ASM Global Video Challenge submission!
Hello ASM! I am a microbiology graduate student in the Runstadler Lab at MIT. We are an interdisciplinary group of scientists comprising biochemists, ecologists, computer scientists, veterinarians, and microbiologists. Together, our lab studies all aspects of avian influenza viruses. One of our main focuses is the surveillance of influenza in its natural reservoir. In this video you will be taken on one of many exciting expeditions to sample gulls in Massachusetts! Wild aquatic birds, including gulls, are the natural reservoir for influenza A virus. All past human influenza pandemics around the world have avian origins. Understanding the current strains circulating in the natural reservoir may inform us about and help us better prepare for future pandemic viruses. This is how our microbiology research, one bird at a time, is making the world a better place!