About Lee Schoentrup

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So far Lee Schoentrup has created 87 blog entries.

Going Global from Seattle? Collaboration and Caffeine

September 8th, 2015|HIV/AIDS|

NOTE: Todd Kennedy is a National Account Executive for Merck, who is working for three months at IDRI as part of the Merck Fellowship for Global Health program. Kennedy and another Merck fellow, Susan Galea, are working on the HIV Cure Initiative, for which IDRI serves as the fiscal sponsor. This is the Richard T. Clark Fellowship for Global Health, right? Wait, then what is a California guy doing in Seattle, Washington? In 12 short weeks can my fellow colleague Susan Galea and I make a significant global impact from the land of salmon, apples and grunge? These are the questions I was considering, before work on day 1 as I was sipping espresso from the original Starbucks at Pike Place Market. By 8:30 a.m., the potential and promise of our assignment came into focus. From the window of our sponsor’s conference room, you can literally see the offices of pivotal public and private stakeholders including leading NGOs (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Paul G. Allen Family Foundation), academia, pharma and biotech. It seems clear that the key to addressing global health challenges is collaboration among trusted partners, many of whom are located right here in the Pacific Northwest. Working with the Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI), Susan and I have been asked to: “support development of an ‘investment case’ that will set forth a global health and economic rationale to catalyze multi-sector engagement in a strategic, collaborative effort to identify, develop, and distribute a cure for HIV that will be accessible in both high- and low-resource geographic settings.” […]

Internship is Like Learning a New Board Game

August 25th, 2015|Education, Training|

IDRI Summer 2015 interns: Shomith Mondal, Cole Phalen and Brandon Paris. Working for IDRI this summer has really helped me learn more about real world lab work. Taking lab classes is great, you learn a lot, but even [...]

Autoimmune Disorder Sparks Interest in Science

August 7th, 2015|Education, Training|

IDRI summer intern Brandon Paris, left, shares data with his mentor, Jeff Guderian. NOTE: Brandon Paris was one of three interns who spent 10 weeks at IDRI in summer 2015, as part of IDRI’s internship program for college undergraduates. He is a biology major at Whitman College. I have been interested in the human immune system since I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder in 2006, but I never imagined where that interest would lead. In my three years at Whitman College, I have explored every corner of the biology major with this interest in the back of my mind. It has been a blessing to be able to bring this interest to IDRI, mesh into the framework here, and work towards IDRI’s global mission. During my time at IDRI,  I have worked with the adjuvant development team on a study that aims to better understand how IDRI’s adjuvant formulations provoke inflammatory responses, ex vivo, following incubation at different temperatures. I was given the opportunity to see one particular study through, start to finish, with many cytokine assays along the way. To grow and develop these lab skills with this project has been an invaluable learning experience. […]

Avoid Unwanted Travelers During Vacation

July 28th, 2015|News, Travel|

As we move into August, everyone wants to get in a summer vacation before Labor Day. There’s no better way to bring your vacation to a screeching halt than an encounter with an infectious disease, which is unfortunately a likely occurrence. In summer 2015, nearly 200 million Americans are planning a vacation – almost 85 percent of American are planning at least a one week getaway. According to the New York Times, traveler’s diarrhea is the most common health problem a traveler encounters, but there are others lurking as well. Going on a cruise? You’ve probably read the stories about what happens when the notorious norovirus comes along for the ride. But norovirus isn’t just for cruise ships anymore – it’s now causing problems on tour buses.  In August 2014, a survey of bus drivers in Yellowstone National Park showed  that five buses were carrying passengers who had diarrhea or vomiting — both symptoms of norovirus. Going on a plane? Hopefully you won’t be as unlucky as Samuel L. Jackson who encountered numerous Snakes on a Plane; however, you will most definitely come across Pathogens on a Plane.With recirculating air and forced close proximity, airplanes have a bad reputation as hotbeds of disease. […]

