The 6th China-U.S. Relations Conference to be held May 11-13, 2015 at Hotel ZaZa in Houston, Texas, is dedicated to establishing better understanding, maintaining closer ties, and nurturing important research and business collaborations between China and the United States in the 21st Century.
The 2015 Conference theme is: “Global Infectious Diseases: Prevention, Preparedness and Response,” and the meeting’s central focus will be the critical role played by both China and the United States in prevention, preparation for, and response to emerging infectious disease outbreaks and pandemics around the globe.
Conference organizers maintain that, in light of our current era of global connectivity, frequent intercontinental travel, and shared vulnerability, China and the United States must work collaboratively, pooling available academic, industrial, non-profit and governmental resources toward averting widespread human suffering and the massive economic and social disruption that could result from epidemics or pandemics of infectious diseases like Ebola virus, MERS, or influenza.
Conference attendees will discuss how public health infrastructure can be readied for timely response to infectious disease threats through development of an integrated, resilient, global strategy that will need to include a synergy of environmental monitoring, disease detection, prevention, and medical response readiness. This strategy will be dependent upon development and deployment of state-of-the art medical health care technology, and on the education of highly skilled professionals in multiple health care and related fields.
Under the “Global Infectious Diseases: Prevention, Preparedness and Response” theme, the Conference will bring together government officials, scholars, nonprofit representatives, entrepreneurs, and policy makers from China and the United States to examine and expand the critical role played by China and the United States in preventing, preparing for, and responding to emerging infectious diseases and pandemics. The recent and current Ebola virus outbreak in Africa, and its direct impact on the United States, gives this Conference meeting an even more urgent context.
Principal goals for this 6th China-U.S. Relations Conference include provenance of a visible forum for exchanging information through interdisciplinary public dialogues and published proceedings of world-leading physicians, scientists, policymakers, government officials and business leaders.
Co-hosts include the Peking University Health Science Center. Conference Co-Chairs are Madam Li Xiaolin, President of the Chinese People’s Association For Friendship With Foreign Countries, and Mr. Neil Bush, chair of the Bush China U.S. Relations Conference. Madam Li and Mr. Bush will deliver keynote addresses.
Other distinguished speakers at the conference will include (in alphabetical order):
Jeffrey Cirillo, Ph.D., of the Center for Airborne Pathogens Research and Tuberculosis Imaging and Department of Microbial Pathogenesis and Immunology at Texas A&M Health Science Center.
Dr. Cirillo’s lab at Texas A&M is interested in the pathogenesis of bacterial lung infections — particularly tuberculosis and Legionnaires’ disease. They are examining virulence mechanisms of bacteria using cellular, molecular and genetic techniques. The team’s primary research goal is to obtain a better understanding of the roles of the pathogen and host in disease. These studies should contribute to our understanding of host-pathogen interactions at the molecular and cellular level that can be used for prevention, treatment and diagnosis. The researchers hope that through a better understanding of the mechanisms by which these organisms cause disease, some, if not all, of these infections can be preventable in the future.
Dr. Cirillo says the most exciting aspect of his current research is development of optical, laser, and nano-particle based biomedical sensors that have the potential to make a difference in peoples lives in many different ways. For instance, by developing a noninvasive optical method, using fluorescent or polarized light to measure the blood sugar in diabetic patients we can help them avoid the pain, embarrassment, and potential infection that comes with current measurement methods that require them to prick the skin. Further, by investigating an approach known as surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy that combines optics with nano-particles, Cirillo and his team believe that they may be able to develop point-of-care technologies to help physicians make an earlier diagnosis and provide treatment for patients with Alzheimer’s disease or patients about to have a heart attack.
Dr. Gerard L. Cote is head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering and holds the Charles H. and Bettye Barclay Professorship in Engineering at Texas A&M University. He also is director of the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station’s Center for Remote Healthcare Technology. His primary research interests include the use of optics for medical diagnostics and biomedical sensing.
Dr. Cote directs the Optical Biosensing Laboratory, which focuses on the design, development, theoretical modeling and analysis of optical sensors for biomedical measurements.
In particular, the group within this lab and collaborators develop macro-scale to nano-scale biomedical systems and point-of-care devices using lasers, optics and electronics. Some research applications include development of innovative, noninvasive and minimally invasive ways to test blood sugar levels in diabetes; to detect other body chemicals such as cardiac biomarkers for cardiovascular disease or blood toxins such as PCBs or BPA; and to monitor perfusion and oxygenation for tissue implants.
