CMRUBINWORLDAUTHOR


C. M. Rubin Writer Producer The Real Alice In Wonderland book and film www.cmrubin.com

Ask me anything

Submit Posts

The Global Search for Education: What did you learn at Oppi?

2014-04-15-cmrubinworldoppi_festival_2014niko_alajoki20500.jpg

“I am more hopeful now than before Oppi to accomplish the vision of the school of the future where “minimal invasive education” is a leading principle.” - Pasi Sahlberg

Read more

Tagged: The Global Search for EducationC. M. RubinEducationTeachersfinland schools

The Global Search for Education: Teacher Education

2014-04-09-cmrubinworldPERUFINLAND4500.jpg

Finland has a reputation for excellence in education in terms of both high quality and equal opportunities for all.  Hence, organizing a global learning festival in Helsinki designed for teachers and educators to celebrate best practices in education, and bringing together 90 of the world’s leading experts from 18 different countries….

Read more

Tagged: The Global Search for EducationC.M. RubinEducationTeachersfinland schools

The Global Search for Education: Education and Jobs

2014-04-03-cmrubinworldtonyeducatoroftheyear500.jpg

What does today’s technology mean for tomorrow’s jobs and how can we better structure our education system to ensure that the future working population can prosper in the labor market?

Read more

Tagged: The Global Search for EducationC.M. RubinEducationTeachersjobs

The Global Search for Education: Focus on China

2014-03-26-cmrubinworldyongzhaochina500.jpg

“The fundamental problem goes beyond not enough high quality schools. It is the culturally entrenched norm-referenced valuing system, that is, the quality of schools are determined by their relative quality to others rather than their intrinsic quality.” – Yong Zhao

Read more

Tagged: The Global Search for EducationC.M. RubinEducationTeachers

The Global Search for Education: Education and Skills

2014-03-21-cmrubinworldeducationandskills2500.jpg

850 world leaders, business leaders, government ministers, and education experts, including Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, gathered in Dubai, UAE this past weekend for the 2nd annual Global Education and Skills Forum

Read more

Tagged: The Global Search for EducationC.M. RubinEducationTeachersbill clintontony blair

The Global Search for Education: With a Capital “A”

2014-03-12-cmrubinworldypcashleysings500.jpg

"It breaks my heart to think there are children out there who are not being exposed to Arts education. We have to change this!” – Ashley Brown

Read more

Tagged: The Global Search for EducationC.M. RubinEducationTeachersMusicARTS

The Global Search for Education: Fun and Learning

2014-03-10-cmrubinworldfinlandangrybirds500.jpg

"Fun learning also stands for teaching kids 21st century skills, like critical thinking, collaboration, problem solving, creativity and negotiation."

- Sanna Lukander and Peter Vesterbacka

Read more

Tagged: The Global Search for EducationC.M. RubinEducationTeachersFinland schools

The Next Hit Show?

2014-03-06-cmrubinworldnoirworkshop4500.jpg

"This is a story about how love changes over time…The hope is that the emotion of that theme + a twisting thriller plot + great tunes = something unique and exciting for audiences." - Kyle Jarrow

What does it take today to create the next hit musical theater show? What are the critical must have elements? An original and unique story? An unforgettable score? Outstanding performances from talented actors? Or even the ‘wow’ factor such as Phantom’s chandelier, Miss Saigon’s helicopter or Spiderman’s aerial stunts? What is the magic formula that distinguishes one singular sensation from the rest of the line-up?

James Kernochan, who works at Idiom Entertainment Capital, comments: “There are many potential variables in what makes a show successful, but I think one of the most consistent elements of a hit is that it draws upon the specific strengths of live entertainment — it provides a fresh experience audiences wouldn’t get at home.”

