• Question: Did you encounter any field work while in the CDC?

    Asked by fuzzypeanut to Julian on 25 Mar 2011.
    • Photo: Julian Rayner

      Julian Rayner answered on 25 Mar 2011:

      No fuzzypeanut, not while at CDC – I was a pure lab junkie for most of that time. I did make friends with some people where in what is called the CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service. They are scientists who essentially live on call for a few years, and whenever there is an outbreak of an unusual disease somewhere in the world, they get sent in to identify it and help coordinate the public health response. It’s a cool job, and really hard to get in, but not always as glamorous as it sounds – sometimes all you get sent out to is outbreaks of Cryptosporidium (which causes diarrhea) at a local water park, or something like that!

      I have done more field work since setting up my own lab. In particular, I have visited the Amazon region of Peru a few times, and have great collaborations with scientists there. The town I go to, Iquitos, is really cool – the biggest town in the world that you can’t reach by road, you have to fly in or take a boat down the Amazon. The roads just run through town, then end about 20 miles out in the jungle, and pretty much everyone drives motorbikes instead of cars, since you have to fly cars in, so they are very expensive. Really cool town, and very interesting malaria dynamics there.