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Cynthia Needham


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Cynthia Needham, PhD, is President and co-Founder of ICAN Productions, Ltd. Needham is an internationally recognized microbiologist with over 25 years experience in the medical community as well as a strong record in scientific investigation and teaching. She created and directed the Microbial Literacy Collaborative, a partnership among organizations and individuals that produced a large public education initiative with major funding from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the American Society for Microbiology, and the Annenberg/CPB Project. The initiative's interrelated components included a 4-hour PBS limited series broadcast in 1999 (Intimate Strangers: Unseen Life on Earth), a 12-part telecourse produced for the Annenberg/CPB Project (Unseen Life on Earth: An Introduction to Microbiology), an award-winning Web site (, teen science leadership development programs, teaching and learning aids for biology teachers and students, and the trade book Intimate Strangers: Unseen Life on Earth (Washington: ASM Press. 2000). ASM Press published her second book-Global Disease Eradication: The Race for the Last Child-in early 2003.

Needham is the PI and Project Director for "Nanotechnology: The Convergence of Science and Society" a multi-partner project funded by NSF and DOE. The project will use a variety of media (television, online, radio) to engage the public on the societal implications of nanotechnology.

Needham is a Fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, and a Diplomat (Emeritus) of the American Academy of Medical Microbiology. She was formerly an associate professor at Boston University Medical School and an adjunct associate professor with the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Biology at Tufts University School of Medicine before leaving to devote her energy to enriching the public understanding of science. She was National Secretary of the American Society for Microbiology (the 45,000-plus member professional society for microbiologists) from 1988 to 1995.

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