On being excited about emerging pathogens

Mar 30, 2013

At Duke in April, there’s going to be a two-day Symposium on Insights and Solutions for Emerging Infectious Diseases.

I’m looking forward to attending this, and blogging about what I learn there. It’s right up my alley.

One of the speakers is Ralph Baric, whom I wrote about 10 years ago when he was the international go-to expert on the SARS coronavirus.

Another speaker is Linfa Wang, director of the Program in Emerging Infectious Diseases at Duke-NUS Graduate School Singapore and a key scientist in zoonoses coming from bats. That’s a topic that I’m reading about in Spillover, the book by David Quammen. Quammen spoke at ScienceOnline2013 about his book, zoonoses and the word synecdoche (watch the video).

Then there’s Bart Haynes, former chair of the Duke Department of Medicine and current head of the massive CHAVI-ID consortium working on an HIV vaccine. I still own narrativesofhiv.org (which I bought around the time I was writing my masters thesis, Narratives of North Carolina Epidemiology).

And Subhash Vasudevan, a dengue expert. I’m confirmed seropositive for dengue.

And Joe Heitman, the chair of the Duke Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology. Heitman is one of the key leaders at Duke who is facilitating cross-department and multidisciplinary research.

Of course, much of the symposium will probably be way above my head, but I’m going to hang in there and learn as much as I can. I can’t wait.

Anton Zuiker

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