Disease ecologists Rick Ostfeld of Cary Institute and Felicia Keesing of Bard College are set to host a virtual Cary Science Conversation on Thursday, September 24th, with Cary President Josh Ginsberg, exploring the role of biodiversity in infectious disease spillovers.
The pathogens that cause diseases like COVID-19, SARS, and Ebola originated in wildlife before making the jump to people. The talk will look at what causes zoonotic diseases to spill over; natural areas, and the biodiversity they hold, and their effect our health; and more.
Development and biodiversity loss can set the stage for disease spillover events. Fast-breeding species like rats make for risky neighbors, and protecting habitat and saving species can play an important role in safeguarding global health.
Rick Ostfeld is a Distinguished Senior Scientist at Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. His current research focuses on the ecology of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. By understanding environmental factors that influence tick abundance and infection, Ostfeld’s team aims to predict when and where tick-borne disease risk will be high.
Felicia Keesing is the David & Rosalie Rose Distinguished Professor of the Sciences, Mathematics, and Computing at Bard College. Keesing studies how ecological communities respond to changes in biodiversity, with a focus on how environmental change influences infectious disease risk.
This event will take place from from 7 to 8 pm and will include time for audience Q&A. Free and open to all, registration via Eventbrite is required to access the Zoom login info.
Photo of Rick Ostfeld and Felicia Keesing provided.