IDRI’s Summer Reading List

July 1st, 2015|Education, News|

With a long weekend looming and vacations starting, the annual summer reading lists have begun to appear. We thought it would be fun to share what IDRI employees are reading this summer — you might be surprised! Ayesha Misquith just finished reading Still Alice by Lisa Genova, which portrays an accomplished female professor who realizes she has early onset Alzheimer’s disease, which is a devastating diagnosis as this form of Alzheimer’s (under the age of 65) is more aggressive and rapidly progressing than the older onsets. “It resonates with the work we do at IDRI, to be able to accurately diagnose a disease and the race to find a cure for it,” said Ayesha, who also recommended checking out this list in Nature for popular “lab lit” summer reading. With two little ones at home, Jessica Cohen is skimming through books — including Brain Rules for Baby by Dr. John Medina and Positive Discipline by Dr. Jane Nelsen —  about babies and preschoolers and what scientists have learned about baby development, parenting and sleeps. […]

From the Field: Visiting Leprosy-Affected Families

June 3rd, 2015|Diagnostics, Leprosy|

At a rural farm, visiting with families affected by leprosy. During a recent visit to Cebu, Philippines, I was privileged to join the Leonard Wood Memorial surveillance team, which was visiting with patients and their families in their homes as part [...]

The Silent Soldiers of War

May 21st, 2015|Drugs, Leishmaniasis, Malaria, News, Tuberculosis, Vaccines|

As Memorial Day arrives to herald the start of summer, it’s time to pause in remembrance of U.S. Armed Forces members who lost their lives during service to their country. And, over the course of time, hundreds of thousands of those lives were claimed by silent soldiers that have no loyalty to country or flag, with no respect for borders: infectious diseases. During the U.S. Civil War, disease claimed more lives than bullets; upwards of two-thirds of deaths in the war were attributed to disease. Smallpox, along with dysentery, typhoid fever, scarlet fever, measles, malaria, consumption (tuberculosis) and a host of other infectious diseases, cut a swath through soldiers on both sides. Often before they even faced their human enemies, soldiers were hit by a wave of infection,  soon after arrival in camp. Those from rural areas were most vulnerable, lacking the immunity to childhood diseases those from urban areas often had.  And, disease epidemics played a significant role in halting several major campaigns during the Civil War, with these delays prolonging the fighting by as much as two years. […]

A Trip Back in Time: National Hansen’s Disease Museum in Carville, LA

May 19th, 2015|Blog, Leprosy|

Recently, I was in New Orleans to give a talk at Tulane University and found I had a few extra hours to explore. Instead of spending time in the French Quarter or on Bourbon Street, I knew where I wanted [...]

Up for the Challenge: Bike to Work

May 6th, 2015|News|

At IDRI, we’re never afraid of a challenge — whether it’s tackling infectious diseases or biking to work. Once again, IDRI is fielding teams for the Bike to Work challenge; we are small but mighty in comparison to some of the area’s large employers! Last year, IDRI riders pedaled 195 one way trips for 3,096 miles and commuted in by bike 70.8% of work days in May. This roughly equates to 151,719 calories burned, or 1,076 cans of Rainier beer. By not driving to work every day, we saved 3,033 pounds of CO2 from going into the air. If you figure the average car gets 23 miles per gallon and gas was about $3.90 a gallon, we saved 134 gallons of fuel and about $525. Not bad, I’d say. Even though gas is cheaper this year, that hasn’t kept three teams of IDRI bikers from jumping on our bikes this month. We realize how easy it is to replace some or all of our commutes with biking (especially when driving or bussing part of the way still counts). Enough people ride here at IDRI, so it’s pretty easy to find a buddy to commute with. […]

TB Cases in Local School Stir College Memories

April 15th, 2015|News, Tuberculosis|

Recent reports of tuberculosis cases in a local high school dredged up memories of a time this disease paid a visit to the college I attended … Word spread through the hallways of the dorm: “Lacy’s sick, and she won’t be back for a while.” We assumed that our friend, who’d gone home for a few days, had the flu or a stomach bug. But Lacy, who lived directly across the hall from me during our senior year at Mississippi University for Women, didn’t return very quickly – in fact, it was weeks before we saw her again. Diagnosed with active tuberculosis, Lacy was sent to Memphis to recuperate at a hospital, isolated from friends and family during what should have been one of the best times of her life. TB took its toll on Lacy – and on the people around her. Those of us who lived in close proximity found ourselves at the county health department on a regular basis – for TB skin tests and chest x-rays. Like many young people in the U.S., I’d taken my health for granted, and, all of a sudden, I realized I was vulnerable. Luckily, no one else developed active TB, and Lacy eventually returned – to school and to good health. […]

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