Associate Professor Gavin Smith
Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, Singapore
Gavin Smith is an evolutionary biologist who studies animal viruses that have the potential to infect humans and therefore pose the risk of causing a pandemic. To achieve this he conducts disease surveillance in wild animals (such as bats) and domesticated species (such as pigs), as well as in humans that come in close contact with these animals, to determine what viruses have been able to cross the species barrier to infect humans. His lab then conducts experimental work to investigate why those particular viruses have been able to cross the species barrier. Ultimately, the aim of Gavin’s research is to better understand viral disease ecosystems in order to implement more efficient disease control strategies.
Emerging Infectious Diseases
Emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) pose a significant public health challenge globally, with severe economic, social, and health consequences. For example, it is estimated that the SARS outbreak in 2003 cost the global economy over $50 billion dollars, despite lasting just a few months and causing very few human deaths. The frequency of outbreaks caused by EIDs and the likelihood of rapid global spread has increased dramatically in recent decades. Here I will discuss how EIDs emerge from animals to infect humans, what has been driving the increase in outbreaks, and what we can do to prevent the future emergence of novel human diseases.
Watch Associate Professor Gavin Smith’s Sci21 webcast, Emerging Infectious Diseases.