EMSI brings together internationally recognized experts in evolutionary biology with students and health practitioners who want to apply these perspectives to cancer, infectious disease, evolution of microbial resistance, neurology, autoimmune disease, the microbiome, and more.
We aim to (a) introduce core evolutionary perspectives to a wide range of topics in human and animal health and disease, (b) train scientists in computational methods used in evolutionary and ecological research, and (c) foster new collaborations across the evolutionary sciences, human and veterinary medicine, and public health. To achieve these goals, we utilize a model of hands-on participatory learning coupled with networking and collaborative projects. EMSI features lectures and exercises designed to instill an understanding of core concepts, followed by hands-on training in computational methods, including introductions to evolutionary analysis tools. Case examples include topics such as phylogenetics, molecular evolution, and evolutionary epidemiology.
To facilitate networking and build collaborations for scientists and practitioners across disciplines, EMSI incorporates team-based learning projects throughout the week. Traditionally, teams have formed to initiate short papers presenting evolutionary perspectives on specific diseases, with the goal of submission as “Clinical Briefs” to the journal Evolution, Medicine and Public Health. In 2021, we also offered focused data projects as additional team-based learning options.