USA Today

By Steve Sternberg, USA TODAY

Even as a child, Peter Hotez held a grown-up's fascination for the tiny creatures living in the creek near his house.

Inspired by Paul de Kruif's Microbe Hunters, a popular book on disease detectives, Hotez persuaded his parents to buy him a microscope. He spent hours watching little animals wriggle in a glowing circle of light, and, at an age when most kids were reading The Hardy Boys, he read about parasites. His two brothers were baffled by his obsession.


This Scientist's Passion: Ending the Scourge of Parasitic Diseases