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Darwin Day 2013

Andrew Read, our Darwin Day speaker, has had to cancel. We regret to announce that there will be no Darwin Day arrangement in 2013. The committee apologizes, and promises to be back next year!

Disease Evolution

Andrew Read  parasitologist

Flesh-eating bacteria, multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis, and pesticides that no longer work appear ever more frequently in news headlines. Humanity is engaged in an arms race between pathogens and medicines, and we're losing terrain. What is our plan B?  

Andrew Read argues that the problem is caused by medication. We carpet bomb our bodies with antibiotics, and the only surviving microbes are those that are resistant to the drug. What efficiently makes you recover from a disease today, is also creating superbugs that will give our children incurable illnesses some years from now. Do we need to think differently about disease and medication? What good advice exist? Which questions will dominate in the future of the medical sciences?

Horizon lecture open to everyone:
Andrew Read    Evolution kills: the adaptation of disease-causing organisms and what to do about it
Tuesday 12 February CANCELLED. Egget, Studentsenteret.
Free entrance. Snacks are served prior to the lecture, which will be held in English.
Abstract    Evolution is one of the leading challenges for 21st century medicine and public health. Cancers, pathogens and disease-transmitting organisms like mosquitoes rapidly evolve in response to medical and public health interventions. This adaptive evolution can erode the efficacy of initially effective technologies like drugs, vaccines, and insecticides. Managing evolution (and equally, avoiding evolutionary mismanagement) requires a quantitative understanding of the competing ecological forces shaping this adaptation, not least those forces imposed by medical practice. I will argue that 'adaptation science' offers the prospect of rational evolutionary management and can suggest new ways to evolution-proof health care technologies.

Lunch lecture in collaboration with Center for International Health and
Haukeland University Hospital:

Andrew Read    Drug resistance: evidence based evolutionary science in medical practice and policy
Tuesday 12 February CANCELLED. Stort auditorium, Haukeland University Hospital.
Free entrance. The lecture will be held in English.
Abstract    Drug resistant pathogens are one of the key public health challenges of the 21st century. There is a widespread belief that resistance can be prevented or considerably slowed by using strong drug pressure to rapidly eliminate target pathogens from patients. I will argue that this need not be so, because aggressive chemotherapy also imposes intense 'natural' selection in favor of resistance. Experimentally, we find that less aggressive chemotherapeutic regimes can deliver better resistance management without compromising health outcomes. Thus, opposing evolutionary forces determine resistance evolution. Consequently, for a wide variety of pathogens, an evidence-based approach is needed to curtail resistance evolution.

About Andrew Read

Andrew Read originally comes from New Zealand and is now Professor at Pennsylvania State University in USA. Previously, he has held positions at the universities of Oxford and Edinburgh and Wissenschaftskollegium in Berlin. The web pages of his research group contain information about his past and current resarch, as well as links to publications. He is also the chair of Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics.
In 2012, Andrew Read gave a 17-minute TEDMED talk, and background information with references and links can be found here.

Why is the Darwin Day celebrated?
Who is behind the Darwin Day in Bergen?
The Darwin Day 2013 in Oslo
Earlier events
2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 (Darwin anniversary),
2008, 2007.

Institutt for biologi