer) includes cancers of the colon, rectum, and appendix. Colorectal cancer is more common in developed countries (e.g. United States and Japan) compared to developing countries in Africa and Asia. Each year in the United…
April 26, 2010
Student guest post by Andrew Behan Malignant Mesothelioma (MM) is a rare type of cancer which manifests itself in the thin cells lining the human body's internal organs. There are three types of MM; pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma, and pericardial mesothelioma, affecting the lining of…
April 26, 2010
Student guest post by Jay Watson Tired again? Perhaps it's the crappy weather, because you're sure that you've been getting enough sleep. After all, you can't remember the last time you spent less than ten hours in bed per night. Hopefully it's not mono; one of your friends had it a few months…
April 26, 2010
Student guest post by Anne Dressler Ninety percent of menstruating women experience some kind of premenstrual symptoms during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, with 20-30% experiencing moderate to severe symptoms. With an even more severe collection of symptoms, is premenstrual dysphoric…
April 23, 2010
Student guest post by Zainab Khan Schizophrenia has puzzled and often times scared not only the scientific community, but also the general public since its emergence. Cases of schizophrenia-like behavior have been well documented in history. As this disease has been studied, factors such as…
April 23, 2010
Student guest post by Francis Mawanda If you are like me, you probably always and almost faithfully, include a bottle of mouthwash on your grocery list especially after watching and/or listening to the numerous commercials in the media which claim that you will not only get long lasting fresh…
April 22, 2010
Student guest post by Ron Bedford The NYT (Kolata, 2010) recently published a story we'd all like to believe in. After their "lab's usual end-of-the-week beer hour," two Harvard neurology researchers noticed similarities between not only genes associated with both the innate immune system and…