May 06, 2021

screenshot of Dr. Akiko Iwasaki's keynote title slide

The Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI) hosted its third annual meeting virtually on Thursday, April 22, 2021. With 300 participants, it was an engaging and informative day highlighting the best of the IDI. The meeting opened with an introduction by IDI Director Mike Oglesbee, DVM, PhD, directly followed by the morning keynote speaker, Kenneth P. Wright, PhD, professor of integrative physiology at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Dr. Wright’s presentation covered the ways in which disruptions in sleep and circadian rhythms can affect a person’s microbiome. His highly interdisciplinary work demonstrates that changes to sleep cycles have direct impacts on an individual's gut microbiome, along with fascinating metabolic effects. Following his talk, Dr. Wright joined a panel of microbiome scientists from Ohio State to discuss emerging topics ranging from eukaryotic and insect microbiomes to the microbiome of the natural and built environments.

Akiko Iwasaki, PhD, professor of immunobiology and molecular, cellular, and developmental biology at the Yale University School of Medicine, was the afternoon keynote speaker. She presented her work on immune responses in patients with moderate to severe COVID-19, discussing several biological indicators of COVID-19 mortality and highlighting the sex-based differences in immune response. Dr. Iwasaki joined a panel discussion with Ohio State virologists following her talk. View the recording for this keynote and panel here...

The rest of the day featured short talks by IDI faculty and trainees and breakout sessions on the social context of infectious disease, career resilience during a pandemic, and a formal introduction to the newly-formed IDI Trainee Association.

Congratulations to the two Trainee Short Talk Award winners: Daniel Brook, MD/PhD student in Dr. Bill Miller's lab in the College of Public Halth's Divsion of Epidemiology, for his talk "The Relationship Between Hepatitis C Virus Rates and Office-Based Buprenorphine Access in Ohio" and Kush Kumar Yadav, PhD student in Dr. Scott Kenney's lab in the Center for Food Animal Health for his talk "Placental Lactogen Enhances Hepatitis E Virus Replication."

The day concluded with insights from Angus Fletcher, PhD, professor of story science with Ohio State's Project Narrative, who shared tools for effective communication of scientific research and how to craft a narrative that calls attention to the value of the research to which our excellent IDI members contribute.

Thank you to everyone who helped make the IDI Virtual 3rd Annual Meeting a success!

Written by Marie Klever.

Recordings of the welcome session and Dr. Akiko Iwasaki's keynote can be found at

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