Experts Available to Discuss Aspects of Swine Flu Outbreak

April 28, 2009

AUSTIN, Texas — In the wake of the worldwide swine flu outbreak, experts from across The University of Texas at Austin are available to comment on many aspects of viral infections, such as viral gene replication, the communication challenges the local and national health agencies are likely to face and more.

Health Communication
LeeAnn Kahlor, assistant professor, Department of Advertising
512-471-8498
kahlor@mail.utexas.edu
Kahlor researches how to communicate health risks effectively, as well as communication challenges local and national health agencies are likely to face during an epidemic.

Michael Mackert, assistant professor, Department of Advertising
512-471-8558
mackert@mail.utexas.edu
Mackert is an expert on health literacy, with a particular interest in the best ways to design health messages to reach low health literate populations. He can discuss how to ensure that information—online, in news stories, etc.—is accessible to lower literate audiences.

Epidemiology and Infection
Robert Krug, professor, Section of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
512-232-5563
rkrug@icms.utexas.edu
Krug is an expert on influenza virus biology. His research focuses on proteins encoded by influenza A viruses (including avian flu) in cells during infection. He recently identified an "Achilles heel" in the flu virus that would be a good target for new antiviral drugs.

Lauren Ancel Meyers, associate professor, Section of Integrative Biology
512-471-4950
laurenmeyers@mail.utexas.edu
Meyers in an evolutionary biologist who studies disease transmission dynamics. She has developed powerful models to forecast the spread of SARS and influenza and designed effective disease control strategies for hospitals and metropolitan areas.

Historical Perspective on Epidemics
John McKiernan-Gonzalez, assistant professor, Department of History
tulua@mail.utexas.edu
McKiernan-Gonzalez can provide an historical perspective on a variety of reactions to epidemics, and has specific research expertise in Mexican borders. He is available to do interviews in English and Spanish.

David Oshinsky
Professor, Department of History
512-475-7230
oshinsky@mail.utexas.edu
Oshinsky can provide background to the U.S. and epidemic disease. He is the Pulitzer Prize winner for his book "Polio, An American Story."

Pandemic Preparedness
Trish O'Day, clinical instructor, School of Nursing
512-232-4734
today@mail.nur.utexas.edu
O'Day specializes on working with communities and populations in disaster response in addition to disaster and pandemic preparedness. She also is an expert on health education and disease surveillance by nurses.

Benjamin Sasse, assistant professor, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs
703-299-8599
sasse@aya.yale.edu
Benjamin Sasse is the former assistant secretary for planning and evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Sasse has worked with a wide variety of organizations at moments of strategic crisis. He has advised airlines, utilities, major manufacturers, the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, the federal Bureau of Prisons and a number of nonprofit and educational institutions.

For more information, contact: Erin Geisler, KUT Radio, Moody College of Communication, (512) 475-8071.