Category: Events

NEIDL Symposium: Talking about Infectious Diseases

September 21st, 2016 in Events, Featured, In The News

Original article from: BU Today posted on September 21, 2016. by Sara Rimer

Anthony Fauci flashed on the screen a slide of a huge map of the world crisscrossed with blue and red lines showing dozens of emerging and reemerging infectious diseases. Ebola. Yellow fever. MERS. West Nile virus. Dengue. Zika. This was the map the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases had shown to the appropriations committee of the US House of Representatives last March, he said, addressing the opening of BU’s National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL) inaugural symposium, held at the George Sherman Union last Sunday.

“I made this slide completely impossible to read, because I want to overwhelm them so they will give me more money,” Fauci said. “For the last few years they haven’t, but that’s another story.”

Later, during a panel discussion with experts and journalists, Fauci pointed out that in February, President Obama asked Congress for $1.9 billion to combat the spread of the Zika virus. “It is now September 18 and we still don’t have it,” he said. “It is completely unconscionable. We could turn that around by having an emergency fund.” He was referring to a global health security fund that has been proposed by health experts and would not be subject to the whims of Congress.

The symposium, which ran through Tuesday, brought together some 160 virologists and other scientists from all over the world who study the diseases on Fauci’s map—and work on vaccines, treatments, and public health responses—to discuss their research and the particular challenges of working with dangerous pathogens. On Sunday, the scientists joined a large crowd of BU faculty and students, funders, journalists, and other members of the public at the GSU.

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Author David Quammen at NEIDL Symposium

September 15th, 2016 in Events, Featured, In The News

Original article from: BU Research posted on September 14, 2016. by Sara Rimer

On assignment for National Geographic 16 years ago, science writer David Quammen spent eight weeks following a field biologist and conservationist named Mike Fay as he made an epic trek across the Congo, bushwhacking his way through swamps and forests. Fay was gathering data documenting the richness of the ecosystems he was passing through. A team of Bantu and Pygmy men carried tents and food. They were all sitting around the campfire one night, Quammen writes, when “there comes a weird, violent, whooshing noise that rises mystifyingly toward crescendo, and then crests—as, whoa, an elephant charges through camp, like a freight train with tusks…Anybody hurt? No. Dinner is served and the pachyderm in the kitchen is forgotten.” Fay walked for 456 days and 2,000 miles, in shorts and Teva sandals. Quammen, who adopted Fay’s uniform on the trail, made periodic trips in and out of the Republic of the Congo and Gabon to join him, getting to field sites by dugout canoe, bush plane, and helicopter.

The journey illustrates one of Quammen’s principles of science journalism: go there. A contributing writer for National Geographic and an author, whose books include The Song of the Dodo (1996); The Reluctant Mr. Darwin (2006); Spillover (2012), about the science, history, and human impact of emerging diseases; Ebola (2014); and his latest book, Yellowstone: A Journey through America’s Wild Heart (August 2016), Quammen has been going there for over three decades. In his quest to explore the natural world and how humans are connected to that world, Quammen has gone to the Russian Arctic with a boatload of Russian and American biologists, to the jungles of Indonesia with park rangers who track Komodo dragons, to biosafety level 4 labs where virologists study Ebola and other dangerous pathogens.

 

Read Full Article & Interview on BU Research

Emergency Response Exercise to be Conducted

June 17th, 2016 in Events, Featured, Press Releases

For Immediate Release: June 17, 2016

Contact: Tom Testa (617) 353-7628, ttesta@bu.edu

            (Boston) – On Tuesday, June 21, 2016 between 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Boston University (BU) will conduct a full- scale emergency response simulation at the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL) located at 620 Albany Street. This exercise is part of the NEIDL’s ongoing safety and training program for laboratory personnel and internal and external response officials.

This drill will simulate an emergency response to a medical incident involving a NEIDL staff member and transport from the NEIDL to the hospital. The participants in this exercise include: NEIDL operations staff and researchers, BU Public Safety, Boston Public Health Commission, Boston Medical Center, Massachusetts Department of Public Health and EasCare Ambulance services.

While the simulation should have no affect or impact on neighborhood traffic, there may be a number of local emergency response vehicles parked at the NEIDL.

Following this exercise, all participants will convene to review and critique the response in order to continuously improve response and training.

Please note that BSL-4 research is not being conducted at the NEIDL now and will not commence until the completion of further regulatory approvals .

