UGA symposum explores the role of climate and ecology on infectious disease

UGA symposium explores the role of climate and ecology on infectious disease

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia Biomedical and Health Sciences Institute (BHSI) will host its fourth annual spring symposium titled “Climate, Ecology and Infectious Disease” on April 16-17 at the Paul D. Coverdell Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences on UGA’s south campus.

“Disease ecology is a rapidly growing interdisciplinary field that necessarily involves the disciplines of microbiology, ecology, genetics, geography, medicine, mathematics and epidemiology to better understand how climate and environment affects the interaction between hosts and pathogens,” said Margie Lee, professor of population health and leader of the Ecology of Infectious Diseases (EID) Initiative at UGA. “This symposium is particularly timely given the ongoing discussions of how potential climate change will impact mankind.”

The keynote speaker will be Dr. Ali Khan, acting deputy director for the National Center for Zoonotic, Vector-Borne, and Enteric Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. His professional career has focused on bioterrorism, global health and emerging infectious diseases.

Khan joined CDC and the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps in 1991 as an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer. Over the past decade, he has responded to and led numerous high profile domestic and international public health emergencies, including the Asian tsunami, Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, and outbreaks involving hantavirus, Ebola, avian influenza, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

The keynote lecture and dinner, open to all two-day symposium registrants, will be held April 16 at 6:30 p.m. at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education Conference Center and Hotel.

Other speakers include Gregory Glass, professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; Kristie Ebi, an independent consultant; and Morris Potter, lead scientist for epidemiology at the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition; as well as faculty involved with UGA’s EID research initiative.

Disease ecology as a discipline is well represented at UGA and involves more than 50 faculty members across six colleges and numerous departments. Collaborative efforts facilitated by the BHSI-sponsored EID initiative 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 BHSI hosts a symposium every year focused on a health-related topic of particular relevance to Georgia. Past symposia have focused on cancer, infectious diseases, diabetes and obesity, as well as glycoscience research. This year’s symposium is co-sponsored by the BHSI and UGA College of Public Health.

For a complete schedule of the conference or to register, visit www.biomed.uga.edu, or contact the BHSI office at 706/542-5922.