Postponed: Kerri Coon’s talk; New Speaker for Jan 6 is Patrick Remington on COVID

For January 6, 2021       
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Hi WN@TL Fans,
I am delighted to wish everyone a Happy New Year as we approach Epiphany, which could be the International Day of Scientific Serendipity.  Epiphany also shares an etymological root with ‘phenotype’:  the Greek phainein means to “bring to light, cause to appear, show.”
Now in the growing daylight of the first week of January, we are showing what we are made of.  It will be enlightening, although not necessarily flattering.
Yesterday, here in the deep midwinter, I was all set to write an epistle about my mostest favoritest part of summer:  mosquitoes.  It was to feature probing questions about mozzies bearing probosces:  like, why do they bite?  and, why do they bight some people more than others?
Unfortunately, yesterday afternoon Professor Kerri Coon, our speaker scheduled for tomorrow night, let me know that due to a family emergency she would not be able to give the talk on January 6.  I hope all goes well for her and hers, and I’m looking forward to hearing her presentation sometime soon in the coming months.
Fortunately,  Pat Remington, emeritus professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences, has agreed to pinch hit and will give a talk entitled, “COVID-19:  The Pandemic, Public Health, and Politics.”
I don’t have a description for his talk (in this case, the title suffices), but I am reminded that the 2020 World Series Game 4 was won by a pinch-hitter stroking a walk-off hit to center field.

Bio:  Patrick Remington is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Population Health Sciences and is Director of the UW-Madison Preventive Medicine Residency Program.
Dr. Remington received his undergraduate degree in molecular biology and his medical degree from the University of Wisconsin. After completing an internship at Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle, he trained at the CDC as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer (assigned to the Michigan health department); as a Preventive Medicine Resident in the Division of Nutrition at the CDC, and as part of the CDC Career Development Program, when he obtained his MPH in Epidemiology from the University of Minnesota.

He was the Chief Medical Officer for Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention in the Wisconsin Division of Health for almost a decade, and joined the Department of Population Health Sciences in 1997. Since that time he has led the development and was the first Director of the UW MPH Program, the UW Population Health Institute, and the UW Preventive Medicine Residency Program; was the first Associate Director for Population Health Science in the Carbone Cancer Center, and was the inaugural Associate Dean for Public Health in the renamed, School of Medicine and Public Health.

Dr. Remington’s current research examines ways to improve public health surveillance methods and outcomes. He led the development of the Wisconsin County Health Rankings, now a national program supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
On January 13 Nam Kim of Anthropology presents on “Plumbing Nebulous Depths: Violence and Warfare in Humanity’s Past.”
Description:  Are we an inherently violent species? Has “warfare” always existed for humanity? This lecture highlights anthropological research regarding the antiquity and earliest cultural expressions of organized violence. It highlights various methods used by researchers to identify and consider practices related to violence and warfare in the remote past, and how such behaviors may have been profoundly tied to both biological and cultural changes in human history. The lecture also considers how anthropological evidence has been presented to the general public and the implications of such findings in shaping our views about human nature and prospects for peace.
Bio:  I am an anthropological archaeologist interested in sociopolitical complexity, early forms of cities, factors associated with significant cultural change, and the relationship between modern politics, cultural heritage, and the material record. I am  especially interested in the cultural contexts and social consequences of organized violence and warfare, as manifested in various cultural, spatial and temporal settings. Much of my recent research has been geographically focused on East and Southeast Asia, and since 2005 I have been conducting archaeological fieldwork in Vietnam at the Co Loa settlement in the Red River Delta. A heavily fortified site located near modern-day Hanoi, Co Loa is purportedly connected to Vietnamese legendary accounts and is thus viewed by many as integral to the genesis of Vietnamese civilization. Aside from its historical and national significance, the case of Co Loa is salient for archaeological theory as it constitutes one of the earliest cases for both state formation and urbanism in Southeast Asia.

Legendary Cổ Loa: Vietnam’s Ancient Capital (2020). Interview with Tristan Hughes, part of History Hit TV’s podcast series The Ancients

On January 20 Claudia Solis-Lemus of Plant Pathology and the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery presents on “Through the Looking-Glass of Data Science.”
Description:  Big data is creating a big splash. In 2020 we expect 2.7 million job openings in Data Science in the US alone — 10 times more than public health, another fast-growing field. But what exactly is Data Science? In this talk, I will describe my research as a statistician in a Plant Pathology department, and how Data Science is revolutionizing the way we study plants and microbes. Statistics exploits the power of big data, redefining the way in which we do science by allowing us to spark discovery out of the massive amounts of data that are being collected in every scientific field. I will describe specific examples related to soil and plant microbiome, and illustrate how the general applicability of statistical tools can help translate methodologies that we use in plants to human research, in particular, to gut and lung microbiome.

Bio:  I grew up in Mexico City, where I did my undergraduate work at the Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico in Actuarial Sciences and Applied Mathematics. I did my Ph.D. in Statistics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and then a postdoc here as well in the Department of Botany. After that, I did a postdoc at Emory University in the Department of Human Genetics. Now, I am an assistant professor jointly affiliated with the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery and the Department of Plant Pathology.

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Hope to see you soon at Wednesday Nite @ The Lab!
Tom Zinnen
Biotechnology Center & Division of Extension, Wisconsin 4-H