We’re excited to announce that Tara C. Smith, Ph.D. is the newest member of the Zombie Research Society Advisory Board. Smith is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Iowa specializing in infectious disease. She’s also got zombies on the brain (If you don’t believe us see pic above).

Smith’s research centers on emerging diseases, particularly those which originate in animals. So if the coming zombie pandemic starts in our furry or feathered friends and  jumps to humans, she’ll be the first to know. She’s also highly interested in zombie preparedness, making her a valued addition to the team.

Let’s all give Professor Smith a great big ZRS welcome!


  1. Here’s my question, if humans did in fact find a re-animating virus in an aimal, aproximately how long would we have before it is able to be transmitted to humans? If it does take time for that to happen

    • Some can be transmitted immediately–again, think rabies. However, humans are “dead-end” hosts for these viruses, meaning that they can’t usually transmit them to other humans. That’s what typically takes time for the virus to evolve/adapt to humans. Hard to tell the exact time scale–something like HIV, which originated in animals, took many decades to go from occasional animal-to-human transmission to full-scale pandemic, but that’s also relatively hard to transmit person-to-person (since sex and/or blood has to be involved). However, with the zombie route of transmission usually being pretty bloody, that may speed up any human-to-human transmission scales–BUT it may also make it easier for us to discover such a virus, as “silent” cases may be less likely. So long story short, hard to say and would depend on a lot of variables.

  2. Great question! Broadly analyzed, almost 3/4 of emerging diseases come from wildlife–many from bats (Ebola, Hendra, Nipah, Sars) but also others which originate in our primate cousins (simian foamy viruses and of course HIV, for example). This paper, however, calls it for ungulates: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/11/12/05-0997_article.htm

  3. Here’s a crazy first question: If the zombie virus first develops in an animal before being transmitted to humans, what species would it likely to be (chimp, pig, grasshopper)?

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