Professor Brian Merkel receives National Residence Hall Honorary of the Year Award

Congratulations to Associate Professor Brian Merkel (Human Biology) was selected for a National Residence Hall Honorary of the Year Award for the category of Institution Faculty/Staff.

NRHH is an organization that recognizes individuals who go above and beyond the call of duty and show great leadership throughout the campus community. The organization strives to provide recognition for the individuals on campus who have shown outstanding leadership and service. His commitment to the welfare and advancement of the UW-Green Bay community does not go unnoticed. Here is what one nominator said,

Professor Merkel has an amazing style of lecturing that I hadn’t seen before. He truly sees the student’s perspective and constantly addresses it while teaching. In an online format where students cannot ask questions as the lecture is taught, he frequently pauses and addresses possible questions or confusing statements that he thinks students could be wondering at home. He breaks up the content into small, digestible pieces that can be reviewed quickly to cement a core theme or process into our brains. In the very first lecture video, Professor Merkel took almost 30 minutes to make sure we had the tools and strategies to succeed before we even started on Chapter 1. I could tell right from the start that he really cared about how we did in his class, and that it mattered to him how we perceived what he was teaching. His level of care really touched me as a student and made me want to score high on his tests to give back to him for his efforts… I can confidently say that I have never felt a professor or teacher care more about the students succeeding not only in their class, but in the student’s careers as well.”

Photo of the COVID-19 virus enlarged under a microscope with the text, "COVID-19 Whit it Matters Vaccine Side Effects."

Video: COVID-19 Why it Matters, Part 20, Vaccine Side Effects

This video series features UW-Green Bay’s Immunologist Brian Merkel on COVID-19 and Why it Matters. This series empowers viewers with knowledge to help them navigate through the pandemic. Merkel has a Ph.D. in Microbiology & Immunology from the Medical College of Virginia. He is an associate professor in UW-Green Bay’s Human Biology & Biology programs and has an appointment at the Medical College of Wisconsin Department of Microbiology and Immunology. He will be responding to a number of questions related to COVID-19 and try to get behind the “why” it’s important to be educated in your decision-making as we navigate the pandemic together.

Video Transcript-Part 20, Vaccine Side Effects:

Brian Merkel, microbiology and immunology at UW-Green Bay and we are here to talk about why COVID-19 matters to you.

One of the concerns related to vaccination has to do with a second shot. There are reports that suggest people have a tougher time with a second shot. Now that’s explained by science, we know this is something that happens.

Whether you are naturally exposed by some type of infectious agent or whether you’re getting vaccinated, in this case, with the COVID-19 vaccine. After you get your first round of immunizations because your immune system has already been primed when you get exposed again, that priming allows your immune system to develop an even greater response which we want.

These symptoms usually go away within 24 hours. They appear within 12 hours of that second shot. You might have a low-grade fever, you may feel nauseated, not right, tired. And the reason for that is your immune system is doing its job. It’s doing what we wanted to do. And along the way, you’re going to feel some of these things that you feel.

But the good news is, you’re going to have the best protection possible for you and it also protects others.

COVID-19 Why it Matters Video Series:

Introduction with Brian Merkel https://youtu.be/M-yYPSPk30Q

Part 1: What are viruses and where did this one come from https://youtu.be/DYbiIv8ICgs

Part 2: Two main types of viruses https://youtu.be/O-OVk3rx96s

Part 3: Why is this virus serious? https://youtu.be/EDFyNN8i5G4

Part 4: Why wash hands/wear mask? https://youtu.be/FlcAvlt876Y

Part 5: I’m young! Why should I care? https://youtu.be/TDrEV_beY1U

Part 6: Can pandemics be stopped before they start? https://youtu.be/lgWnJZNYbFI

Part 7: Pandemic is not local, why wear a mask? https://youtu.be/IG3Sl3q-xH8

Part 8: Why does everyone need a flu shot this year? https://youtu.be/DGpBFj0fJkA

Part 9: What is the science behind a vaccine? https://youtu.be/eQ3FclkYaQo

Part 10: Where can I find accurate information? https://youtu.be/pLMlU5Xnkgo

Part 11: What type of mask should I wear? https://youtu.be/gCFHxQvkVYE

Part 12: Why HUGE COVID-19 spikes in Wisconsin? https://youtu.be/OuqmXvrDApY

Part 13: Fall break, protect yourself & others https://youtu.be/h21Ed_bBTE4

Part 14: Why is COVID-19 Testing so Important? https://youtu.be/Fr9VJZZrTE0

Part 15: What are COVID-19 Antibodies? https://youtu.be/J2lfJzoUEHI

Part 16: Will the vaccine protect against new COVID-19 variants? https://youtu.be/5l58jEZv3NQ

Part 17: Vaccine myths vs reality https://youtu.be/bGqLsRRbzVk

Part 18: What is long-hauler syndrome? https://youtu.be/f11b8nFpJiE

Part 19: Spring break, protect yourself against variants https://youtu.be/15ifuIosz2c

Part 20: Vaccine Side Effects https://youtu.be/7n3touy2PUY

 

Photo of covid-19 virus magnified under a microscope with the text, "COVID-19 Why it Matters: Vaccine protect against variants?"

Video COVID-19 Why it Matters: Part 16, Will the vaccine protect against new variants?

This video series features UW-Green Bay’s Immunologist Brian Merkel on COVID-19 and Why it Matters. This series empowers viewers with knowledge to help them navigate through the pandemic. Merkel has a Ph.D. in Microbiology & Immunology from the Medical College of Virginia. He is an associate professor in UW-Green Bay’s Human Biology & Biology programs and has an appointment at the Medical College of Wisconsin Department of Microbiology and Immunology. He will be responding to a number of questions related to COVID-19 and try to get behind the “why” it’s important to be educated in your decision-making as we navigate the pandemic together.

Part 16: Will the vaccine protect against new COVID-19 variants?

Video Transcript – COVID-19 Why it Matters: Part 16, Will the vaccine protect against new COVID-19 variants?

Hi, I’m Brian Merkel, Microbiology and Immunology, and I am here to talk about why COVID-19 matters to you.

We get asked quite a bit these days has to do with this new variant the so-called UK strain of COVID-19. We play a role in this. Yes, the virus is unstable but the less that we comply with the 3W’s, wearing masks, watching our distance, and washing our hands, the more opportunities we give this virus to do these kinds of things.

What we know about the UK strain is that it’s about one and a half times more contagious than the original strain which, was already highly contagious. We are concerned about that, but you need to know that the 3W’s still work for this particular strain, too. What we know about the UK strain, fortunately, is that if you’re vaccinated, through prior exposure to COVID-19, either through naturally being exposed or being exposed through immunization, this will give you the protection against the UK strain as well.

So, it just means that we really have to commit to compliance and adhere to the safeguards that are recommended as difficult as that is right now because this is getting very tiresome. But we don’t want to provide additional opportunities for this virus to become something slightly different.

COVID-19 Why it Matters Video Series:

Introduction with Brian Merkel https://youtu.be/M-yYPSPk30Q

Part 1: What are viruses and where did this one come from https://youtu.be/DYbiIv8ICgs

Part 2: Two main types of viruses https://youtu.be/O-OVk3rx96s

Part 3: Why is this virus serious? https://youtu.be/EDFyNN8i5G4

Part 4: Why wash hands/wear mask? https://youtu.be/FlcAvlt876Y

Part 5: I’m young! Why should I care? https://youtu.be/TDrEV_beY1U

Part 6: Can pandemics be stopped before they start? https://youtu.be/lgWnJZNYbFI

Part 7: Pandemic is not local, why wear a mask? https://youtu.be/IG3Sl3q-xH8

Part 8: Why does everyone need a flu shot this year? https://youtu.be/DGpBFj0fJkA

Part 9: What is the science behind a vaccine? https://youtu.be/eQ3FclkYaQo

Part 10: Where can I find accurate information? https://youtu.be/pLMlU5Xnkgo

Part 11: What type of mask should I wear? https://youtu.be/gCFHxQvkVYE

Part 12: Why HUGE COVID-19 spikes in Wisconsin? https://youtu.be/OuqmXvrDApY

Part 13: Fall break, protect yourself & others https://youtu.be/h21Ed_bBTE4

Part 14: Why is COVID-19 Testing so Important? https://youtu.be/Fr9VJZZrTE0

Part 15: What are COVID-19 Antibodies? https://youtu.be/J2lfJzoUEHI

Part 16: Will the vaccine protect against new COVID-19 variants? https://youtu.be/5l58jEZv3NQ

