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Lectures on New Diseases, Biodefense

Sept. 23, 2004 — The University of Utah is launching a series of monthly lectures dealing with emerging infectious diseases – SARS, new flu strains, hantavirus and others – and our defenses against those diseases and bioterrorism.

The Distinguished Lecture Series on Emerging Infectious Diseases and Biodefense begins Oct. 13 and will extend through summer of 2005. The series is sponsored by the university’s Office of the Vice President for Research.

“This lecture series is being organized – with input from our partner universities and public health organizations in the state – to help raise awareness and educate our academic and medical communities on this important national priority,” says Jill Trewhella, special projects director in the research office.

The lectures are aimed at a broad audience of researchers and public health practitioners in Utah. News media representatives are invited to cover the lectures, and the public also is invited to attend.

The lecture series will contribute to an education requirement as several universities and public health agencies in Utah, Colorado, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota apply for a five-year, $70 million Regional Center of Excellence grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The money would be used to establish a Regional Center of Excellence for biodefense and emerging infectious diseases. Such centers are designed to discover and develop new vaccines, treatments and diagnostic tests for use in responding to an outbreak.

If the grant application were approved, at least $10.44 of the $70 million would be targeted for Utah, including $5.18 million to Utah State University, $3.87 million to the University of Utah and $1.39 million to Brigham Young University. The Utah Department of Health Services also is involved in the effort as a consultant to the universities.

As part of that application, the University of Utah is working with academic and public health institutions in the region to support training and career development of professionals with expertise in emerging infectious disease and biodefense.

Here is the schedule of lectures, all of which will be delivered in the first-floor auditorium of the Eccles Institute of Human Genetics, which is located just southeast of the University of Utah School of Medicine.

4 p.m. Wednesday Oct. 13, 2004, “Viruses, Vectors and Virus Vectors: Emergence of Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever and Shock Syndrome in the Americas,” Barry Beaty, Ph.D., university distinguished professor at the Animal and Infectious Diseases Laboratory, Colorado State University.

4 p.m. Wednesday Nov. 17, 2004, “Hantavirus and Its Relatives: ‘Home-Grown’ Emerging Viruses and Biodefense Concerns,” Robert W. Sidwell, Ph.D., professor of virology and director of the Institute for Antiviral Research, Utah State University.

4 p.m. Wednesday Dec. 8, 2004, “Influenza Pandemics,” Andrew T. Pavia, M.D., chief of pediatric infectious diseases and George and Ester Gross Presidential Professor of pediatrics and medicine, University of Utah.

4 p.m. Wednesday Jan. 12, 2005, “SARS and Corona Viruses,” Ralph S. Baric, Ph.D., professor of microbiology and immunology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

11 a.m. Wednesday Feb. 9, 2005, “Anthrax, Plague and Tularemia: Natural and Unnatural Outbreaks in a Genomics Context,” Paul Keim, Ph.D., regents professor and the Cowden Endowed Chair in Microbiology, Northern Arizona University.

4 p.m. Wednesday March 16, 2005, “Simulation Science: Epidemiological Modeling and Critical Infrastructures,” Chris Barrett, Ph.D., professor of computer science and bioinformatics, Virginia Tech.

4 p.m. Wednesday April 6, 2005, “The Emergence of Human Metapneumovirus as a World Wide Threat,” Guy Boivin, M.D., M.Sc., director of Pulmonary Infections Axis, Quebec Respiratory Health Network.

4 p.m. Wednesday May 11, 2005, “Pathogenic Burkholderia,” Richard Robison, Ph.D., professor of microbiology and molecular biology, Brigham Young University.

4 p.m. Wednesday June 8, 2005, “Biodefense,” Jeff Mohr, Ph.D., chief, Life Sciences Division, Dugway Proving Ground.

4 p.m. Wednesday July 13, 2005, “Immunotherapy for West Nile Virus: Clinical Trials,” Richard Whitley, M.D., professor of pediatrics, University of Alabama.

An updated version of this lecture schedule will be maintained at: