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February 2020
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Andrew's Angle

Unless something miraculous happens, humanity just gained itself another virus. With luck (and a lot of hard work), a highly effective vaccine will become available, and herd immunity will render the latest coronavirus a thing of the past. But we’ll have to be awfully lucky: humanity has only ever eradicated one human pathogen (smallpox), and vaccine development takes years. Right now, we can only guess at the deaths and societal disruption to come in the next few months.

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Confronting Global Outbreaks
On February 4, 2020 as the COVID-19 virus began to go global, Symbiotic Podcast host Cole Hons spoke with three expert scientists from the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics to hear their perspective on the outbreak. The resulting conversation uncovers aspects of humanity’s complex relationship with viruses that don’t often reach the mainstream media.

Listen to the Audio Podcast Now!
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T  R  A  I  L  B  L  A  Z  E  R  S
Erica Smithwick Rethinks Fire in the Forest
Erica Smithwick is a fire ecologist. As the director of Penn State’s Ecology Institute, she hopes to protect forests and stave off the effects of climate change and insect infestation through controlled forest fires.

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O N    T H E    R I S E
Moriah Szpara Confronts the Complexities of Herpes

The Szpara Lab needs more data. That’s because finding a cure for Herpes is a very complicated challenge. For nearly a century, researchers have been proposing vaccine candidates, but despite some promising leads, nothing has ever been established as a definitive method to stop Herpes Simplex Virus 1 and 2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2).

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Mike Uchneat Makes Working Space Work 

Congratulations to Mike Uchneat, recipient of this month’s Huck Kudos award. As Huck’s director of facilities, Mike is the primary point of contact on all our facility-related issues. These run across six buildings that house state-of-the-art laboratories, instrumentation, and shared spaces used to generate high-impact collaborative research and training.

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