Last week Jess and Jo went to the BSP Autumn Symposium on Disease Ecology. Co-organised by Jo and hosted by Salford University in Media City, the meeting was attended by some leading disease ecologists (see upcoming instalments of ‘An interview with…’). It was a great opportunity for Jess to present the work she and Cormac conducted over the summer, and do some not-so-subtle job hunting!
In Pete Hudson’s overview of the misconceptions and challenges of research in wildlife diseases, he highlighted the power of education in changing human practices to reduce disease transmission (Penn State’s MOOC is a great start). We heard two excellent talks on dog parasites: the complexities of Echinococcus transmission followed by the shocking and unexpected reality of rabies – one child dies from the disease every 10 min. Appropriate for the media venue we learnt more about ‘headline’ parasites – fungi of honeybees and frogs, as well as TB in badgers. Alison Dunn highlighted the dangers of unintentional transfer of aquatic diseases (reminder for everyone to Virkon their wellies between ponds).
We also had the opportunity to see the film premier of a novel public engagement science project – a contemporary dance called ‘Transmission’. The film split opinion, stimulating debate about Science vs Art and the nature of public engagement – these were naturally continued in the pub..! All in all, it was a very enjoyable and inspiring meeting just a stone’s throw from the Blue Peter garden and Coronation Street!