'Vaccines in the 21st Century,' a free public lecture on Feb. 5

A free public lecture titled "Vaccines in the 21st Century" will be given on Feb. 5 by Vivek Kapur, professor of microbiology and infectious diseases and head of the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences at Penn State. The event is the third of six lectures in the 2011 Penn State Lectures on the Frontiers of Science, a free minicourse for the general public with the theme "Epidemic: Infectious Disease on a Changing Planet." No registration is required. The lectures take place on consecutive Saturday mornings from 11 a.m. to about 12:30 p.m. in 100 Thomas Building on Penn State's University Park campus.

Kapur's lecture will reveal the reasons why effective vaccines still are lacking today for many important infectious diseases that cause untold human suffering and billions of dollars in economic loss. He will describe the opportunities and challenges in current research, as well as the new approaches that scientists are taking to develop effective vaccines against the infectious diseases of the 21st century. More information is online at http://www.science.psu.edu/alert/frontiers/2011/Kapur1-2011.

Kapur is internationally recognized for his research in microbial genomics and as a leader in cross-disciplinary biomedical research. He perhaps is best known for his pioneering work in completely sequencing the genomes of several of the world's major human and animal pathogens, including Pasteurella, Mycobacterium, Staphylococcus, Brucella, Lawsonia, and Cryptosporidium. The results of these studies have provided key insights into how microbes cause disease and have led to the development of powerful new diagnostic tests and novel vaccines with major global implications in disease control. He also leads an international consortium of scientists studying Johne’s disease, one of the most important infectious diseases of cattle worldwide.

He has played a role in many successful projects with fortune 500 companies and start-up companies, and he has advised companies on both business-development and scientific matters. Kapur also has chaired the National Institutes of Health Small Business Innovation Research program review group. His accomplishments include more than 100 published research papers, six U.S. patents, and honors including several national and international awards for his research in microbial genomics.

Before joining the Penn State faculty as head of the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences in 2007, Kapur had been professor of microbiology and director of the Biomedical Genomics Center at the University of Minnesota, which he joined in 1995 as an assistant professor in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, where he soon founded and directed of the Advanced Genetic Analysis Center. In 1999, he was promoted to associate professor, and in 2001, he helped to establish the university’s Biomedical Genomics Center and was named its co-director. In 2003, he was appointed the center's director and also a professor in the University of Minnesota Medical School.

Kapur received his bachelor's degree in veterinary medicine and his master's degree in poultry science, both from the University of Agricultural Sciences in Bangalore, India. He earned his doctoral degree in veterinary science at Penn State in 1991.

The Penn State Lectures on the Frontiers of Science is a program of the Penn State Eberly College of Science that is designed for the enjoyment and education of residents of the Central Pennsylvania area and beyond. The 2011 series features Penn State faculty members in the Eberly College of Science and the College of Agricultural Sciences who participate in collaborative research in Penn State's Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences. For more information or access assistance, contact the Eberly College of Science Office of Media Relations and Public Information by telephone at 814-863-0901 or by e-mail at clm29@psu.edu. More information about the Penn State Lectures on the Frontiers of Science, including archived recordings of previous lectures and a list of other lectures in the 2011 series, is on the Web at http://www.science.psu.edu/alert/frontiers
 

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Last Updated March 21, 2011