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Pathogen Spillover & Ecological Levers for Health w/ Raina Plowright
February 13, 2018 @ 5:30pm
BOZEMAN — Raina Plowright, assistant professor in the Montana State University Department of Microbiology and Immunology in the College of Letters and Science and the College of Agriculture, will present “Pathogen Spillover and Ecological Levers for Health” at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 13.
The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be held in MSU’s Procrastinator Theater, located in the Strand Union Building. A reception will follow.
Plowright will describe a long-term study showing how environmental change has driven changes to bat distribution and behavior, leading to spillover of a fatal zoonotic disease.
Zoonotic spillover is the transmission of pathogens from vertebrate animals to humans. Spillover requires a series of processes to align, including dynamics of disease in reservoir hosts, environmental conditions that allow pathogens to survive outside of hosts, human behavior that determines exposure and human susceptibility to infection. Sometimes small changes in one part of a zoonotic system can have profound consequences on the health of wildlife or humans, but reversing those changes could be an ecological lever for stopping spillover and improving health.
Plowright’s MSU lab, the Bozeman Disease Ecology Lab, studies the dynamics of infectious diseases in reservoir hosts, the process of pathogen spillover and infectious diseases in species of conservation concern. They work across multiple disciplines including ecology, epidemiology, immunology, microbiology and mathematical modeling. Plowright, who joined MSU’s faculty in fall 2014, also teaches in the WIMU Regional Program in Veterinary Medicine, which is a cooperative program between MSU, Washington State University, the University of Idaho and Utah State University.
Plowright’s lecture is presented by the Kopriva Science Seminar Series, which is funded through an endowment created by Phil Kopriva, a 1957 microbiology graduate from MSU. Kopriva also created an endowment to fund the Kopriva Graduate Fellowship Program, which provides support and opportunities for graduate students in the College of Letters and Science, particularly in the biomedical sciences. The series features four to six seminars annually, with talks provided by MSU graduate students, faculty members and guest speakers. For more information about this and other Kopriva lectures, please visit www.montana.edu/lettersandscience/kopriva/or call 0406-994-4288.