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2021 Honors Symposium Lecture Series

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Pandemics: How Did We Get Here and Where Are We Going? 

Now in its 27th year, the FVCC Honors Symposium brings current research and relevant topics to our campus community. This year’s lectures will feature distinguished scholars from our Montana community who strive to promote an understanding of the current global coronavirus pandemic, as well as offer a glance at pandemics and humankind both in a current and historical context. Lectures will be delivered virtually via Zoom and offer perspectives on the current pandemics, as well as a look at previous and possible future epidemics.

Dr. Marshall Bloom – Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 6 p.m. on Zoom 
Pandemics: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow?
Click here to listen live to the lecture.

In March 2017, Dr. Marshall Bloom visited FVCC and presented an evening Honors Symposium talk titled “Predicting Pandemics and the Myth of Sisyphus.” The Zika virus pandemic was just winding down, and Dr Bloom speculated on what the next pandemic might be. Now, three years later, Dr. Bloom will present “Pandemics: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” while Montana and the rest of the world are still coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. The talk will offer an overview of other emerging infectious disease, why they emerge and how they can transform into true pandemics.  Dr. Bloom will describe several recent pandemics and some of the lessons that should have been learned from them, before reviewing his 2017 March Madness Pandemic Picks. This will be followed by an examination of the current COVID-19 pandemic with particular attention to the vaccines that are starting to turn the corner on this deadly disease.

About Dr. Marshall Bloom

A recognized expert on the pathogenesis of tick-borne flaviviruses, persistent infections and parvoviruses, Marshall E. Bloom, M.D., serves as chief of the biology of vector-borne viruses section in the Laboratory of Virology and is the associate director for scientific management at Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML) in Hamilton, MT. RML is a part of the Division of Intramural Research of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health.

The author of numerous scientific articles and book chapters, Dr. Bloom is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology (AAM), American Society of Microbiology (ASM), the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS), and the American Society for Virology. He has served on organizing committees and advisory boards for a number of major scientific conferences, including multiple terms on annual ASM Biothreats Conferences.

As associate director, Dr. Bloom played a major role in design, construction and staffing of the RML Integrated Research Facility, which houses NIAID’s first Biosafety Level 4 research program. He is considered an authority on biosafety, biocontainment and management of high containment laboratory research programs.

Since the early 2000’s, Dr. Bloom has studied the biology of tick-borne flaviviruses in mammalian and arthropod systems, making considerable contributions in the areas of viral pathogenesis, viral persistence, ultrastructure, gene expression and the interactions between virus, arthropod host and mammalian hosts.

Dr. Bloom has been a spokesperson for the RML COVID-19 research program and has a significant role in the institutional response. He has served as an advisor to local and state health departments on this topic.

In fall 2020, Dr. Bloom was inducted into the Montana Bioscience Hall of Fame.

He is supported by the Intramural Research Program of NIAID/NIH.

Dr. Ruth Wrightsman – Tuesday, March 16, 2021 at 12 p.m. on Zoom
The COVID-19 Pandemic: The Virus, the Vaccines and the Variants
Click here to listen live to the lecture.

After one year of the COVID-19 pandemic, where are we now and where are we headed?  Dr. Ruth Wrightsman will discuss the biology of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, how the COVID-19 vaccines work, and the race between vaccination and the emergence of genetic variants.

About Dr. Ruth Wrightsman

Dr. Ruth Wrightsman obtained her Ph.D. in cellular biology at the University of California –Irvine.  She spent 25 years in the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at UC-Irvine studying the immunology of the protozoan parasite, Trypanosoma cruzi.  Dr. Wrightsman has been a community college educator for over 30 years and has taught a range of biology courses, including general biology, microbiology, genetics, and cell and molecular biology.  In addition to teaching at FVCC, Dr. Wrightsman, along with her colleague, Dr. Mirabai McCarthy, leads an undergraduate research team on a project entitled “Antibiotic Potential of Flathead Valley Flora and Fungi” aimed at discovering new sources of antibiotics.

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