The Infectious Science Podcast

The Galveston National Laboratory at the University of Texas Medical Branch is proud to introduce Infectious Science, a podcast about new and emerging diseases and the One Health research to understand and prevent their spread. Since the COVID pandemic, public interest in this topic has grown. That excites us, because we are researchers, educators and community members who believe public health can be improved through knowledge.

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Recent Episodes

Leader of the Pack

Leader of the Pack

March 17, 2023

In this episode, the hosts discuss a fascinating paper about a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii and its impact on wolves in Yellowstone National Park. The paper, published in Nature Communications, explores how this single-…

Kitten Killer and the Black Market

Kitten Killer and the Black Market

Feb. 8, 2023

In this episode, the hosts discuss a serious viral disease called Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) that affects cats and is caused by a feline coronavirus. FIP is almost always fatal, and younger cats are at greater risk …

Career Spotlight: Dr. Irma (Lisa) Cisneros, Ph.D.

Career Spotlight: Dr. Irma (Lisa) Cisneros, Ph.D.

Dec. 16, 2022

In this podcast episode, we learn about the journey of a successful assistant professor in the pathology department. Her research background involves drugs of abuse and understand how they lead to inflammation in the brain. …

How to become a One Health Influencer

How to become a One Health Influencer

Nov. 4, 2022

At the GNL and UTMB, we have a long-standing history of collaborating with Texas A&M . In this episode, we talk to Dr. Gerald Parker who has an amazing career. In addition to his role as associate dean for Global One Health…

Episode 1 - Scent Dogs Detect SARS-CoV-2

Episode 1 - Scent Dogs Detect SARS-CoV-2

Oct. 21, 2022

The extraordinary olfactory sense of canines combined with the possibility to learn by operant conditioning enables dogs for their use in medical detection in a wide range of applications. Research on the ability of medical …

Episode 0 - What Is The Podcast About?

Episode 0 - What Is The Podcast About?

Sept. 17, 2022

In this "origins" episode, the hosts Drs. Daniele Swetnam, Matt Dacso, and Dennis Bente explain why they created the Infectious Science Podcast and explain why taking a One Health approach is so important.

About the Hosts

Corey MarkProfile Photo

Corey Mark

Editor / Post-Production

A long-time performing musician and music educator, Corey jumped into post-production audio when much of the live arts and entertainment world went either dormant and online during the COVID pandemic. He brings his background in social science, the arts, community media and activism to the world of radio and podcasting. Corey holds a BA in Psychology from Swarthmore College and an honorary degree in loving speculative fiction. He and his family split their time between Gaborone, Botswana and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Dr. Matthew DacsoProfile Photo

Dr. Matthew Dacso

Host / Creator

Dr. Dacso is the Chair ad interim of the Department of Global Health and Emerging Diseases in the new School of Public and Population Health at UTMB. He is also a general internal medicine clinician and an Associate Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine. As the director of the John Sealy School of Medicine global health concentration, he provides mentorship and supervision to medical students and residents participating in international health electives while collaborating with host partners to design and implement projects that serve their needs. His research focuses on strengthening the capacity for a One Health approach to emerging and re-emerging arboviral infections in the Dominican Republic. Since the emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, he has become engaged in institutional preparedness for high-consequence pathogens clinical care, serving as an active member of the Biocontainment Care Unit response team and as the education and training lead for UTMB’s Special Pathogens Excellence in Clinical Treatment, Readiness, & Education (SPECTRE) program.

Connie HolubarProfile Photo

Connie Holubar


Connie brings a background in business, public relations and marketing to The Infectious Science Podcast team. As the Director of Operations for the Galveston National Lab, she wears lots of hats, but really likes launching new initiatives and assisting collaborative teams with moving projects forward and communicating their results. Prior to joining UTMB, she worked on the corporate side of marketing, primarily as a copywriter and communications strategist before launching her first marketing firm in Boulder, Colorado. She later moved to North Texas and worked for ad agencies and PR firms as an independent copywriter and publicist before starting her next venture – a PR firm focused on public relations, trade show marketing and website development. Her clients included both start-ups and large corporations with new product lines, which she says is not unlike working with scientists and their research discoveries. Connie claims she prefers to stay “behind the scenes,” but admits she’s having lots of fun in the podcast studio and is becoming more comfortable in front of the mic She received a degree in journalism (advertising) from the University of Missouri and completed an M.S. in marketing and an MBA at the University of Colorado at Denver. She relocated to Galveston and joined UTMB in 2014.

Dr. Daniele SwetnamProfile Photo

Dr. Daniele Swetnam

Host / Creator

Daniele is a post-doctoral fellow working at the intersection of ecology, evolution, and epidemiology. She is interested in the role of environmental stress on viral evolution.

Dr. Dennis BenteProfile Photo

Dr. Dennis Bente

Host / Creator

Dr. Bente is an Associate Professor in the Microbiology & Immunology department at UTMB. His team works to understand better the effects of tick-borne viruses on human and animal health. His area of expertise is the biocontainment of high-consequence virus research and discovering new countermeasures against these deadly diseases. His research is unique because his team studied the pathogenesis and transmission of tick-borne hemorrhagic fever viruses such as Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever under maximum biocontainment conditions in the BSL4 labs at UTMB’s Galveston National Laboratory. Dr. Bente is a veterinarian who got his D.V.M. and Ph.D. from the University of Veterinary Medicine, Hanover, Germany. His thesis work was focused on highly contagious transboundary diseases before switching to zoonotic viruses in high biocontainment. He is passionate about science education/communication and serves as a resource and advocate for students and scholars via career and professional development endeavors. In his free time, he takes care of his pets, including his tarantulas, and is volunteering with the wildlife rescue groups.