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NIH Record

Honors ASM's Centennial
NIAID Presents Symposium on Emergent Microbes

The incidence of emerging diseases is increasing worldwide. Well-known microbes such as the tuberculosis bacterium are developing new strains with advanced survival tactics. Other microbes such as HIV and hantavirus have evolved as pathogens relatively recently. Both of these conditions present new threats to the population and unique challenges to researchers. On Thursday, Nov. 4 in the Natcher Conference Center Auditorium, NIAID will present "Confronting Emergent Microbes: Forging New Paradigms," a symposium in honor of the centennial of the American Society for Microbiology. ASM is the oldest and largest single biological science organization in the world, with over 42,000 member scientists, physicians and health professionals. ASM's mission to improve public health through understanding of basic life processes coincides with NIAID's research effort to prevent, diagnose and treat immunologic and infectious diseases.

The past 100 years have seen amazing advances in the identification and treatment of many diseases. Others, such as polio and smallpox, have been virtually eradicated. However, some diseases once under control are now re-emerging as public health problems. The microbes that cause them have become resistant to current drugs and therapies.

"Emerging diseases pose a significant threat to the world's population. As the new millennium approaches, the battle plan has changed. Researchers are now rethinking their lab strategies and developing novel approaches to new questions," says Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of NIAID and moderator of the symposium. Dr. Carol Nacy, past president of ASM, will introduce the program.

Dr. Clifton E. Barry, III

Scheduled speakers include Dr. Clifton E. Barry, III, chief of NIAID's tuberculosis research section; Dr. Bruce Walker, director of the AIDS Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital, and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School; and Dr. Thomas E. Wellems, chief of NIAID's malaria genetics section.

Barry's talk, titled "Integrating Genomics and Chemistry to Produce New Antibiotics for the Treatment of Tuberculosis," will explore the recently sequenced M. tuberculosis genome for potential targets for new antibiotic strategies.

Dr. Bruce Walker

Walker will speak about "Progress in the Immunologic Battle Against HIV." His lab has studied the effect of HIV-1 T-cell responses on viral load. They have shown that treatment of acute HIV infection with combination antiviral therapy leads to the induction of potent immune responses similar to those seen in long-term non-progressors.

Dr. Thomas E. Wellems

Wellems will present "A Chronicle of Tropical Health and Transport Molecules: Malaria, Chloroquine and Drug Resistance." Chloroquine was once the frontline drug used to treat malaria. Over the years, however, the drug has become ineffective against the most serious parasite causing human malaria, Plasmodium falciparum. Wellems is leading NIAID's research effort to understand drug response mechanisms as a basis for new antimalarial treatments.

A reception will follow the program. For more information call 496-5717.

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