February 15, 2018 -- On Thursday, February 15, the Emerging Pathogens Institute celebrated its eleventh annual Research Day with a record number of presentations and nearly 400 attendees.
The event took place this year in the Reitz Union Rion Ballroom and featured nearly 160 presentations on a wide range of infectious diseases – including malaria, dengue, Zika, HIV, and many others.
Following the poster sessions, attendees gathered on the west side of the ballroom to listen to two presenters discuss the public health impact of infectious diseases.
Dr. Jack Payne, senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources and head of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, gave the welcoming address, suggesting that when the university's many colleges collaborate, better science ensues.
Dr. J. Glenn Morris followed Payne by giving introductions to the keynote speakers.
The first speaker, Dr. Peter Small, gave a presentation titled "Disrupting the TB Epidemic," in which he discussed the need to address tuberculosis in the world's poor and rural communities in order to mitigate the spread of the disease. Tuberculosis, he said, is the world's number one infectious cause of death, and it kills more people due to anti-microbial resistance than any other bacterial or other microbial infection.
Dr. Andrew Pekosz delivered the second presentation, titled "Surveillance for Human Influenza – More than just choosing vaccine strains." During his talk he referred to the present influenza epidemic in the United States, which is atypical in that it is dominated by H3N2 viruses.
Pekosz is the co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Excellence in Influenza Research and Surveillance and director of the Center for Emerging Viral Infectious Diseases. Pekosz has served on a number of National Institute of Health scientific and policy review boards focused on biosafety and biocontainment and is an expert on the topics of influenza, biosafety, emerging infectious diseases and pandemic preparedness.
Small is the founding director of the Stony Brook University Global Health Institute. His expertise includes tuberculosis (TB) and global health. For more than a decade, Small was responsible for building and running the innovative TB program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He has done seminal work on clinical, epidemiologic, evolutionary, and genetic aspects of tuberculosis. He has deep expertise in translating cutting edge science into drugs, diagnostic methods and vaccines as well as the business and public health processes to get innovative tools to those in need.