POSTPONED – J. G. O’Donoghue Memorial Lecture | Seminars & Lectures

Date(s) - 17/03/2020
12:30 pm - 4:00 pm
ECHA, 2-150, Edmonton

The lecture has been postponed at this time. Further information will be available later this week.

Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences

University of Alberta

Tuesday, March 17, 2020, 12:30-4

Room: ECHA 2-150

Surveillance of Disease at the Wildlife-Livestock-Human Interface


Tracking emerging and zoonotic diseases    

Dr. Ana Ulmer-Franco

Today’s interconnected global society means that diseases can travel further and faster than ever before. Canada has experienced outbreaks of emerging and zoonotic diseases, such as PEDv, avian influenza, and pH1N1 influenza, that have had devastating impacts on public health, the environment, animal health, the economy and food production. *CEZD’s Disease Intelligence Process enables the early identification and warning of threats – a process that is essential for mitigating the fallout from future disease incidents.

Multiple surveillance tools paired with interdisciplinary discussions in the Community are helping us anticipate and prepare for emerging and zoonotic diseases incursions. Today, a number of disease trends and trend reports will be presented.


* CEZD = Community for Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases


Jumping the species barrier: How pathogens adapt to new hosts    

Dr. Frank van der Meer

Zoonotic diseases are caused by human infecting pathogens originating in the animal world, similarly, many pathogens that were circulating in wildlife species spilled over to livestock and companion animal species. It is remarkable that this is possible as crossing a species barrier poses quite a significant challenge for a pathogen. Do all livestock species carry dangerous pathogens and if so, what can we do to avoid pathogen spill-over? What makes one virus, bacterium or fungus successful in jumping the species barrier and why are other pathogens strictly host specific? A huge number of viruses are able to infect multiple host species, but how many adaptations are needed to make this happen? Once a virus infects a new species the outcomes can be very variable, for example, some viruses cause asymptomatic infections in one host and kill another (for example Ovine Herpesvirus, Ebolavirus), other viruses are able to replicate in multiple species (for example rabies virus, vesicular stomatitis virus, influenza virus) and basically cause clinical problems in all of them, and a few viruses are really limited in their host range (for example human smallpox virus). Whether an infectious agent will be able to cross the species barrier is difficult to predict, and we hardly know what the diversity of viruses is in the world. Especially, this microbial ‘dark matter’ is the topic of many large-scale sampling efforts and forms a very interesting and unexplored frontier in infectious disease research.


Beyond Prevalence Estimates:  Incorporating Transdisciplinary Disease Ecology at the Wildlife-Livestock Interface           

Dr. Ryan Brook

Effectively mitigating disease risk at the wildlife-livestock interface requires moving far beyond simple measurements of disease prevalence and we are (slowly) shifting toward transdisciplinary approaches that include measures of animal health along with a much broader research agenda that includes and integrates social and biophysical studies. Wildlife and livestock research have traditionally relied on more invasive methods such as GPS collaring to quantify interactions and habitat selection. More recently, non-invasive tools like networks of trail cameras have become common in the research tool box. Integrating social research that captures the knowledge of farmers, ranchers, Indigenous people living and working on the landscape and finding ways to better understand their attitudes, preferences, and intentions is now widely recognized as essential for success.  During this talk, we’ll discuss some transdisciplinary approaches and consider why they have been effective.


For further information, please contact Dr. Leanna Grenwich (

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