7th Annual Integrative Biology Symposium: Global Health

On May 5, 2014 by Grad Forum
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Professor of biology and organizer of this year’s Symposium, Scott Williams, addresses the audience.

The theme of this year’s Annual Integrative Biology Symposium was Global Health. At the start of the Symposium, held on April 23 at the Hopkins Center, Associate Professor of Medicine and Associate Dean of Global Health Lisa Adams posed the question “Why adopt a global perspective?” She went on to argue that a global perspective is both possible and necessary due to globalization and the opportunities for innovation occurring worldwide.

The nine speakers at the Symposium spoke on a variety of global health-related topics, such as cancer etiology, tuberculosis vaccines, sickle cell disease in Tanzania, and disease evolution. Speakers included: Peter Wright, professor of pediatrics, Timothy Lahey, associate professor of medicine, Jennifer Doherty, assistant professor of community and family medicine, and Scott Williams, professor of genetics, all from Dartmouth, as well as Timothy Rebbeck, professor of epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania, Julie Makani, Wellcome Trust research fellow and senior lecturer at Muhimbili University, and Sarah Tishkoff, professor of genetics and biology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Sten Vermund, professor of pediatrics and director of the Institute for Global Health at Vanderbilt University, delivered the keynote address and spoke on “Implementation Science in the Fight Against HIV in Africa.” According to Professor Jason Moore, “The speakers were all outstanding and really energized and inspired the audience to think about some of the important issues in global health.”

Genetics graduate student, Dov Pechenick, echoed this sentiment by saying, “I think one of the most interesting stories I heard came from [Vermund]. I learned more formally about the field of implementation science, and about some of the monumental challenges in delivering already proven science and technology into impoverished, rural communities.” Another graduate student, Rishika De, agreed. “I was most impressed by the large scale impact of the work presented, especially by Makani and Vermund. Both researchers were trying to tackle problems starting at the absolute grassroots level in Tanzania, and Africa at large, and that was very inspiring to see,” said De.

Along with a full day of seminars, the Symposium also included a poster session for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. Judges evaluated the posters, and poster session winners included graduate students Suzana Car (biology), Catherine Fricano (physiology and neurobiology), and Shanhu Hu (pharmacology and toxicology), along with postdoctoral researcher, Shohreh Farzan (Geisel School of Medicine).

This year’s Integrative Biology Symposium was sponsored by the Dartmouth Lung Biology Center, the Institute for Quantitative Biomedical Sciences (iQBS), the NH-INBRE, the Superfund Research Program (Srp), the Center for Molecular Epidemiology at Dartmouth, the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center, and the Children’s Environmental Health & Disease Prevention Research Center at Dartmouth.

The goal of the Integrative Biology Symposium was to “bring together a diverse community of experimental, observational, and quantitative scientists to exchange ideas and to motivate collaborations,” remarks Moore. When asked about next year’s topic, he says, “We are deciding that now, but a strong possibility is to focus on epigenomics… This is a really hot area with many exciting new developments that would be of interest to the broader Dartmouth community.”

by Jeanine Amacher

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