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ICFRC: Why Viral Variants Form and What it Means

Listen to an audio podcast of this program.

Dr. Christine Petersen, an expert on vaccines, epidemiology and the pandemic, is the director of the Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases and a professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Iowa College of Public Health. The focus of this center is to bring together trans-disciplinary research teams to lessen the burden of emerging zoonotic infectious diseases across health settings. These efforts bring together immunologists, vaccinologists and computational biologists/biostatisticians to attack the problem of vaccine-intractable infections through statistical hierarchical modeling of protective immunity. CEID-based efforts have led to published collaborative studies.

Dr. Christine Petersen's scholarly work has focused on the recognition and prevention of zoonotic diseases, primarily the epidemiology and immunobiology of vector-borne and parasitic diseases and like almost everyone in these fields in 2020, also now SARS coronavirus 2. Dr. Petersen is the scientific program chair for the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Dr. Petersen is the US/non-vector borne disease region representative to the international veterinary group that provides recommendations regarding treatment and prevention of infection with the zoonotic protozoan parasite, Leishmania infantum; Leishvet. Dr. Petersen's collaborative group works in Brazil, India and Ethiopia via NIH/Fogarty International Center and NIAID-funded focused on understanding transmission routes and host species immune susceptibility for vector borne zoonoses including tick borne and sand fly borne diseases. This work has been predominantly evaluating dogs for their role in these infectious disease ecologies, but has spanned work in domestic ruminants (goats, cows and water buffalo) to small rodent reservoirs of Borrelia. Dr. Petersen's published and patented work demonstrates the ability to target reservoir species for immunologic and parasitologic control of chronic infections to promote disease elimination.

For more information on the Foreign Relations Council visit their website at www.icfrc.org.

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