Five months have passed since I last focused on the Public Engagement series with Maria Duque, at Sanger Institute. The focus: parasites and Neglected Tropic Diseases (NTD’s).
I meet a new scientist (#5 out of 6) who introduces me (and you) to yet another malicious actor/parasite and its destruction/disease.
When I first connect with Dr. Sarah Buddenborg, it’s November and she is at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, in the UK. We finally meet via zoom, on a Monday afternoon, this last May. She’s in transition mode, having returned to the US, to begin a new position a week from the day we speak.
Upon introductions, I learn she’d received a PhD in Biology, at the University of New Mexico. I tell her I received my MFA at New Mexico State University. We both agree the NM desert is great landscape.
Side note: During this pandemic, when the lab Sarah works in, shuts down, she works tracking Covid-19 cases. Curious, I ask a few questions, and then I force myself to stay focused on the blood fluke, Schistosoma mansoni. (We’ll talk Covid sequencing another time!).
Sarah works on the parasite, S mansoni.
“It’s truly an incredible worm, she says, with separate male and female adult worms that fit together like a hot dog inside a hot dog bun! …I’ve worked with S. mansoni for over 12 years now, only recently switching from looking at the snail host stages to the sexual development and sexual differentiation of males and females.”
I confess, from the various parasites on the list, I choose this one because its intermediate host is a snail. I imagine a coiled worm and a spiraled snail could make for engaging, line compositions.