Browsing: Health

Like a lot of scientists, I am very goal-oriented, so after I got my PhD in toxicology, I set out to become a leader in my field by the time I was 40. To get there, I knew I had to be acknowledged by the top researchers in my field, get invited to speak at important conferences, organize conferences, and publish in top journals. I’m happy to say that, with the support of my mentors, colleagues, family and friends, I was able to achieve my goal. It wasn’t without interesting blips along the way. When I was in my 30s, I was invited to my first committee meeting full of senior researchers, and I was put into a small group…

Aristotle once said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Two gears together can accomplish much more than one gear alone. And when you connect multiple systems together, whether of gears or computers, you can achieve even greater functionality and performance. We call these “systems of systems,” or SoS, and you can find them everywhere. Hospitals, for example. In a hospital, there are individual computer systems for patient management, pharmacies, laboratories, imaging, and telemetry. Included in this network are the individual machines used to diagnose and treat patients such as MRIs and pacemakers. Hospitals are connecting more and more of these machines to their wireless networks so that doctors and nurses can access and control them using…

Have you ever wondered if the things inside your house that you consider safe and harmless actually are? The perfume that you spray, the plastic food containers that you put in your dishwasher, the carpet that your kids lie on as they watch their favorite TV show, even the wrinkle-resistant clothing you wear — all of them could be potential sources of indoor air pollution. We don’t normally think about stuff inside our homes emitting pollutants, but just about all building materials and consumer products emit organic compounds. When I say “organic compounds” I don’t mean expensive broccoli, though broccoli and all foods are made of organic compounds. No, when I say “organic compounds,” I mean molecules that contain or are…

My fascination with the microbial world began when I was around 7 years old and my mother bought me a book called “The Value of Believing in Yourself: The Story of Louis Pasteur”. Nearly four decades later, I still vividly remember the story about the little boy Joey and the “invisible enemy” that had invaded his body. So began my journey into this tiny realm. On Friday, May 13, the White House announced a new initiative to advance our knowledge of the world of microbes, called microbiomes, and realize their full potential. As it has for so many other innovations, NIST will play an important part in the realization of microbiome-based products and treatments by helping to develop standards and…

Today in Taking Measure we asked Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) recipient Tara Lovestead a few questions about her life and work. Tara was recognized for her extensive application of new methods to rapidly and inexpensively detect trace levels of chemicals in vapors, enabling advances in homeland security, forensics, and food safety. What brought you to NIST? After I finished my bachelor’s in nutrition at Virginia Tech, I attended The University of Colorado (CU) at Boulder for both my master’s and Ph.D. in chemical engineering. My research focused on ultraviolet (UV) light-curable cross-linking polymer kinetics — a fancy way of saying I studied things like how dental fillings harden under UV light. Upon finishing my Ph.D.,…

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