February 24, 2014 – Thunder Bay, ON
Dr. Hendrik Poinar will give an engaging talk examining causes of the plague, during Lakehead University’s Research and Innovation Week to be held from March 1-7.
This free presentation is part of the Faculty of Science and Environmental Studies Speaker Series.
Dr. Poinar, a Canada Research Chair in Paleogenetics at McMaster University, will discuss the implications of his research into the plague in the context of understanding the evolution of virulence and the co-evolution of its ‘accidental’ hosts: humans.
His talk will be on Monday, March 3 from 7:30-9:30 pm at Lakehead University in ATAC 1003 and via video conference with the Orillia campus in OA1033. The talk is called The Black Death and the Plague of the Justinian: Hunting, Trapping and Taming Pandemics of the Past.
“The benefits of examining the plague are multifaceted. Gaining a basic knowledge of the causes of past pandemics allows us to make far more fine scaled re-analyses on the transmission rate and reasons for the extremely high virulence,” Dr. Poinar said.
While doing this research, Dr. Poinar was surprised by the emergence and subsequent extinction of the Plague of Justinian followed by the emergence of the Black Death Strain, “which was far more 'successful' in its dispersal around the globe,” he said.
“Now we need to look at the human component. Did Europeans at the time have inherent susceptibility or protection from Black Death that can also help explain its high mortality rate?” Dr. Poinar said.
Dr. Poinar was recently featured on CBC’s The Nature of Things. He has travelled all over the world to study humans, including our past and where we are headed. His most recent focus has been on the plague, which has been one of the most devastating pandemics in human history.
The plaque resulted in the death of an estimated 75 to 200 million people around the globe. It reoccurred occasionally until the 19th century and had an impact on the development of modern civilization.
“This talk will be of interest to aspiring scientists and anyone who has wondered how the past can impact the future,” said Dr. Umed Panu, Lakehead University’s Associate Vice-President (Research, Economic Development and Innovation).
Refreshments will be served after the talk.
Please visit www.lakeheadu.ca/ri for more information.
– 30 –
Media: For more information, please contact Brandon Walker, Media Relations Officer, at (807) 343-8177, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2015, Lakehead University will celebrate 50 years of exceptional education. Guided by a new Strategic Plan (2013-2018), our University is known for providing an education focused on independent thinking, unconventional scholarship, and a close sense of community. About 9,700 students and 2,000 faculty and staff learn and work in ten faculties at two campuses, in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Home to Ontario’s first new Faculty of Law in 44 years (Fall 2013) and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine's West Campus, Lakehead is among Canada’s Top 10 undergraduate universities (2014 Maclean’s University Rankings), as well as 1st in Ontario and 2nd in Canada for its innovative research (Re$earch Infosource). Our Orillia campus is the first in North America to be built entirely to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) standards. Share your Lakehead story as it relates to our Strategic Plan at www.lakeheadu.ca/presidents-office/nurturing-passion, and learn more about Lakehead at www.lakeheadu.ca.