Malaria: Natural Selection and New Medicine • Producer
The malaria parasite and its human hosts are locked in an evolutionary arms race. The parasite kills more than a million people every year. Humans fight back with gradual genetic adaptation and better drugs. The parasite then adapts to evolve drug resistance. Watch as immunologist Dyann Wirth and her team at the Harvard School of Public Health study the evolutionary adaptations of Senegalese people and their malaria parasites in the field and in the lab. The scientists are seeking signs of natural selection at a molecular level to help fight malaria in a smarter way.
Influenza - Jumping the Species Barrier • Producer
Outbreaks of avian influenza are killing both domestic poultry and wild birds across Asia and Europe. While the virus is lethal to about half of the humans who contract it from birds, pandemic has yet to occur because this influenza can't effectively transmit from person to person. Scientists are preparing for that to change. Learn how research teams are sampling migrating waterfowl as well as sequencing the deadly, long-dormant 1918 virus in an effort to stay ahead of the evolving avian flu. A goal of the race is to develop an efficient, effective vaccine for millions of people worldwide.
New York, NY
Caving for Cures • Producer
Chemist Brian Bachmann of Vanderbilt University has combined his professional interest in natural products drug production with his hobby of caving to set up the first systematic program to search for novel drugs produced by cave-dwelling microorganisms. Microbes that thrive in these highly competitive environments are good candidates for producing compounds that can be used to fight disease.