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Dr. Diana Ortiz to Speak at Café Scientifique on Monday, June 5

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Posted on Thursday, June 1, 2017

Dr. Diana Ortiz, assistant professor of biology, is guest speaking at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh as part of the Café Scientifique series on Monday, June 5 at 7 p.m. This event is free and open to adults. Food and drink will be available for purchase and parking is available for $5. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Carnegie Science Center’s Café Scientifique is an adult program for anyone interested in learning more about science and the latest technology breakthroughs in a relaxed, “pub-type atmosphere.”

“Being invited to present at the Carnegie Science Center’s Café Scientifique is an honor,” says Ortiz. “I hope that after this presentation, the audience gains a new appreciation for disease vectors, such as mosquitoes and ticks, and how humans are affecting how they live and interact with the environment.”

In her presentation, “Vector-Borne Disease Transmission: The Zika Virus Effect,” Ortiz discusses the societal and environmental changes that have directly affected the occurrence of vector-borne diseases. She also describes how unpredictable and complex these diseases can be, such as what has been observed through the worldwide emergence of the Zika virus.

Ortiz’s perspective on vectors stems from two decades of experience working in academia, industry, and government in the areas of vector biology, virology, biodefense, and public health

“I always get asked very basic questions about vectors and the diseases they transmit. I think people are always surprised to know that they are not just flying or crawling blood-sucking “needles,” explains Ortiz.

“Disease vectors are a group of very complex, biodiverse organisms that have been around a lot longer that humans have. These small, innocuous organisms are some of the most interesting and dangerous animals on Earth.”

Since coming to Westminster in 2014, Ortiz has maintained an active undergraduate research program in vector biology/ecology and emerging vector-borne diseases.

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Contact Tom Fields at or 724-946-7190 with additional inquiries.