Nature Canada’s 6-degrees connection to tonight’s Rick Mercer Report

I just wanted to give everyone a heads-up that Nature Canada will have a ‘six degrees of separation’ connection to tonight’s episode of the Rick Mercer Report on CBC (8pm EST).

The show will feature the winning universities in the Spread the Net Student Challenge, which aims to reduce the spread of malaria in children across Africa. It turns out that University of Ottawa is one of the winners of the challenge, alongside Simon Fraser University.
Now here’s the interesting Nature Canada connection:

My MSc supervisor, Dr. Jeremy Kerr,

and Dr. Manisha Kulkarni-Woodstock and Rachelle Desrochers, a Post-Doctoral Fellow and PhD Candidate, respectively, from Dr. Kerr’s lab, played key roles in the University of Ottawa’s Spread the Net campaign. Students from two undergraduate biology classes at the university were also MAJOR contributors to the campaign’s fundraising success – enough for 700 bednets was raised!!During a field ecology course co-taught by Jeremy, Manisha and Rachelle in Tanzania last year, they and a group of undergrad students actually hand-delivered bednets to groups of school children across that African country.

Manisha’s research, which is based mostly in east Africa as well as parts of South America, focuses on the ecology of the mosquitoes that carry malaria (Anopheles spp) and how climate change may alter their distributions – and therefore the human populations that may be at risk – over time. My former supervisor, Dr. Kerr, brings expertise on the impacts of climate change on insect distributions to the project, among many other research capacities.

I’m not sure what will air on the show tonight (remember: 8pm EST), but it looks like Rick Mercer spent some time in one of the biology labs with a few of my former labmates – See the banner image here – http://bit.ly/dmtKWg. 

So, that’s the ‘6-degrees’ connection for Nature Canada to tonight’s Rick Mercer Report. Enjoy the show, and think about what you can do to prevent the spread of malaria!