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The evolution of, and vaccination against, influenza viruses

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How to identify research areas that are most likely to have a big social impact? Derek Smith will discuss this question, offering insights from his personal career path and explaining how and why he arrived at the World Health Organisation (WHO) Collaborating Centre.

Derek Smith is Professor of Infectious Disease Informatics at Cambridge University is also Director of the Centre for Pathogen Evolution, and Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Modelling, Evolution, and Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases, both also at Cambridge University. In addition he is a member of the Virology Department at Erasmus Medical Center in The Netherlands. He is a member of the WHO influenza vaccine strain selection committee, and is also involved in vaccine strain selection for other human and non-human pathogens for the FAO and OIE .

His research is focused on how pathogens evolve, to what extent this evolution is predictable, and determining public and animal health measures against such ever-changing pathogens. He received a United States National Institutes of Health Director’s Pioneer Award in 2005 for his work on Antigenic Cartography, a method that enables detailed study of pathogen evolution.

This talk is part of the 80,000 Hours: Cambridge series.

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