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World’s Top Epidemiologists Visit Their Colleagues at Texas A&M

Posted May 06, 2011

Assistant Professor at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Dr. Renata Ivanek-Miojevic, is hosting a seminar series for the college. The seminars involve world renowned epidemiologists visiting their fellow epi colleagues in College Station, TX. Thus far for the spring 2011 semester, the series has hosted Dr. Olaf Berke, Dr. Yrjö Gröhn, and Dr. Pauline van den Driessche.

Dr. Olaf Berke, associate professor of Statistical Epidemiology at the University of Guelph in Canada,visited the Collegefrom February 28, 2011 through March 4, 2011. Berke is known for the development and application of spatial statistical methods in epidemiology and veterinary public health; which also includes risk mapping, spatial surveillance, and spatial analyses.

Berke's principal interest involves the study of zoonoses and emerging infectious diseases. During his visit he gave an excellent research seminar to the college-wide community entitled, "Diagnostic Misclassification Bias in Geographic Epidemiology of West Nile Virus in Ontario, 2005." Berke also lectured to members of Ivanek-Miojevic's laboratory on matters relating to spatial epidemiology.

"We immensely enjoyed his presenting and teaching style", said Ivanek-Miojevic.

The second speaker for the series was Dr. Yrjö Gröhn, professor of Epidemiology and chair of the Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences Department at Cornell University. Gröhn visited the College for the period of March 22, 2011 through March 24, 2011.

Gröhn is known for his work in various topics including: mathematical modeling of zoonotic infectious diseases, optimizing dairy herd health, management decisions and research on salmonellosis, Johne's disease, and mastitis in cattle. During his visit, Gröhn gave an inspiring college-wide talk entitled, "Food Supply and Veterinary Medicine: Modeling of Production, Health, and Food Safety".

Gröhn also shared his thoughts on issues involving how to survive and prosper in academia.

"His thoughts on how to prosper in academia are still being repeated among various circles within the college, particularly among the graduate students here," said Ivanek-Miojevic.

The last speaker for the epidemiology seminar series this spring was Dr. Pauline van den Driessche, professor emeritus at the University of Victoria in Canada. Van den Driessche visited the College for the period of April 11, 2011 through April 14, 2011.

Van den Driessche is known for her contributions in research with mathematical biology, focusing especially on models in epidemiology and ecology, as well as estimation of R0 (the average number of individuals an already infected individual will infect). More recently, van den Driessche has been working on the large MITACS collaborative project, "Transmission Dynamics and Spatial Spread of Infectious Diseases: Modeling, Prediction, and Control".

During her visit, van den Driessche gave an excellent talk entitled, "Contributions of Mathematical Modeling to Controlling Infectious Diseases". She emphasized the "professional language barrier" encountered by teams that include professionals ranging from various disciplines such as sociologists, economists, geographers, mathematicians, veterinarians, and epidemiologists, to name a few. In order to better understand and predict disease transmission, many of them will make the effort to familiarize themselves with the professional jargon and frequently used by others in disciplines dissimilar to their own, before moving forward with any of their current research.

Currently, Ivanek-Miojevic anticipates the arrival of two more speakers scheduled for the fall 2011 semester as a part of the continuation of the epidemiology seminar series.

Contact Information:
Angela G. Clendenin
Director, Communications & Public Relations
Ofc - (979) 862-2675
Cell - (979) 739-5718

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