Infectious Insights Blog

The Role Rainier Beer Played in IDRI’s Founding

NOTE: This month, IDRI is celebrating its 23rd anniversary. The photo below shows founder Steve Reed, with a small sign pointing to the original IDRI site, sandwiched between a video store and a pizza joint on Nickerson Street in Seattle. It’s all about relationships. It was interesting to read about Rainier beer a couple of months ago in the local newspaper. And that made me recall the role that Rainier beer played in IDRI’s development – actually, in its birth. When I first moved to Seattle, I worked at the Issaquah Health Research Institute. I went from being an associate professor at Cornell to a postdoc in Issaquah, but that's another story. The institute in Issaquah was a small organization; we grew it over time and eventually it became Seattle Biomedical Research Institute and now the Center for Infectious Disease Research. But in those days, it was a little bit lonesome [...]

August 22nd, 2016| , |

The Brexit Impact on Science

I don’t normally write about politics, but last week something momentous happened in my home country that intersects with the world of science. It has been a week since the United Kingdom voted in favor of “Brexit” - a surprise result from a national referendum. The shock waves that went through the scientific community, and the sense of loss and confusion among my scientific friends and colleagues, was huge. While none of us know how this will turn out, those few days since that big vote have given us time to pause and reflect on the possible consequences. As a scientist, while working for two decades in London, my work benefited immensely from the UK’s participation as a member of the European Union. Science is a global pursuit, requiring the best and brightest minds from wherever they hail. Being part of a large union with freedom of movement meant we were [...]

July 1st, 2016| |

What’s on Your Summer Science Reading List?

What’s on your reading list for this summer? We posed that question to IDRI employees – focused on books related to science or technology – and got some interesting answers. Take a look – you might want to add these to your list! Linda Hawkins, Director, Quality Assurance and Compliance, has three favorites to recommend. “Drive:  The Surprising Truth of What Motivates Us” by Daniel Pink details startling results of psychological experiments that reveal that there are three elements that drive us – autonomy, mastery and purpose. “Forget the carrot and stick. Reading it gave me a better understanding of not only what motivates my employees but what motivates me as well.” The follow-up book to Marie Kondo’s first New York Times best-selling book, “Spark Joy,” shows that “we all need a little more joy from our environment as well as know-how to fold clothes origami-style. The book speaks to my Japanese [...]

June 28th, 2016| |

Empowering Developing Countries Through Tech Transfer

Here’s a daunting question: what is your proudest work-related accomplishment? When that question was posed to me at a recent Washington Global Health Alliance dinner, several answers came to mind, but I landed on one specific example because it best shows the impact of the work we do here at IDRI and why I chose to work in the field of global health. To me, it’s difficult to overestimate the importance of building capacity for in-country vaccine development and production. Six years ago, IDRI began to transfer our adjuvant technology to Gennova Biopharmaceuticals, a leading Indian biotech company. As you may know, adjuvants are key components of today’s vaccines, boosting effectiveness by stimulating the immune system. They can also improve a vaccine’s reach through ‘dose-sparing’ – reducing the amount of vaccine needed for a dose and increasing the available doses of a vaccine supply many times over. Within about a [...]

June 10th, 2016| |

From Virtual to Face-to-Face

These days scientific collaborations can move along with phone calls and emails, but there’s nothing quite like a good old fashioned face-to-face meeting to keep things moving. The American Association of Immunologists annual meeting was in Seattle last weekend (where several IDRI scientists presented, along with former IDRI scientists who have moved into Ph.D. program across the country), presenting  the opportunity for such meetings with IDRI collaborators who were attending. Earlier in the week Henrique Couto Teixeira from Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora in Brazil stopped by to check out IDRI for the first time; we discussed potential projects across a variety of our diagnostic programs. And he dropped off a copy of his book, teaching children about the immune system. Author

May 25th, 2016| |
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