The most wonderful time of year...CRWAD 2017!

Every year in early December the Veterinary Epidemiology community comes together in Chicago for the Conference for Research Workers in Animal Disease (CRWAD). This year our group contributed three oral presentations (Rachael Milwid, Melanie Cousins, and Kelsey Spence) and one poster presentation (Rachael Milwid) at the conference. I also served as the session moderator for the Modeling and Network Analysis session along with Kristen Davenport from Colorado State. Rachael presented two different projects related to her work on equine contact networks and Melanie presented her work on the development of a mathematical model for Campylobacter in Ontario. Since Kelsey is in the UK, I presented her longitudinal study of equine movement patterns. All of our projects were very well received by the audience and the Department of Population Medicine was well represented with a very large group of attending graduate students. 

Melanie giving her oral presentation in the ecology of food-borne pathogens session. 

Melanie giving her oral presentation in the ecology of food-borne pathogens session. 

The Magnificent Mile is quite magnificent in December!

The Magnificent Mile is quite magnificent in December!

Math.Epi.Lab retreat and our first lab meeting of the semester

Over the summer, I have focused my own professional development on productivity and strategic planning within a academic research environment. I was motivated to spend some time thinking abut this after realizing that our research team has grown substantially with upwards of ten members starting this fall. I read this paper in Molecular Cell and felt motivated to put a version of this plan into action this fall as a way to improve our team productivity and communication. 

On Friday September 15th, we spent the day working together as a group, discussing tools that we can we can use to make our research time more productive and efficient so that we are better able to balance our research, and teaching responsibilities with our personal lives. We also spent a considerable amount of time working on individual strategic plans for the fall semester. We will meet again in December to evaluate how well we were able to put our strategic plans into action over the course of the semester. Personally, I have found that my semester plan has helped me to prioritize my tasks and I feel much better organized as a result. 

This week we also had our first lab meeting led by Emma. We had a great discussion with each person bringing and presenting a paper from the peer-reviewed literature that was important to their development as a scientist. It was a great first lab meeting! At our next lab meeting Rachael is going to teach the group how to work with R markdown. 

A new semester arrives for the math.epi.lab

With fall comes an opportunity to review our progress over the past year and plan for the coming academic year. September always feels much more like the "New Year" to me than January and I find myself spending time looking at the literature on productivity, and strategic planning in the hopes of  implementing strategies to work "smarter" instead of "harder" this semester. With that comes my renewed desire to have our website, blog, and social media streams more active and as a group we are committing to making that happen.

Today we gathered as a team to discuss our research, and to plan for the coming academic year. There have been lots of changes over the summer.

1) We are really pleased to be welcoming Emma and Gabrielle back to the team. 

2) Salah has accepted a CIHR Health Systems Impact Fellowship to start a joint postdoc in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) so we will likely see a little bit less of him this semester as he begins to make the transition to working out of the PHAC office here in Guelph.. 

3) We have bid farewell to Kelsey Spence and Ariel Brunn. 

3) We are welcoming four new graduate students to our team this semester. Their profiles will be going up on the team page of the website next week but we are really excited to have Wendy, Elissa, Roksolana, and Haley joining the team!

Dr. Amy Greer and Ariel Brunn after Ariel  finished her MSc defence in August

Dr. Amy Greer and Ariel Brunn after Ariel  finished her MSc defence in August

Dr. Amy Greer, Dr. Kelsey Spence, and Dr. Terri O'Sullivan after Kelsey successfully defended her PhD dissertation in August

Dr. Amy Greer, Dr. Kelsey Spence, and Dr. Terri O'Sullivan after Kelsey successfully defended her PhD dissertation in August

Fall semester highlights from the Math.Epi.Lab

  1. Dr. Emma Gardner successfully passed her doctoral qualifying examinations this fall. Congratulations Emma! Emma is now back in Rome at the FAO until fall 2017. 
  2. A huge thank you to all of our equine research participants. This fall we conducted on-farm data collection for Rachael's dissertation and we also collected data related to an outbreak of equine influenza in the Maritime provinces. Thank you to everyone who participated! Stay tuned to learn more about what we have found.
  3. Luz has published the first research chapter of her MSc thesis in the journal Preventive Veterinary Medicine.  Her paper examines owned dog ecology and demography in Villa de Tezontepec, Hidalgo, Mexico. Congratulation Luz!
  4. In December 2106, Kelsey travelled to the Annual Conference of Research Workers in Animal Disease (CRWAD) held in Chicago to present her research. At the meeting she was awarded The Biosafety and Biosecurity Award, sponsored by the Animal Health Institute and the Joseph J. Garbarino Foundation for the best student oral presentation in biosecurity. This is the SECOND time that Kelsey has won this award (she also won in 2014). Congratulations Kelsey!
  5. In January,  Dr. Greer participated in a workshop at OVC with researchers from the Koret Veterinary College at the Hebrew University to identify areas of potential research collaboration. It was fantastic to learn about the great animal health research being conducted in Israel. We identified several areas of potential collaboration including in the area of antimicrobial use in animals. 

Photo credit: T. O'Sullivan

Dr. Greer (far right) and researchers from both the Ontario Veterinary College and the Koret School of Veterinary Medicine at the Hebrew University. 

Join the new Community of Interest (CoI) in Disease Modeling @ OVC

My research group is facilitating a new Community of Interest (CoI) in Disease Modeling at the University of Guelph. This is an interdisciplinary group that will meet once per week to discuss recently published papers, work in progress by group members as well as a variety of other topics of interest to the disease modeling community. We are hoping to have participants from across the University as well as local, provincial and federal government scientists who are actively working in this area to join us for discussion. We are not focused on any one specific methodology or application but rather on building a collaborative group to support learning and research within the broad area of disease modeling. Further details regarding the day and time of group meetings as well as resources for the meetings will be distributed shortly. If you are interested in joining the group please contact me by email and I can add you to the distribution list.