Whooping cough, caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis, is an extremely dangerous and potentially fatal disease for infants.  We rarely see this disease anymore because everyone is routinely vaccinated against it with the DPT childhood vaccine.  But there has lately been a resurgence in whooping cough cases, caused primarily by a reformulation of the vaccine to make it safer, which unfortunately also made it less protective against this disease.  Dr. Rajendar Deora is an Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at Wake Forest University. Dr. Deora’s research involves improving the whooping cough vaccine. Dr. Deora is studying how to improve this vaccine back to pre-reformulation levels of protection, without reducing its safety. Dr. Deora discusses vaccines, whooping cough, and his scientific career choice.  Dr. Deora reminds everyone that “Vaccines Work!”

Discussants (in alphabetical order):
Dr. Neal Guentzel (Professor and Parliamentarian of STCEID, UTSA)

Dr. Karl Klose (Professor and Director of STCEID,  UTSA)
Dr. Janakiram Seshu (Associate professor, STCEID,  UTSA)

Jeffrey Stott

Dr. Jeffrey Stott is a Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of California, Davis. Dr. Stott studies the cause of an unusual tick-borne disease localized in cattle in California. Epizootic Bovine Abortion is caused by bacteria that cannot be grown in the laboratory, which has hampered the development of vaccines against this disease that leads to up to 5-10% of all cattle abortions in California. Dr. Stott discusses the search for an effective vaccine, as well as his interest in studying diseases in sea mammals like sea lions and dolphins.

Discussants (in alphabetical order):
Dr. Hans Heidner (Professor, STCEID, UTSA)
Dr. Janakiram Seshu (Associate professor, STCEID,  UTSA)

 

 

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chenDr. Wangxue Chen is a research scientist at the National Research Council of Canada. Dr. Chen’s research focuses on vaccine developme against various bacterial pathogens, including Francisella tularensis. This bug is normally found in rabbits, but it is considered one of the most dangerous bacteria because if it gets into your lungs, it can lead to a fatal disease.  It was developed into a bioweapon by a number of countries, and has to be worked on under high-level biocontainment (BSL3) conditions. Dr. Chen discusses what makes particular organisms biothreats, and how scientists are trying to come up with vaccines and other therapies to neutralize these scary bugs.

Discussants (in alphabetical order):
Dr. Neal Guentzel (Professor and Parliamentarian of STCEID, UTSA)

Dr. Karl Klose (Professor and Director of STCEID,  UTSA)