69th WDA / 14th EWDA - Joint Virtual Conference - Cuenca, Spain August 31 - September 2

Invited Speakers


Invited Speaker 1

‘Understanding pathogen transmission in a solitary, secretive carnivore (Puma concolor)’

Prof. Meggan Craft, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Veterinary Population Medicine (VPM)

College of Veterinary Medicine

University of Minnesota, USA

Prof. Craft is an infectious disease ecologist. The broad aim of her research program is to understand infectious disease dynamics in animal and human populations. She tests hypotheses regarding disease spread and consequent control through parameterizing theoretical disease models with empirical data. She is interested in two fundamental areas: (i) How are pathogens maintained in multi-host ecosystems? (ii) How does heterogeneity in population contact structure affect pathogen dynamics? She is an interdisciplinary researcher working at the intersection of environmental, human, and animal health. Current research projects in the Craft lab focus on modelling swine viruses (e.g. influenza and FMD), "large cat" retroviruses (i.e., pumas and lions), moose metagenomics, bovine tuberculosis in cattle, raccoon rabies, and prairie dog plague.



Invited Speaker 2

‘Reservoirs Sans Frontières: can ecology help us predict viral spillover risk from bats?’

Dr. Olivier Restif

Cambridge Infectious Diseases

Department of Veterinary Medicine

University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

Dr. Restif is an epidemiologist interested in the use of mathematical models combined with experimental and field-based studies to investigate the dynamics of infectious diseases at all scales, from cells to ecosystems. His research falls into four main subjects: (1) Within-host dynamics of bacterial infections, (2) Evolutionary ecology of immune defences, (3) Microcosm studies of host-pathogen population dynamics, and (4) Model-Guided Fieldwork for Wildlife Infectious Diseases.



Invited Speaker 3

‘Illegal Wildlife Trade and Emerging Infectious Diseases: Pervasive Impacts to Species, Ecosystems and Human Health.’

Prof. A. Alonso Aguirre, DVM, MS, PhD

Chair of the Department of Environmental Science and Policy

     George Mason University, Virginia, USA

Dr. A. Alonso Aguirre is Chair and Professor at the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, where he heads a program of collaborative research that focuses on the ecology of wildlife disease and the links to human health and conservation of biodiversity. He also chairs the university Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. He has worked for the past three decades in over 23 countries focusing on integrative research, transdisciplinarity, professional leadership training and capacity building. He served as the Executive Director of the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation. Previously he was Senior Vice President at EcoHealth Alliance (formerly known as Wildlife Trust) in New York also holding different appointments at the Consortium for Conservation Medicine, the Center for Environmental Research and Conservation at Columbia University and the Center for Conservation Medicine at Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. His research focuses on the ecology of wildlife diseases, conservation medicine, EcoHealth and One Health.


Invited Speaker 4

‘Wildlife through the lens of One Health: An African perspective’

Prof. Anita Michel, BVSc, DVM, PhD

University of Pretoria, South Africa

Prof. Anita Michel qualified as a veterinarian in Germany and obtained her first postgraduate degree from the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich and her PhD from Utrecht University in The Netherlands. For 20 years she worked as a research veterinarian and headed the laboratory for diagnosis and research on mycobacterial diseases at the ARC Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute and joined the Faculty of Veterinary Science of the University of Pretoria in 2009 where she has since been involved in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and research. Her research focuses mainly on the epidemiology, diagnosis and control of bovine tuberculosis and brucellosis in livestock and wildlife with a particular interest in One Health.




Invited Speaker 5

‘The Ecology, Economics and Evolution of Emerging Pathogens’

Prof. Andrew P. Dobson

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Princeton University, New Jersey, USA

Prof. Dobson’s research is concerned with the ecology of infectious diseases and the conservation of endangered and threatened species. He focuses on the population and community ecology of infectious diseases in a variety of endangered and fragile ecosystems: the Serengeti in East Africa, the coastal salt marshes and grasslands of California; the forest fragments of Malaysia and Bangladesh, and the eye’s of the finches in the back yards of New England. He also works on the interaction between climate variability and the transmission of malaria and cholera in India and Bangladesh. His conservation work is focused upon the Serengeti region of Tanzania. While a significant emphasis has been upon the control of pathogens that can infect both wildlife and domestic species: rabies, rinderpest, brucellosis. He is also interested in the ecology and economics of land-use change, wildlife-human interactions and ecotourism.