Nancy and Jerry Jaax are sure to turn up the heat at the upcoming Carpenter Lecture, Inside the Hot Zone, as they discuss deadly diseases and the efforts that the United States government is taking to protect us from them.

The Jaaxes are known around the world as leading experts in deadly diseases and biological weapons. At the March 24 lecture, the couple will offer a unique look at the origins and spread of viruses and disease, including up-to-date information about medical threats as well as the strategies and treatments the government uses to tackle deadly outbreaks.

Col. Jerry Jax

Their ongoing battle with tracing the origins and containing the incidents of hemorrhagic fever outbreaks in America, mainly Ebola and Marburg viruses, was captured in The New York Times bestseller The Hot Zone and inspired the 1995 film Outbreak, starring Dustin Hoffman.

Both researchers are U.S. Army colonels, hold doctoral degrees in veterinary medicine from Kansas State University (KSU), and are recipients of scores of both military and civilian honors.

Jerry Jaax serves as associate vice provost for research compliance and university veterinarian at KSU, is the principal investigator on several high-profile Homeland Security projects, and has served as an expert for Congress on issues involving agroterrorism.

Nancy Jaax is special project officer in the Office of Sponsored Research programs at KSU. She is an international expert on emerging zoonoses (illnesses that can be transmitted from animals to humans), with expertise in hemorrhagic fever diseases. She has led more than 100 presentations to health care professionals, medical schools, hospitals, and veterinary associations on topics such as rising disease containment, management and responses, pathogenesis of Ebola virus, and other hemorrhagic fever diseases.

Col. Nancy Jaax

Both speakers are key figures in the movement to stop the spread and development of deadly diseases in America. They are able to explain the underlying threats that these viruses present to America in a way that entertains and informs.

“Folks should come to the lecture and expand their knowledge base on a topic that is very important and interesting,” said Steven A. Mosher, professor of Health Care Administration and political science. “They will hear from experts in the field of deadly diseases and how to prevent and/or respond to them, learn about what risks we are dealing with in this area, and meet community participants — as we always have off-campus guests with a profound interest in the topic at hand.”

Established in 2003, the Carpenter Lecture Series brings to campus international and national experts who address timely issues in health care. It is made possible by the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation of Philadelphia. The appeal of the
presentations, according to Mosher, is that they are cross-disciplinary — yet rooted in health care — and are based on topics that will generate ideas, discussion, conversation, and, perhaps, a little conflict.

The Health Care Administration program at Mary Baldwin encourages students, faculty, staff, and members of the local community to attend the free lecture at 7 p.m. in Francis Auditorium at Mary Baldwin’s Pearce Science Center.