News

Getting ahead of infectious diseases threats to Australia


24 February 2014

Top infectious diseases experts will arrive at new ways to combat future outbreaks in Australia at a forum to be held at the University of Sydney on Thursday, 27 February.

The Anticipating Infectious Threats to Australia brainstorm event will be hosted by the University's Marie Bashir Institute, a flagship initiative researching solutions to the ongoing threat of infectious diseases in Australia and worldwide.

Five top leaders in their respective fields will give an overview and discuss recent advances, as well as determining the key challenges. This will be followed by open discussion and debate from the floor, facilitated by the moderator, Professor Eddie Holmes from the University's School of Biological Sciences.

The five expert speakers are:

Moderator - Professor Eddie Holmes

Professor Eddie Holmes is an evolutionary biologist who has worked on viruses and other microbes for over 20 years. He is currently an NHMRC Australia Fellow and a Professor in the School of Biological Sciences and Sydney Medical School. Previously, Professor Holmes was the Verne M. Willaman Chair in the Life Sciences at the Pennsylvania State University, USA. His main research theme has been to determine the mechanisms by which viruses emerge in new host species, their patterns and dynamics of spread through populations, and their major mechanisms of evolutionary change. As case studies, Professor Holmes has worked on a number of important viruses of humans and other animals, such as HIV, influenza, dengue, rabies and myxoma.

Professor Jon Iredell - Infectious diseases perspective, physician and microbiologist

Professor Jon Iredell is an infectious disease physician and microbiologist who divides his time between Westmead Hospital in a combined Infectious Diseases and Microbiology Department, and his research at the University of Sydney with the Westmead Millennium Institute and Marie Bashir Institute. His principal roles are as Director, NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Critical Infection and conjoint Professor of Medicine and Microbiology at Sydney Medical School; Director of Infectious Diseases at Western Sydney and Westmead Hospital; and Senior Staff Microbiologist at NSW Health Pathology. Professor Iredell's major interests are in critical infection, including the study of bacterial septic shock, and in bacterial genetics and ecology. He is President-elect (2014) of the Australian Society for Microbiology.

Dr Cameron Webb- Mosquito ecology, hospital scientist and clinical perspective

Dr Cameron Webb is a Clinical Lecturer with Sydney Medical School and Hospital Scientist with the Department of Medical Entomology at Westmead Hospital. Dr Webb's primary focus is to understand the role of environmental management and urban development in reducing the risks of mosquito-borne disease caused by Murray Valley encephalitis virus, Ross River virus, and Barmah Forest virus. He provides advice to local, state and federal authorities on the management of mosquitoes and mosquito-borne disease risk associated with constructed and rehabilitated wetlands as well as urban planning strategies. Dr Webb also provides advice to state and federal health authorities on other medically important arthropod pests including bed bugs, biting midges, lice, ticks, and bird mites.

Professor Robert Park - An agricultural perspective, director of cereal rust research

Professor Robert Park leads the Australian Cereal Rust Control Program which monitors variability in cereal rust pathogens across Australia, conducts genetic research to characterise new sources of rust resistance in cereals, and provides breeding support to assist all Australian cereal breeders in developing rust resistant cereals. He currently holds the GRDC Chair in Cereal Rust Research at the Plant Breeding Institute. His research on the Australia-wide population genetics of four major rusts in cereals has provided the basis for national resistance breeding efforts for the past two decades. Professor Park was awarded the Friendship Award of China in 2009, the highest honour that the Chinese Government bestows on foreign experts who have made outstanding contributions to China.

Dr Karrie Rose- An animal perspective, Australian Registry of Wildlife Health, Taronga Conservation Society Australia

Dr Karrie Rose enjoys a multi-faceted role in wildlife health research, education, and disease investigation as manager of the Australian Registry of Wildlife Health, a program of Taronga Conservation Society Australia. Dr Rose's research focuses on the application of an ecological approach to identify and understand pathogens at the interface of animal, human and environmental health.

Event details:

What: Anticipating Infectious Threats to Australia.

Date: Thursday 27 February 2014

Time: 1.45pm registration, 2pm-4pm forum

Location: New Law Lecture Theatre 106, University of Sydney

Cost: Attendance is free, afternoon Tea will be provided.

Please RVSP to mbi@sydney.edu.au

More information: http://sydney.edu.au/mbi/news/2014/anticipatinginfectiousthreats.php



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