2nd Science Talks! Tackling Ebola with Dr. Peter Halfmann, influenza specialist

The second Science Talk on tackling Ebola will take place on Tuesday 24 July at 11:00 am EST. In this session, Dr. Peter Halfmann, Research Associate Professor at the Influenza Research Institute at the University of Wisconsin, will discuss the latest facts and figures on this infectious disease including news about vaccines. Attendees will learn more about:

  • The current situation in regions affected by the Ebola virus and if there is still any danger.
  • Where we stand with the research on finding a vaccine and if the latest human trials were successful.
  • When the vaccine will be made available for humans affected in regions by the Ebola virus.
  • What the future will bring in terms of infectious diseases, such as Ebola.
  • How local journalists can better report on infectious diseases including what they should look for, what kind of questions to ask, what resources they should use.

Register here. 


In partnership with Wiley, we are pleased to introduce to 10,000 science journalists globally and to everyone who is interested, a new series of webinars called Science Talks that are brought to you by The Wiley Network.


University of Wisconsin, B.S. Bacteriology  // University of Wisconsin, Ph.D. Cellular and Molecular Biology

Initially, Peter wanted to pursue a medical degree after his undergraduate studies, but he became interested in infectious diseases and viruses, particularly Ebola virus, after reading Richard Preston’s “The Hot Zone”. At the beginning of his junior year, he sought out a lab at the University of Wisconsin that focused its research on virus pathogenesis and discovered the lab of Dr. Yoshihiro Kawaoka, a professor at the School of Veterinary Medicine and a world expert on influenza virus.

After being told that influenza viruses were as interesting as Ebola virus, Peter started his career in the Kawaoka group. He was a student research assistant for two years, then, after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in bacteriology, he was a technician for one year before starting graduate school in the Cellular and Molecular Biology program with Dr. Kawaoka as his mentor. Unable to conduct research with authentic Ebola virus in Wisconsin, Peter developed a novel, biologically-contained Ebola virus as part of his graduate thesis research. The biologically-contained virus resembled authentic Ebola virus but could be handled safely under non-biosafety level-4 containment. Besides being an important research tool, Peter demonstrated that the biologically-contained virus could also be used as a whole-virus vaccine to protect against Ebola virus infection.

In 2008, Peter earned his Ph.D. and decided to continue his research with Dr. Kawaoka. He received biosafety level-4 training at the NIAID’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories from Dr. Heinz Feldmann. As part of his high containment research, he continued to evaluate his Ebola vaccine. During the height of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, Peter established a research lab at 34 Military Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone to examine the body’s responses to Ebola virus infection. Currently, Peter is a Research Associate Professor at the Influenza Research Institute (part of the University of Wisconsin) and manages the Ebola research efforts in the Kawaoka group. With support from the Japanese government, his vaccine is currently being produced at Waisman Biomanufacturing for a human clinical research trial in Japan. Peter still travels to Sierra Leone to follow-up with Ebola survivors and to conduct surveillance studies to identify neglected and novel viruses circulating in Sierra Leone.

Committee to Protect Journalists: Journalist Safety at the US Border

Are you a journalist whose device was searched at the US border? Were you stopped for extra screening? The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is concerned when authorities target journalists at borders with additional inspections, search their devices, and delay or deny their entry. 

The CPJ and Reporters Without Borders (RSF), on behalf of the ACOS Alliance, have been working to understand the scope of the problems facing journalists entering and exiting the US border. We are also coordinating with a coalition of groups to address these issues and refer individual journalists to advisories and assistance where needed. READ MORE

Exploratory Meeting: Constructing the Future of Science Journalism in Europe

In a nutshell

The first-ever meeting between a select group of 20 international innovative science journalists and change-makers in newsrooms to discuss, explore and envision the future of science journalism in Europe. This one-day meeting will take place on Monday 9 July 2018 at ESOF2018 in Toulouse.

The Exploratory Meeting will gather some of the most influential science/digital journalists in Europe who are looking at the opportunities to advance science reporting in the rapidly-changing media landscape.

We will mix the group with those who have already done interesting, innovative things and science journalists who know their subject and who want to innovate, but have not yet had the chance to try and test ideas around and who would welcome the opportunity to discuss concepts with.READ MORE

White paper on artificial intelligence and human development. Ensuring its ethical and equitable use.

The IDRC / CRDI published a white paper on Artificial intelligence and human development. AI’s potential for enhancing development efforts is enormous, but we need to ensure its ethical and equitable use.

“Artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to enhance productivity and innovation around the world. The expected benefits promise to be transformative, but the negative repercussions could be magnified in developing countries, where the livelihoods of many people are precarious and social institutions can be fragile. READ MORE

European Science Writer of the Year: 2018 nominees and finalists announced

The Association of British Science Writers (ABSW) has announced the finalists of the 2018 edition of the  European Science Writer Award. The winner will be announced at the 5th European Conference of Science Journalists (ECSJ2018) on Sunday 8 July in Toulouse, France.  

“This competition has been growing each year, and we’ve had a record number of entries this year,” said Mico Tatalovic, chairman of ABSW. “It’s fantastic to see so many excellent science journalists producing an amazing variety of high-quality content around the continent.” 

“I’m looking forward to meeting the winners at the ECSJ in Toulouse in July,” said Mico Tatalovic. “I hope the award encourages other journalism associations to set up their own awards to celebrate excellence and courage in science reporting,” he added. “It has already helped us to profile excellence in science journalism beyond our national borders and to get over the language barriers, as well as to nurture a sense of science journalism community that has shared values and goals.”


Next webinar with Wiley on tackling Ebola. Tuesday 24 July at 11 a.m. EST


  • Tuesday 24 July at 11 am EST on Tackling Ebola: The latest facts and figures on this infectious disease including news about vaccines
  • Tuesday 25 September at 11 am EST on New HIV and AIDS evidence that journalists should know
  • Tuesday 27 November at 11 am EST on Artificial Intelligence challenges and its potential for science journalism


Science Talks webinars are complimentary to WFSJ members and other science journalists interested in the subject. The registration for our next Science Talks on Tackling Ebola will open soon! If you are not able to attend the live one-hour session the webinars will be recorded for later viewing on the WFSJ website.