Infectious Insights Blog

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| |

Biking for the Health of It

Bike Everywhere Month—the new, more ambitious Bike to Work Month—is now under way with IDRI riding along. We’ve kicked off May 2016 with a bike safety seminar and discussion of safe routes, along with a breakfast rally to get us on our bikes. On May 20, we’ll host a Bike Anywhere Day “Celebration Station,” so stop by 1616 Eastlake for some snacks and swag. Last year, IDRI riders placed 89th out of 1,048 organizations for total number of bike trips, which is quite an impressive feat given our small size and the hearty competition! We logged 600 bike trips, totaling 3,249 miles. We saved 2,859 pound of CO2 from being emitted from our cars, and burned a collective 159,204 calories (or nearly 1,129 cans of Rainier beer!). And I think this year we can do even better. While IDRI’s goal is to improve the health of the world by stopping [...]

May 11th, 2016| |
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