Seminar - Climate, Oceans, and Human Health: What Cholera can teach us about COVID-19
presents a seminar by:
Sponsored by: The Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Climate and the oceans historically intertwine with human health. Today significant advances in science and technology have brought new discoveries - from the outer reaches of space, where remote sensing monitors on satellites circle the earth, to the ultramicroscopic through application of next generation sequencing and bioinformatics. Vibrio cholerae provides a useful example of the fundamental link between human health and the oceans. This bacterium is the causative agent of cholera and is associated with major pandemics, yet it is an aquatic bacterium with a versatile genetics and occurs naturally in estuaries, coastal regions, and aquatic systems of the world. Vibrio species, both nonpathogenic and those pathogenic for humans, marine animals, and marine vegetation, play a fundamental role in nutrient cycling and respond to warming of surface waters, with increase in their numbers correlated with increased incidence of vibrio disease in humans. The models we developed for understanding and predicting outbreaks of cholera, based on work done in the Chesapeake Bay and the Bay of Bengal, today assist UNICEF and aid agencies in predicting risk of cholera in Yemen and other countries of the African continent. With onset of COVID-19, the models were modified and are used to predict risk of COVID-19, the current pandemic of coronavirus. Thus, molecular microbial ecology coupled with computational science and remote sensing can provide a critical indicator and prediction of human health and wellness.