Meet Hayden Hedman, a postdoctoral research associate at the Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS). As an eco-epidemiologist, Hayden is passionate about studying infectious diseases at the intersection of wildlife, domestic animals, and human populations. While completing his dissertation, he studied the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria between poultry and children in rural Ecuador. For more information on Hayden’s work, visit his research website.
What are you looking forward to the most in your new role at INHS?
I am excited to work on a rich longitudinal dataset exploring the spatial dynamics of chronic wasting disease in white-tailed deer.
How old were you when you first became interested in science? What sparked your interest?
Growing up at the peak of the Pokémon frenzy… I was interested in catching and identifying wildlife at an early age. This interest later evolved into studying the intersection of human and animal health.
What are some challenges you’ve faced in your career?
Having to master microbial techniques in Spanish while managing a team of 15 laboratory technicians and field members was a bit of a hurdle.
What do you wish more people understood about science or being a scientist?
Science creates action. Two of my mentors at University of Michigan, Mark Wilson and John Vandermeer, taught me that science can be used to address health inequalities and improve livelihoods.
What advice would you give to future scientists?
Embrace failures. Some of my greatest lessons learned were through unexpected pitfalls.