We’re excited to announce the new 2021/22 CIDD Grad Student Association officers. Congratulations to the incoming board, and a warm thank you to past officers. As always, if Faculty, Students and Post-docs would like to pass along useful information, organize a student focus group to tackle a CIDD issue or co-ordinate professional and technical workshops in the future, please reach out to the relevant officers below or to Dr. Ottar Bjornstad, the Faculty- Student liaison.
On Thursday, May 6th @4PMCGSA will be hosting a socially distanced picnic on the lawn between the Millenium Science Complex and Huck. All CIDD grads and postdocs are welcome to attend. To limit any sharing please bring your own food and blankets. We will be following university masking policy.
As always, CGSA is aiming to maintain its sense of community among students by providing a safe venue for energizing social interactions. Please encourage any new faces to partake in this event!
We look forward to seeing you all! If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact any of the CGSA board members.
On May 25th, 2020 George Floyd was murdered by a police officer.
This is another case of systemic discrimination and violence against the Black community. In the face of such grievous injustice, the Black community and its allies are refusing to be powerless and are in the streets demanding justice. Historically, police officers who have committed similar crimes have escaped justice, but due to the bravery of protestors, the police officers responsible have been taken into custody. Murders like those of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and even in our local community, Osaze Osagie make clear what Black Americans have known since our founding: we exist in an oppressive and unjust system. We must no longer be passive.
As the CGSA board, we completely support the protests and all actions taken in fighting racism. Further, we acknowledge that academia is not free from the systemic racism that is ingrained in our society. Within our own community, there have been incidents where concerns raised by Black graduate students have not been addressed. As graduate students, we must act, even when the university does not. We must first listen and amplify the concerns of our Black colleagues. Most importantly, we must collectively stand up against people who exclude our Black colleagues and do not respect them as valuable members of our community. Black students must be given the resources and respect to thrive in academia – we emphasize that admittance is performative without retention. We, as early-career scientists, may feel powerless in academia, but we are not. We must be unified and vigilant in the fight against racism.
As the CGSA board, we will focus specifically on equity in our programming, recruitment and retention efforts going forward. We will be reaching out to the community for feedback, please look for a separate email soon. We urge you to take action – additional resources can be found below.
Only be on campus when running experiments and as needed otherwise
Can open conference rooms for overflow workspace if needed (for those who need to be in labs)
Need coordination among groups, especially within MSC due to open space and shared resources (ex: autoclaves)
There are now shared calendars among PI’s and labs in the MSC (you can ask your PI to be added)
Procedures in place and sign-up sheet for when you were in the lab
Coordinate with PI(s) of non-Huck equipment shared across labs (ex. qPCR machines)
If you’re not sure how to properly clean equipment, ask your PI or Moriah Szpara
Movement in MSC
Recommendation: Limit your movement and use the most direct route, be aware of personal space of yourself and others
Example: (If your office is near the front door, use the front door. But if your lab is further away, use the middle corridor)
Contact tracing states that one must be in the same space for >10 minutes to be a potential “contact”
Don’t chat in hallways
MSC Building reopening date not yet defined, but expected in approximately 2 weeks
Encouraging people to eat outside when possible, bring a lunch to avoid fridges/microwaves; no food brought into lab areas for now
No limits on when workers can be in MSC, but encourage a “buddy system” at all times
Information on cloth masks to be sent out (below)
If you are uncomfortable returning to work or have concerns not addressed today you can reach out to your PI, Beth McGraw, or Michael Uchneat. You can also go to Beth, Mike, or HR if there are items you are uncomfortable about, cannot address with your PI or if your PI will not address these
This includes specific concerns like daycare or caretaker needs, individual medical needs and concerns, etc.
Here’s the latest link to the Northwestern study from Mueller et al. (now at v4), that Beth previously sent to the CIDD-listserv, back when the first preprint was highlighted in an NPR news piece. It has quantitative data comparing a number of homemade cloth masks, and documents improvement in efficacy w/ a nylon (i.e. stocking) over-layer. The PDF for this one is also attached below. https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.17.20069567v4
I’ve also attached a good & highly readable study testing efficacy of homemade masks, by Davies et al. Though the ’n’ of tested individuals was small, it is a good example of how to think about this. The PDF for this one is also attached below.
Finally, here’s an example from the primary literature of healthcare workers in Vietnam who were asked to wear different mask types. Keep in mind that with this & similar “field” (i.e. hospital / front line) studies, the level of exposure & ambient pathogens in the air is FAR higher than what we expect to be in ambient air in MSC. https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/5/4/e006577
We’re excited to announce the new 2020/21 CIDD Grad Student Association officers. Congratulations to the incoming board, and a warm thank you to past officers. As always, if Faculty, Students and Post-docs would like to pass along useful information, organize a student focus group to tackle a CIDD issue or co-ordinate professional and technical workshops in the future, please reach out to the relevant officers below or to Dr. Ottar Bjornstad, the Faculty- Student liaison.
Three graduate students presented their research at the CIDD Thursday seminar on Feb 20th. Presentations can be of an ongoing project or of a research proposal related to infectious disease. These talks are well attended by a (friendly) mix of CIDD students, post-docs and faculty audience, and are great for public speaking practice and feedback. Molly Rathbun from the Szpara Lab discussed the direct sequencing of HSV-1 reveals a role for within-host genetic diversity in transmission. Dominika Dec Peevey of the Bjornstad and Ferrari Labs presented on West Nile Virus in Pennsylvania game lands: woodland pool risk assessment for Culex restuans breeding. Finally, Antal Martinecz from the Zur Wiesch Lab talked about the high peak rifampicin plasma concentrations accelerate the slow phase of bacterial elimination in tuberculosis patients. Thank you to Alexandre Blake, Landon vom Stieg and Leah Sigle for helping to plan this event.
Congratulations to our current CGSA president, Karen Kemirembe for winning the New Jersey Mosquito Control Association Daniel M. Jobbins Scholarship for her work on Sex Specific responses of the malaria mosquito, Anopheles gambiae to a mosquito borne Alphavirus infection.
A new research synopsis entitled “Uncovering how parasites and hosts respond to multi-species infections and external perturbations” by Ellen Brandel has been published on CIDDTV. The synopsis covers main findings from a rabbit-helminth study by Dr. Isabella Cattadori, Dr. Matthew Ferrari of Penn State, and Dr. Ashutosh Pathak of University of Georgia on how external disturbances such as coinfection and treatment affect the parasite dynamics as well as the host’s immune responses.
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.