Tara C. Smith

Contributing Columnist

Illustration of pathogens, vaccines, and other necessary factors for eradicating a disease.
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How to Permanently End Diseases

December 3, 2019

Smallpox was eradicated relatively quickly, but other diseases have proved harder to eliminate. The reasons are a mix of biology and psychology.

Traveling person with a luggage filled with bacteria
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What Bacteria Can Tell Us About Human Evolution

December 5, 2017

To discover our species’ deep history and to shape its future health, we should learn from the microbes that accompanied us on our evolutionary journey.

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The Unforgiving Math That Stops Epidemics

October 26, 2017

If you didn’t get a flu shot, you are endangering more than just your own health. Calculations of herd immunity against common diseases don’t make exceptions.

About the author

Tara C. Smith is a professor of epidemiology at the Kent State University College of Public Health and an internationally recognized expert on infectious diseases, particularly those passing from animals to humans. She was the first to identify livestock-associated strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in the U.S. As a science communicator, she is well known as the author of Ebola’s Message (MIT Press) and of the science blog Aetiology.