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2008 AIBS Annual Meeting Focus on Interplay between
Health and Environmental Issues

American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS)
1444 I (Eye) Street NW, Suite 200
Washington, DC 20005 Phone: (202) 628-1500

For Immediate Release: 3 March 2008

For more information, contact:
Sue Burk, AIBS Meetings Director

“Climate, Environment, and Infectious Diseases” examined at meeting, May 12-13, Washington, D.C.

Washington, DC. The 2008 annual meeting of the American Institute of Biological Sciences will be held 12 and 13 May on the theme of “Climate, Environment, and Infectious Diseases,” at The Westin Arlington Gateway, Virginia. The program chair is 2008 AIBS President Rita Colwell, University of Maryland, College Park.

Interrelationships of climate, environment, and human health are manifested in infectious disease patterns, notably seasonality. Vector borne diseases, such as malaria, dengue, Avian influenza, SARS, and related diseases are known to be closely linked to the environment and, more recently, to climate. Interactions between climate, climate change, and the environment have been studied extensively by investigators in the United States and abroad. The AIBS annual meeting will address these issues.

The interplay of science and science policy in cross-cutting themes involving science, public policy, and education will also be addressed in a special session with plenary speakers featuring science communicators, including authors of popular books addressing various aspects of infectious disease, human health, climate, and the environment. Participants will have the opportunity to explore the issues of climate change as these issues intersect with human health.

The rest of the meeting’s program will be rounded out by events including a contributed poster session, a diversity lunch, AIBS awards, a special session from the National Council for Science and the Environment on climate change and human health, a teachers workshop organized by the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study and National Association of Biology Teachers, and a workshop on science cafes organized by the WGBH Educational Foundation and the Coalition on the Public Understanding of Science. The 2008 AIBS annual meeting marks the anniversary of the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study, which began as a part of AIBS and is now celebrating 50 years of independent operations. Speakers at the event include:

  • Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the US House of Representatives, “A Contract with the Earth”
  • James R. Hansen, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, “Global Warming: The Threat to Life”
  • Durland Fish, Yale University, “Environmental Determinants of Lyme Disease Risk”
  • Howard Frumkin, National Center for Environmental Health, “The Public Health Response to Climate Change”
  • David Rogers, University of Oxford, “Infectious Diseases and the Environment”
  • Stephen Morse, Columbia University, “How Could Climate Change Affect Avian Influenza?”
  • Andrew Dobson, Princeton University, “Disentangling the Role of Climate, Immunity, and Biotic Interactions in the Dynamics of Infectious Diseases”
  • Duane Gubler, University of Hawaii, “The 20th Century Emergence and Spread of Epidemic Dengue/Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever: Is Climate or Environmental Change Responsible?”
  • Stephen Hoffman, Sanaria Inc., Rockville, Maryland, “The Role of Radiation Attenuated Plasmodium falciparum Sporozoite Vaccine in Global Malaria Eradication”

In addition, special sessions are offered:

  • Convenor: AIBS “Science and Society: the Art of Communication” with moderator Ira Flatow, host of NPR’s Talk of the Nation: Science Friday. Participants: Robert Morris, author of The Blue Death: Disease, Disaster, and the Water We Drink and Kim Stanley Robinson, author of Sixty Days and Counting
  • Convenor: National Council for Science and the Environment, “Climate Change and Human Health: Developing Collaborations with the Public Health Community,” moderated by David Blockstein. Participants TBD.

Accredited members of the press are invited to attend all events at no charge. Contact Holly Menninger, AIBS Public Affairs Representative, at, 202-628-1500 x 229

For more information about the AIBS annual meeting, visit:

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