Three people who ought to know quite a bit about the process of creating successful musical theater shows — Duncan Sheik, Grammy and Tony award winning singer-songwriter and composer, whose musicals include Spring Awakening (Two Tonys and a Grammy), American PsychoThe Nightingale, andNero; Kyle Jarrow, OBIE Award winner for A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant, and writer of other plays including Hostage Song, Love Kills, and Gorilla Man; and Perrin Manzer Allen, Artistic Director of Joop Van Den Ende Academy and creator of numerous musical works — are currently working with a company of 8 student actors at the Academy in Hamburg together with a small creative team to flesh out the book (Jarrow) and score (Sheik) of a new work in development called Noir. I caught up with the guys to find out more about the art and science behind creating the next hit show.

Perrin, how did the Noir workshop come about?

Kyle and I worked together many years ago and reconnected on Facebook last year. Also, I was the musical supervisor for the German Language premiere of Spring Awakening, and worked with Duncan on that show. It’s a small world. I told Kyle about the Academy’s curriculum and our interest in workshopping new pieces. He and Duncan talked it over and asked if they could bring Noir over. It’s a great opportunity for our students to see how a new show is built, and so everyone benefits.

2014-03-06-cmrubinworldnoirworkshop500.jpg

"I’d say that the Brits are more interested in the theater of the head and Americans are more interested in the theater of the heart." - Duncan Sheik

Kyle, tell me about the title of your work, Noir.

The show is inspired by classic film noir. It’s an aesthetic I love and have long wanted to explore onstage — not in a campy way, though there is definitely some humor in the piece, but rather embracing the moodiness and tension of the genre. Duncan and I also found inspiration for the show in the noirish radio thrillers of the 1930s and 1940s. In fact, we often talk about it as a sort of “live radio play.” There’s an onstage Foley artist in the show, providing a live soundtrack. He/she operates as part of the band, playing percussion in the songs, then creating sound effects during the book scenes. Integrating that element has been one of the focuses of this workshop in Hamburg. It’s been working very well so far - actually better than I expected it to!

Duncan, what’s the music in Noir going to sound like?

It’s mostly electronic music with a few (more organic) art songs peppered throughout the show. But even the electronic songs are tempered by the fact that they began as exercises in genre songwriting. 50’s and 60’s spy movie soundtracks and vaudevillian show tunes were not absent from my thoughts during the songwriting process.

Kyle, what inspired you to write Noir?

It’s an original story, which is admittedly a rare thing for a musical, but the plot is one I’ve been noodling on for awhile and couldn’t get out of my head. Finally I proposed it to Duncan and he was into it. In addition to classic radio crime dramas, it draws inspiration from the movies Rear Window and The Lives of Others. The result is probably best described as a mash up of thriller and love story. It’s about a lonely person who starts living vicariously through others, finds himself getting entrapped in a crime he doesn’t understand… then ultimately reaches a sort of redemption through it all.

What do you hope audiences will connect with?

Kyle: At its core, this is a story about how love changes over time. There’s a bittersweet melancholy to this theme (obviously!), which Duncan’s music does a beautiful job of supporting. The hope is that the emotion of that theme + a twisting thriller plot + great tunes = something unique and exciting for audiences.

Perrin: The other elements that Kyle and Duncan are pursuing — a live Foley operator providing onstage sound effects, or live beats mixed into the musical structure — are definitely offering other unique opportunities. And, the juxtaposition of Duncan’s music with this subject matter also is quite special.

2014-03-06-cmrubinworldnoirworkshop2400.jpg

"There are a wealth of opportunities for new works outside of New York. European theaters gladly present new work, and are invaluable as a resource for authors."

- Perrin Manzer Allen

Duncan, you’ve created for London audiences and American audiences - how are they different and will Noir work for both?

If I were to make an absurdly ridiculous generalization, I’d say that the Brits are more interested in the theater of the head and Americans are more interested in the theater of the heart. Of course, I’d be happy for Noir to work for any audience but I don’t really write for a specific set. I just try to write songs that are interesting to me because of their aesthetic uniqueness and hope that other people are also excited or moved by them.

Writing a hit song for a musical theater show versus writing a hit pop song - what’s the difference?

They are not hugely different. However, you have much more opportunity to write from the perspective of a character other than yourself in the theater, and that has been very fun and rewarding for me creatively.

How important is the process at the Academy workshops, in terms of developing the story telling?

