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microTalk - infectious conversations about microbes


Jul 2, 2018

Puerto Rico suffered a direct hit from the devastating hurricane Maria in September 2017, which destroyed the power grid and caused mass destruction across the island.

Recovery has been slow, and Puerto Rican scientists have suffered from the after-effects in their research activities.

Dr. Greetchen Diaz is the Director of Educational Programs at Ciencia Puerto Rico, Dr. Bejamin Bolaños is a professor of mycology at the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine, Marcos Ramos Benitez is a Ph.D. student at the University of Puerto Rico, and Dr. Zomary Flores is a Professor at the University of Puerto Rico. microTalk recorded this discussion about the situation for Puerto Rican microbiologists post-Maria at the Puerto Rican Society for Microbiology meeting at Universidad del Este in Carolina, Puerto Rico.

These Puerto Rican scientists describe what happened to their laboratories after the hurricane, what it was like to be a graduate student mid-thesis in the middle of the devastation, the current status of science in Puerto Rico, some of the infections that increased in the aftermath, and how supportive the U.S. scientific community has been.

The microCase for listeners to solve is about Jim Beam, a middle-aged marketing executive who gets sick after trying to regain his youth during a backpacking trip.

Participants:
Karl Klose, Ph.D. (UTSA)
Greetchen Diaz Muñoz, Ph.D. (Ciencia Puerto Rico)
Benjamin Bolaños, Ph.D., (University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine)
Marcos Ramos Benitez (University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences)
Zomary Flores-Cruz, Ph.D. (University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras)