She was the Medical Director of the JHU Transplant and Oncology Infectious Diseases program and Vice Chair of Medicine for Innovation in Healthcare Implementation until 2022, when she retired from her full – time academic appointment to lead two companies she founded to develop diagnostics for lung infections and antifungal drugs. She has authored over 300 peer-reviewed publications and textbook chapters, edited three books in infectious diseases (ID), and is an Associate Editor of ID’s largest textbooks, Principals and Practices of Infectious Diseases. She is an elected member of honorary medical societies, including the Association of American Physicians (AAP) and the American Society for Clinical Investigators (ASCI), where she served on council and President (2015-2019). She’s received numerous honors, including “America’s Best Doctors,” Thompson and Reuters “World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds,” and Stanford University/Clarivate Analytics “World’s Most Cited Researchers.” She is known worldwide for her translational and clinical research focused on diagnostics and treatment of invasive fungal infections.
Short Description: In this short overview, Dr. Marr will discuss how climate change impacts risks for important infectious diseases, including those transmitted by animal and insect vectors, those spread by changes in environmental temperatures and extreme weather events, and those influenced by water quality and quantity. Discussion will be focused on infections prominent in North America, although concepts pertain to global epidemiology. An intersectional framework that illustrates cumulative vulnerability to environmental infections will be discussed, incorporating risks specific to poverty, place, gender, race and age.
Ryan Robinson is a visionary who builds quantum technology and possesses a unique combination of skills from both the humanities and STEM fields in an effort to change the world for the better. Born in Miami, Ryan Robinson began taking classes at Harvard at 15. He competed in DECA, the world's largest business competition and scored in the 99th %ile for both economics and marketing management.
At MIT, Ryan studied biology under Prof. Eric Lander, the Father of the Human Genome Project, and material science under Prof. Michael Cima, the co-inventor of 3D printing. Ryan graduated MIT with three different concentrations – International humanities, Mechatronics, and Quantum engineering, the latter being a new field he created under the advisory of Prof. Seth Lloyd (Professor, Mechanical Engineering & Physics at MIT, and Director of the Center for Extreme Quantum Information Theory at MIT). Ryan is a TEDx Speaker and has lectured at both MIT and Harvard about the applications of quantum engineering to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ryan is also the CEO of a company called Conduit Conducting aimed at creating innovative healthcare technology for SARS-CoV-2 and other infectious diseases, specifically aimed for underserved and vulnerable populations. In fact, when Ryan was 22, he was featured in Forbes for his work at Conduit. Ryan’s achievements and work through his company Conduit Computing led him to be compared to "Steve Jobs in his prime" by MIT professor Jeremy Kepner. Ryan and his team are among the youngest to be in the White House COVID-19 HPC to investigate high performance computing methods to study COVID-19 biology. Ryan is also a published poet – and loves playing the saxophone!
Short Description: In the upcoming presentation, titled “The New Normal: Quantum Engineering the Future,” I will discuss two innovative technologies that hold significant promise in combating future pandemics like COVID-19 in 2020. The first technology is nanoSPLASH, a simple and rapid saliva-based diagnostic test that is being developed to be used at home, providing results in under an hour. It is a game-changer in terms of testing, with its ability to produce a red color indicating a positive infection, while remaining colorless for negative results. The second technology is quantum machine learning, which has shown great potential in predicting global pandemics with higher accuracy than traditional statistical models. In my talk, I will present a comparative analysis of continuous variable quantum neural networks and quantum backpropagation multilayer perceptron to highlight the power and future potential of quantum machine learning in pandemic modeling. Together, these two technologies present a bright future of the New Normal, where combating pandemics can be more accessible, accurate, and effective.
Logan Thrasher Collins (2023 Foresight Institute Fellow) is a synthetic biologist, innovator, author, and futurist. When Logan was 16 years old, he invented a de novo aggregating antimicrobial peptide called OpaL as a new way of combating antibiotic resistant infections.
He then developed a bacterial conjugation delivery system for the gene encoding this peptide. Logan’s research on synthetic biology has been recognized through TEDxMileHigh, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), and elsewhere. At ISEF, Logan won 1st place in microbiology, received an award to attend the Nobel prize ceremonies, and was honored with having a minor planet named after him. Logan has published five lead-author scientific papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals and is currently a PhD candidate in biomedical engineering at Washington University in St. Louis. For his PhD, he is engineering virus-virus linkages to create new nanobiotechnologies for gene therapy. Logan also has worked as the CTO of a startup company called Conduit Computing, where he led a team of software engineers and computational biologists to study the SARS-CoV-2 life cycle process as part of the White House’s COVID-19 High-Performance Computing Consortium. Finally, he enjoys writing science fiction and sci-fi poetry and has had his work published in online magazines. Logan works on interdisciplinary solutions to global challenges, leveraging art and science to create the future.
Short Description: Logan Thrasher Collins works in synthetic biology, a field that centers on creative design of biological systems. Using synthetic biology principles, Logan has developed donor bacteria that deliver DNA encoding an aggregating antimicrobial peptide into recipient bacteria to fight antibiotic resistant infections. Logan has also employed synthetic biology to develop complexes of multiple physically linked viruses which may expand the potential portfolio of human diseases treatable by gene therapy. He will discuss both of these technologies and their implications in his talk.
Vadim N. Gladyshev, Ph.D., is Professor at Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a member of the US National Academy of Sciences. Raised in the USSR, Prof. Gladyshev graduated from high school with a gold medal while completing music school, and received his BS/MS degrees with highest honors from the Moscow State University (in 1988) followed by a PhD in Biochemistry (in 1992), while in parallel being an accomplished chess player.
During his postdoc, Prof. Gladyshev worked with Thressa Stadtman and Dolph Hatfield at the NIH, critically advancing selenoprotein research. Dr. Gladyshev then joined as Assistant Professor in the Biochemistry department of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where within 6 years, he became full professor and then Charles Bessey Professor and Director of Redox Biology Center. In 2008, Prof. Gladyshev received the Outstanding Research and Creative Activity award – the highest recognition in the University of Nebraska system, and in 2009 – began his career in the Division of Genetics, Department of Medicine, Brigham, and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, where he remains as Professor of Medicine and Director of the Center for Redox Medicine. In 2010, Prof. Gladyshev won the NIH Eureka Award, in 2013 the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, in 2019 the NIH Transformative Award, and in 2021 he was elected to the NAS. Prof. Gladyshev works broadly on aging, defining its nature and developing novel biomarkers of aging. He also studies the basis of longevity and lifespan control and develops approaches to biological age reduction, e.g. discovered a novel type of rejuvenation during embryonic development. Prof. Gladyshev is also an expert and pioneer in redox biology and is world renowned for his characterization of the human selenoproteome encoded by 25 genes. Prof. Gladyshev’s work has been cited >47,000 times, with published work in reputed destinations such as Science, Cell, Nature, Nature Aging and more
Dr. Cavin Ward-Caviness is a computational biologist and Principal Investigator at the US EPA, where he used high-dimensional omics data and electronic health records to investigate a) the molecular mechanisms linking environmental exposures and adverse health, b) quantification of environmental health risks for vulnerable communities and identification factors which modify such risks. Dr. Ward-Caviness received his undergraduate degree from Tulane University (New Orleans), where his interest in mathematics and public health developed.
Post Tulane, Dr. Ward-Caviness did his PhD in computational biology at Duke University, where he studied gene-environmental interactions, to understand how genetic variation plays a key role in determining a person’s sensitivity to air pollution exposures. Dr. Ward-Caviness’ work is aimed at identifying how increased sensitivity to the environment develops in individuals, and what interventions can protect them from different environmental risks. Dr. Ward-Caviness’ work has been cited > 3000 times, with peer reviewed publications in reputed journals such as Aging, Genome Biology, Nature Communications, Environment International and more.
Short Description: Environmental conditions are a key determinant in the health and wellness of both individuals and populations. However, we understand little about what makes people more sensitive to various adverse environments. Understanding environmental sensitivity is a key step in making environmental risk prediction more personalized and in addressing environmental justice concerns which often results in communities being exposed to multiple environmental contaminants which can have non-additive health risks. In this talk we will examine how epigenetic aging may be able to provide insight into the impact of the environment on the aging process and also shed light on who might be most at risk.
Dr. Anirban Kundu graduated with a PhD in Environmental Engineering from McGill University, where he researched bioremediation strategies for diesel contaminated Traditional Lands in Northern Quebec and developed smart nanomaterials capable of slow-releasing agrochemicals to plants and reduce fertilizer overuse.
His recent work includes helping assess the infrastructural capabilities of green hydrogen export from Canada to Europe at Dunsky Energy & Climate Advisors in Montreal. Previously, he was a Program Manager in Google.org’s Impact Challenge for Climate Innovation where he cross-collaborated with Google’s philanthropic teams to mobilize $30 M in grant funding for climate adaptation and mitigation solutions. Dr. Kundu has published in Environmental engineering, science policy, and EDI, is currently a volunteer at the Canadian Science Policy Centre, was one of McGill’s three Sustainability ChangeMakers, an ACS Green Chemistry summer scholar, and recipient of several academic and research scholarships in his career. Prior to McGill, Dr. Kundu obtained advanced degrees in Biochemical Engineering from IIT Delhi (where his work on engineering biofuel production was awarded a gold medal), and undergraduate in Biotechnology from NIT Durgapur, both Institutes of national importance in India. Dr. Kundu’s voluntary positions include being a lead scientist at Conduit Computing where he works to create innovative healthcare technology for SARS-CoV-2, and being a part of the COPP Net Zero organization in Montreal, Canada, where he helps develop public awareness of low carbon climate resilient infrastructural solutions.
Short Description: Agriculture is a complex system, with resource inefficiencies in upstream, on-farm, and downstream processes. Macro– and micronutrients are critical for crop growth, however 50-85% wastage in the conventionally applied fertilizers prompt for sustainable nutrient supply methods to crops. Nanomaterials offer promise of smart nutrient delivery to plants, as indicated in a vast majority of studies, yet its application in practise is limited. This talk will discuss the nano-agriculture landscape, unique applications of nanomaterials as agents of targeted delivery, slow release, and gene delivery to plants, possible risks, and mitigation routes for commercial practise, and how Anirban’s collaborative work led to unique insights in uptake and supply of nano-agrochemicals to food crops. The overarching goal of this talk is to demonstrate the use of nanomaterials towards sustainable food systems, and how they can lead towards stewardships in resource (water, nutrients) application, and prevent environmental pollution.
Dr. Gary Cohen is Co-Founder and President of Health Care Without Harm (Established 1996), a global non-profit organization transforming the healthcare sector to become more sustainable and encompassing community and planetary health. Health Care Without Harm (www.noharm.org) has built a large network with partner organizations in 82 countries addressing climate change and health as a strategic imperative.
HCWH also maintains a US membership organization called Practice Greenhealth with 1500 hospitals and 85 businesses aimed at greening the U.S. healthcare sector. Dr.. Cohen has received several awards for his work, including the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship (2006), the Frank Hatch Award for Enlightened Public Service (2007), the Huffington Post’s Game Changer Award for Health (2012), the Champion of Change Award for Climate Change and Public Health by the US White House (2013), the MacArthur Foundation’s Fellows Award (2015). Dr. Cohen is also a member of the International Advisory Board of the Sambhavna Clinic in Bhopal, India which has been working for 25 years to address the health impacts of people affected by the Bhopal Gas Tragedy. He is on the boards Health Leads, Emerald Cities Collaborative and Coming Clean.
Short Description: The climate crisis is a force multiplier for all the social, racial and health inequities that people face around the world. Additionally, food-related diseases and food insecurity are large drivers for disease and preventative health care costs. By addressing the dysfunctions of the food system with institutional partners and communities, the health care sector can achieve multiple societal transformations at the same time: supporting more sustainable and climate smart farming, creating jobs, addressing food insecurity, treating food as medicine, modeling healthy food environments and helping to demonstrate how health care organizations can act as anchors for sustainability, resilience and health equity in the communities it serves. This talk will demonstrate that this scenario is not only possible, but it is already happening.
Pilar Pedrinelli is a BCG Expert in Food Systems & Nature Based Solutions, part of the Climate & Sustainability and Social Impact Practice areas. Over the past 8+ years, working across Africa, North America, EU and the UK, she has helped different stakeholders across MSAs, NGOs, private sector to achieve higher impact with their environmental and social goals, developing expertise on nature-based solutions, adaptation and resilience and social innovation.
