Xavier presents a lecture Feb. 1 on disease evolution in commemoration of the anniversary of Darwin

University of Louisville professor speaks on the role of germs in chronic disease for the | January 26, 2009

Xavier is hosting a free presentation by Paul Ewald titled “Emerging Diseases: How Darwinian Thinking Helps to Distinguish the Few Grave Threats from the Many Fizzers,” on Sunday, Feb. 1, in the Cintas Center on campus.

The lecture is one of several commemorative events scheduled throughout Greater Cincinnati in recognition of “Darwin 2009: A Collaborative Celebration of Evolution” marking the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth on Feb. 12 and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species. Information about Darwin is available at the Center for Theoretical Evolutionary Genomics.

Ewald asserts that many common diseases of unknown origin are the result of the presence of slowly acting infections caused by evolving viruses, bacteria or protozoa.

Ewald is a professor of biology and is the director of the Program on Disease Evolution at the University of Louisville, where he holds an appointment in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the School of Medicine. A principal founder of the discipline of evolutionary medicine, he has published extensively since 1980. He authored Evolution of Infectious Disease, widely acknowledged as a landmark in the discipline, laying down its application to the threat posed by influenza. His second book, Plague Time, integrated many of these ideas with our emerging understanding of the broad role of germs as causes of chronic diseases.

Ewald received his B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of California and his Ph.D. from the University of Washington with a specialization in evolutionary biology. He was the first recipient of the Smithsonian Institution’s George E. Burch Fellowship in Theoretical Medicine and Affiliated Sciences, which fosters pioneering advancements in the health sciences. Prior to joining the University of Louisville, Ewald was on the faculty at Amherst College, where he held assistant, associate and full professorships and was the Dominic Paino Professor of Global Environmental Studies. During this time he also held an adjunct appointment at the University of Massachusetts.

He has written many articles for scientific journals and popular magazines such as Natural History, National Geographic and Scientific American, and op-ed pieces for the New York Times and the London Times. He lectures extensively at college campuses and symposia around the world and has made approximately 200 appearances on television and radio.  

Ewald’s talk at the James & Caroline Duff Banquet Center in the Cintas center runs from 7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. For more information on the event, call 513-745-3623. 

Other local institutions participating in “Darwin 2009” include: the College of Mount St. Joseph, Northern Kentucky University, Thomas More College, the University of Cincinnati, the Society for Evolution Education, Sunrock Farm, Cincinnati Museum Center and the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. For a complete list of area events, visit www.uc.edu/darwin.