Nils Daulaire, M.D., M.P.H., Senior Visiting Scholar on Global Health for the Security Norwegian Institute for Public Health, Senior Visiting Scholar on Global Health for the Security Norwegian Institute for Public Health.
Nils Daulaire is the Senior Visiting Scholar on Global Health Security at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Dr. Daulaire has worked extensively in global health policy, research and practice over the course of more than three decades, and in over three dozen countries. He received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School, his M.P.H. in international health from Johns Hopkins, and his B.A. summa cum laude from Harvard College.
Dr. Daulaire is a long-time member of the Institute of Medicine of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences as well as of the Council on Foreign Relations, and speaks seven languages. He has served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of Health for Global Affairs, U.S. Representative to the Executive Board of the World Health Organization, and earlier as Deputy Assistant Administrator for Policy at the U.S. Agency for International Development. He has held appointments as Clinical Professor of Global Health at the University of Washington and Visiting Professor of Community and Family Medicine at Dartmouth Medical School and has published widely in scientific and policy journals as well as the popular press. In his time as president and CEO of the Global Health Council he was highly regarded for his work in policy and advocacy on behalf of the entire global health community, drawing on his extensive field experience developing and managing healthcare programs in locations as diverse as Nepal, Mali and Bangladesh.
Dr. Peter Davies is a distinguished pharmacologist and molecular endocrinologist. Prior to accepting the position of NNTRC Co-director for Translational Research, Dr. Davies served as the Co-director of the John S. Dunn Gulf Coast Consortium for Chemical Genomics since its inception in 2003. In addition, he serves as a member of the Oversight Committee of the Gulf Coast Consortia and as chair of the Research Consortia Committee. Dr. Davies is a Professor and Alkek Chair, the Director of the Center for Translational Cancer Research, and Executive Director of the Institute of Biosciences and Technology for Texas A&M Health Science Center. Previously, Dr. Davies was a Professor in Medicine and served as the Provost and Executive Vice-President for Research at UTHealth. The author of more than 130 peer-reviewed publications, Dr. Davies scientific interests have included extensive studies on the molecular basis of hormone and drug action with a particular emphasis on the biology and pharmacology of retinoids.
Guy Diedrich, Ph.D., Global Innovation Officer for CISCO.
Dr. Guy Diedrich, Global Innovation Officer, Cisco Systems, is a former Vice Chancellor at the Texas A&M University System for research, commercialization, federal government relations, state government relations and strategic initiatives. In this role, Dr. Diedrich was responsible for pursuing and affecting local, national and international projects that promote the A&M System’s values and reputation of excellence across issues including global conflict, biological and cyber security and application of research. He previously served as Vice Chancellor for Federal and State Relations, The Texas A&M University System and President, Austin Technology Ventures.
Dr. Brett Giroir assumed leadership of Texas A&M Health Science Center in October 2013. The Texas A&M Health Science Center is a premier assembly of colleges devoted to educating health professionals and investigators through innovative teaching and research in dentistry, medicine, nursing, biomedical sciences, pharmacy and public health.
Prior to joining the Health Science Center, Dr. Giroir served as Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives for the Texas A&M University System and Principal Investigator for the Texas A&M Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing, a public-private partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services designed to enhance the nations emergency preparedness against emerging infectious diseases, including pandemic influenza, and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats.
From 2004 until 2008, Dr. Giroir accepted the opportunity to serve in the Federal Government as Deputy Director, then Director, of the Defense Sciences Office of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Virginia. Dr. Giroir directed a research portfolio of approximately $450 million annually that spanned from fundamental physics to biodefense.
Last October, Gov. Rick Perry announced that Dr. Giroir would assume the role of director of the newly created Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response, which will assess and enhance the states existing capabilities to prepare for and respond to pandemic disease, such as the Ebola virus. In his new role, Giroir will head up a team of internationally renowned experts in epidemiology and infectious disease, including several Texas A&M faculty members.
The task force will provide expert, evidence-based assessments, protocols and recommendations related to the current Ebola response, and develop a strategic emergency management plan for incident command teams and their partners at the state and local levels of government. This plan will build upon the existing State of Texas Emergency Management Plan, which addresses multiple aspects of preparing for, responding to and recovering from public health and medical crises in the state.
