This symposium is free and open to all.  To help us plan food and beverages, we ask that you please register here by Thursday, September 19.

Human activities are impacting environmental processes at an unprecedented scale.  These changes also influence the ecology and evolution of infectious diseases.  This symposium will engage with the latest findings in this arena, including research on cross-species transmission of parasites, One Health, host-pathogen responses to environmental change, and predicting zoonotic disease emergence.

The symposium also marks the final year of an NSF-NIH-USDA funded Research Coordination Network (RCN) at University of Georgia on the “Macroecology of Infectious Disease.”  The network has involved 46 participating scientists from four countries and more than a dozen universities to examine host-pathogen distributions at large spatial and taxonomic scales (diseasemacroecology.ecology.uga.edu).

The symposium is supported by the NSF, the Triangle Center for Evolutionary Medicine (TriCEM), the Duke Provost’s Collaboratories, and Duke Global Health.


September 26, Trent Semans Great Hall at Duke University

9:30   Coffee and light breakfast items

9:45 – 9:55  Charles Nunn (Duke University), Opening remarks

9:55 – 10:20  Tony Goldberg (University of Wisconsin), “Primate reverse zoonoses: Unfortunate natural experiments in unnatural environments.”

10:20 – 10:45  Sadie Ryan (University of Florida), “Decisions will be made:  Aligning climate change predictions for vector-borne disease with planning frameworks.”

10:45 – 11:10 Charles Mitchell (University of North Carolina), “Parasite phenological responses to climate change:  Impacts on multi-species interactions and epidemics.”

11:10 – 11:35 David Rasmussen (NC State), “Phylodynamics for a world of rapidly adapting pathogens.”

11:35 – 12:00 Nita Bharti (Pennsylvania State University), “Human movement and pathogen transmission dynamics from local to global scales”

12:00 – 1:20, Lunch (provided at event)

1:20 –1:30 Patrick R. Stephens (University of Georgia), “Overview and Introduction to the Macroecology of Infectious Disease Research Coordination Network.

1:30 – 1:40 Andrew Park (University of Georgia), “Food web structure selects for parasite host range.”

1:40 – 1:50 Tad Dallas (Louisiana State University), “The spatial consistency of species roles in host-helminth networks.”

1:50 – 2:00  Caroline Amoroso & Charlie Nunn (Duke University), “The macroecology of human parasites:  Are humans over-parasitized?”

2:00 – 2:10 Maxwell Farrell (University of Toronto), “The ghost of hosts past: impacts of extinction on host specificity.”

2:10 – 2:20 Claire Teitelbaum (University of Georgia), “How many parasites are there?  Diversity estimators for comparative analyses of parasite diversity.”

2:20 – 3:00 Break with coffee and snacks

3:00 – 4:00 pm Debate and Discussion Forum on “Pandemics:  Spend on Surveillance or Prediction?”

We will hold a debate-style event to debate approaches to pandemic preparedness:  is it better to focus on predicting where the next outbreaks occur, or to focus on surveillance and containment?  Sonia Altizer (University of Georgia) will take the “Prediction” side, while Sébastien Calvignac-Spencer (Robert Koch Institute) will take the “Surveillance” perspective.  After brief presentations, we will open the floor to questions and discussion, and close with brief synthetic perspectives from several additional local and invited experts.

4:00 – 5:00 pm Keynote Address:  Jonathan Patz (University of Wisconsin), “Solving the global climate crisis might become the 21st Century’s largest global health advance

5:00  Reception (drinks and appetizers)