Our latest guest is also the latest faculty addition to the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Dr. Monica Mugnier (big news: Monica won an 2016 NIH Early Independence Award which allowed her to skip the tradtional postdoctoral fellowship and become faculty right after completing her PhD work). Monica studies a kind of parasite, called a tropanosome, that causes the disease African Sleeping Sickness. They are very difficult to control for a vaiety of reasons, one of them being the focus of her work (and some very cool science) on how they can rapidly change their coats to avoid detection by our immune system (aka antigenic variation). Monica finds these parasites so cool to study because they break all of the rules (read: they don’t follow any of the classic biology rules that she learned in class). Lots of mystery and discovery!
Monica and I have a great conversation on how to make a great science presentation (and how difficult it can be to strike the right amount of info, depending on your audience). We also discuss the challenges of conveying the importance of global health science research, especially when the illness primarily impacts people on a different continent.
Our latest guest, Dean Mike Klag, has served at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health for the past decade and has worked to keep the School at the forefront of both international and community health. Dean Klag describes the roots of our school, the largest and oldest school of public health and how, owing to its biomedical roots, it is unique in that it hosts three basic science departments as well as more classic public health fields like international health, epidemiology, policy, biotstats, and mental health.
We also learn about how he got into public health and his major goals and accomplishments as dean. Dean Klag will be stepping down in June 2017.
From his earliest days, Dr. Rush Holt has been interested in “how the world works (that’s science) and how people get along (that’s politics).” There are few who want to do both. Rush is one of the rare scientists who has served in Congress and has integrated ‘science and society’ into everything he’s done. Hear about what it was like to be a scientist in Congress and how scientists should be communicating. Rush is currently the CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) & was the U.S. Representative for New Jersey’s 12 congressional district from 1999 to 2015.
Nina gets to do her favorite thing on the latest episode: talk about vaccines! Nina is back over at the International Vaccine Access Center with Director of Policy and Advocacy Communications Lois Privor-Dumm. Lois has been working on vaccine advocacy for decades to bring life saving vaccines (like the one to prevent meningitis) to countries all over the world.
Special #WorldAidsDay podcast! Our latest guest, Dr. Tom Quinn, was one of the first doctors working on HIV/AIDS here in the US in 1981 and still in the frontlines of combatting this global epidemic as Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health, Associate Director for International Research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a researcher at Johns Hopkins University, and a consultant at a long list of places like The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), World Health Organization (WHO). Truly a champion for public health.
Continuing on with the science communication and politics theme, Nina chats with Dr. Jenny Carlson, medical entomologist, about her trip down to Florida last summer to talk to citizens about the benefits of releasing genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes to combat mosquito borne diseases like Zika and Dengue.
Wise words from Jenny: “Sometimes life will take you in the most unexpected direction if you open yourself up to opportunities- my personal philosophy in life is to experience as much as possible. My path has changed many time within the realm of science, but one thing is for sure, science is one of my greatest loves and because of that I need to advocate for it. Little did I know that my expertise in mosquito biology would lead me to defend for the release of genetically modified mosquitoes in Key West, FL.”
Happy Halloween! Four scientists get together on Halloween to talk about a spooky topic: the science views of the presidential candidates! The science communication show Public Health United welcomes Dr. Bill Moss (see our previous podcast together), Dr. Katherine Fenstermacher (Hopkins), and Kenny Shatzkes (Rutgers, Eagleton Fellow) to talk about their frustration while watching the debates, the lessons they’ve learned in communicating science and policy, and how scientists and policymakers need to collaborate and reach compromises to form better science policies. I cannot even count the number of laughs we all have together. Truly a fun and informative episode on science policy during this election season! FYI, the title of this special edition podcast is based on Harry Frankfurt’s NYT best selling book, “On Bullshit” which details the difference between liars and bullshitters…listen to hear what the difference is and how destructive the latter can be!
We often hear about Vitamin D with words like sunshine and milk, but it may be a mystery as to how it works and what the best sources are in your diet. On the latest episode of the science communication show Public Health United, Nina chats with Johns Hopkins Vitamin D researcher Dr. Leigh Frame-Peterson on the importance of this essential nutrient, especially after bariatric surgery when your body is trying to repair itself. In case you didn’t know (like Nina), bariatric surgery is surgery on the gastrointestinal tract in order to aid weight loss. There is a ton of misinformation on this–Leigh busts many of the myths out there and educates us on the public health importance of this tool to fight obesity and diabetes. On top of being very passionate about her work, she is also an active Twitter user and gave Nina some excellent tips on how to improve her Twitter engagement consistency.
Nina welcomes Dean Mike Ward onto Public Health United on our latest podcast. Mike is the Associate Dean of Enrollment Management & Student Affairs at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. In addition to being a very caring person in charge of student affairs at the School, Mike is passionate about fitness. He became a personal trainer over a decade ago, has done 6 marathons and many half marathons. He loves being a personal trainer in order to help people create sustainable, independent fitness plans to stay healthy for the long term.
Nina and Mike share a love of fitness and have a fantastic time discussing fitness plans, keeping motivated over the longerm, and how to start getting fit again after illness.
Check out the podcast to know more about Nina’s Comeback…
Do you feel a sense of urgency about all of these extreme weather events and their impact on our coastal systems (and hence us)? You should! Our latest guest, Dr. Bryan Piazza, tells us about the heartbreaking flooding in Louisiana that he’s witnessed and what The Nature Conservancy has been doing about it. Bryan is director of freshwater and marine science at The Nature Conservancy in Louisiana and works on protecting our water and coasts with science, science communication, and policy. Bryan is basically the one stop shop for all of your problem solving needs! Nina and Bryan met at the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science Bootcamp and share of love of using science to help others.