We believe in using biology to bridge communities. In this spirit, we are involved in several outreach projects, both globally and locally, connected to scientific education and research. In Nepal, we support the Patan Academy of Health Sciences (PAHS), a grass-roots medical school in the Kathmandu Valley whose mission is to provide doctors to the most rural and underserved areas of the country. Our support includes volunteer teaching, curriculum development, and financial contributions.
In both Bangladesh and Nepal, where waterborne infectious diseases are common, we are collaborating with local scientists to monitor the water quality in rivers, estuaries and urban waterways in these countries. In Bangladesh, we measured the microbial composition of the Ganges River estuary during the annual monsoon cycle and found that the microbiome closely tracks the spatiotemporal salinity dynamics in this water, which has important implications for the epidemiology of bacterial diseases such as cholera. In Nepal, we are similarly measuring the microbiome during climatic fluctuations to determine their effect on the abundance of pathogenic bacteria in the Kathmandu Valley.
Locally, in association with the Petey Greene Program, we volunteer as weekly biology tutors to people incarcerated at the Queensboro Correctional Facility, a minimal security prison that serves as a waypoint for their re-entry to society. Our goal is to provide high-quality education that empowers our students and supports their success upon re-entry.