What makes this virus so deadly? How does it spread so rapidly? What does it to do to the human
Biology faculty member
Elizabeth Wheeler Alm can answer questions about how the virus invades
cells, how coronaviruses mutate, why coronaviruses (and influenza viruses) are more likely to
develop strains with pandemic potential, the transmission of disease between humans and animals, and
R0 value and contagiousness.
Biography: Alm teaches courses on microbiology, medical microbiology and emerging
infectious diseases. Her lab applies microbiological and molecular techniques to the ecology of
pathogenic microorganisms in the environment. She has her doctorate from the University of Illinois
at Urbana-Champaign, where she also did her postdoc.
How does the coronavirus invade our cells? Why do some people get sick and others don't? How
does the virus spread across the globe?
Biology faculty member
Mallary Wacker understands the scientific basis of current
"experimental" treatment options (such as cholorquine and ventilation) and vaccine
candidates, antiviral immunity and the "cytokine storm" that is associated with severe
Biography: Wacker teaches on topics of immunology, inflammation and host-pathogen
interactions. Her research is aimed at understanding how the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus
perturbs the ability of human phagocyte cells to effectively kill ingested bacteria and regulate
excessive inflammation. She received her doctorate from the University of Notre Dame and did her
postdoc at the University of Iowa.
How does the virus mess with our immune system? Why it is worse in some than in others?
Chemistry and Biochemistry faculty member
Stephen Juris can speak on human-pathogen interactions and
the immune response.
Biography: Juris teaches biology, cell biology, biochemistry and immunology. His
research focuses on the biochemical and cell biological action of bacterial toxins that target the
cytoskeleton. He earned his doctorate from the University of Michigan and did his postdoc at Harvard
How does infectious disease work? How can people stay healthy when traveling?
Dr. Nicholas Haddad is an infectious disease specialist with CMU
Health. His areas of special interest and medical expertise include complicated lung
infections, fevers, communicable diseases, infections in immunocompromised individuals, and travel
health (prevention, vaccination and post-travel illnesses).
Biography: Haddad has more than 15 years of experience practicing
adult medicine. He received his medical degree from the American University of Beirut in Lebanon and
completed an internal medicine residency at the Indiana University School of Medicine. Haddad
furthered his training with an infectious disease fellowship at the Washington University School of
Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. Haddad treats patients at CMU Health in Saginaw, as well as
Covenant HealthCare and Ascension St. Mary's hospitals.