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March 15, 2016

ACI Author Spotlight:

Dr. Vincent Racaniello


The quality of content in ACI is due to the rigor of our selection process and to the incredible scholarship and credentials of scholarly bloggers publishing in their fields. 
Due to this selectivity in content and academic contributions, ACI is proud to highlight exceptional blog authors in order to showcase their work and inspire other authors... and today's author spotlight is on Dr. Vincent Racaniello.

Dr. Racaniello has a BA in Biological Sciences from Cornell University and a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from Mt. Sinai School of Medicine at the City University of New York.

Now a Professor of Microbiology & Immunology in the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University, where he also runs a Polio Laboratory, Dr. Racaniello also aims to teach readers about viruses and viral diseases through posts in his Virology BlogHe started the blog in 2004, after his experiences as a virology textbook author inspired him to find other avenues for sharing that information with others. 

"Back in 2004 I had published a virology textbook, Principles of Virology, with four other authors (now in its fourth edition)," he explains, "and I wanted to share the knowledge of virology that I had with the public. I started blogging that year​ and found that the public was very interested in virology!"

Virology Blog


His blog's success eventually led Dr. Racaniello to consider yet another mode of science communication. "A few years later I started listening to podcasts (I have a very long drive, and I was tired of traditional radio). I loved being able to listen to whatever I wanted at any time. I heard a podcaster, Leo LaPorte, say if you are passionate about a topic, you can podcast about it. I took that as a call to start a virology podcast."

He then went on to found
MicrobeTV, an independent network of podcasts by scientists for people interested in viruses, parasites, evolution, and other life science topics. "I thought it would be interesting to capture conversations among scientists and deliver them to the public, as in talk radio, but not the conventional subject." 

Dr. Racaniello notes that both blogging and podcasting share a foundation of learning and an aspiration of teaching. "In the end, I am a teacher. I teach a virology course to Columbia undergraduates and the key to engaging them is to be passionate about my field," he explains.

"I take the same approach to podcasting and blogging: I'm a researcher who is passionate about science and I want you to be passionate too. As I like to say, I want to be Earth's virology professor." 

Click here to read ACI's full interview with Dr. Racaniello.
"I want to give people the big picture, not the details. What does the science mean to them? How will it affect them and what should they be doing? And we try to find the gee-whiz stories that will knock their socks off. It's not hard: science is simply amazing these days, with all that can be done.​"

Dr. Vincent Racaniello

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