Speakers

Keynote Speakers

We are excited to welcome Erin Welsh, PhD and Erin Allmann Updyke, MD, PhD of This Podcast Will Kill You as the Keynote Speakers for the 2024 Iowa Immunization Summit.

Erin Welsh, PhD

 Erin Welsh, PhD is a scientist and science communicator who produces and co-hosts This Podcast Will Kill You, a popular science podcast with over 200 episodes, that she and co-host Erin Allmann Updyke launched in 2017. Erin earned her MS in Epidemiology from the University of Louisville in 2012 and her PhD in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology from the University of Illinois in 2018. Her research has investigated the host-parasite dynamics of nematode infections in humans as well as the climatic and ecosystem drivers of tick-borne disease risk in Panama and Finland. When she’s not podcasting, she’s busy walking her dog, tending to her garden, reading a novel, or hiking in the mountains outside Denver, Colorado, where she lives.


Erin Allmann Updyke, MD, PhD

Erin Allmann Updyke, MD, PhD is a physician, scientist and science communicator who co-hosts This Podcast Will Kill You, a popular science podcast that she and Erin Welsh, PhD launched in 2017. Erin earned her MS in Epidemiology from the University of Hawaii in 2013, her PhD in Entomology from the University of Illinois in 2018, and her MD from the University of Illinois in 2021. She recently completed her residency in Family Medicine at the University of California, San Diego. Her previous research investigated the use of enteric viruses as water quality indicators and the eco-epidemiology of Chagas disease in central Panama. When she’s not at the clinic or podcasting, she’s hunting for the coolest playground in town with her toddler and baby, throwing the ball at the beach for her dog, working on a breakfast burrito rank list with her husband, and walking to every single neighborhood coffee shop she can find.


This Podcast Will Kill You – Dr. Erin Welsh and Dr. Erin Allman Updyke

Erin and Erin began This Podcast Will Kill You in 2017 for two primary reasons: first, because they had begun to feel an increasing disconnect between academic research and the general public and wanted to try to bridge that gap, and second, because they just loved talking about diseases. Each episode of This Podcast Will Kill You explores a disease or other medical topic from biological, historical, and epidemiological perspectives and uses scientific storytelling to build connections with the audience, humanizing what can often be a very impersonal field. Their conversational approach serves to engage and entertain listeners while providing a low-pressure learning environment, and their willingness to engage with uncertainty when explaining complex topics helps to build and maintain trust with their audience. Over the last six years and over 200 episodes, This Podcast Will Kill You has reached millions of listeners around the world, scientists and non-scientists alike, and has worked towards demystifying how science is done to increase trust and understanding with the general public. In this keynote, Erin and Erin share some of their lessons in science communication, including the importance of striking a balance between clarity and depth, how to tailor your explanation for a specific audience, and why admitting what you don’t know is an undervalued strength.

Specific episodes of interest:
Vaccines part 1 
Vaccines part 2 
Diphtheria
Pertussis
Tetanus 
Measles
Chickenpox 
RSV