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February 8 – Spencer Fox

CSI: Disease Detectives

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Between the Ebola epidemic, Zika epidemic, and this year’s bad flu season, it seems every month there is a new disease in the news. Have you ever wondered what public health officials are doing behind the scenes to combat the spread of these diseases? Come on out to Science Under the Stars this February to discover how disease detectives predict and respond to these types of outbreaks, and learn how you can help them out!

Science Under the Stars is a free public outreach lecture series in Austin, Texas. The talk will be held outdoors at Brackenridge Field Laboratory, 2907 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, Texas 78703. Here’s the schedule for this month’s event:

  • 6:30 pm: Food and displays of local animals and plants found at Brackenridge Field Laboratory will be available. Also, meet with our children’s division for fun activities designed for all ages.
  • 7:00 pm: Find a seat and settle in, because the talk begins now!
  • 7:45 pm: Q&A with the speaker.

Stavana Strutz

The Wild Wild West:

West Nile and Vector-borne Disease in Texas

West Nile virus is spreading across much of Texas causing hundreds of infections! Why is Texas and this year in particular so favorable for West Nile virus? This talk will examine the ecology of local and potentially threatening vector-borne diseases including West Nile virus, Chagas disease, and more!
Stavana Strutz is a graduate student in the Graduate Program in Ecology, Evolution & Behavior at the University of Texas at Austin. Science Under the Stars is a free, outdoor lecture series held at Brackenridge Field Laboratory.

Samuel Scarpino

Influenza Dynamics and Vaccination in Texas

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From reductions in productivity to severe illness and death, Influenza has a profound impact on our state, country and world.  In addition, recent concerns surrounding Avian Influenza and Swine Origin H1N1 have only served to heighten our sense of insecurity about the emergence of a highly virulent, pandemic flu strain.  Can we predict the spread of flu in Texas?  How are modern vaccines produced and are they safe? Can the effect of a pandemic flu be mitigated?  In this talk I will discuss these questions and present research on the dynamics of flu in Texas, our response to emerging pandemic strains, and the development/safety of vaccines.