 

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Medical Campus Experts Gather to Confer about Zika

April 11th, 2016 in Events, Featured, In The News, Lab Updates

Original article from: BU Research posted on March 25, 2016. by Barbara Moran

After weeks of Boston University researchers trying to procure a sample of Zika virus, the pathogen linked to microcephaly and other neurological syndromes, the vial finally arrived at BU’s National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL) on March 22, 2016. NEIDL director Ronald B. Corley, a BU School of Medicine (MED) professor and chair of microbiology, announced the acquisition that day at a Boston University Medical Campus (BUMC) Provost Research Seminar. Zika, like dengue, mumps, and measles, is a Biosafety Level 2 pathogen, defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as an agent that poses “moderate hazards to personnel and the environment.”

The sample was of the strain originally isolated in 1947, and it will allow scientists to grow and propagate the virus for study. The 1947 strain is the precursor to the virus causing the current outbreaks in South America and the Caribbean. Because samples of the modern virus are proving difficult to obtain, scientists at NEIDL will begin their work using the 1947 isolate while using published genetic data to make a clone of the modern Zika strain.

“There’s a real need for us to be doing research on this virus. It’s been seen in Boston and will be again,” said John Connor, a MED associate professor of microbiology and a NEIDL researcher, who acquired the Zika sample from the Biodefense and Emerging Infections Research Resources Repository, a supply house for scientists studying infectious diseases. “Having the virus will allow us to ask important questions, like: what is driving the pathogenesis? How is the virus getting across the placental barrier? What is its replication like in mosquitos?” Connor said. “Without understanding the virus, it’s hard to know how to block it.”

 

Read Full Article at BU Research

Fear and Stigma in the Age of Ebola; TEDx Talk with Nahid Bhadelia

March 29th, 2016 in Events, Featured, In The News, Video

March 28, 2016

Outbreaks of deadly infectious diseases can elicit intense fear and confusion in our society, stigmatizing both patients and caregivers. As an infectious diseases expert and a frontline Ebola physician, Dr. Bhadelia understands the challenge of balancing public safety and patient care during an emerging epidemic. She discusses her first-hand experience in Sierra Leone and the unexpected surprises she encountered upon returning to the U.S.

Nahid is the Director of Infection Control and Medical Response at National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory (NEIDL) at Boston University. She served as a frontline physician during the recent Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone and understands the global challenges of addressing epidemics in a modern world.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx

Alan Alda Center Teaches Scientists to Connect

September 15th, 2015 in Events, Featured, In The News

Original article from: BU Today posted on September 15, 2015. by Barbara Moran

Anyone who peeked into a ninth floor room at the Photonics Center last Friday would have seen a curious sight: 14 staid scientists, standing in pairs, silently mirroring each other’s movements, like well-dressed practitioners of rudimentary tai chi. Gloria Waters, BU vice president and associate provost for research, crossed and uncrossed her arms slowly above her head, as Tyler Perrachione, a Sargent College assistant professor of speech, language, and hearing sciences, followed her motions, brow furrowed in concentration. Other distinguished scientists—including Ronald Corley, director of the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL) and a School of Medicine professor and chair of microbiology, Michael Hasselmo, a College of Arts & Sciences professor of psychological and brain sciences, and Elke Mühlberger, a MED associate professor of microbiology and NEIDL researcher—waved arms, balanced on one leg, and twirled in circles, as their partners tried to duplicate their moves.

The improv exercise, called “mirror,” designed to teach scientists how to understand and interpret the needs of others, was part of a daylong science communication workshop presented by the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science. The Alda Center, established by actor Alan Alda in 2009 at Stony Brook University, trains scientists and health professionals to communicate more effectively with the public, policy makers, and the media. The workshop, cosponsored by Waters and BU Marketing & Communications, invited 40 scientists from the Charles River and the Medical Campus to learn how to communicate research to a sometimes uninterested—or even hostile—public with clarity, passion, empathy, and enthusiasm.

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After Ebola: NEIDL Infectious Diseases Expert Returns to Africa

August 27th, 2015 in Events, Featured, In The News

Original article from: BU Today posted on August 27, 2015. by Susan Seligson

Last August, Nahid Bhadelia traveled to Sierra Leone during the Ebola epidemic’s peak, hermetically clad in the protective spacesuit-like gear of a biosafety level 4 researcher. Funded by the World Health Organization (WHO), Bhadelia went there to share her expertise on infection control and to help care for patients infected with the virus.

