Understanding the Ecology of Emerging Zoonoses
Dr. Jonathan Epstein
Vice President for Science and Outreach
EcoHealth Alliance, New York
DATE Friday 7 January 2022
TIME 12:00pm – 1:00pm (Pacific Time Zone)
ZOOM https://zoom.us/my/deleogunseitan Passcode: Dele
How do pandemics like COVID-19 happen and how do we prevent the next one? The majority of global pandemics are caused by viruses that originate in wildlife and make their way into humans via a process called ‘spillover.’ The major drivers of zoonotic disease emergence are human activities that influence the way that we, or our domestic animals, come into contact with wildlife. We’re living in an unprecedented moment in history when outbreaks of new zoonotic diseases are increasing in frequency due to a rapidly growing human population putting increasing pressure on natural systems. Here we'll discuss the ecology of emerging zoonotic viruses such as Nipah virus, SARS, and Ebola, and what we need to do now to prevent the next pandemic.
Dr. Jonathan Epstein is the Vice President for Science and Outreach at EcoHealth Alliance, a science-based NGO in New York City. As a veterinarian and epidemiologist, his research focuses on the ecology of zoonotic viruses that impact animals and people, particularly those associated with bats, such as Nipah virus, Ebola, and emerging coronaviruses (SARS, MERS, and SARS-CoV-2). In 2004, Dr. Epstein was part of the team that discovered that bats were the reservoir for SARS CoV in China, and in 2012 he and colleagues first identified MERS CoV in bats and camels in Saudi Arabia. Dr. Epstein has served as a technical consultant for the World Health Organization, the OIE, FAO, the National Academy of Medicine’s Forum on Microbial Threats, and the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of Natural History, where he co-created the exhibit Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World. He holds adjunct appointments at Tufts University, Columbia University, and Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. Dr. Epstein has published his research in leading journals including Science, Nature, PNAS, and Cell, and his work has been extensively featured in the news and other media, including the NY Times, CNN, the PBS documentary Spillover: Zika, Ebola & Beyond, NPR and 60 minutes. For more information, visit ecohealthalliance.org.