Kyle: The workshop has been incredibly helpful. We’ve done substantial rewriting and a ton of work to integrate the text, the music, and the Foley. One of the most surprising things for me has been the benefit of working with actors for whom English isn’t their first language. They’re all fluent, but their instincts are often different — in terms of intonation, inflection and intent — from what American actors would do on first blush. It allows me to hear the lines differently than they sound in my head, and it’s forced me to be very honest with myself about what dialogue works and what doesn’t.

Perrin: We can see how it works in practice. Also, we will present the piece to a small audience to see what work still needs doing, and how the story works ‘on its feet.’

2014-03-06-cmrubinworld3_of_them500.jpg

"The only thing that matters is to make a piece of music that someone hears, and in hearing it, the music transports them to a better place - maybe even a really beautiful place where the whole world seems rich and full of possibility." - Duncan Sheik

What are the next steps after the Academy workshop?

Perrin: The information gleaned from the workshop will be integrated into the script and score, and probably the next big step would be a staged reading in front of potential backers.

What are the opportunities for new shows outside of Broadway at the moment?

There are a wealth of opportunities for new works outside of New York. And as a child of 1970’s US, I grew up thinking it was Broadway or nothing. When I started working in Europe in the early 90’s, however, I began discovering all of the opportunities that allowed themselves here. As a rule, European theaters gladly present new work, and are invaluable as a resource for authors. In England, the network of regional theaters and the large national theaters in London allow opportunities for development and production. And though there may be drawbacks to the subsidized theater systems of the German speaking countries, these systems do provide unparalleled opportunities to explore and present new works in a low-risk setting. Play writing and musical theater writing is flourishing, and there are good and great pieces being developed around the globe. And while few of these pieces make it to Broadway, in our globalized world, the innovations that happen on the other side of the world no longer take years to cross-pollinate. It maybe takes a season or less now.

Duncan, with the decline of the old revenue models in the recording industry, what would you say to a young artist who wants to make a good living writing music today?

Getting signed to a label isn’t what it used to be but I don’t see that as a bad thing.

Obviously, money is still being made by performers and songwriters - though often the money is made from licensing to film, TV or advertising, or doing things like, God forbid, musical theater. All that said, the only thing that matters is to make a piece of music that someone hears, and in hearing it, the music transports them to a better place - maybe even a really beautiful place where the whole world seems rich and full of possibility. Sometimes that happens, you know.

2014-03-06-cmrubinworldduncansheikheadshots500.jpg

C. M. Rubin, Duncan Sheik, Kyle Jarrow, Perrin Manzer Allen

(All Photos are courtesy of Stage Entertainment GmbH)

C. M. Rubin is the author of two widely read online series for which she received a 2011 Upton Sinclair award, “The Global Search for Education” and “How Will We Read?” She is also the author of three bestselling books, including The Real Alice in Wonderland, and is the publisher of CMRubinWorld

Follow C. M. Rubin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@cmrubinworld

Tagged: C.M. RubinBroadway musicalsArts and Cultureduncan sheikmusicmusical theaterSpring AwakeningTony Awards

The Global Search for Education: Shepherd Sound

2014-02-27-cmrubinworldleadshepherdschool3500.jpg

"Musicians are all human, that is, we all have issues and things we want to improve but we also have the same goal, and that is to be the best we can be at what we do."

- Niccolo Muti

World-renowned violinist, Cho-Liang Lin, Professor of Violin at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, urges all young musicians “to get up in front of people and perform.”

And The Shepherd School Orchestra did - magnificently! Led by their charismatic conductor, Larry Rachleff, the orchestra made its Carnegie Hall debut Tuesday evening, February 18 with energy, artistry and a very distinctive Shepherd sound.

Founded in 1975, The Shepherd School of Music in Houston is widely recognized as one of the nation’s most elite music institutions. The school emphasizes a performance-based curriculum. “I think what’s unique about the Shepherd School is that musicians are given a lot of opportunities to learn in front of an audience and that’s very important when it comes to building self-confidence,” explains student violinist Niccolo Muti.

