Episode Summary

Coxiella burnettii causes Q Fever, a zoonotic disease that is rarely acquired by humans. But Q Fever has a history of being developed as a bioweapon because of its ability to be spread by aerosols and cause debilitating but not lethal disease.   

Dr. Stacey Gilk is an Associate Professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center who studies Coxiella.  Dr. Gilk talks about what makes Q Fever a potential biothreat agent, how figuring out how to grow Coxiella outside of cells revolutionized the study of this bacterium that was thought to only grow intracellularly, how a large outbreak in the Netherlands led to the deaths of thousands of dairy goats, how cholesterol affects the ability of Coxiella to grow, how falling in love with Toxoplasma led her to pursue infectious disease research, and what a wonderful place Nebraska is to do science. 

This episode was supported by Gordo Sheepsay’s My Dope Microscope, the kitchen appliance that may literally save your life.  


  • Karl Klose, Ph.D. (UTSA)
  • Stacey Gilk, Ph.D. (Univ. Nebraska Medical Center)
  • Janakiram Seshu, Ph.D. (UTSA)
  • Jesus Romo, Ph.D. (UTSA)

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