Our guest in this installment of The PrimateCast is Dr. Cécile Sarabian, co-host of this very podcast and producer of Conservation Voices for The PrimateCast. I interviewed Cécile just before she departed Japan to begin the next stage of her life and career...
Cécile spent the better part of 9 years with us here in Inuyama City at Kyoto University's Primate Research Institute, so there is also a good deal of tripping down memory lane in the podcast. But we do try to stay focused and talk about some cool science as well.
Cécile has made a bit of a name for herself internationally as a pioneering researcher focusing on evolutionary origins of hygiene and disgust in the animal kingdom, especially in primates. We talk about this research, including some of her experimental results - discoveries made after presenting study subjects with some intrigiung foraging decisions involving contaminants like feces and rotten foods! - that have garnered a fair amount of appeal in the popular media. You can see a couple of those popular articles here and here.
In the podcast, we also talk about Cécile's own development and the importance of mentors therein. We spend some time talking about someone very important to Cécile, the late Dr. Val Curtis who worked at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, whose influential book Don’t Look, don’t touch: the science behind revulsion was instrumental in the development of Cécile's research and whose activism in human hygiene inspired Cécile to think about how she could apply her research as a force of good the world.
For anyone interested in more info about Dr. Val Curtis, check out her Wikipedia page and I highly recommend her inaugural lecture at the LSHTM, which was recorded in the months leading up to her death in September 2020. She was a brilliant scientist and inspirational human, and will definitely be missed.
I'm sure we've not seen the last of Dr. Cécile Sarabian on The Primatecast, but join us for her fairwell-for-now podcast, and browse among loads of other audio content from primatologists and conservationists from around the world.
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Photo Credit: Andrew MacIntosh
The PrimateCast original score: Andre Goncalves
Closing Credits: Katherine Majewski