past event

Going Viral: Origin Stories of Passion in the Sciences

Using as a launchpad the new play The Catastrophist (about virologist Dr. Nathan Wolfe), by Lauren Gunderson, recognized as America’s most produced living playwright, this two-part public virtual event series will explore intersections of science and storytelling to illuminate the backstories behind how expert scientists fell in love with the quest for discovery, and how writers seek to tell these stories from past and present to convey the power and purpose of the scientific endeavor.

The first event, “Going Viral: Origin Stories of Passion in the Sciences,” will be a unique gathering of the country’s most interesting scientific minds in conversation about their personal origin stories. How did a world-class microbiologist fall in love with science? Where did an esteemed epidemiologist find their passion for discovery? This 90-minute live event will present microbiologists, immunologists, and other pandemic experts in dialogue with each other about how they found their passion for science.

Nahid Bhadelia, M.D.
Medical Director, Special Pathogens Unit, Boston Medical Center and Associate Professor, Section of Infectious Diseases, Boston University School of Medicine. She has prior and ongoing experience in health system response to pathogens such as Ebola, H1N1, Zika, Lassa fever, and COVID-19 at the state, national, and global levels.

Namandjé N. Bumpus, Ph.D.
E. K. Marshall and Thomas H. Maren Professor and Director of the Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences, Johns Hopkins University. Her research seeks to mechanistically define the role of drug metabolism in antiviral drug outcomes.

Benhur Lee, M.D.
Professor of Microbiology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. His laboratory focuses on exploring how viruses co-opt basic cell biological processes to complete their life cycle and the myriad strategies used by viruses to propagate themselves.

Nita Madhav, M.P.H.
Epidemiologist, risk modeler, and CEO of Metabiota, a company that specializes in microbiological research, products and services. Her team works on models to predict epidemiological preparedness and readiness of economies to absorb losses experienced in extreme events.

Nathan Wolfe, Ph.D.
Virologist, entrepreneur, and founder and Chair of Metabiota, a data analytics company focused on epidemic risk. He is the author of The Viral Storm and was named as one of the hundred most influential people in the world by Time magazine.

With introductory remarks by
Lauren Gunderson, M.F.A.
Playwright, screenwriter, and short story author. She was named the most produced playwright in America by American Theatre Magazine in 2017 and 2019 and finds “deep and thrilling drama in the course of scientific progress” and stages it as much as possible.

This event is co-hosted by the Aspen Institute Science & Society Program, Marin Theatre Company, and Round House Theatre.



Event information
Thu Feb 18, 2021
8:00pm - 9:30pm EDT