For Your Health
For Your Health

News from the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences

Seventh annual Host-Pathogen Symposium to be held at Gorecki Alumni Center Oct. 3-4

The Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) for Host-Pathogen Interactions (HPI) at the University of North Dakota (UND) will hold its seventh annual Host-Pathogen Symposium at the Gorecki Alumni Center on the UND campus Oct. 3-4.

The multidisciplinary HPI research team explores how disease-causing microbes or viruses survive and thrive within “host” organisms on a molecular, cellular, or population level. Specific research projects ongoing at the university are digging deeper into infectious diseases such as Francisella, Lyme disease, HIV, and Zika, and study how infection, immunity, and inflammation affect human and other animal hosts.

This year’s symposium includes both a public event and a researcher-specific session.

At 6:45 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 3, UND President Andrew Armacost will provide opening remarks for two public presentations:

  • “Lyme Disease: A Tick-Borne Infection” to be given by Dr. Catherine Brissette, associate professor in the UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences Department of Department of Biomedical Sciences.
  • “Mosquito-Borne Infections” to be given by Dr. Jeff Vaughan, professor in UND’s Department of Biology.

This community event includes a reception with refreshments following the presentations.

Then, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 4, researchers from across the region will share their work on infectious disease with their fellow researchers through a series of presentations & poster sessions. The plenary speakers scheduled to present on Tuesday, Oct. 4, are:

  • Cathryn Nagler, Ph.D., Bunning Family Professor in Biological Sciences Division at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering. Dr. Nagler’s Laboratory investigates the mechanisms governing tolerance to dietary antigens. Her group was one of the first to identify a link between intestinal bacteria and the regulation of mucosal immunity. During the past fifteen years, her work has focused on examining how bacteria regulate susceptibility to allergic responses to food.
  • Steven Varga, Ph.D., Professor of Microbiology and Immunology with the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. Dr. Varga’s laboratory studies the role of virus-specific T lymphocytes in mediating immunity during virus infections. The laboratory uses mouse models to study several respiratory viruses including, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza A virus (IAV) and COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2).

“Over the past two years, everyone has been reminded of the importance of infectious disease research,” said David Bradley, Ph.D., associate professor in the UND Department of Biomedical Sciences and the Principle Investigator of the HPI COBRE. “This is collaborative research that will help find answers not only for things like COVID-19, but a variety of other infectious diseases—including those brought to us by a variety of insects.”

There is no cost to participate, but event registration is required at The Gorecki Alumni Center is located at 3501 University Ave. on the UND campus.

For more information, contact Dr. Kumi Nagamoto-Combs at or 701.777.2559, or Jessica Craig at or 701.777.5905.