A Good Story, Well Told: 100 Years of Influenza Research at the University of Wisconsin

April 14, 2020

Please share this update with your friends & neighbors.

Hi WN@TL Fans,

Last night I talked on the phone with Emeritus Prof. Marilyn Tufte of UW-Platteville, who retired last May after 51 years as a professor of microbiology.

I mentioned to her my foggy memories of her Immunology class in 1978 in what was then the brand new Boebel Hall at UW-P.  Despite the mist, one memory was pretty crisp:  for whatever reason, some viruses that induce an antibody response in a person can also come back and infect that person a second time.

A little cautionary tale like that comes in handy over the decades.  Viruses are wily. I wouldn’t presume willy-nilly to know what they’ll do.  As with stocks, past performance does not predict future outcomes.

Her class also lit my interest in the deeper backstory of “The Spanish Flu” of 1918-19.  That candle has remained burning ever since, as attested by the glow of the series of talks on influenza at WN@TL in 2018 during the centennial of the Pandemic.

This week, may I suggest you re-watch this WN@TL:  “100 Years of Influenza Research at the University of Wisconsin.”  It features Yoshihiro Kawaoka, Christopher Olsen, and founding dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine, Bernard Easterday.

Viruses can be wily, but virologists can be savvy, and these three also fulfill my highest hopes for every speaker at WN@TL:  “A good story, well told.”


This talk on the first hundred years of virology research at UW will go well with the upcoming presentations by Dean Robert Golden and Dr. Peter Newcomer as part of the next “The UW Now” online tonight, Tuesday April 14 at 7pm CDT.

For information on how to watch the live stream, please see https://www.allwaysforward.org/uwnow/


Also as I mentioned last week, the folks at “Badger Talks,” UW-Madison’s speakers bureau, are launching online presentations called “Badger Talks Live.” I’ve copied the lineup below. Here’s the link:  https://badgertalks.wisc.edu/badger-talks-live/

I’m giving the presentation on Tuesday April 21.  It’s about Science Savvy with Food, but it’s also science savvy in the time of covid quarantines.  Or as I wrote to my 4H colleagues:

Hope to see you sometime soon once we can resume Wednesday Nite @ The Lab.

Tom Zinnen
Biotechnology Center & Division of Extension, Wisconsin 4-H


UW-Madison:  5.8 million owners, one pretty good public land-grant teaching, research and extension university.

Visit UW-Madison’s science outreach portal at science.wisc.edu for information on the people, places & programs on campus that welcome you to come experience science as exploring the unknown, all year round.

Here are the components of the WN@TL User’s Guide:

  1. The live WN@TL seminar, every Wednesday night, 50 times a year, at 7pm CT (on hiatus as of March 11, 2020)
  2. The live web stream at biotech.wisc.edu/webcams(also on hiatus)
  3. The WN@TL YouTubechannel
  4. WN@TL on the University Placebroadcast channel of PBS Wisconsin
  5. WN@TL on the University Place website

To invite your friends to subscribe to the WN@TL listserve, ask them to send an email to join-wednesday-nite-at-the-lab@lists.wisc.edu

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