Science Café – The Chikungunya Virus: an Emerging Threat

The Chikungunya Virus, spread through mosquito bites, is an emerging threat to the southern United States. Even though this virus can cause large outbreaks of severe acute and persistent arthritis, there are currently no vaccines for the treatment of Chikungunya diseases.

Join Dr. Fengwei Bai, on Monday, October 27, 2014, in Cook Library Room 123 (LIB 123), 6-7 p.m., as he discusses this new virus spreading to Mississippi, and how the development of vaccines requires an improved understanding of virus pathogenesis (the process by which an infection leads to disease).

Dr. Bai, assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, is a virologist and immunologist who concentrates on viral pathogenesis and immunity. His research interests are to understand how viruses are recognized by the host’s innate immune system and how innate immunity initiates and generates protective adaptive immunity. His long-term research goal is to use this knowledge in rational design of effective vaccines or therapeutics, or of microbicides for the prevention of transmission of viral pathogens.

During the café, he will discuss the Chikungunya Virus and virus pathogenesis. He will also discuss the basics of the Ebola virus as it is an item of concern due to current events.

A Science Café's casual meeting place, plain language, and inclusive conversation create a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere for people whose primary background may not be science. Each meeting is organized around an interesting scientific topic, with a presenter (usually a scientist) giving a brief background overview, usually with visuals, before the discussion kicks off. Science Cafés are free and open to the public.