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Humankind has been fighting infectious disesases caused by bacteria and parasites for centuries. This lecture series will devle into how ancient scientific methods evolved into modern approaches to fighting infections, describe the threats posed by renewed resistance of bacteria to antibiotics and help us understand the workings of a toxoplasma parasite and how we can combat it’s harmful effects on human health.
Searching for Effective Drugs Over the Centuries
Prof. Art Greenberg (Professor, Department of Chemistry, UNH)
This talk will be a light, highly pictorial, visit to stops along humankind’s search for effective medicines. Initially, drugs were made from distillation of extracts from plants and animals and the powdering of bezoars (stones found in intestines for example). The sixteenth-century physician-alchemist Paracelsus produced artificial medications based upon toxic metals (mercury, arsenic, etc). We will bring the 1694 pharmacopeaia authored by Pierre Pomet, the Royal Pharmacist of Louis XIV- horn of unicorn is highly recommended.
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria: Where did they come from, and how do we deal with them?
Prof. Marc Boudreau (Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry , UNH)
The emergence of bacteria that are resistant to nearly all antibiotics (aka "superbugs") is a global public health threat of the early 21st century. How did these bacteria originate, and what can we, as scientists and as citizens, do to tackle this problem? This talk will attempt to provide some answers to these questions.
Zombie parasites that can control your mind
Prof. Vicki Jeffers (Assistant Professor, Molecular Cellular and Biomedical Sciences, UNH)
Toxoplasma gondii is probably the most successful parasite in the world and has recently hit the headlines as a “zombie parasite” that “can control your mind”. I will describe what we know about this parasite infection and the studies that have prompted these sensationalist news reports, emphasizing how our click-bait culture warps science today.