Pilar has focused on sustainable strategies, policy & advocacy and market-based incentives across various value chains, mainly on export-oriented cash crops (tea, vanilla, coffee, cocoa). Prior to joining BCG, Pilar has spent her career across academia (Cambridge University Impact Accelerator), private sector (Unilever) and international organizations (Rainforest Alliance and UN SDSN). Pilar earned a Double Master's degree from Bocconi and Queen’s University and a postgraduate from Yale's School of Environment. Adopting an ecosystem view that acknowledges the interconnection between environmental, social, and economic challenges is imperative in effectively addressing the path forward. This requires us to take an intersectional approach which includes systemic inequalities - the only way to achieving a sustainable (and just) future for all.
Short Description: Nature-based solutions are a fundamental pathway to create sustainable and just food systems and solve environmental challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and soil degradation. By prioritizing nature-based solutions, we can ensure that our food systems are resilient, sustainable, and socially just. In this talk, we will discuss the various co-benefits of solutions that work with nature, including increased biodiversity, improved soil health, and enhanced food security and explore ways in which we can prioritize their implementations through regenerative agricultural practices and policies to deliver a sustainable and just future for our food systems and the planet.
Dr. Greg Sixt is Director of the Food and Climate Systems Transformation (FACT) Alliance–– a global network of over 20 leading research institutions and stakeholder organizations led by MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel Water and Food Systems Lab (J-WAFS) working to shorten the link between research and action.
Dr. Sixt is also the Research Manager for Climate and Food Systems on various J-WAFS projects. Prior to joining MIT, Dr. Sixt worked in the Institute of Bioenergy, Climate, and Environment and the Center for International Programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA). Dr. Sixt’s career has focused on addressing policy and development challenges in the areas of agriculture, water, and climate––both domestically and in parts of the Middle East. He holds a PhD in Agriculture, Food, and Environment and Water Diplomacy from The Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. Dr. Sixt is a subject matter expert in agricultural knowledge and innovation systems, water governance, food systems transformation, and the climate-food systems nexus.
Short Description: The presentation will highlight the interconnected challenges between food systems and climate change and the role that collaborative research networks can play in developing solutions. I will introduce the MIT J-WAFS-led Food and Climate Systems Transformation (FACT) Alliance, a global network of over 20 member institutions committed to transforming the sustainability of food systems through collaborative, inclusive, action-oriented research. The presentation will describe the FACT Alliance convergent approach, which integrates diverse research disciplines and includes stakeholders as partners. I will close by introducing FACT’s inaugural research project, the Jameel Index for Food Trade and Vulnerability, which is building a model to predict global food demand, supply balance, and bilateral trade under different likely future scenarios, with a focus on climate change.
Dr. Eastham has worked for over a decade at the intersection of atmospheric science, environmental impact analysis, and aerospace engineering, working to better understand and reduce the atmospheric impacts of anthropogenic emissions using high-resolution computational models of the atmosphere in concert with data from Earth observation assets.
His work aims to enable near real-time integration of observational (ground monitor, aircraft, and satellite) data into computational models of the environment, supporting unprecedented accuracy and insights with regards to environmental decision making for impact mitigation and environmental justice. Dr. Eastham has published broadly including in Nature, Science Advances, and Environmental Research Letters, serves on the Massachusetts State Governments Global Warming Solutions Act Implementation Advisory Committee, and has appeared frequently on MIT News on topics such as low-cost options to reduce the health impacts of agricultural residue burning in India, how to coordinate climate and air quality policies to improve public health, and the affordability of direct air capture.
Short Description: Outdoor air pollution is a clear and urgent example of how global human health is intricately connected to the state of our environment. Exposure to polluted air is the fourth leading cause of early death worldwide, responsible for over 6 million deaths every year. This talk will discuss why this remains true, despite decades of progress on air pollution research in wealthy nations, and why this is a challenge which is being magnified and complicated by global climate change. It will also chart some paths forwards to solve this problem. Results from recent and ongoing research will be shown which demonstrate some of the latest understanding in the relationship between climate, air quality, and public health. This will highlight the need for coordinated interdisciplinary research to connect the human, economic, political, and physical science factors which will be needed to guarantee clean air for all in a changing climate.