Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Ask an Expert: Tracking Sickness From Space

Sometimes the best way to fight sickness on Earth starts with a view from space. On Thursday, June 10, Dr. Jeff Luvall, a research scientist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, will answer questions about "Tracking Sickness from Space."

Joining the chat is easy. Simply visit this page on Thursday, June 10 from 3-4 p.m. EDT. The chat window will be active at the bottom of this page starting at 2:30 p.m. EDT. See you in chat!

Tracking tick habitats to help control Lyme disease is just one of many ways that NASA technology improves health on Earth. Image credit: CDC

More About Chat Expert Jeff Luvall
Dr. Jeff Luvall, a research scientist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, will be answering your questions about "Tracking Sickness from Space." Luvall has been involved with tracking a variety of health-related conditions using NASA resources -- primarily satellite imagery and data and aircraft studying atmospheric and climate conditions.

A false-color electron microscope scan shows a prickly grain of prairie hollyhock pollen. Image Credit: Dartmouth College/Charles Daghlian

To date, Luvall has studied allergy-related conditions by tracking pollen, and documented and provided mitigation solutions for "urban heat islands," which occur when trapped heat builds up during the day in buildings, pavement and other urban surfaces, contributing to heat-related health issues. Additionally, Luvall has trained students and professionals to use NASA satellite data in improving medicine and contributing to public health.

One of his main areas of study for the last three years has been working with students researching Lyme and West Nile diseases. The populations of the vectors for these diseases (mosquitoes, ticks) are dependent on both habitat and environmental conditions that vary both in time and space, making them ideal to study using NASA based satellite technology.

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