The performance at Carnegie Hall kicked off with Hector Berlioz’ Le Corsairefollowed by American Composer Christopher Rouse’s Violin Concerto featuring a remarkable solo performance by Cho-Liang Lin. The score to this complex and beautiful work was actually composed for Cho-Liang Lin in 1991. The principal orchestral work of the evening was Bela Bartok’s magnificent Concerto for Orchestra featuring numerous solos from the ensemble, giving many of the 103 extraordinarily gifted young musicians the opportunity to shine.

Beyond the dream of all accomplished musicians, which is to perform in prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall, there are the numerous additional benefits and skills that a music education at this level of the art form can offer students. “Performers achieve incredible levels of coordination and dexterity while simultaneously channeling the deepest emotional expressions of the music. How can this not be of benefit to all studies,” observes professional artist and faculty member, Jon Kimura Parker.

I had the opportunity to chat further with Cho-Liang Lin and Jon Kimura Parker along with students Madeleine Doyon-Robitaille (trombonist), Titus Underwood (oboist), Anatasia Sukhopara (violinist) and Niccolo Muti (violinist).

2014-02-27-cmrubinworldshepherdschool4400.jpg

"Passion for something one holds dear is very important. Beethoven, Tom Edison, Steve Jobs, Michelangelo, Goethe, Jonas Salk, and Lincoln all had passion. Believe in something one loves and pursue that something to the fullest." - Cho-Liang Lin

You are both veterans of the international concert stage as well as committed educators. What do you think are the most important skills that a young artist must have to be successful in the professional world of music today?

Cho-Liang Lin: Classical music is such an exacting discipline. It takes years of practicing, single-minded training and hours of lessons. Then one enters the real world where competition is stiff and judgment of one’s talent and thus future career can be decided in one single performance or audition. Therefore, apart from talent, a young artist must have the ability to convey artistry, emotion and a real sense of beauty to the audience. This requires natural ability, confidence, clear-minded thinking and lots of experience. By experience, I mean knowing what to do on stage under pressure. This cannot be learned in a practice room. It must be learned by being on stage in front of an audience.

Jon Kimura Parker: I believe that young artists have to understand themselves and to be able to communicate effectively. Forty years ago, it was not remarkable to ask of our audience that they would disconnect from the external world and focus on a 40-minute work. Nowadays, we are stretching the attention span of many. I love to see a young artist be able to engage people around them; to inspire others to discover the incredible joy of great music.

What real world life skills do you believe an educated musician can use in other pursuits?

Cho-Liang Lin: In a word: Passion. I am passionate about music. Nothing is more rewarding than to listen or play a great work. Passion for something one holds dear is very important. Beethoven, Tom Edison, Steve Jobs, Michelangelo, Goethe, Jonas Salk, and Lincoln all had passion. Believe in something one loves and pursue that something to the fullest.

Jon Kimura Parker: Musicians aren’t just creating music; they are also great listeners. An educated musician typically has a highly developed sense of the beauty of mathematics and structure, an endless curiosity, and a deep connection with the humanities. These skills have taken musicians in many different directions.

2014-02-27-cmrubinworldriceuniversityshephardschool2500.jpg

"An educated musician typically has a highly developed sense of the beauty of mathematics and structure, an endless curiosity, and a deep connection with the humanities." - Jon Kimura Parker

What real world life skills (other than music) did you gain from your education at the Shepherd School of Music? Do you think music helped you with your other academic studies at Rice?

Madeleine Doyon-Robitaille: Absolutely! Learning music gives you a lot of skills that are precious in life. One important example is discipline! To learn an instrument requires constant effort. You learn that with perseverance you can achieve your dream. And learning to persevere applies to everything in life.

Anastasia Sukhopara: I think gratitude and discipline are some of the most important life skills. The dedication to music and to the highest standards of excellence that are required at the Shepherd School are a priceless life lesson. Settling for nothing but the best is really a critical skill, in music and life alike.

Titus Underwood: I have gained a deeper appreciation for artistry among my young colleagues.

