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Health and medicine/Diseases and disorders/Infectious diseases

Luis Martinez, like many scientists, did not set out to be a leader in public engagement with science. For him, this aspect of his career arose largely through a research project that attracted the interest of the Los Angeles Times. This attention from a national newspaper led to other interviews, and eventually he was recruited by one of his professional associations, the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), to be on their communication committee. Through ASM, he helped with communication training workshops for graduate students, realizing along the way that he had more experience to share than he’d realized.
Anthony Wilson studies how the biology of blood-feeding insects affects the spread of viruses and our ability to control their spread. Wilson, group leader in Integrative Entomology at the Pirbright Institute in the United Kingdom, first did public engagement as a graduate student participating in the Science and Engineering Ambassador program at his university. He found it rewarding to speak with undergraduate students about STEM careers, especially because no one had encouraged him in this way. Since then, his public engagement has continued to be part of his research career, as his work is inherently public-facing. For example, he coordinated closely with veterinarians to manage and communicate about the bluetongue virus during the 2006 outbreak in Europe. He helped promote the message that insects spread this disease, which has severe impacts on livestock populations, and that people can help in controlling it and preventing its entry into the UK.