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.
Congratulations to Catherine Herzog (Bjornstad lab- 2nd place) and Sreenidhi Srinivasan (Kapur lab- 1st place) for being awarded the Inaugural Peter J. Hudson CIDD best student prizes. Catherine’s paper was on peste des petits ruminants virus in northern Tanzania, and Sree’s paper was on an improved skin test to distinguish between vaccine-related and infected bovine TB. There were plenty of deserving entries, so thanks to everyone that participated.
The award, named after CIDD’s former Director, Dr. Pete Hudson was created to recognize student excellence. The criteria for the award were as follows: The paper must be 1) student led 2) have been announced previously in ‘CIDD Good News’ during the year. 3) address a novel or creative question, report a significant advancement for the field, demonstrate significant translational impact or be an example of highly effective interdisciplinary research. Next year’s applications will be due on Dec 1st, 2020, so stay tuned!
The researchers investigated forager ant behavior the rainforests of Southeastern Brazil, as these forager ants are exposed to predators and pathogens as they leave the nest. The group used cameras to capture ant behavior on the main foraging trails and developed a deep learning model that tracks ants frame-by-frame in the videos to generate a detailed dataset of ant movement in a natural setting. What they observed is that there is a trade off in the ants’ behaviors for avoiding disease vs. food acquisition.
The researchers investigated the seroprevalence of Peste des petits ruminants virus (PPRV) in sheep, goat, and cattle in villages in the Arusha, Kilimanjaro, and Manyara regions of northern Tanzania during 2016 to determine the distribution of the virus. The results of this work provide insights into this multi-host livestock disease system that may be used to develop improved disease control practices.
A special thank to Dr. Elizabeth McGraw for hosting a welcome-back party with delicious homemade dishes for all CIDD members on 08 September 2019. There were activities, lawn games, and particular the use of “drink tickets” to help mixing and facilitate conversations between faculties and students.
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.