International Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Disease Conference hosted at U-M
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
The University of Michigan hosted the 10th Annual Workshop and Conference on Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Disease in May 2012. “Open Questions in Infectious Disease Ecology and Evolution” was held from May 19 – 25 in Ann Arbor.
“We had more than 225 people from across the U.S., the U.K., Ireland, Netherlands, Australia, Thailand, and Colombia,” said Professor Pej Rohani, one of the conference organizers.
Rohani, along with Professors Aaron King and Mercedes Pascual formed the U-M EEID committee. Kevin Bakker, a research lab technician in the Rohani lab, played an instrumental role. “The meeting itself went very well, the talks were uniformly excellent, thought-provoking and generated substantial discussions,” Rohani said. One of the senior scientists, who’s ever-present at these conferences described it as “the best ever” during the conference dinner.
“One thing many people took from the conference was that within-host models are becoming a lot more of the norm than between-host models,” according to Bakker. “What that means is that there were many more people studying the effects of co-infection, or immune response rather than the big picture stuff like how many cases there are in certain places and when those epidemics peaked, etc.”
Rohani agreed that immunology was the dominant theme at this year's meeting. “Much of infectious disease biology focuses on transmission among individuals and spread through a population, essentially dealing with what happens inside the body as a black box. This is changing and represents an exciting frontier in our discipline. Another exciting development is the use of high throughput methods to characterize infections as they progress.”
Sponsors included the National Science Foundation and the following at the University of Michigan: Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Center for the Study of Complex Systems, Department of Epidemiology, School of Natural Resources and the Environment, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, Office of the Vice President for Research, and Rackham Graduate School. The Workshops on Modeling and Data Analysis were sponsored by the Colorado State University Department of Biology with funding provided by the National Science Foundation.
“This event generated much enthusiasm among the infectious disease community here at U-Mich, allowing students, postdocs, and faculty from diverse departments to meet and interact with leaders in the field,” according to Rohani. The other benefit for U-M was that this was the first experience many of the participants had with the university and Ann Arbor's delights, he said. Area delights included a hike of the Potawatomie Trail in the Pinckney State Recreation Area.
See the speakers and their topics.
In this article: