At the first ever CMDI-CDC Meeting on Infectious Disease Dynamics, held on June 10, 2021, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Center for Microbial Dynamics and Infection at Georgia Tech (CMDI) came together virtually to discuss ecological and evolutionary perspectives on infectious disease dynamics.
“The mission of the CMDI is to transform the study and the sustainable control of microbial dynamics in contexts of human and environmental health,” notes Sam Brown, director of CMDI and professor in the School of Biological Sciences at Georgia Tech. “In keeping with this work, the CMDI-CDC Meeting on Infectious Disease Dynamics brought together these scientists as neighbors in Atlanta, and as organizations committed to the research of disease prevention and control.”
“In addition to showcasing the overlapping research interests of the CMDI and the CDC, the symposium also offered members of the Georgia Tech and CDC communities an open platform to ask questions of researchers in real time, as well as an opportunity to make new connections and encourage collaboration,” says Jennifer Farrell, a Ph.D. student studying microbiology at Georgia Tech who helped organize the meeting.
The online symposium drew 178 participants from across Georgia Tech and the CDC, setting the stage for continued communication and collaboration between the two institutions. The day kicked off with opening remarks from Brown and Juliana Cyril, director of the Office of Technology and Innovation, Office of Science, CDC. Cyril and Brown each highlighted the unique relationships and collaborative potential between the two organizations.
Talks spanned pathogen systems, from the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Streptococcus pneumoniae (Rich Stanton and Davina Campbell, CDC; Pengbo Cao, CMDI; Bernie Beall, CDC), to colonization dynamics of the fungal pathogen, Candida auris (Joe Sexton, CDC), to shield immunity in SARS-CoV-2 (Adriana Lucia-Sans and Andreea Magalie, CMDI).
Talks were further divided into research themes such as biofilm control (Pablo Bravo, CMDI; Rodney Donlan, CDC; Sheyda Azimi, CMDI) and microbiomes in infection (Commander Alison Laufer-Halpin, CDC; Jennifer Farrell, CMDI).
“In line with the commitment of the CMDI to promote trainee career development, the CMDI-CDC Meeting on Infectious Disease Dynamics was organized and run by Center graduate students and post-doctoral scientists, and CMDI talks were presented exclusively by Center trainees,” adds Farrell. “We look forward to continuing the conversation with our CDC colleagues in the future!”