Marcel Salathé, PhD
Assistant Professor of Biology
Adjunct Faculty, Computer Science and Engineering
Society in Science: Branco Weiss Fellow
Marcel is a digital epidemiologist working at the interface of population biology, computational sciences / engineering, and the social sciences. He obtained his PhD at the ETH in Zuerich, Switzerland, and spent two years as a postdoc in Stanford before joining the faculty at Penn State in 2010. In 2014, he spent
half a year at Stanford as visiting assistant professor.
He's published papers in a variety of fields (Google Scholar Profile
) and recently wrote a book called "Nature, in Code"
. He led the development of the MOOC
Epidemics - The Dynamics of Infectious Disease
, a popular course ranked Nr. 1 by learner vote
He co-founded PlantVillage
with David Hughes, a platform that has attracted over a million users in the past two years. He's also an associate editor of PLOS Computational Biology.
Marcel has spend a few years in the tech industry as a web app developer. In 2014, he was part of the Y Combinator
He also loves music and the visual arts. He's sold 800 paintings
and used to play in a band (keys) - the band was not spectacular, but they weren't bad either (at one point, they opened a show for Lenny Kravitz
, something he'll never forget). He's currently discovering classical music, an undeniable sign of
Finally, Marcel is passionate about good food. Frankly, he's a bit obsessed about making the perfect pizza. Right now the crust on his pizza is close to perfect (thanks to a proper wood-fired oven) but the sauce just ain't right yet.
Lindsay McMenemy, PhD
Lindsay is a biologist with a particular interest in plant pathogens and the insects that transmit them. She studied Zoology at the University of Dundee before obtaining a PhD from the University of Sussex. She is fascinated by the mechanisms by which plant pathogens can manipulate the behavior of their vectors to maximize their propagation in the environment. She has spent an unnatural amount of time watching ladybugs eat aphids... and each other.
Lindsay pines for the hills of Scotland where she could once be found most weekends hiking, camping and falling in various bodies of water. She once hiked the 96 miles of the West Highland Way and incurred a very bad knee injury. She dreams of one day conquering Everest but recently began to accept that with her history of visits to the emergency department that this is not an entirely sensible undertaking. She has started planning a trek to Base Camp instead.
She also loves animals. Especially rats.
Todd Bodnar is a computational biologist who is interested in the spread and adoption of behavior within human populations and its effects on disease. To do this he leverages his strong background in mathematics and programming to develop models and run experiments. Currently he is using agent based modeling and online platforms such as Amazon's Mechanical Turk for the majority of his projects.
Ells is a computational biologist whose passions lie at the nexus of evolutionary theory, epidemiology, and public outreach. Why you ask? Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution. Zombies pose an existential threat to humanity. THE PUBLIC MUST BE WARNED!
He earned his BS & MS from UC San Diego, but in 2011, he ventured to the arctic (Pennsylvania) to start a PhD program in Biology. He’s an avid pc gamer, card shark, and pool hall junkie...who labors day and night to guard the future of civilization.
Grandiose questions that drive me:
1. Can evolutionary theory and population genetics be “tweaked” to account for the transmission of human behavior?
2. Can we improve public health by “gamifying” our health-behaviors?
3. Can we increase public participation in scientific research with crowdsourcing and MOOCs (massive open online courses)?
4. Why not share every last morsel of our research data?
5. Why do people live outside of Southern California?