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From Zika over snail fever to the fungus that causes the common athlete’s foot, infectious invaders surround as all the time and they are not playing around. Luckily we have our valiant immune system to go into the fight for us! But what happens if the invaders become just a tad too clever? And once we find solutions how do we get them to the people who need them fast? Come join us for an evening up close with the microscopic creepy-crawlies that cause some of the most challenging diseases of the 21st century and find out more from the scientists that work on the solutions to make us better.
The Rise and Fall of Zika Virus
Dr. Claire Donald (Research Associate (Centre for Virus Research))
The recent Zika virus outbreak in the Americas caught researchers on the back foot. It was previously thought to be innocuous but is now been associated with neurological conditions such as Guillain-Barré syndrome and congenital Zika syndrome. This unanticipated spread, combined with the new disease symptoms lead to the World Health Organisation declaring a global health emergency in February 2016. So how did this happen? What caused the virus to change? What were these changes? Should we be worried about what could happen to Zika and other viruses in the future?
Yeasts and Moulds are Armed and Dangerous: the Sinister Side of Fungi
Professor Gordon Ramage (Professor (Dental School) , Associate Academic (Institute of Infection Immunity and Inflammation))
Despite the considerable number of global deaths caused by these yeats and moulds, there is a general public and academic naivety of their clinical importance. This talk will highlight the range and diversity of infections caused by pathogenic fungi, but also pick out some of the more important and beneficial ones.
Thinking out of the (Thunder) Box – Novel Ways to Control Parasites from Poo
Dr. Poppy Lamberton (Senior Lecturer and Lord Kelvin Adam Smith Leadership Fellow (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine))
Over 240 million people are infected with Bilharzia (schistosomiasis), a disease which kills 20,000 people/year, and reduces cognitive and physical development of children across sub-Saharan Africa. However, global collaborations and increasing awareness are putting pressures on this persistent parasite. Drugs are donated for free and the World Health Organization aims to treat all children at risk of infection. This has been hugely successful in some areas, but other interventions are still needed. We need more drugs and toilets but solving this is not as simple as it might seem.