5 questions with…professor, Research ShowCASE board chair Pete Zimmerman

Pete Zimmerman
Pete Zimmerman (left) on a trip working to prevent malaria.

Pete Zimmerman knows first-hand the value of research and impact it can have on the world. Throughout his career, the professor of international health, biology and genetics has worked toward the prevention of malaria in Papua New Guinea and Madagascar.

Zimmerman’s work aims to understand the epidemiology of the disease and how it enters the red blood cell. His research has the potential to provide healthy futures to the millions of people at risk of becoming infected each day.

But his work is only one example of the type of research performed on a daily basis at Case Western Reserve University.

As chair of the Research ShowCASE program advisory board, Zimmerman leads a team of 15 to 20 CWRU faculty, staff and community business leaders who discuss enhancements to each year’s program and review submitted abstracts.

Pete ZimmermanThrough his experience as chair, Zimmerman fully recognizes the breadth of the research being performed here, and strongly encourages the campus community to learn more about all that Case Western Reserve has to offer at this year’s Research ShowCASE.

“The topics at Research ShowCASE range from A to Z—from art to zebrafish,” Zimmerman said. “It really has something for everyone.”

The free, public exhibition is taking place today, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Veale Convocation, Recreation and Athletic Center and will feature research from hundreds of researchers, scientists and scholars from all levels: faculty, staff and students.

With so many exhibits this year, the program board introduced a mobile app to help Research ShowCASE visitors better plan their visit with guidebook, which can be accessed at guidebook.com/getit (search Case Western Reserve).

“We really wanted to create a more digestible and better experience for all the guests,” Zimmerman said.

The app allows users to:

  • Register as an attendee
  • View the schedule of events
  • Search for posters of interest
  • Map out the posters they’re interested in
  • Take a pre-defined “journey” to view posters on specific topics
  • See where to park
  • See the event sponsors

Guests are also encouraged to tweet during the event, using #CWRUShowCASE2015.

The event not only gives guests the opportunity to check out the work being done at Case Western Reserve, but it also gives students the experience of presenting their research to the campus and professional community.

“Regardless of what school you are a part of, this is the sort of platform where you can go and show your research, and talk with other people who may or may not be specialists in your field,” Zimmerman said.

Student research—at all levels of study—is a hallmark of Case Western Reserve’s curriculum. Research ShowCASE provides a forum for the university’s students, as well as faculty and staff, to share their work and engage in dialogue about parts unknown.

“We don’t know the answers to so many questions,” Zimmerman said. “But having a look at the unknown is really part of the whole human experience.”

Read more about Zimmerman in this week’s five questions—and don’t forget to check out the Research ShowCASE until 3 p.m. today.

1. What is your favorite city? Why?

Cleveland. It has so many interesting parts and, obviously, Case Western Reserve University is one of them. I just submitted a poem about Cleveland to the O, Miami ZipCodes poetry contest with the theme, “Ode to your Zip Code.” My submission had to be based off my 44106 zip code, containing that number of words (4, 4, 1, 0, 6) in each line. The poem reads:

Mistake on the Lake

Rivers and eyebrows ablaze.


Comeback Cleveland, winning acclaim and praise

2. In all of your education, who of your teachers had the greatest impact on you?

The teachers who had the greatest impact on me were the people who showed me how to approach culture and help me to facilitate what I do in Madagascar and Papua New Guinea. Also, my PhD advisers, Naomi Lang-Unnasch and Chris Cullis, helped me understand and navigate the system of graduate education. Cullis and I have a research poster together at the ShowCASE.

3. When it comes to music, what artist is one of your “guilty pleasures?” Why?

I just read the book Bruce, so it has to be Bruce Springsteen. He has big sound and awesome energy.

4. What one word would you use to describe yourself, and what one word would your friends use to describe you?

I would describe myself as “curious” and my friends also would describe me as “curious.”

5. What is your favorite thing about Case Western Reserve?

My favorite thing about Case Western Reserve is all the opportunities it provides and the amount of potential on campus.