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MEDIA ADVISORY: Lyme, Malaria, Dengue, Zika and Other Arthropod-Borne Diseases Are Focus of Symposium

By Jason Alvarez

What: A two-day symposium will bring together scientists from a variety of disciplines to discuss emerging trends in diseases such as Lyme, malaria, dengue, Zika and others that are transmitted by mosquitos, ticks, flies and other arthropod vectors. 

The event, “Arthropod-Borne Diseases in the Age of Quantitative Biology,” is hosted by the UCSF Quantitative Biosciences Institute (QBI) and co-organized by Professors Seemay Chou, PhD, of UC San Francisco, and Andrea Swei, PhD, of San Francisco State University, experts who study the biochemistry, microbiology and ecology of West Coast tick-borne diseases, including Lyme.

Guest speakers represent institutes from around the country, though the majority hail from the Western United States and will emphasize the unique challenges associated with studying arthropod vectors and vector-borne diseases in this region, which tends to be understudied relative to other parts of the country.

The symposium will cover a wide range of topics in the field of vector-borne disease, ranging in scale from the molecular to the ecological. Topics of discussion include CRISPR-based approaches for eliminating vector-borne disease; metagenomic diagnostic tools for detecting vector-borne infections; and the evolution and ecology of infectious pathogens and their arthropod hosts.

Special emphasis will be placed on ways that scientists can leverage genomic data and other emerging quantitative tools to study and combat vector-borne diseases.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to visit nearby Mission Hall to explore the “Stronger There, Safer Here” photo exhibit, which highlights the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) response to the devastating Zika epidemic in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Registration information and a complete list of speakers and topics can be found on the event website. The event is free and open to the public, but attendees are asked to register in advance.

When: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., Tuesday, June 18, 2019 and Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Where: Mahley Auditorium, Gladstone Institutes,1650 Owens Street, San Francisco, CA 94158

Who: Confirmed speakers include: 

  • Raul Andino, UC San Francisco
  • Geoff Attardo, UC Davis 
  • Shannon Bennett, California Academy of Sciences
  • Charles Chiu, UC San Francisco
  • Seemay Chou, UC San Francisco
  • Anthony James, UC Irvine 
  • Amy Kistler, Chan Zuckerberg Biohub 
  • Vicki Kramer, California Department of Public Health
  • John Marshall, UC Berkeley
  • Nathan Nieto, Northern Arizona University
  • Joao Pedra, University of Maryland 
  • Manu Prakash, Stanford University 
  • Jason Rasgon, Pennsylvania State University 
  • Patricia Rosa, NIH/NIAID
  • Ravinder Sehgal, San Francisco State University 
  • Ana Sesma, Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai 
  • Priya Shah, UC Davis
  • Andrea Swei, San Francisco State University
  • Michal Caspi Tal, Stanford University 
  • Ellen Yeh, Stanford University
  • Jane Koehler, UC San Francisco

Interview, Photo and Video Opportunities: Interviews with speakers are contingent upon their availability. Organizers request that reporters and other audience members are mindful of disseminating discoveries that have yet to be published in a peer-review journal. 

RSVP: Free registration available on event website

UC San Francisco (UCSF) is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. It includes top-ranked graduate schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy; a graduate division with nationally renowned programs in basic, biomedical, translational and population sciences; and a preeminent biomedical research enterprise. It also includes UCSF Health, which comprises three top-ranked hospitals – UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals in San Francisco and Oakland – as well as Langley Porter Psychiatric Hospital and Clinics, UCSF Benioff Children’s Physicians and the UCSF Faculty Practice. UCSF Health has affiliations with hospitals and health organizations throughout the Bay Area. UCSF faculty also provide all physician care at the public Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, and the SF VA Medical Center. The UCSF Fresno Medical Education Program is a major branch of the University of California, San Francisco’s School of Medicine.