March 24, 2009
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.