Niccolo Muti: You can be as passionate as you want to be about something but if you don’t put in the work it won’t help you succeed.

2014-02-27-cmrubinworldshepherdschoolcarnegie2500.jpg

"With perseverance you can achieve your dream. And learning to persevere applies to everything in life." - Madeleine Doyon-Robitaille

So, what advice would you give to freshman musicians coming to the Shepherd School of Music?

Madeleine Doyon-Robitaille: Take every opportunity you can to learn and push yourself farther in your musical development! Shepherd school is such a rich musical environment. There are incredible faculty, talented students and so many opportunities. It’s the best time and the best environment to improve yourself and become a better musician!

Titus Underwood: Stay confident in your abilities but always humble in your ethics.

Anastasia Sukhopara: Know what you want, work hard and be patient!

Niccolo Muti: You are going to get a lot of opportunities to perform at the Shepherd School and performance experience is the most important thing when it comes to building self-confidence.

A lot of professional musicians both teach and perform at your school - what’s it like to be learning from artists/teachers such as Renee Fleming, Jon Kimura Parker and Cho-Liang Lin?

Madeleine Doyon-Robitaille: It’s fantastic that Shepherd School gives us these opportunities. It’s been an incredible experience to have the chance to play for those professional musicians! It’s always been really inspiring even when it was not my specific instrument.

Niccolo Muti: Renee Fleming gave a master class at the Shepherd School. She told us that she is still constantly learning and working at her craft. It made me realize that musicians are all human, that is, we all have issues and things we want to improve but we also have the same goal, and that is to be the best we can be at what we do.

2014-02-27-cmrubinworldshephardschoolorchestraheadshots500.jpg

Top row l to r: Cho-Liang Lin, C. M. Rubin and Jon Kimura Parker

Bottom row l to r: Niccolo Muti, Anastasia Sukhopara, Titus Underwood and

Madeleine Doyon-Robitaille

(Photos are courtesy of Jennifer Taylor and The Shepherd School of Music)

For more information: http://music.rice.edu/

In The Global Search for Education, join me and globally renowned thought leaders including Sir Michael Barber (UK), Dr. Michael Block (U.S.), Dr. Leon Botstein (U.S.), Professor Clay Christensen (U.S.), Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond (U.S.), Dr. Madhav Chavan (India), Professor Michael Fullan (Canada), Professor Howard Gardner (U.S.), Professor Andy Hargreaves (U.S.), Professor Yvonne Hellman (The Netherlands), Professor Kristin Helstad (Norway), Jean Hendrickson (U.S.), Professor Rose Hipkins (New Zealand), Professor Cornelia Hoogland (Canada), Honourable Jeff Johnson (Canada), Mme. Chantal Kaufmann (Belgium), Dr. Eija Kauppinen (Finland), State Secretary Tapio Kosunen (Finland), Professor Dominique Lafontaine (Belgium), Professor Hugh Lauder (UK), Professor Ben Levin (Canada), Lord Ken Macdonald (UK), Professor Barry McGaw (Australia), Shiv Nadar (India), Professor R. Natarajan (India), Dr. Pak Tee Ng (Singapore), Dr. Denise Pope (US), Sridhar Rajagopalan (India), Dr. Diane Ravitch (U.S.), Richard Wilson Riley (U.S.), Sir Ken Robinson (UK), Professor Pasi Sahlberg (Finland), Professor Manabu Sato (Japan), Andreas Schleicher (PISA, OECD), Dr. Anthony Seldon (UK), Dr. David Shaffer (U.S.), Dr. Kirsten Sivesind (Norway), Chancellor Stephen Spahn (U.S.), Yves Theze (Lycee Francais U.S.), Professor Charles Ungerleider (Canada), Professor Tony Wagner (U.S.), Sir David Watson (UK), Professor Dylan Wiliam (UK), Dr. Mark Wormald (UK), Professor Theo Wubbels (The Netherlands), Professor Michael Young (UK), and Professor Minxuan Zhang (China) as they explore the big picture education questions that all nations face today. 
The Global Search for Education Community Page

C. M. Rubin is the author of two widely read online series for which she received a 2011 Upton Sinclair award, “The Global Search for Education” and “How Will We Read?” She is also the author of three bestselling books, including The Real Alice in Wonderland, and is the publisher of CMRubinWorld.

