Canadian scientists from York University met with Brazilian researchers from Feb. 1 to 2 in São Paulo – an international collaboration that is expected to lead to important advances in the control of many diseases, including West Nile Virus, Dengue Fever and drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis.
The two-day workshop, organized by York University’s Centre for Disease Modelling, will bring Canadian scientists together with principal Brazilian partners from the University of São Paulo and the BIOMAT Consortium/BIOMAT Institute of Advanced Studies of Biosystems, a non-profit association of members from universities and research institutions based primarily in Brazil.
“This face-to-face meeting provides a unique opportunity for the Centre for Disease Modelling and its Brazilian partners to develop research programs and academic exchanges in infectious diseases,” said the centre’s director Jianhong Wu, a distinguished research professor at York University and Canada research chair in Industrial & Applied Mathematics. “The Canada-Brazil workshop provides a platform to develop the scientific framework and technical tools to address issues in the control of vector-borne diseases and the management of multi-drug resistance.”
Funded through the Government of Canada’s Going Global Innovation program, the workshop will expand Canadian-Brazilian collaboration in health informatics and infectious disease modelling to address challenges that affect both human health and economies: the ongoing threat of emerging infections; the outbreaks of diseases such as Dengue Fever and West Nile in the Americas; and global spread of tuberculosis drug resistance.
International cooperation is needed to address these issues, participating researchers say, because they have been exacerbated by globalization, climate change and environmental degradation. They will establish formal partnerships, explore joint commercial opportunities and discuss implementation of specific computational tools that can be used to rapidly evaluate disease intervention strategies.
Robert Tsushima, associate dean of research and partnerships in York’s Faculty of Science, said he is delighted to have the opportunity to meet with university officials and research directors in São Paulo, along with Margaret Hough, director of research and international relations in the Faculty.
In the longer term, the Canada-Brazil partnerships will promote the exchange of trainees, expertise and technology.
“We will be able to develop new research partnerships at a time when the Brazilian government has committed considerable funding towards the training of Brazilian students and postdoctoral fellows abroad and to science research through its Science Without Borders,” said Tsushima.