Month: June 2020

How can we, as mentors, help undergraduate researchers with depression?

CC0 licensed, Pikwizard Depression among undergraduates Nearly one in four undergraduates report having depression. As such, we can expect that students with depression enter our research labs as undergraduate researchers. In fact, data that we have collected across a total of 62 research-intensive (R1) institutions, master’s granting institutions, and primarily undergraduate institutions revealed that 35% of undergraduate researchers report that they have struggled with depression. Nearly one in four undergraduates report having depression. The mentor’s role A recent study that I conducted with graduate student Logan Gin and colleagues found that students with depression experience unique challenges in undergraduate...

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What determines where flukes are found in the Scottish Highlands?

Red deer stag in Scotland. Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/fieldsportschannel/27473097178/in/album-72157662253997207/ We know that the environment is important for determining where species – both hosts and parasites – can live and thrive. But characteristics of hosts – such as their age, immune response, or sex – are also important for determining infection and disease. When more hosts become involved – for example with vector-borne diseases and other complex lifecycle pathogens – the complexity of these interactions only increases. Sometimes the intermediate host habitat is the best predictor of disease and other times it’s the host immune system that is important for predicting...

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Fathers’ mental health: why is it important?

Putting fathers’ mental health into perspective Becoming a father is an extremely important life event for a man. Fathers can experience new emotions, feelings, and changes initiated by the transition into parenthood. Some evidence shows that around 10% of new fathers experience depression, and yet this is still little understanding about this let alone appropriate support. Most new mothers perceive the father to be a crucial source of support. Poor paternal support can exacerbate maternal mental health problems. However, many fathers feel alienated and have little knowledge about how they can support their partner at this time. These days,...

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Teaching disease ecology – in the time of COVID-19

I never imagined that I will be teaching Disease Ecology in the middle of a pandemic. Granted, we often have pandemics, but rarely one where millions get infected and hundreds of thousands die. I’ll be honest, I was in denial up until Trevor Bedford realized that there have been community transmission in Washington State undetected for at least 6 weeks. I deluded myself that COVID-19 would not get to the US until the CDC announced that we will have to focus on mitigation and not containment. Since then, everything has been a blur. The Stay-at-Home order announced by Washington...

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Fast forward: from malaria elimination to malaria eradication

Malaria elimination: a leap forward A trio of tools have performed the magic trick in defeating malaria, the disease that plagued humanity for centuries, namely; the Noble prize-winning discovery of artemisinin (the wonder drug) for treatment of drug-resistant malaria, the advent of long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) for vector control and rapid diagnostic test (RDT) kits for on-the-spot diagnosis. Nearly half of the world is certified to be malaria-free. This is attained by having ‘zero indigenous transmission’ for the past three consecutive years and proven abilities to prevent re-establishment of malaria transmission. Many more countries under the E-2020 initiative of...

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