Edward L. Goodman, M.D., is medical director of infection control at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. “Resistant bacteria, or ‘super bugs,’ are growing rapidly at the community level — in fact, about 70 percent of the bacteria that cause infections in hospitals are now resistant to at least one of the drugs most commonly used for treatment,” says Dr. Goodman. “This means all clinicians must play a role in dealing with this complex issue. This education series will help providers plan their next moves in the critical battle against resistant bacteria.”
Guo Xinbiao, M, MD, Professor, Peking University School of Public Health Occupational and Environmental Hygiene Department currently serves as executive director of the Chinese Society for Environmental Sciences, Environmental Medicine and Health Branch Chairman and indoor environment and health of vice chairman of the Chinese Preventive Medicine and Environmental Hygiene Branch, vice chairman of China Association and environmental toxicology, ecotoxicology professional vice chairman of the committee, chairman of the Beijing Environmental Health Professional Committee of Preventive Medicine, National Environment and Health Advisory Committee, the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology of Policy Committee and more.
The Department of Occupational Health, Department of Environmental Health and Department of Sanitary Chemistry, founded in 1954, 1950, and 1981 respectively, merged into a new department in 2000 and were renamed as the Department of Occupational & Environmental Health Sciences. Professor Xinbiao Guo is current chair of the department, which offers related professional courses for undergraduate students and provides degree programs for masters, MPH, Ph.D. and postdoctoral studies, as well as professional continuing education for public health. Another mission of the department is to perform high level research works on the health effects of the population exposure to the chemical, physical, and biological factors in the occupational and living environment.
Dr. Hotez is America’s leading advocate for, and an internationally recognized expert on, Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) and vaccine development. He has devoted more than 25 years of his life to developing innovations to combat NTDs, including new vaccines and drug packages. Since establishing the concept of NTDs in biomedical literature in 2005, Dr. Hotez and colleagues around the world have helped shape science and the policy leading to deployment of rapid impact packages of donated medicines for NTDs for more than 364 million people in 25 countries across the developing world through the support of the U.S. government and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
The many hats Dr. Hotez wears include serving as U.S. Science Envoy for North Africa and the Middle East); Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine; Professor of Pediatrics, Molecular Virology and Microbiology and head of the Pediatric Tropical Medicine Section at Baylor College of Medicine; Texas Children’s Hospital Endowed Chair of Topical Pediatrics; and editor of the PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, an open-access journal devoted to the world’s most neglected of this class of diseases such as elephantiasis, river blindness, leprosy, hookworm, schistosomiasis, Chagas disease, and African sleeping sickness. The journal publishes high-quality, peer-reviewed research on various scientific, medical, and public-health aspects of these forgotten diseases affecting the world’s forgotten people.
The Sabin Vaccine Institute Product Development Partnership (Sabin PDP) collaborates with partners from across the globe to develop new, safe, effective, low-cost vaccines that have essentially no commercial market for tropical infections and other NTDs that primarily impact the world’s poorest populations in developing countries. With aspirations to extend these activities to the Middle East and Asia. Dr. Hotez writes extensively about vaccine diplomacy — the opportunity to use vaccines as instruments of foreign policy and to promote global peace.
The entire vaccine development program of the Washington-based Sabin Vaccine Institute relocated to Texas Children’s Hospital at Houston in 2011 as part of a joint program between the Sabin Vaccine Institute, Texas Children’s and Baylor College of Medicine to establish the Sabin Vaccine Institute and Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development. The formidable assets of the Texas Medical Center drew Dr. Hotez to Houston, and he has also collaborated with partners at the Texas A&M University Institute of Biosciences and Technology in a joint application to develop new vaccines in association with the Department of Defense’s efforts in biodefense.
Dr. Natalie Johnson’s research interests include environmental health disparities, exposure to environmental carcinogens (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, aflatoxins), development of biomarkers of exposure to traffic-related air pollution, prenatal exposure to air pollution and associated epigenetic changes, dietary interventions to prevent environmentally-induced asthma, and population-based animal models of allergic airway disease.
Outreach Activities include K-12 STEM education, undergraduate research mentoring, environmental sustainability, and healthy gardens.
Dr. Robert Kadlec spent 26 years as a career officer and physician in the United States Air Force, serving in several senior positions in the White House, U.S. Senate, and Department of Defense. Most recently, Dr. Kadlec served as the special assistant to the president and senior director for biodefense policy on the Homeland Security Council. Dr. Kadlec also previously served at the White House from 2002-2005 as a director for biodefense on the Homeland Security Council, where he was responsible for conducting the biodefense end-to-end assessment, which culminated in drafting the National Biodefense Policy for the 21st Century.
