science | May 22, 2013

Jennifer Gardy: A Fresh New Voice on Science

We're proud to announce the addition of our newest speaker, Dr. Jennifer Gardy. Gardy is a scientist at British Columbia's Centre for Disease Control, and a guest host on CBC's The Nature of Things. In her day job (and in her TEDx talk, embedded above), Gardy hunts for the next pandemic to stop it before it spreads. She describes a new form of public health, which she dubs "the open source outbreak." Using the H1N1 flu strain as the best example, Gardy argues that a combination of communication technology, data transparency and global cooperation has created a public health revolution, where information is created and shared in real time. In these "open source outbreaks", dangerous diseases can be more easily identified and contained—something that is vital in our interconnected growing global population. By utilizing the latest in technology, open data (something another Lavin speaker, David Eaves, specializes in) and microbiological knowledge, Gardy is on the forefront of creating a global public health network that hopes to avoid the next global pandemic.

As a guest host of The Nature of Things, Gardy tackles more commonly asked scientific questions, and uncovers the answers behind some of our widest held beliefs. Whether she's verifying age-old truisms—were our moms right when they said that most of our body heat escapes from our head?—or pulling back the curtain on what forensic scientists really do to crack a case, Gardy shares her scientific knowledge without confounding her audience. Her natural charisma and infectious enthusiasm brings today's most fascinating scientific questions to life—whether it's on the television, or on the stage.