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Monday, 02 July 2018 16:39

The Wrath of Maria: Puerto Rican Microbiologists Discuss Post-Hurricane Science

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Puerto Rico suffered a direct hit from the devastating hurricane Maria in September 2017, which destroyed the power grid and caused mass destruction across the island. Recovery has been slow, and Puerto Rican scientists have suffered from the after-effects in their research activities.

Dr. Greetchen Diaz is the Director of Educational Programs at Ciencia Puerto Rico, Dr. Bejamin Bolaños is a professor of mycology at the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine, Marcos Ramos Benitez is a Ph.D. student at the University of Puerto Rico, and Dr. Zomary Flores is a Professor at the University of Puerto Rico. microTalk recorded this discussion about the situation for Puerto Rican microbiologists post-Maria at the Puerto Rican Society for Microbiology meeting at Universidad del Este in Carolina, Puerto Rico.

These Puerto Rican scientists describe what happened to their laboratories after the hurricane, what it was like to be a graduate student mid-thesis in the middle of the devastation, the current status of science in Puerto Rico, some of the infections that increased in the aftermath, and how supportive the U.S. scientific community has been.

The microCase for listeners to solve is about Jim Beam, a middle-aged marketing executive who gets sick after trying to regain his youth during a backpacking trip.


  • Karl Klose, Ph.D. (UTSA)Greetchen Diaz Muñoz, Ph.D. (Ciencia Puerto Rico)
  • Benjamin Bolaños, Ph.D., (University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine)
  • Marcos Ramos Benitez (University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences)
  • Zomary Flores-Cruz, Ph.D. (University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras)

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Last modified on Monday, 02 July 2018 17:54
Karl Klose

Karl Klose, Ph.D. is a Professor of Microbiology at the University of Texas San Antonio, the Director of the South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases (STCEID), and host of microTalk. He oversees the research on infectious diseases that is carried out in his laboratory by undergraduate, Masters’, and Ph.D. students, as well as research staff. He also teaches microbiology to undergraduate and graduate students.

Karl is enthusiastic about enlightening people to the fascinating world of microbes.  He has given two TED talks on antibiotic resistance. He has been a visiting professor in Kolkata India and Valparaiso Chile.  He has spent the past two years visiting ASM branch meetings through the Distinguished Lecturer program.  You can find Karl on Twitter and you can find STCEID on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.