Follow C. M. Rubin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@cmrubinworld

Tagged: The Global Search for EducationC. M. RubinMusicPerforming ArtsShepherd School of MusicRice UniversityCarnegie HallArts Education

The Global Search For Education: Ticks - Breaking the Transmission Cycle of Lyme Disease

2014-02-25-cmrubinworldIMG_1269500.jpg

"We have the first solution, of which we are aware, that can reduce the amount of Lyme disease being transmitted." - Dr. Tom Monath

What if we could vaccinate the white-footed mice that account for the majority of the transmission of Borrelia burgdorferi (the cause of Lyme disease) and significantly reduce the level of tick infection?

An oral bait vaccine was distributed to white-footed mice. The mice created antibodies in response to the vaccine. When ticks later fed on the mice, the ingested antibodies killed the Borrelia and prevented the transmission of Lyme disease. Along the same lines as this product, now being commercialized by US Biologic, the USDA National Wildlife Research Center has distributed an oral bait vaccine to wide areas of the eastern U.S. for over ten years to stop rabies, and it has been highly successful.

Lyme disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), affects over 300,000 people in the U.S. each year and can cause severe damage to joints and the neurologic system. The CDC recently linked Lyme disease with several deaths due to cardiac disease caused by Borrelia.

To discuss the next steps for this novel mice vaccine technology, I am joined today in Part 16 of Ticks by US Biologic board director, Dr. Tom Monath, and the Cary Institute’s Dr. Rick Ostfeld, who led the field research in New York to test the efficacy of the vaccine (invented and produced by Dr. Maria Gomes-Solecki).

Tom, how will the oral bait be distributed to the mice in their habitats?

Our primary method of distributing the pelletized Lyme vaccine will be to broadcast the pellets by hand, focusing on public lands like playgrounds, hiking trails, and campgrounds, among others. We can also broadcast from the air to treat larger areas. In the future, we will explore using simple feeding stations on private lands, like someone’s backyard. Feeding stations are small boxes that contain the pellets and allow access for mice.

How often will you need to distribute the bait?

Mice live for about a year in the wild. We will distribute the vaccine pellets several times throughout the summer, to vaccinate the multiple generations of mice born each year.

Which kinds of habitats were included in the study?

The study authors chose the locations of the control and test fields carefully. All study sites were within a Lyme disease endemic area— Dutchess County, New York. All sites were located on private land, to ensure the area wouldn’t be disturbed.

2014-02-25-cmrubinworldUS_BIOLOGIC_BeforeAfter_Distribution_Graphic_2.18.2014_REVISED500.jpg

"After only one year, the study shows a drop of 23% of nymphs that carried Lyme. After five years, the presence of Lyme dropped by 75%." - Dr. Tom Monath

Which distribution approaches were the most effective?

The field study required that mice actually be trapped, enabling sampling of the ticks infesting these animals and the taking of blood samples to test for antibodies resulting from the vaccine pellets. For this reason, the vaccine pellets were placed in small live traps. “Broadcast distribution” is substantially more effective and resembles the efficient oral bait vaccine program used for rabies control in the U.S.

Why does the reduction in the infection rate increase over time?

The study data suggested a cumulative effect over several years on the rate of infection in nymphal ticks, the stage of the tick most important in transmission of Lyme. With immunization of mice each summer, fewer nymphal ticks and mice become infected and an increased proportion of mice surviving the winter are immune to Lyme disease. Thus, the force of infection in the following year is reduced. Mice only live for about a year in the wild. However, ticks live for two years. It took several years of immunizing mice and reducing overwintering infected ticks for the full effect of vaccination to appear.

After only one year, the study shows a drop of 23% of nymphs that carried Lyme. After five years, the presence of Lyme dropped by 75%. We can optimize the pellet distribution process to accelerate that process. If we continued to deploy the vaccine pellets and continued to monitor, we believe the infection rate would have dropped further.

