UGA to inaugurate new lecture series on infectious disease ecology

Athens, Ga. – Leslie A. Real, Asa G. Candler Professor of Biology at Emory University, will deliver the inaugural Ecology of Infectious Diseases Lecture at the University of Georgia. The lecture will be on Wednesday, March 22 at 3:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Paul D. Coverdell Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences.

Real’s lecture, titled “From Rabies to Ebola: the Molecular Ecology and Predictive Modeling of Infectious Disease Emergence,” will be the first in an ongoing series sponsored by the Biomedical and Health Sciences Institute and the College of Public Health at UGA.

The lecture, which is aimed at the research community-at-large, will be preceded by a poster session featuring the research efforts of UGA infectious disease ecology investigators. A question-and-answer session and reception will follow the lecture.

“The purpose of the lecture series is to identify areas of strength and collaborative potential within the UGA research community and expand our connections with other regional research institutions,” said Pejman Rohani, associate professor of ecology and executive committee member, UGA Ecology of Infectious Disease Research Initiative.

The lecture series will also serve to profile successful collaborative projects and foster increased efforts in grant submission and publications, Rohani added.

Disease ecology focuses on understanding how infectious diseases spread through and impact host populations and how hosts and pathogens react and evolve in response to one another. UGA research in this field involves more than 50 faculty members across six colleges and numerous departments.

Collaborative efforts at UGA have already resulted in extramurally-funded research programs in tropical diseases, ecology of emerging infections, evolution of antibiotic resistance and interactions between infectious diseases and world poverty. The UGA Ecology of Infectious Diseases Research Initiative is focused on further advancing these research and scholarly activities.

Real earned his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1977. He joined the faculty of the Emory University graduate program in Population Biology, Ecology and Evolution in 1998 to help create Emory’s Center for Disease Ecology, an inter-school effort exploring the ecological and evolutionary conditions for infectious disease emergence and spread.

Real’s research interests include theoretical and evolutionary biology, population ecology and genetics and the ecology and evolution of infectious diseases. He has received numerous grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, as well as served on various national and international committees, including the National Research Council Board on Environmental Studies and the Science Advisory Board of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Sonia Altizer, assistant professor in the Institute of Ecology at UGA, will be the next featured speaker on Wednesday, April 12. David Stallknecht, associate professor of infectious diseases in the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine, will speak on Wednesday, May 24. Most lectures will be held the fourth Wednesday of the month in the Coverdell Center auditorium.

For more information about the Ecology of Infectious Disease Research Initiative and its programs, visit www.biomed.uga.edu or contact Pejman Rohani at rohani@uga.edu.


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