Fralin Life Sciences Institute is sponsoring the inaugural Infectious Disease Symposium on Oct. 7 at The Inn at Virginia Tech, located at 901 Prices Fork Road on the Blacksburg campus. 

The event is an outreach effort of Center for Emerging, Zoonotic, and Anthropod-Borne Pathogens (CeZAP), one of the centers within the Fralin Life Sciences Institute, to foster and promote a cohesive and synergistic environment for interdisciplinary and collaborative research. Welcoming remarks will be made by Kylene Kehn-Hall, director of CeZAP; Dan Sui, senior vice president for research and innovation; and Aimee Surprenant, dean of the Virginia Tech Graduate School. 

"The symposium is a great opportunity for faculty and students to network and to learn about the outstanding infectious disease research being performed at Virginia Tech," said Kehn-Hall. 

The symposium will feature three keynote speakers:

Capt. Jennifer McQuiston
Deputy director, Division of High Consequence Pathogens and Pathology and manager of the 2022 CDC Multi-National Monkeypox Response
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
“CDC’s Division of High Consequence Pathogens and Pathology: Recent Outbreak, Future Horizons”

Jake Liang
Chief of Liver Diseases Branch, National Institutes of Health distinguished investigator, and member of National Academy of Medicine
National Institutes of Health
“A Drug’s Purpose: From Erectile Dysfunction, Allergy to Hepatitis C and COVID-19”

Sue VandeWoude
University Distinguished Professor and member of National Academy of Sciences
Director, One Health Institute
Dean of College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
Colorado State University 
“Endogenous-exogenous Viral Interactions during Feline Leukemia Virus Infection”

The afternoon will feature presentations and poster sessions led by faculty and graduate students from areas across the university, including animal and poultry sciences, biological sciences, chemistry, civil and environmental engineering, computer science, fish and wildlife conservation, mathematics, and population health sciences. 

More than 170 have registered to attend the event, with more than 90 students participating in oral and poster presentations. While registration is closed for the event, CeZAP will be hosting similar outreach opportunities in the future.

The majority of the student presenters represent the Infectious Disease Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Program (ID IGEP) that aims to advance knowledge of the biology of pathogens, vectors, and hosts, the science of prevention and treatment, as well as the environmental, social, and behavioral aspects of public health. 

"Graduate students affiliated with the ID IGEP are well-positioned to help foster a vibrant cross campus CeZAP community through their multilab training, interdisciplinary education, and initiation of new collaborative research projects," said Ann Stevens, professor of microbiology and co-director of the ID IGEP.

The program will train doctoral students that select to work in a home laboratory from the over 100 faculty members in six colleges and 31 departments affiliated with CeZAP.

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