My talks in 2012

Sep '12: Malaria: More biting truths

Keynote lecture at the Second Nordic Malaria Conference, Copenhagen, 13-14 September 2012. In 'Malaria: More biting truths', I spoke about the urgent need to control the trade in counterfeit anti-malaria drugs, about the necessity to valorise research findings and not use publications as end-point, and the critical need to move from chemical to biological control. But I also highlighted the dramatic successes of malaria control in Sri Lanka and Namibia, and talked about the importance of larval control in integrated vector management (using the example of the elimination of Anopheles arabiensis from Brazil, 70 years ago).

May '12: Cheese, dogs, and pills to end malaria - on TED.com

Incredibly happy that on 13 May my TEDxMaastricht talk was 'promoted' to the global TED.com platform. http://www.ted.com/­talks/­bart_knols_cheese_dogs_and_pills_to_end_malaria.html

Apr '12: Malaria: The Biting Truth

Talk at the 'Symposium Infectiepreventie 2.0: the moving landscape of vaccinology' to commemorate World Malaria Day (25 april). Organised by GSK (Zeist, The Netherlands). http://professionals.gsk.nl/­evenementen/­infectiepreventie2/­

In 'Malaria: The Biting Truth' I confront audiences with the gripping and harsh realities of malaria. By starting with some remarkable discoveries in the late 19th Century, I then walk through a century of successes and failures in the combat against malaria, richly augmented with video material. To end with the eye-opening reality that if we would learn better from the past, we could go much further today. This talk is specifically for the general public and students, as an introduction in the world of malaria [in Dutch or English].

This talk was evaluated by the audience of ca. 100 with a score of 8,66, with the following comments:

Duidelijk, begrijpelijk en met veel enthousiasme overgebracht. Mooie film. Fantastisch! Ik ben geraakt door de enorme overtuigingskracht van de presentatie en de presentator. “Het moet kunnen...!!”Ja! Als we maar willen. Geweldige presentatie, goede afwisseling wel erg veel inhoud. Beste presentatie ooit op dit gebied. Boeiend, geeft stof tot nadenken. Kijk uit naar de 3d versie van de presentatie/film! Presentatie: matig/te populair/onrustig. Inhoudelijk sterk, veel nieuwe informatie, mooi om ontwikkeling in tijd te zien. Sterk en snel, soms iets té snel. Flitsend. Vlotte spreker. Zeer kompleet, dynamisch, perfecte presentatie in alle opzichten. Wel veel over het verleden en 5 min over de toekomst. Zeer goed, zou ik graag nog eens herhaald zien. Mooie animatie malariaparasieten in lichaam en mug. Begin en einde presentatie een beetje over the top. Jammer van de “haperende”technische ondersteuning m.n. licht en microfoon. Leerzame kijk op malariapreventie.

Apr '12: TEDx Maastricht

Being part of a TEDx event was an incredible experience. I loved every minute of it, and should thank the organizers for setting up such an amazing event. At around 14.30 hrs it was showtime, and my stories on cheese, dogs, and a pill to kill mosquitoes were presented. If you want to see the talk, follow this link: http://www.youtube.com/­watch?v=gah5TyZQSq4&feature=youtu.be

There I was, in front of a huge audience, in bed, wearing boxer shorts. The idea for this did not come from me. I owe it to Inga (my wife). She thought of the idea to start the show in bed...

My first story focused on Limburger cheese as an attractant for malaria mosquitoes. What better to start with in the heart of Limburg than this story. The research that got us focusing on foot odour (by putting a naked volunteer in a cage and releasing mosquitoes into it to see where they were biting) was published here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/­pubmed/­7843335

By the way, I was the naked volunteer. My former colleague Ruurd de Jong was the one releasing mosquitoes. In 1996 we published the work on the cheese here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/­pubmed/­15275226

For this work, in 2006, Ruurd and I received the IgNobel Prize in Biology at Harvard University, see: http://www.improbable.com/­2007/­05/­28/­bart-knols-a-case-of-ig-meets-nobel/­

Since then we worked on the fatty acids, lactic acid, and ammonia that is found in the aroma of Limburger cheese, and the story about this mixture being 2-3 times more attractive to mosquitoes than humans was published by friend and colleague Fredros Okumu and others here: http://www.plosone.org/­article/­info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0008951

The story that I presented about dogs, and how we can use them to fight malaria is very new. In fact, we only started working on this idea recently. It was the huge expertise of Ellen van der Zweep (of Llanfarian border collies) and Winny Kolder (of the Dutch police force) that was crucial for this success. They managed, within 8 weeks, to train Tweed (the dog in the video) to learn the smell of mosquito larvae. I am excited to report here that soon Ellen and I will fly out to the tropics to work with Tweed in the field!

The story of the mosquito-killing pill was born after I attended a lecture about new drugs, and reasoned that the compound we used might work against mosquitoes. Online, there is a lot of speculation about human safety of this drug, but this looks very promising - it is toxic to insects, but harmless to humans. We have filed a patent for this invention in October 2011, and are now looking for partners (and funding!) to bring this drug to the market... I hope that Bill Gates will see the video ;-))

The video that I showed for this - killing mosquitoes after taking a pill, was shot by Dr. Hans Smid, a macro photography specialist (http://www.bugsinthepicture.com/­), for which I am very grateful indeed. The pictures on this page were taken by Mirella Boot.

Apr '12: Communicating science & The Route from Academia to Entrepreneurship

Two lectures on how best to communicate science and how to prepare for the road from academia to entrepreneurship. PE&RC weekend of final year PhD students. Wageningen University (by invitation).

Mar '12: Malaria: The biting truth

Malaria: The biting truth. Keynote lecture at German Congress of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology, Heidelberg, 14 March 2012 (by invitation).

In 'Malaria: The Biting Truth' I confront audiences with the gripping and harsh realities of malaria. By starting with some remarkable discoveries in the late 19th Century, I then walk through a century of successes and failures in the combat against malaria, richly augmented with video material. To end with the eye-opening reality that if we would learn better from the past, we could go much further today. This talk is specifically for the general public and students, as an introduction in the world of malaria [in Dutch or English].

Feb '12: Rake verhalen

Rake verhalen ('Gripping stories'). Presentation for the Wageningen Business School on interaction with the media and press. February 16, 2012 (by invitation).
Logon