One Health Research Symposium: Preventing the Next Pandemic

The Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute, in collaboration with Kansas State University and the University of Missouri, has arranged for over 20 national and regional experts to present at the One Health research symposium on August 27-28 at the Kansas City Convention Center. 

This year’s theme, “Preventing the Next Pandemic” features presentations addressing this topic from two perspectives: 1) how can we use surveillance data, social trafficking, and big data to identify potential outbreaks at the earliest time point so we have the greatest opportunity for responding, 2) what are the latest vaccine platforms being applied to viral and emerging diseases including a segment on novel treatment approaches.

The keynote presentation on One Health will be provided by Dr. Greg Gray, Professor of Infectious Diseases at Duke University.  Dr. Gray is a renowned expert in One Health and will discuss the critical importance of integrated human and animal medicine for preventing pandemics. Dr. Mark Challberg will begin Day 2 with a keynote presentation on Zika vaccine development. At the onset of the epidemic no Zika virus vaccine existed nor were any under development. Dr. Challberg will speak on why a vaccine is urgently needed.

The predictive biology segment on Day 1 will explore surveillance and big data approaches targeting early disease identification and intervention.  Dr. Tracey McNamara, the pathologist who first identified West Nile virus in the United States, and Dr. Jorge Soberon will discuss disease spread using ecology and evolutionary biology.  Surveillance methods used in Africa will be presented by Dr. Jean Paul Gonzalez.  Experts using computational biology, genomic and social data will explore how these technologies can be integrated to prevent pandemics.

Day 2 of the research symposium will present different vaccine platform approaches for highly pathogenic avian influenza, MERS, Zika and Ebola. Dr. Scott McVey an expert in regulatory science will discuss fast-track approaches for emerging diseases and Dr. Samuel Thevasagayam from the Gates Foundation will discuss challenges of manufacturing in Sub-Saharan Africa.  Novel approaches including interferon and metabolic control will also be presented as alternatives for controlling zoonotic diseases.

The symposium will conclude with a presentation by Dr. Marty Vanier of the Department of Homeland Security with an update on the construction and planned operations of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kansas.

This symposium was developed by a steering committee of regional academic and industry experts in zoonotic and emerging diseases. Click here to learn more information or to register.