Is there anything else that could be done to increase the speed of reduction in the tick infection rate?

We have the first solution, of which we are aware, that can reduce the amount of Lyme disease being transmitted. With that said, we fully support any method that has been proven, through a rigorous scientific method, to be an effective and safe intervention on a wide scale.

Pesticides used alone are not sufficient to prevent Lyme disease. There is considerable interest in integrated methods of Lyme disease control that would bring together the vaccine pellet with other approaches, including selected pesticides to reduce tick density. There is also an argument for controlling deer populations, which is where ticks breed.

2014-02-25-cmrubinworldmouse_291_closeup500.jpg

"A key challenge will be getting the vaccine to the places where it will do the most good. The Lyme disease zone in the United States is enormous, and the white-footed mouse lives in pretty much all terrestrial habitats throughout this zone." - Dr. Rick Ostfeld

What about the many different strains of the bacterium? Will the vaccine immunize the mice against all the different strains currently identified?

In North America, a single species Borrelia burgdorferi causes Lyme disease, and the OspA protein of this species does not show significant variability. We know that the vaccine pellet we use will be highly effective across the Northeast states, where more than 95% of Lyme disease occurs in the U.S. In Europe and Asia, five or more Borrelia species cause Lyme disease. We will develop vaccines to address these challenges.

Who do you see as the logical parties to handle distribution of the oral bait to the mice?

Because of their successful experience with the oral bait vaccine program to prevent the transmission of rabies, we are following the model created by the USDA National Wildlife Research Center, which has a long history of managing distribution and of monitoring resulting changes.

State and local health departments will be an important group in administering Lyme disease control programs, and they, like the USDA, have a long history of working to control these types of diseases. We also will involve private organizations. Pest management and lawn service companies are logical distribution partners.

On what scale in terms of quantity and frequency does the oral bait vaccine have to occur in order to be effective in a given area?

The study shows efficacy on an acre-by-acre basis, so there is an effect in even small areas. However, mice and ticks are everywhere, so to curtail transmission, a wide distribution is necessary. The pellets are very cost-effective, and treatment costs less than $20 an acre. On the average, this equates to less than $2 per protected citizen in states affected by Lyme disease. We will distribute the pellets several times throughout the summer months to ensure each generation of mice born over the summer has the opportunity to eat the pellets. It’s similar to usual schedules of immunization used in many vaccines. The first dose primes the immune system, and subsequent doses boost immunity.

2014-02-25-cmrubinworldLyme_Disease_Progression_Map__US_BIOLOGIC_copy500.jpg

"By reducing the size of the tick population, one would not only directly decrease human risk, but also decrease the rate at which mice are infected. This would further reinforce the vaccine’s ability to reduce mouse-to-tick transmission." - Dr. Rick Ostfeld


What is the possibility of adding other pathogens such as Babesia and Anaplasmosis into the same bait?

You ask an exciting question. The current technology, we know, disrupts the transmission of Lyme disease. At the same time, the technology is actually a “platform” that can contain several vaccines and address multiple diseases.

The concept of oral immunization of wild animals to prevent human diseases is highly relevant to a number of other zoonotic diseases - those diseases transmitted from animals to humans. Zoonoses make up about 75% of emerging infectious diseases. Our technology provides an important example of the power of this approach.

Rick, what are the challenges going to be in terms of getting broad distribution for the mouse-targeted vaccine?

A key challenge will be getting the vaccine to the places where it will do the most good. The Lyme disease zone in the United States is enormous, and the white-footed mouse lives in pretty much all terrestrial habitats throughout this zone (including my kitchen cabinets). So, where do you deploy it, and how do you get it into the mouths of mice rather than having it get eaten by other animals? You can’t deploy it everywhere, so perhaps focusing on areas with the most cases of Lyme disease makes sense. If the vaccine is broadcast by air, much of it will likely be eaten by other wildlife, with little benefit in terms of reducing Lyme risk. If it’s placed in small boxes that only mice can enter, then delivery will be much more efficient, but this would seriously limit the area that can be covered. Because the mice have to ingest several doses to get immunized, making sure the bait lasts a long time will be critical. And the turnover in mice populations is extremely rapid, with new babies growing up and replacing the older generation constantly from spring through fall. So, one would have to deploy the bait for many months each year. Because our research showed that the reduction in tick infection takes a few years to materialize, one would have to keep up the delivery year after year.

What else beyond a mice vaccine does the Lyme prevention community need to do to prevent the spread of Lyme disease?

I agree that there’s much potential to consider the bait vaccine as a part of an integrated pest management approach. I think it’s likely that the bait vaccine together with tick management would act synergistically to reduce Lyme risk. Both tick-killing fungi and some botanical oils (oil of rosemary, for example) are known to be highly effective at killing ticks but without the toxic effects of chemical insecticides. By reducing the size of the tick population, one would not only directly decrease human risk, but also decrease the rate at which mice are infected. This would further reinforce the vaccine’s ability to reduce mouse-to-tick transmission. Recent research has shown that using insecticides on people’s yards does nothing to reduce their likelihood of getting Lyme disease. So, we have a lot of work to do to figure out where to deploy tick-control and bait vaccine strategies. Our nation spends far too little research money on these important questions, in my opinion.

For more information on this study:http://jid.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2014/02/11/infdis.jiu005.abstract

2014-02-25-cmrubinworldtomrickheadshots300.jpg

Dr. Tom Monath, C. M. Rubin, Dr. Rick Ostfeld

(Photos are courtesy of US Biologic and Cary Institute)

In The Global Search for Education, join me and globally renowned thought leaders including Sir Michael Barber (UK), Dr. Michael Block (U.S.), Dr. Leon Botstein (U.S.), Professor Clay Christensen (U.S.), Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond (U.S.), Dr. Madhav Chavan (India), Professor Michael Fullan (Canada), Professor Howard Gardner (U.S.), Professor Andy Hargreaves (U.S.), Professor Yvonne Hellman (The Netherlands), Professor Kristin Helstad (Norway), Jean Hendrickson (U.S.), Professor Rose Hipkins (New Zealand), Professor Cornelia Hoogland (Canada), Honourable Jeff Johnson (Canada), Mme. Chantal Kaufmann (Belgium), Dr. Eija Kauppinen (Finland), State Secretary Tapio Kosunen (Finland), Professor Dominique Lafontaine (Belgium), Professor Hugh Lauder (UK), Professor Ben Levin (Canada), Lord Ken Macdonald (UK), Professor Barry McGaw (Australia), Shiv Nadar (India), Professor R. Natarajan (India), Dr. Pak Tee Ng (Singapore), Dr. Denise Pope (US), Sridhar Rajagopalan (India), Dr. Diane Ravitch (U.S.), Richard Wilson Riley (U.S.), Sir Ken Robinson (UK), Professor Pasi Sahlberg (Finland), Professor Manabu Sato (Japan), Andreas Schleicher (PISA, OECD), Dr. Anthony Seldon (UK), Dr. David Shaffer (U.S.), Dr. Kirsten Sivesind (Norway), Chancellor Stephen Spahn (U.S.), Yves Theze (Lycee Francais U.S.), Professor Charles Ungerleider (Canada), Professor Tony Wagner (U.S.), Sir David Watson (UK), Professor Dylan Wiliam (UK), Dr. Mark Wormald (UK), Professor Theo Wubbels (The Netherlands), Professor Michael Young (UK), and Professor Minxuan Zhang (China) as they explore the big picture education questions that all nations face today.
The Global Search for Education Community Page

C. M. Rubin is the author of two widely read online series for which she received a 2011 Upton Sinclair award, “The Global Search for Education” and “How Will We Read?” She is also the author of three bestselling books, including The Real Alice in Wonderland, and is the publisher of CMRubinWorld.

Follow C. M. Rubin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@cmrubinworld

Tagged: The Global Search for EducationC. M. RubinLyme diseaseTicksBorreliaHealth and MedicineCary InstituteCo-infections