The One Health Modelling Network for Emerging Infections Hosts 2023-2024 Annual Meeting and CDM-OMNI-RÉUNIS Lab Opening Ceremony

The One Health Modelling Network for Emerging Infections, Canada’s pioneering national modelling network on One Health, and the Centre of Disease Modelling (CDM) hosted their hybrid Annual Meeting 2023-2024 on February 20-21, 2024, at the inaugural CDM OMNI-RÉUNIS Lab located at York University. The event served as a platform to disseminate the collective work, research outcomes, achievements, and overarching impacts amassed over 2.5 years. The archive of the Annual Meeting is now accessible, with the pivotal discussions and insights exchanged during this gathering.

The event commenced with welcoming remarks from the OMNI-RÉUNIS Director, Huaiping Zhu (York University), and co-directors Hélène Carabin (Université de Montréal) and Mark Lewis (University of Victoria), setting the stage for a dynamic exchange of ideas. Followed by the Distinguished Lecture by Dr. John Amuasi from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana, on the “Better One Health Amidst the Great Unknown” provided invaluable insights into the interconnectedness of one Health across different domains. Lecture available here.

With 30+ in-person and 50+ online attendees of the OMNI-RÉUNIS network, participants delved into various themes and initiatives to enhance understanding and response to emerging infectious diseases using the One Health approach and mathematical modelling. Key sessions included data management, risk of emergence and spillover, early warning systems, intervention, and control, offering a comprehensive overview of ongoing research and accomplishments within the network.

A highlight of the event was the CDM/OMNI-RÉUNIS lab opening ceremony, featuring esteemed speakers including Drs. Amir Asif (Vice president of Research, York University), Rui Wang (Dean of Science), Nicholas Ogden (Public Health Agency of Canada), Kumar Murty (The Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences). Their addresses highlighted the importance of collaborative research efforts in mathematical modelling in addressing pressing public health challenges.

Next were the roundtable discussions led by Professor Zhu, who provided a forum for participants to explore strategies for fostering continued collaboration and innovation within the OMNI-RÉUNIS network.

“The network has aimed to enhance early warning capabilities for emerging infectious diseases using One Health approach. We have progressed through ongoing projects focused on data portal development and management. Our current focus is on optimizing the integration of these projects to support the development of early warning capacity for emerging infectious diseases effectively”

-Dr. Huaiping Zhu, OMNI-RÉUNIS & CDM Director, York University

Another notable session was the overview of the OMNI-RÉUNIS Super Spreader Seminar Series, organized by Highly Qualified Personnel (HQPs) Joseph Baafi from Memorial University of Newfoundland, Pei Yuan, Sanaz Gholizadeh, and Yi Tan from York University. 

Pei Yuan (postdoc), Sanaz Gholizadeh (Phd), and Yi Tan (Phd) from York University presented their ongoing research highlights on predictive modelling and forecasting for mosquito abundance and the risk of West Nile virus, as well as the modelling and dynamics of monkeypox spillover from reservoir hosts to target hosts.

CDM and York University have key leaders who have been crucial in building OMNI-RÉUNIS. They include:

  • Huaiping Zhu (Faculty of Science), Director of CDM, Principal Investigator and Director of OMNI-RÉUNIS.
  • Jane Heffernan (Faculty of Science)
  • Iain Moyles (Faculty of Science)
  • Hongmei Zhu (Faculty of Science),
  • Aijun An (Lassonde) 
  • Manos Papagelis (Lassonde) 
  • Marina Freire-Gormaly (Lassonde) 

Funded with support from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), and York University’s Faculty of Science, OMNI-RÉUNIS stands as a beacon of interdisciplinary research in the field of infectious disease modelling. As the network continues to evolve and grow, its impact will undoubtedly be felt far and wide, shaping a healthier and more resilient future for all.

As OMNI-RÉUNIS enters its next phase with a commitment to excellence and collaboration, it is poised to advance infectious disease modelling significantly. This 2023-2024 OMNI-RÉUNIS Annual Meeting celebrated past achievements. It showcased collective determination to address emerging infectious diseases through interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation.

This event was led by organizers Huaiping Zhu (York University), Dr. Hélène Carabin (Université de Montréal), Dr. Mark Lewis (University of Alberta), Natasha Ketter (York University), Jean-Jacques Rousseau (York University), and Shivika Adhwaryu (York University), with special thanks for IT support provided by Steven Chen (York University).