Center for Exploration and Travel Health at the California Academy of Sciences

About the Center



The Center for Exploration and Travel Health (CETH) at the California Academy of Sciences has two missions:

  1. To excel in providing exploration health services to the museum community; and
  2. To be a leading academic center in travel medicine research and education.


Travel Services Mission

The clinical division of the Center will consist of an in-house travel medicine and expedition consulting practice that will manage pre-travel and post-return medical concerns of Academy staff. The breadth of care will include:

  • Recommend and administer vaccinations, prepare medications and special precautions for those entering areas with known hazards such as drug-resistant malaria, cholera, or special environmental hazards.
  • Accompany expeditions to provide medical care, when appropriate.
  • Provide special attention to chronic, age-related, and obstetric medical issues.
  • Contact patients' primary care physicians and clinics, as appropriate.
  • Maintain on-call staff physicians 24 hours for emergencies occurring during Academy expeditions, including communication with local health-care providers and coordination of safe and effective evacuation from research sites.
  • Provide guidance regarding medical-ethical issues encountered during fieldwork abroad.
  • Consult on Academy (and Aquarium) safety matters such as the handling of venomous animals, disaster planning and first-aid classes, in continued collaboration with the Department of Emergency Medicine at University of California, San Francisco (USCF). 



With Academy scientists and physicians working together, the ability to expand our range of knowledge and publish biological and medical findings will be unique among the world's museums.


Contact CETH

Email or call (415) 425-7892


Please call Dr. Matthew Lewin (415-425-7892) to make arrangements for consultation.

CETH Snakebite Project

Snakebite is arguably the most neglected of neglected tropical diseases, with an estimated 5,000,000 bites per year and mortality approaching that of AIDS in some countries. Teaming up with colleagues from UCSF and India, we are taking a completely new approach to the treatment of bites by snakes that disable and kill by paralysis (e.g. Cobra, sea snake, taipan). We are reformulating heat-stable, inexpensive drugs suspected to be effective against venoms that paralyse by interrupting transmission between muscle and nerve. Preliminary data from a human study suggest this approach will be effective and we are initiating collaborations to bring these potentially life-saving drugs where they are needed most.

News & Media

  • Academy Research Associate Matthew Lewin’s life and work are a bit on the extreme side. Watch his featured exhibition in "The Extreme Side of Life."


  • "On Call in the Wild: An Expedition Doctor Combines Medicine and Adventure" – Discover


  • Bay Area doctors create snake bite nasal spray treatment. KGO/ABC7


  • Potential treatment for snakebites Leads to a paralyzing test. NPR



  • New approach to treating venomous snakebites could reduce global fatalities. Science Daily


  • First-aid snakebite drug could save thousands of lives. Discover


  • Nasal spray marks latest treatment for snake bites – Medical Daily



  • When emergencies happen in remote settings, field researchers can be left with little recourse. The Field Medic


  • Local doctors have recently returned from Haiti where the disaster continues. Science in Action

CETH Research Publications

Snakebite Treatment Research

Nasal Spray Treatment for Snakebites


CT Scans for Dinosaur Eggs and Spinal Cord Injury: One Technique Led to the Other


Neglected Tropical Disease: Noma


Climate and Catastrophic Illness


Expedition Medicine