Montana State University

Internationally recognized virologist to discuss recent Ebola virus outbreak at March 24 Café Scientifique

March 4, 2016 -- From MSU News Service

Dr. Heinz Feldmann will present “The Ebola Virus in West Africa: Science-based Facts and Personal Reflections on the Recent Epidemic” at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 24, at the Baxter Hotel Ballroom in Bozeman. The event is free and open to the public. Photo courtesy of Dr. Heinz Feldmann.

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Tel: (406) 994-4571
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BOZEMAN – Dr. Heinz Feldmann, an internationally recognized virologist and chief of the Laboratory of Virology at Rocky Mountain Laboratories, part of the National Institutes of Health, will be the featured speaker at the university’s upcoming Café Scientifique.

Feldmann will present “The Ebola Virus in West Africa: Science-based Facts and Personal Reflections on the Recent Epidemic” at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 24, at the Baxter Hotel Ballroom in downtown Bozeman. The event is free and open to the public.

Feldmann’s talk will begin with an evidence-based overview of what World Health Organization officials have deemed the largest Ebola virus outbreak on record. Feldmann will present evidence detailing how the outbreak began in West Africa in late 2013, how the epidemic claimed more than 11,300 lives worldwide and how international collaborations helped contain the spread. In January, WHO officials declared the end to all known chains of Ebola transmission in West Africa.

In addition to summarizing data pertaining to the Ebola outbreak, Feldmann will relay firsthand observations he and 16 colleagues from Rocky Mountain Laboratories experienced as active participants in the response efforts. During this segment, Feldmann will address public critique regarding the response timeline and provide insight into what he calls “delayed but unparalleled response activities by multiple government, academic and private institutions worldwide.”

The remainder of his talk will address unanswered scientific questions regarding the outbreak, his perspective on what follow-up research should be conducted and an outlining of public health uncertainties and opportunities looking forward.

Feldmann serves as the Laboratory of Virology chief and chief scientist of the Integrated Research Facility at Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton. The Integrated Research Facility contains biosafety research levels two, three and four, which are risk designations set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In this ranking system, level one poses the lowest threat to public health and level four involves highly dangerous and exotic microbes.

Feldmann is also an associate professor in the department of medical microbiology at the University of Manitoba. His research expertise and fieldwork with high-containment viruses has led to consultation roles at the World Health Organization and honors such as the Löffler-Frosch Award from the German Society for Virology, the Dalrymple/Young Award from the American Committee on Arthropod-Borne Viruses and the Research Merit Awards co-sponsored by the Public Health Agency of Canada and NIH.

Café Scientifique, co-sponsored by Montana's INBRE and COBRE programs, provides a relaxed setting for people to learn about current scientific topics. The concept started in England in 1998 and has spread to a handful of locations in the United States. Following a short presentation by a scientific expert, the majority of time is reserved for lively conversation, thoughtful questions and respectful dialogue. Refreshments are provided free of charge.

Housed at MSU, Montana INBRE and COBRE are each an Institutional Development Award (IDeA) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under grant numbers P20GM103474 (INBRE) and GM103500 (COBRE).

For more information, contact Laurie Howell with Montana INBRE at (406) 994-7531 or lhowell@montana.edu. For more information about the Café Scientifique concept, check the Web at http://www.inbre.montana.edu/cafe.php.

Contact: Laurie Howell, Montana INBRE, (406) 994-7531 or lhowell@montana.edu