Avian Flu and the Global Threat of Emerging Respiratory Diseases

How serious is the threat posed by bird flu to human health? How might the virus change to spread more easily between humans? Are influenza epidemics cyclical, and can one predict when the next one will strike? What related diseases do we need to be on the look out for? And what measures are being taken to develop effective vaccines and drugs?

In a free public lecture on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2005 at 5:30 p.m. in Cold Spring Harbor Laboratorys Grace Auditorium, Dr. Kanta Subbarao will address these and many other intriguing questions about the H5N1 influenza strain of avian influenza, commonly known as bird flu.

Subbarao is currently a senior investigator in the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases at National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health. The laboratorys research is focused on the development of vaccines against pandemic strains of influenza and the development of animal models and the evaluation of vaccines against the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus. Her influenza research aims to identify and prioritize potential pandemic strains of influenza to target for vaccine development, with a particular focus on emerging strains such as the H5N1 strain of avian influenza.

Subbarao received her MB, BS, in 1982 from the University of Madras, India, and completed a residency in pediatrics at Cardinal Glennon Memorial Hospital for Children at Saint Louis University. She completed a fellowship in pediatric infectious diseases and earned an MPH in epidemiology from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. After postdoctoral training in the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases (LID), NIAID, she was on faculty at McGill University, Montreal, Canada, and subsequently served as Chief of the Molecular Genetics Section of the Influenza Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Subbarao joined the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases as a Senior Investigator in 2002.

The lecture will last 35 to 40 minutes, followed by a question-and-answer session. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is located at 1 Bungtown Road in Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y. For more information, call (516) 367-8800.