science communication

by

Meet a Microbiologist: Jesus Romo

Growing up, Jesus Romo never thought he would become a microbiologist. “I actually wanted to be a paleontologist as a kid and [my parents] always bought me books about dinosaurs and dinosaur toys,” he says. Now Jesus is a doctoral candidate at the University of Texas at San Antonio studying fungus in the lab. When not in the lab, Jesus enjoys investigating fungi of another kind: the mushroom.

Originally from Coahuila, Mexico, Jesus immigrated to the U.S. with his parents when he was 10 years old. After a year of frustration and not wanting to go to school because he did not know the language, Jesus quickly became fluent in English. He attended the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) as an undergraduate while working six nights a week. Though he did well in his courses, he had no idea undergraduate research opportunities existed. He took a microbiology laboratory course in his last semester and the instructor thought he would make a good teacher and recommended he look into graduate school (more…)

by

Meet a microbiologist: Meenakshi Prabhune

Meenakshi Prabhune morphed from a microbiologist into a biochemist and biophysicist and finally into a freelance science writer. As someone who has always been curious of the biological world, microbiology was a natural choice for study as she entered college. The first time she isolated bacterial colonies on an agar plate and observed bacteria swimming under the microscope sparked even more curiosity. “It felt like a whole new invisible world had opened its doors to me,” she recalled. Soon after, she began to suspect that her irritated eyes from using contact lenses were caused by microbes and sought to prove this hypothesis. She sampled her contact lenses and when she saw an agar plate full of pink colonies, she was shocked. Did this scare her away from wearing contacts? Nope. She still uses contact lenses but the incident inspired a more thorough cleaning regiment. (more…)

by

Snapshots from the March for Science - Boston

For today, I’m taking a break from writing about microbiology. Thousands of people gathered in cities worldwide for the March for Science to support science, research, and evidence-based policy. Recent cuts in science research funding, climate change denial, and general disregard for the future of our planet and our health all fueled our need to do something. But the science march only reflects a greater issue: the public perception and understanding of science and its role in our lives. It shows a need for more science outreach, science education and the infrastructure to achieve these goals. Hopefully, the March for Science will spark conversations about the importance of science in our lives. It is only when the country as a whole support science that tangible outcomes in policy can occur. (more…)

by

The CDC Climate Change and Health Meeting is back on... sort of

After just one week of the Trump presidency, it is already obvious that the war on science has begun. Trump's pick to run the Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvany, questions whether government should fund research at all. Scott Pruitt, nominated to lead the EPA, actively denies climate change and in the past tried repeatedly to sue the EPA. In the last week freezes on EPA grants, bans on EPA and USDA employees from talking to the public about their research, and the possibility of censorship of scientific data and reports have all become realities in this uncertain time for science. (more…)

by

Lost in translation: From scientists to the press and to the public

"You don't really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother." - quote attributed to Albert Einstein

As a scientist, we often find that people have a hard time understanding what we do. Family and friends may expect that we make giant strides in our work everyday, making important breakthroughs or discoveries left and right. They may not understanding how slow science is or why our research is important or even what our research is about. (more…)