Dr. Kong Ying, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, and was an Assistant Professor at the Texas A & M Health Science Center from September 2011 to June 2013. Dr. Ying’s laboratory is interested in the molecular microbiology and immunology of tuberculosis (TB). TB is an infectious disease mainly caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis that remains a leading public health problem worldwide. The researchers’ primary goal is to better understand the pathogenesis of this disease. He and his team have developed a variety of non-invasive optical in vivo imaging tools to study TB in animal models. By using non-invasive real-time imaging technologies to monitor TB in small animals, infections can be visualized within individual animals over time, without requiring euthanasia to determine the location and quantity of bacteria. It allows comprehensive examination of all tissues and organs, rather than sampling of sites previously known to be infected, so it may help to discover important events that are often overlooked using samples from discontinued time points. The approach also helps reduce the number of experimental animals by obtaining data from numerous time points without having to sacrificing animals to sample tissues in the middle of observation, and thus reducing the cost. Combining these in vivo imaging tools with other cutting-edge in vitro technologies, Kong Ying and his team plan to study host-pathogen interactions in M. tuberculosis infected animals and cell lines to identify bacterial and host factors affecting bacterial infection, survival, persistence, and reactivation. The results from these studies will contribute to development of improved diagnostic tools, anti-tuberculosis therapies and vaccines.
David L. Lakey, M.D., serves as Commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, leading one of the state’s largest agencies with a staff of 12,000 and an annual budget of $3.3 billion. As Commissioner, Dr. Lakey oversees programs such as disease prevention and disaster preparedness, family and community health services, environmental and consumer safety, regulatory programs and mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment programs. Dr. Lakey became Commissioner on January 2, 2007.
Dr. Lakey served as president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) in 2011-2012, and currently serves on a federal public health advisory committee for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Prior to becoming Commissioner, Dr. Lakey served as an associate professor of medicine, chief of the Division of Clinical Infectious Disease and medical director of the Center for Pulmonary and Infectious Disease Control at UT Health Northeast in Tyler. He was a faculty member for eight years.
At the UT Center for Biosecurity and Public Health Preparedness, Dr. Lakey served as associate director for infectious disease and biosecurity. He also chaired a bioterrorism preparedness committee for 34 hospitals in East Texas and led the development of the Public Health Laboratory of East Texas in 2002.
Dr. Marcia Ory is a Regents Professor, Department of Health Promotion and Community Health Sciences, School of Public Health (SPH) at the Texas A&M Health Science Center in College Station, Texas. She is also Director of the SPH Program on Healthy Aging and the academic partner for the Community Research Center for Senior Health.
Dr. Ory is involved in two Special Initiative Projects funded through the CDC Prevention Research Centers: the Texas Healthy Aging Network (Co-Principal Investigator) and the Central Texas Cancer Prevention and Control Research Network (Principal Investigator). She also serves as the evaluator for the statewide Texas Healthy Lifestyles Program.
In these roles, Dr. Ory is examining how evidence-based programs for seniors can be translated to community settings, expanding program reach and sustainability. Her major research emphasis is chronic disease management with attention to strategies for improving the translation of diabetes prevention and treatment guidelines and, more recently, examining the implementation and dissemination of best strategies for enhancing the quality of life for cancer survivors. She works in both community and clinical settings with the goal of fostering better coordination between health care and aging services networks.
Previously, Dr. Ory spent twenty years in federal service as Chief of Social Science Research on Aging in the Behavioral and Social Research Program, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health. She holds a doctorate from Purdue University and a masters of Public Health from The Johns Hopkins University. She has been the author of over 200 publications on a variety of topics including self-care in later life, family caregiving and dementia care, doctor-patient interactions, aging and formal health care, cancer prevention and control, minority health and aging, and translational research.
Richard Reed is Senior Vice President, Disaster Cycle Services at the American Red Cross. In this role, he leads the development and execution of programs that help Americans prevent, prepare for, and respond to disasters nationwide. He led a comprehensive organizational assessment of all American Red Cross preparedness, response, and recovery programs which resulted in revamped processes to improve service delivery in disasters small and large.
