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Intervention by Denise Caruso Read Intervention by Denise Caruso, Executive Director of the Hybrid Vigor Silver Award Winner, 2007 Independent Publisher Book Awards; Best Business Books 2007, Strategy+Business Magazine

archive for May, 2007

‘INTERVENTION’ WINS A SILVER MEDAL!

by ~ May 29, 2007

I’m very happy to report that my book, Intervention, has won a Silver Medal in the Science category, in the 2007 Independent Publishers Book Awards competition.

IPPY winners in 65 categories were selected from a total of 2,690 national entries came from “all 50 U.S. states, eight Canadian provinces, and 17 countries overseas.”

In the Science category, I’m flanked by books published by Harvard University Press and Yale University Press. I’m proud that li’l ol’ Hybrid Vigor Press has found itself in such good company. Very proud indeed.

PREVENTING PANDEMICS, INTERDISCIPLINARILY

by ~ May 11, 2007

Via the blog at Genome Technology Online, I stumbled onto this terrific essay at The Scientist, called “A New Dynamic … Can a Penn State center predict and prevent the next pandemic?”

… During the breeding season, tiny leeches climb aboard the newts, sucking their blood, and possibly transmitting Icthyophonus, a fungus-like pathogen that hides in the newt’s muscle. Newts have other parasites, too. Tom Raffel, a postdoc at the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics (CIDD) at Pennsylvania State University, has documented more than 20 different parasites in Pennsylvania newts. Two are new to science.

In the past, a scientist might single out a pathogen, map its life cycle, and describe the consequences for its victims. Although pathogens represent more than half of all life on earth, only a small fraction have ever been studied. So, a new approach to infectious disease is taking root both around the world and here on the shores of Beaver Pond. Raffel doesn’t study newts, or leeches, or Icthyophonus. He studies the Beaver Pond community and the myriad interactions within. Just a few miles away at CIDD, researchers are looking at human pathogens, too - measles, influenza, and Escherichia coli among others - and trying to understand the communities of these pathogens within cities and within hosts, piecing together the way these interactions evolve over time.

Despite advances in vaccine strategies and drug treatments, many scientists worry that not enough is being done to suppress, let alone anticipate, the next pandemic. Scientists at CIDD are taking principles of population biology, community ecology, and evolution and wedding them to epidemiology, immunology, and genomics. This approach could help optimize vaccination strategies, design eradication programs, halt incipient pandemics, and it could identify potential zoonoses before they’ve infected humans. In the three short years that CIDD has been around, it’s become a hotbed of interdisciplinary collaboration with 12 faculty members from departments around the Penn State campus.

Daniel Falush, an evolutionary geneticist at Oxford University, describes one effect CIDD has had in the United Kingdom: “There was a great sucking sound because these famous British scientists were disappearing to Penn State.” Actually, Ottar Bjørnstad, a Norwegian mathematical ecologist, was the first to make the move to State College in 2001. At that time, Peter Hudson was at the University of Stirling in Scotland but was displeased with their new president, who he says wasn’t supportive of biology. When Penn State invited him for a visit, he loved the atmosphere, and it didn’t hurt that his friend Bjørnstad had already scoped out the local pubs. …

[snip]

The piece quotes Hudson as saying, “Our vision really is to have a systems approach to disease,” says Hudson. “Issues that go from intracellular interactions between viruses and cells right the way through to pandemics, something we call the protein-to-pandemic link.”

I daresay that reality will probably turn out to be a bit less linear than that, but at least their linear thinking is horizontal!

COLLABORATION, DIVERSITY AND
INNOVATION: YEP, THERE’S A CONNECTION

by ~ May 6, 2007

My New York Times Re:framing column today is about the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University, and the indefatigable Red Burns — the chair of the program who designed it from scratch specifically to protect and nurture its wildly creative, collaborative, innovative spirit.

Here are a couple of excerpts, but if you click to the NYT site (registration required), you can see the photos and check out some of the links as well:

Tradition being what it is, even organizations that pine for new ideas struggle with how to change their cultures to support them. The Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University provides a longstanding example of why they should keep trying. […]

After more than a quarter-century, the influence of I.T.P.’s work is obvious to those who follow the interactive media world. For those who have struggled to innovate in their own worlds, the intriguing question is how the program has managed to keep its creative mojo so strong, and for so long.

According to Professor Burns, the twin forces that fuel innovation at I.T.P. are collaboration and diversity. “We have students from 40 different countries outside the U.S. this year,” she said. “We try to keep our gender split half men and half women. Our faculty and our students are from all over the place, discipline-wise. People here aren’t trying to beat each other at something, or win something. When you walk around and feel the energy, it’s extraordinary.”

ITP’s Spring Show is this Tuesday and Wednesday in New York, and it’s open to the public. It’s quite inspirational when you know how the projects came to be, and the environment from whence they sprang forth.

Speaking of inspiration, if you have some time, they’ve posted video from all the Thesis Week presentations. Totally fabulous!