Lunch with Nkuchia M’ikanatha

Please join us for lunch with Dr. M’ikanatha (University of Pennsylvania) following his CIDD seminar on October 2nd! RSVP with your food preferences below by Wednesday, October 1st at 5pm.

When: Thursday, October 2nd 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Where: W-203 Millennium Sciences Complex

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Papers from today’s talk

Thanks to everyone who came to today’s CIDD grad student talks on gypsy moths, MRSA and malaria (oh my!). I mentioned a couple of papers during the Q&A, so if you’re interested in learning a little more about fungal biocontrol, here are the references:

  • Spore aeroallergenicity: Darbro JM, Thomas MB (2009) Spore persistence and likelihood of aeroallergenicity of entomopathogenic fungi used for mosquito control. Am J Trop Med Hyg 80:992–7.
  •  Spore persistence in field situations: Blanford S et al. (2012) Storage and persistence of a candidate fungal biopesticide for use against adult malaria vectors. Malar J 11:354–367.
  •  As a bonus, here’s a paper that describes the difficulties of bringing Green Muscle, a locust fungal biopesticide, to market: Thomas MB, Kooyman C (2004) Locust biopesticides: a tale of two continents. Biocontrol News Inf 25:47N–51N.
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Lunch with Grant McFadden

Please join us for lunch with Dr. Grant McFadden (University of Florida) following his CIDD seminar on September 18th from 11-12PM in W203! RSVP with your food preferences below by Wednesday, September 17th at 5pm.

When: Thursday, September 18th 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Where: W-203 Millennium Sciences Complex

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CIDD Journal Club

Given the results from the doodle poll, CIDD Journal Club will meet at 4:30 PM on Mondays.  Our default location will be W-230 MSC.

If you are interested in presenting at a specific journal club, please sign up here.  Please respect other people’s entries on the spreadsheet.  When most of the slots have filled, I will close the sheet, although people are still welcome to contact me directly for a slot.

If you sign up to present at journal club, you have the option to change the location.  While W-230 MSC is reserved for us all semester, most people would not be opposed to walking downtown to talk over coffee or beer.  This is especially true for papers, as they’re easier to move than computers.  Journal club is limited to graduate students and post-docs, so don’t let any sense of propriety keep you from doing what you want to do.

If you sign up for a topic, please provide any relevant reference materials for people to read and examine around a week before you present.  A great way to do this is by posting a teaser for your journal club on this website and including links, although an e-mail to CIDD Grads in general with attachments would certainly not go amiss.

I’m also interested in hearing what people want from journal club.  Please fill out this poll with your preferences .  If you have feelings about journal club that you feel aren’t adequately encapsulated on that survey, feel free to leave a comment on this post.

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Ecology Seminar today

Today the ecology department is hosting a seminar that I thought some CIDD grads would be interested in entitled “Mosquito Population Dynamics in a Rapidly Changing Arctic” by Dr. Lauren Culler (Dartmouth College). The seminar will be in 106 Forest Resources Bldg at 4:00pm.

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Journal club 2: scheduling woes

Some people have reported that most of the available times for journal club conflicted with their lab meetings.  In the interest of getting as many people involved as possible, I decided to create a slightly higher resolution poll with more available slots.  Please fill in the following poll by highlighting all areas where you ARE available.  Journal club will last about an hour on average, but people are more than welcome to come late or leave early.
Note: if you’re one of the three people who completed the previous poll, I would still appreciate you filling out this poll as well.
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Our purpose and policies

All posts to this blog are a reflection of the views of that particular author, not the CIDD Graduate Student Association as a whole.  In order to keep discussion open but directed, any comments or opinions about a specific post should be directed to the author of that post, either publicly in a comment on that specific post or in private correspondence.

These policies are in place because this blog is meant to be a place for individual grad students to discuss and explore their own ideas, moderated by the CIDD Graduate Student Association as a whole, not solely a place for the CIDD GSA to collectively post about things already discussed by the group.  Directing responses to specific posts at other graduate students involved with this blog is likely to be fruitless as they may not be familiar with the subject at hand.

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Gain of function research

Hi fellow CIDDers, In 2012 a group of scientists from the Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands published a report of experiments to understand the mechanisms of flu airborne transmission in a pandemic flu strain ( This research involved a gain of function experiment with the H5N1 strain of the influenza virus and the determinants of airborne spread among ferrets. The results of the research were very interesting, but at the same time they stirred a wave of misinformed fear among the public and scientists, which was mainly driven by sensationalists headlines and exaggeration. There was a symposium held by  the NIH in  washington DC to try and solve this issue. Scientist became divided over whether to allow these kinds of research to continue forward or ban any kind of gain of function experiment. While now we are in 2014, the polemic has intensified and a group called “The Cambridge Working group” ( was formed and their main objective is to exaggerate the risks associated with doing gain of function experiments in “potential pandemic strains”. They are asking for an Asilomar type of meeting (back in the day this was organized in the fears over recombinant DNA technology) and come up with rules and restrictions on this kind of work. While dialog is important, another group of scientist have felt that this is a one sided effort in order to impose unreasonable restrictions. This group is called “Scientists for science” ( which goal is to help the public understand that the resources and facilities exist for working with potential pandemic strains are the safest for this endeavor and that fear is not the way to advance our understanding of these strains. While there has been a record of accidents in biosafety  facilities, nowadays these are taken care of by the current set of standards and safety regulations put in place.

Scientists for science is looking for a meeting in which both sides can give their point of view. However, we feel that this kind of meeting can neither be organized by the cambridge working group, nor scientists for science. It must be a neutral entity that allows for a balanced dialog and no personal agendas are allowed.

If you are more interested in knowing more visit the two groups websites and make a choice to which side to follow. It is very very important that as an infectious disease researcher you have your voice heard, since this may have a big impact on the research that we may be or not be allowed to do in the future.


I’m part of scientists for science, but this doesn’t mean you have to side with me.

Please forward this to everyone you know.

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Journal club

It’s that time of year again – time to schedule our weekly journal club meetings.
I’m hoping to use journal club somewhat differently this year, and have it focus more on discussion about science and scientific tools (particularly programming and mathematical tools) as well as paper discussions.  We can talk more about this at the first meeting.
To foster freer discussion, it may be nice to host journal club somewhere other than MSC.  Potentially a coffee shop downtown, or the Rathskellar.  Our first meeting, however, will be in MSC, where we will schedule people for journal club slots and talk about what people want to see from journal club.
Without further ado: Please fill it out by Thursday, August 28th.
If you can’t make any of these times but would otherwise definitely come to journal club every week, please e-mail me.
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Lunch with Michael Turelli

Please join us for lunch with Dr. Michael Turelli (UC-Davis) immediately following his CIDD seminar! RSVP with your food preferences below by Wednesday, August 27th at 5pm.

When: Thursday, August 28th 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Where: W-203 Millennium Sciences Complex

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