Scientists present research in zoonotic disease at Shanghai World Expo

Zoonoses are diseases that originate in animals but can jump species and infect humans

Scientists from the University of Liverpool will present research findings into the study of animal-borne human diseases at Shanghai World Expo.

The event is part of a programme of scientific symposia and conferences being held by the University at Expo throughout August that will also cover Materials Chemistry, Urban Design, Maritime Logistics and the Green Economy, as well as Zoonotic Disease.

Zoonoses are diseases that originate in animals but can jump species and infect humans.  They comprise of approximately three quarters of all emerging and new infections in human beings.  Researchers from all over the world will come together at Expo to discuss issues such as avian flu, the evolution of infectious diseases and emerging infections in China.

Scientists will also present initial findings from the ‘Fluscape’ study, a £1.3 million project focusing on incidences of influenza in the Guangdong province of China.  The research – a collaboration involving the University’s National Centre for Zoonosis Research, the University of Hong Kong, Shantou University, Guangzhou Number 12 Hospital and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the US – aims to investigate how the spread of pandemic and seasonal influenza is associated with contact and travel patterns of people and households and their rural-urban location.

Initial results suggest that even after accounting for differences in age and demography, the area where people live in Guangzhou city and nearby rural areas affects which recent seasonal influenza strains they have been exposed to. This indicates that differences in influenza infections may occur at a much smaller scale than previously thought.

Professor Malcolm Bennett, Director of the National Centre for Zoonosis Research, said: “Zoonoses and emerging infections are major global threats to human health and wellbeing.  The prediction and control of such diseases is now an international priority.  Medical and veterinary scientists, as well as epidemiologists and experts in particular diseases, will discuss a range of issues, including research in food-borne zoonoses and new methods of studying the transmission and control of disease.”

The symposia and conferences will take place in the Liverpool Pavilion at Expo in August – the pavilion’s ‘Knowledge Sector’ themed month in which the University will highlight a number of key research areas. They include:

Urban Design Futures
4 August 2010

There is a strong connection between the urban design issues that Shanghai and Liverpool share – in particular the dynamic and influential waterfront and its immediate hinterland. The urban design symposium will address issues such as the challenges of design against the backdrop of a culturally rich environment and context.

New Frontiers in Materials Chemistry
11/12 August 2010

Organised by the University of Liverpool and Fudan University and supported by the Northwest Universities in England, this symposium will bring together world-leading scientists in materials research, aiming to highlight state-of-the-art research in materials chemistry, ranging from molecular assembly, functional polymers, through metal-organic frameworks and nanoelectronics, to designer catalysts and solar energy utilisation.

Liverpool Green Economy Incubation Network
16/17 August 2010

The purpose of the network is to foster the incubation of new interdisciplinary research themes, focused on the wider Green Economy agenda, in order to lead to significant research income and high quality research outputs. The symposia will focus on areas such as developing the low carbon economy on Merseyside as well as green ambassadors and businesses.

Maritime Logistics
18/19 August 2010

The maritime industry forms a vital link in the chain of the global trade with some 90 percent of international trade conducted by sea.  The symposium will include maritime logistics education, finance management, logistics management, supply chain management, port management, safety and security management and policy making.

Emerging Infectious Diseases and Zoonoses
31 August 2010 / 1 September 2010

The issue of new infectious diseases emerging from animals is of global significance, and has particular importance and urgency in China. The conference and workshop will bring together leading researchers from the UK, China and elsewhere to share their findings and ideas and to develop new research partnerships. Speakers will include medical and veterinary scientists as well as ecologists and experts in particular pathogens.

Notes to editors:

1.  The University of Liverpool is a member of the Russell Group of leading research-intensive institutions in the UK. It attracts collaborative and contract research commissions from a wide range of national and international organisations valued at more than £98 million annually.

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