A History of Infection

The little things that have altered history every step of the way.

Month: November, 2013

Update

So here is the news I didn’t tell you about last time. So I’ve been talking to a number of people in recent months the most important of these are Freya Harrision and Cristina Lee in this story. Between the two of them they have been trying to setup a cross discipline research group looking at how disease and health were perceived in ancient times, how they treated disease and how did pathogen spread through these populations. I hopefully don’t need to tell you how excited I am to be involved in this collaboration.

So what will we be doing? Well that hasn’t yet been formalised but certainly one thing we plan on sorting out it getting someone in to the lab to test some of the medicines that we have quite accurate accounts of. I’m still trying to push to test the ‘potion’ to help with unruly dwarfs but it is probably best we stick to microbes.

Another side that I am very interested in seeing if we can get off the ground is how did pathogens spread through populations. There are a number of differences between population structures from today to the pre industrial age. These differences could have huge implications for how and why pathogens managed to cause such havoc. We have also wrangled a climate geologist. Together we could model climate and population and see if there is a link between plagues and climate.

I also hope that we can include some out reach into the project, currently we are talking about public lectures in 2015 but I don’t see why blogs like this and maybe even some youtube videos can’t find their way into the project.

There is one big problem so far and that is we haven’t secured funding but we are hopeful, mainly as this is truly a cross-disapline project and the university is always trying to get us to talk together and be friends.

So that is that for now, hopefully as the project develops I can let you all into more and more details and oh so juicy science.

 

The League of Nerds is on iTunes

What is a history of infection?

The project started in 2012 some time in September, I had wanted to get back into making YouTube videos but I didn’t want to make one like I used too. These were rebuttals to creationist and creationism. One, they could be very boring! Two, having to sit through and watch endless terrible videos on why I hate a God I do not believe in or have no morals became very dull. Three, others had said everything I could say and better.

So I decided I would stay clear of those, several month earlier I had written a piece on the history of Stds for the university newspaper and I really enjoyed telling people about these pathogens in, what I hope was an entertaining manner.

Now a year later and although I’m having to take a break to finish my PhD I think I have done some nice work and have improved the style a reasonable amount. At the same time hopefully the idea might find a home in a very similar project I’m involved with, more about that later.

So what is a history of infection? It is a way to communicate and sneak in complex microbiology and evolutionary principles into peoples minds in the guise of history. On a similar note of ulterior┬ámotives writing a blog, I hope will in some way improve my quite frankly shocking english. If it wasn’t for spellcheck it wouldn’t be just my grammar that is terrible. It should also be noted that I am not a historian, I am a microbiologist, and if I have learnt anything from making the videos it is that my interpretation of history is very shallow. This is one of the main issue I plan on addressing. The name, I did not want to call it History of infection as that implies a complete history. A history is my history, the stuff and sundry that I find interesting and hope in some way I can communicate to you too.

So what can you expect from this blog?

1. Microbiology smuggled into you brain.

2. Interesting analysis of research looking at how pathogens spread through population.

3. Bad Grammar and occasional bad spelling.

4. Updates of the hopefully long term plans to carry on doing something similar with the project in a professional manner.

So in the next update I hope I will have some news which I’m quite excited about but we will have to see if it works out or not. I’ll tell you either way!

Till then

Best wishes.

James