Reminder: You are welcome to attend the Tiny Earth Winter Symposium

In addition to celebrating the research efforts of students around the world including our own UW-Green Bay students, this year’s Tiny Earth Winter Symposium, Dec. 14-15 via ZOOM is focused on public health emergencies and the inequities associated with them. A panel of experts will convene on the second day of the symposium (December 15) to discuss public health emergencies and solutions to address them. The inequities of public health, as well as scientific literacy, will be featured topics.  Symposium participants will then have an opportunity to engage in a discussion around actions we can take in our communities to spread awareness of the challenges and solutions to address them. This is timely for many reasons, including the inclusivity efforts taking place on our own campus, as well as the management of the safety issues related to COVID-19 on our campus and in our community. Chancellor Alexander was chosen by the steering committee to provide the welcome on December 15 in recognition of his contributions in these areas. The Symposium is a great opportunity to showcase the value of partnerships to mitigating large problems to a wide audience. Tiny Earth represents the realm of what is possible when innovative partnerships emerge for the greater good.  The symposium wholly reflects the value of collaboration for this purpose. You are invited to join. Registration is free for students and the community.

UW-Green Bay students take a closer look at public health emergencies

UW-Green Bay students are showcasing research presentations that focus on antibiotic resistance and public health emergencies. This year’s winter symposium will be held virtually on Dec. 14 and 15. UW-Green Bay Prof. Brian Merkel joined Good Day Wisconsin to talk about the event and how it factors into the coronavirus pandemic.

Tiny Earth Symposium

Tiny Earth (International) Winter Symposium Offers Giant Perspective on Antibiotics and Public Health Emergencies

Green Bay, Wis.—Student researchers take the stage (virtually) for the Tiny Earth Winter Symposium, Dec. 14-15, 2020. While last year’s event was showcased at the Lambeau Field Atrium, a virtual environment makes this year’s showcase no less valuable, as this event is a centerpiece of the collaborative and innovative efforts of students across the globe, working together to mitigate the global public health crisis of antibiotic resistance.

The Tiny Earth Winter Symposium is free and open to the public with a Zoom registration at https://tinyearth.wisc.edu/tiny-earth-2020-winter-symposium/.

The Director of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery and founder of Tiny Earth, Jo Handelsman, will kick off the symposium on Dec. 14 and a panel of experts will convene on the second day of the symposium (Dec. 15) to discuss public health emergencies and solutions to address them. The inequities and economics of public health, as well as scientific literacy, will be featured topics. Symposium participants will then have an opportunity to engage in a discussion around actions we can take in our communities to spread awareness of the challenges and solutions to address them, and most importantly, have a chance to share the research they have been working on all semester.

UW-Green Bay students join 10,000 other students from 300 other college and universities across 47 states and 27 countries, in some version of the Tiny Earth course which is aimed at discovering new antibiotics. The course started at UW-Madison in 2018. While uncovering new antibiotics is the end-goal, the discoveries made along the way are worth the effort. The course provides students with the opportunity for original thinking and scientific exploration, and can inspire them to pursue STEM careers. Last year’s event at Lambeau Field was attended by 550 citizens from the state of Wisconsin.

UW-Green Bay Biology Prof. Brian Merkel, teacher of the course at UW-Green Bay and co-chair of the international event, says the symposium is important during this pandemic.

“It’s a great opportunity to showcase the value of partnerships to mitigating large problems to a wide audience. For my part, Tiny Earth represents the realm of what is possible when innovative partnerships emerge for the greater good. The symposium wholly reflects the value of collaboration for this purpose.”

Students get their own soil sample to test. They isolate bacteria, conduct gene sequencing, Merkel says. “The students realize they are part of something that’s bigger than them and they’re contributing to an international effort. This goes beyond a celebration of research. This is a visionary idea to help our students get excited about their STEM careers while building an international network.”

Merkel said that without question, participation has often jump-started his students in paths toward research, medicine, and more. Merkel is available for media interviews. Reach out by e-mail at merkelb@uwgb.edu.

About the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is a comprehensive public institution offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs to more than 8,500 students with campus locations in Green Bay, Marinette, Manitowoc and Sheboygan. Established in 1965 on the border of Green Bay, the University and its campuses are centers of cultural enrichment, innovation and learning. The Green Bay campus is home to one of the Midwest’s most prolific performing arts centers, a nationally recognized 4,000-seat student recreation center, D-I athletics, an award-winning nine-hole golf course and a five-mile recreational trail and arboretum, which is free and open to the public. This four-campus University transforms lives and communities through student-focused teaching and research, innovative learning opportunities, powerful connections and a problem-solving approach to education. UW-Green Bay’s main campus is centrally located, close to both the Door County resort area and the dynamic economies of Northeast Wisconsin, the Fox Valley region and the I-43 corridor. UW-Green Bay offers in-demand programs in science, engineering and technology; business; health, education and social welfare; and arts, humanities and social sciences. For more information, visit www.uwgb.edu.

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