THE Q & A
By Bryan Gottlieb
Current World Bank estimates put
the global population around 6.8
billion humans, so to be named
by Time magazine as one of 201 l's
top 100 most influential people in the
world you have to be doing something
interesting. We're confident you'll find
Dr. Nathan Wolfe fits that bill.
As founder and director of the
Global Viral Forecasting Initiative,
a non-governmental organization
whose team of scientists has spent
more than a decade developing a
global system to prevent pandemics,
Wolfe is elbow-deep in the "hot zone,"
the term made famous by author
t- Richard Preston's 1994 book of the
In addition to the globetrotting
hunt for viruses, Wolfe is the Lorry I.
Lokey Visiting Professor in Human
Biology at Stanford University, his un-
dergraduate alma mater. He earned his
doctorate in immunology and infec-
tious diseases from Harvard in 1998.
Wolfe's list of academic accom-
plishments is — in and of itself — an
amazing feat: 1997 Fulbright fellow;
recipient of the 1999 National Insti-
tutes of Health International Research
Scientist Development Award; and the
NIH Director's Pioneer Award in 2005.
More impressive though is what
the man does on a fairly regular basis:
Collecting blood samples in "the
bush" from both man and beast in the
attempt to find new and emergent
pathogens before they find you or me.
All this (and much more) achieved
by a good Jewish boy raised in West
Bloomfield. The son of Charles Wolfe
and Carole Wittenberg, Nathan
graduated from West Bloomfield High
School in 1988.
Now living in San Francisco where
his NGO is based, Wolfe is currently
touring the country promoting his
new book, The Viral Storm: The Dawn
of a New Pandemic Age (Times/Henry
Holt; $26; 320 pp), and will be return-
ing to his hometown this month for a
speaking engagement to at the Jewish
Community Center in West Bloomfield
RT: 'Swashbuckling" is not a typical
adjective for a virologist, yet you've
been called the Indiana Jones of virol-
ogy. What are you hunting for?
NW: We're looking for the interesting
and unknown things in nature that
have the potential to harm us and
catch them early before they spread
— and also ones that may be useful
RT: What's so intriguing about
microbes that you're willing to put
yourself in harm's way?
NW: I was studying wild chimps in
southwest Uganda and was interest-
ed in the origins of HIV. As I started
looking into the world of microbes,
I realized just how little we knew
about them. It's an incredibly unseen
world that could harm us, but also
potentially find solutions to diseases
like cancer or schizophrenia.
RT: What message are you hoping
people take away from your book, The
NW: That we can't let our guard
down because, with regard to
pandemics, we live in an incredibly
interconnected world — and we're
going to experience more and more
of these deadly events over time; we
can develop the tools that will allow
us to conquer these threats.
RT: The notion of pandemics was
seemingly eradicated by the mid-
1960s. Then came AIDS, SARS and
H1N1. The last one you've described
as a dodged bullet (due to its relative-
ly mild effect on humans). How long
do we have before the world catches
another Spanish flu?
NW: I think it's more a question of
"when"than a question of "if."The
way flights, trains and boats link hu-
mans to one another and to animal
populations, where something that
emerges from a little remote village
but has the potential to travel to
Washington, D.C., or Detroit or Tokyo
in a matter of days, means we're go-
ing to experience more and more of
RT: In 2008, when you walked away
from a temired position in epidemiol-
ogy at UCLA to become a swashbuck-
ler, you quipped about explaining
that decision to your Jewish mother.
So, how'd she react?
Nathan Wolfe speaks about his book The Viral Storm:
The Dawn of a New Pandemic Age at 7:45 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 6, at the Jewish Community Center
in West Bloomfield. (248) 432-5692 or jccdet.org .
NW: I've always had good support
from my family; they've never en-
couraged me to just chase after the
money or security. They have been
very understanding that I have a
unique opportunity to try to change
part of the way we think about the
16 November 2011 I
:- t's been like a frat house at the Kiddush Club over
the last several weeks. What, with the recently con-
,cluded holidays and their associated revelry, you'd
think we'd want to throttle down for a bit. Hardly!
There's nothing we're more grateful for than the
chance to make a I'chaim for the Pilgrims and their
astute sense of direction. Of course, if you drove your
ship onto a rock, we'd drink to that, too.
Americans nowadays have few things that bring
us together more than Thanksgiving. Black or yellow,
white or brown — it's all red, white and blue on that
So, whether you're going to be priming the pump
all day with football and baked salami, or it's a wee
bit more elegant, we've combed through the vault
for some thematic drinks to make merry. Some are
simple, and others call for some slight effort. Either
way, they are KC-tested and drunkard-approved.
If Thanksgiving was a
pie, pumpkin be thy flavor.
Thus, for the swanksters in
the audience, we've mined a
martini recipe that makes you
look shwanky and tastes like hanky
You'll need: Skyy Pumpkin Infused
Vodka, Cointreau and ice. Swirl
Cointreau in a martini glass, then
dump out. Shake vodka and ice
to chill and strain into martini
glass rimmed with pumpkin
MAPLE LEAF MARTINI
Blasphemy, you charge. Maple leaf?
Isn't that a Canadian thing? Sure, the
maple leaf is on the Canadian flag but,
ahem, we have maple trees, too. Ever
hear of a little place called Vermont?
Gather 'round: 1 oz. Stoli Orange
vodka, 1/2 oz. Stoli Vanilla vodka, 1/2 oz.
Cointreau, a splash of orange juice and a tad
of cream. Throw the hooch in a shaker with
ice and shake to chill. Add the OJ and pour
into a martini glass. Garnish with a berry
and place said tad in the center. Sip.
We gotta give mad props
for our boys with da funky
hats. Hella! But hold up a
minute, home-slice. Before
you get all crazy, know this
drink takes some effort.
Hook it up: 1 cup of dried
cranberries, 1 cup of dried apri-
cots, 1 bottle grappa (Domenis
makes a kosher grappa). Wait for
it ... In a large, air-tight container,
combine grappa with dried cranber-
ries and dried apricots and let sit
for two weeks at room tempera-
ture. Yep, two weeks. Hells!
MAMA'S APPLE PIE
Oh, mama. Only you can make a great
cocktail seem so wholesome yet have the
potential to wreck those who don't
give mama her due. The active
ingredient, friends, is a staple
of the college crowd.
Role call: 1 gallon apple
juice,' gallon fresh apple
cider, 3-4 cinnamon sticks, 1 liter
Everclear alcohol. Put the juice,
cider and cinnamon sticks into a
pan and let simmer on the stove
for about two hours (we said
simmer!). Turn off heat, pour in 1
liter of Everclear to the batch and
pour into punch cups. Tastes
exactly like apple pie. Warning:
It'll mess you up.
WILD APPLE TURKEY
For those menfolk who
need not be bothered with
complications but still want
to be at the party, we have the
perfect drink. It's easy (only two
ingredients); it's manly (no spice
sticks or tads of cream); and it has
an unquestionably manly base —
Ten-hut: 2 parts apple cider to
1 part bourbon. Scale for the appro-
priate crowd. At ease, soldier.
— By Red Thread Staff