Saturday, June 15, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

Richard Kessin

Richard Kessin, Ph.D., is professor emeritus of pathology and cell biology at Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. For more than 30 years he taught doctoral and medical students the basics of tissue and cell structure. During those years his laboratory did basic research on problems of cell biology and development that was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. For five years, he was an associate dean in charge of 450 graduate students at Columbia’s medical center. Prior to Columbia, he taught genetics at Harvard. His research resulted in many scientific publications and a book on a fascinating group of organisms called the social amebae, about which he will be happy to tell you if you ask. Just for fun, he wrote a novel about a young scientist who discovers a virus that makes men lose their ability to make testosterone. This discovery turns out to be a bigger adventure than she bargained for. The novel is called “The Famine of Men” and, among other things, it explains how the world of basic research functions. Since retiring, Rich Kessin has been writing articles for the Lakeville Journal and the Millerton News that explain the details about various topic, including, recently, measles, coronavirus, and the juncture of politics and science. He also gives occasional talks and discussions on immunology, vaccines and infectious disease. He lives in Norfolk, Connecticut.

written articles

The Body Scientific: The past and future of COVID-19

Mistakes are part of the raw material of science. In "Anthem," Leonard Cohen sang, “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

RICHARD KESSIN: Omicron, that’s enough

As Omicron carries on mutating, what do we have in our pharmaceutical arsenal to fight it? A heartening number of antivirals and treatments, reports Kessin.

The Body Scientific: Omicron, mutations, and medical updates

What is the scientific and medical community doing about COVID variants? Creating new vaccines and developing treatments to inhibit virus replication.

The Body Scientific: How will the COVID pandemic end?

"My prediction is that COVID-19 will recede in areas of high vaccination. All treatments will have a role, but vaccination will play the primary one."

A COVID vaccine that works — and is safe

A scientist explains in an informal video how the coronavirus vaccine works and why it is safe.

The COVID-19 vaccines: Introducing the innate immune system

Innate immunity is fascinating because it is not specific to a particular virus or bacterial infection.

The Body Scientific: The COVID-19 vaccines

We have a fluid situation but widespread vaccination should be available, perhaps in June as CDC has been saying for some time.

The Body Scientific: Who will deal with the pandemic of 2040?

We need to engage students in science and medicine, and there is nothing better than a good story to do that.

COVID-19 clinical trials and the promise of a vaccine

The new techniques for vaccine production are effective and fast, but we have to know about dangerous viruses before they break into the human population.

Masks, mistakes and progress on COVID-19

Well-designed clinical trials are the most critical part of solving COVID-19. If they are big enough, they may have many arms that test dosages or different age groups or other important questions.

CORONAVIRUS, Part II: What is to be done?

We live in evolutionary competition with microbes—bacteria and viruses. There is no guarantee that we will be the survivors.

The Coronavirus: How we got here

The ultimate test is a vaccine and a number have entered phase 1 trials, where they are tested for safety, dosage and the immune responses they provoke.
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