A year later, the School of Medicine assistant professor of infectious diseases and director of infection control and medical response at BU’s National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL) returned, this time ungloved and unmasked, to interview African health care and burial workers, many still unpaid for their work during the epidemic. Appalled by their financial plight, Bhadelia recently launched a GoFundMe campaign, Support Sierra Leonean Ebola Workers, with the goal of raising at least $50,000 to help compensate them. As of August 26, donations had reached $13,026.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 13,470 people in Sierra Leone were infected during the 2014 Ebola outbreak and that nearly 4,000 died, along with another 2,500 in neighboring Guinea and 4,800 in Liberia. In May, Newsweek reported that burial workers as well as health care workers were sidelined as $3.3 billion in international relief funds poured in last year to fight the epidemic. Rather than paying frontline workers, most of the money went to United Nations agencies and a score of nongovernmental organizations, fueling protests in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Having witnessed firsthand the tireless efforts of these frontline workers, Bhadelia, who specializes in infection control issues related to emerging pathogens and highly communicable infectious diseases, launched her fundraising campaign on June 19.

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Rhett Talks w/ Paul Duprex – Bringing Viruses in from the Cold and Heating them Up!

December 12th, 2014 in Events, Featured, In The News, Video

November 20, 2014

Filmed on November 20, 2014. Lecture by Paul Duprex, the Associate Professor of Microbiology, Director of Cell and Tissue Imaging, National Emerging Infectious Diseases Institute (NEIDL), Boston University School of Medicine.

I am fascinated by viruses! As nature’s nanomachines, they are incredibly diverse and come in more “flavors” than all the plants, animals, fungi, bacteria, and other unicellular organisms on earth put together. Why? Because as the nursery rhyme says, “Big fleas have little fleas, upon their backs to bite ’em, and little fleas have lesser fleas, and so, ad infinitum.” I will discuss why and how pathogen taming scientists bring these invisible, transmissible harbingers of disease in from the wild rather than leave them to their own devices.

Emergency Response Exercise to be Conducted at National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories

December 9th, 2014 in Events, Press Releases

For Immediate Release: December 9, 2014

Contact: Tom Testa (617) 353-7628 , ttesta@bu.edu

(Boston) – On Thursday December 11, 2014 at approximately 10:00 a.m. Boston University (BU) and the City of Boston will conduct a joint full scale emergency response simulation at the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL) at 620 Albany Street. This exercise is part of the NEIDL’s ongoing safety and training program for laboratory personnel and internal and external response officials.

This exercise will simulate an emergency response to a spill of material from the Effluent Decontamination System at the NEIDL. The participants in this exercise include: NEIDL operations staff and researchers, BU Public Safety, Boston Emergency Medical Services, Boston Fire and Police Departments, Boston Water and Sewer Commission, Boston Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management, the Boston Public Health Commission and the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority.

While the exercise will have no affect or impact on neighborhood traffic, there will be a number of local emergency response vehicles parked at the NEIDL.

Following this exercise, all participants will convene to review and critique the response in order to continuously improve response and training.

BSL-4 research is not being conducted at the NEIDL now and will not commence until the completion of further regulatory approvals.

 

Going Public with Ebola; NEIDL Director says Scientists Need to Engage with the Public about the Disease

November 20th, 2014 in Events, Featured, In The News

Original article from: BU Today posted on November 20, 2014. By Sara Rimer

Speaking at a public forum on Ebola at Boston University’s National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL) on November 7, 2014, NEIDL director Ronald B. Corley stressed the importance of scientists engaging with the public about the realities of the disease. The NEIDL, he said, has mounted an education outreach campaign to do just that.

“It’s not just about Ebola,” Corley told the audience of several dozen people from the business and health care community. “It’s about infectious diseases in general. It’s about research. We have to show we’re not just nerds working in a facility. We want to exchange information—not just with our nerd colleagues, but with the public in general. It’s not something we’ve done well over the last 10 to 20 years and it’s up to us to change, I think.”

The forum was convened by The New England Council, a business organization that has been a strong supporter of research at the NEIDL. Corley was joined by Nahid Bhadelia, a physician who is director of infection control for the NEIDL and who traveled to Sierra Leone in August to help care for Ebola patients; Paul Biddinger, chief of the division of emergency preparedness and medical director for emergency department operations at Massachusetts General Hospital; and Jamie Childs, a Yale School of Public Health senior research scientist and lecturer in epidemiology.

 

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