Prior to taking the role at Red Cross, Richard was at the White House, serving as Deputy Assistant to the President for Homeland Security. He led the development of national policy related to resilience, transborder security, and community partnerships.
Dr. Qiushi Ren is currently the MOE Chang-Jiang Distinguished Professor, Winner of the National Science Foundation for Distinguished Young Scholars, and Chief Scientist of National Key Basic Research Project “973 Project: Basic Research on the Key Issues of Visual Function Recovery For Blindness.”
From 1990 to 1994, Dr. Qiushi Ren was an assistant professor of Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Miami. From 1995 to 1998, he was an associate professor of the Department of Ophthalmology at University of California in Irvine.
Dr. Ren is mainly engaged in the study on basic theory and technical research of laser medicine. Based on the comprehensive and in-depth research on key issues of visual optics and visual function restoration, he has put forward a series of new theories and/or new methods, most of which are put into practice or converted to up-to-date medical equipment. Under the direction of Dr. Qiushi Ren, the research group also uses laser technology as a means of physical regulation to research the mechanism of skin collagens restoration and reorganization. According to the analysis of a serial of in-depth research result, some laser therapeutic apparatus with minimally invasive were developed and put into clinical application.
At the heart of research interests in Dr. Daniel Romo’s lab is the chemistry and biology of natural products. These are unique and often structurally complex molecules that appear designed to interact in highly specific ways with various cellular receptors, most importantly those found in humans. The research team’s interest in a particular synthetic target begins by looking at the structural complexity and/or the presence of -lactones or functionality derivable from -lactones in addition to interesting biological activity. Thus, the Romo research group is engaged in developing novel synthetic strategies towards these naturally occurring compounds or derivatives that in turn serve as useful leads for inquiries into protein function.
One focus of their research efforts is the structure elucidation, total synthesis, and determination of the mode of action of marine natural products that display significant physiological activity. Their total synthesis strategies are designed to allow efficient access to the natural product in addition to structural derivatives and conjugates for studies aimed at elucidating their mechanism of action.
Dr. Virender Sharma’s research interests include chemistry and applications of ferrates (VI, V, and IV) (inactivation of virus, bacteria, and toxins in water and air and removal of emerging contaminants such as antibiotics, estrogens and toxic metals in water); formation, fate, and toxicity of silver and gold engineered and natural nanoparticles in aquatic environment; and applications of ferrites to destroy toxins and pollutants under solar light.
Yang Zhen, Ph.D., Department of Chemistry, Peking University Tae Yoo, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Cisco.
The research programs undertaken by Dr. Yang Zhen’s research group are in the context of chemical embodiments as well as medicinal demand. Consequently, he says that to scientists who enjoy meeting challenges and undertaking the awesome power of creating new molecules, and to those who treasure the tremendous medicinal potential of natural products, the Zhen lab’s research programs provide interesting chemical tools and physiological insights that would be invaluable for the treatment of diseases and serve as probes to regulate biologically important targets. Currently, the lab’s research directions primarily include (a) the development of novel synthetic methodologies and strategies for the diversity-oriented syntheses of biologically active molecules, and (b) the total syntheses of complex natural products.
Dr. Zhen notes that natural products have proven to be valuable sources for the identification of new drug candidates, as well as have served as tools for chemical biology and medicinal chemistry research. Historically, many natural products were used to treat various human disorders in view of their distinguished drug-like properties. To date, tens of thousands of bioactive compounds have been isolated from plants, microbes, marine invertebrates and other sources. Consequently these chemical structures have been employed by chemists as good references to scan the diversity of space for drug discovery efforts.
Natural products present an infinite range of complexity and diversity. The total syntheses of complex natural products require not only ingenuity and skills, but also the adoption of effective strategies and tactics as synthetic solutions. Contemporarily, the objectives of natural product total syntheses are not just limited to precise replications of those naturally occurring items. The accumulation of insights and experience in total synthesis over the last few decades allows organic chemists to “aim higher” by integrating natural product synthesis more closely with the advancement of life science discovery. During that journey it’s expected that synthetic chemists would land on a new paradise to explore and demonstrate the new beauty of synthetic art.
The conference will be live streamed at www.tamhsc.edu/endpandemics (roundtable symposia will not be aired) and the complete program schedule may be accessed here. Follow the Conference on Twitter #EndPandemics.
Online registration for the 6th China-U.S. Relations Conference will be available until capacity is reached. The standard registration rate is $695.
To register for this conference, use the online registration form.
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