Emerging infectious diseases tend to be caused by agents that are able to infect multiple host species and that are maintained in ecologically complex environments. What are the features that allow pathogens to successfully establish in novel host species? And how does variation in the environment (e.g. changes in habitat or host communities) affect the ability of pathogens to emerge and spread? I will address these questions by drawing on examples from our research on rabies, Lyme disease and other diseases. I will further highlight the importance of drawing on multiple lines of inference and cross-disciplinary approaches, such as the integration of ecological, geographical and genetic information, to advance our ability to understand and mitigate infectious disease threats in a One Health context.
Roman Biek is Professor of Disease Ecology and Molecular Epidemiology at the University of Glasgow, following earlier academic training in Germany and the USA. His work aims to understand how infectious organisms spread and persist in their respective host populations and how ecological factors, from host features to landscape heterogeneity, affect these processes. His research focuses on pathogens that are rapidly evolving, such as viruses and bacteria, and for which transmission dynamics can thus be effectively tracked using genetic data. He has worked on a wide range of diseases, including many of human health or veterinary concern (e.g. Lyme disease, Ebola, rabies, bovine TB) and received support from major research funders including NSF, NIH, EC, NERC, BBSRC, MRC and Wellcome Trust.
Moderation: Professor Dr. Fabian Leendertz
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