Science Cafe: Giant, Bomb-Sniffing African Rats!
While some rats may have bad rap, the African giant pouched rat (Cricetomys ansorgei) is helping to save lives in Tanzania. These rodents have an acute sense of smell and are trained to sniff out landmines and even detect tuberculosis in patients. From their pouched cheeks to their scaly tails, these large rats can grow up to 3 feet long and are as common in Tanzania as an Eastern gray squirrel is here. But much remains to be learned about the behavior and biology of these amazing African creatures. Join our conversation with Dr. Danielle Lee, who is making history with her behavioral research on the incredible African giant pouched rat.
About Our Speaker
Dr. Danielle N. Lee (pictured at right) is an animal behavior scientist completing postdoctoral work in a laboratory at Oklahoma State University that will soon be moving to Cornell University. Dr. Lee’s research blends the animal behavior fields of psychology, ethology, and behavioral ecology, and her studies use field and laboratory experiments to identify individual behavior variations, or behavioral syndromes.
Dr. Lee earned a BS in Animal Science from Tennessee Technological University, MS in vertebrate zoology at the University of Memphis, and PhD at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Dr. Lee is perhaps best known online for her Scientific American blog, The Urban Scientist, described as, “a hip hop maven blogging on urban ecology, evolutionary biology & diversity in the sciences." On Twitter as @DNLee5, Dr. Lee has been named by the City University of New York’s Feminist Press as one of the “Top Women in Science to Follow on Twitter” and the Huffington Post Science list, “30 Biologists and Chemists to Follow on Twitter.”
From examining the biology of vacant urban lots in America to tagging pouched rats near Tanzanian homes, Lee is passionate about communicating science to wide audiences and introducing them to science in their own backyard.