iCOMOS 2018

iCOMOS 2018: Science and Policy at the Interface of Environment, Agriculture, and Medicine

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities | April 29−May 2

Explore new ways to solve pressing health issues, facilitate interdisciplinary collaborations, and promote science's role in influencing public policy at the interface of humans, animals, and the environment.

iCOMOS Sunday, April 29, 2018

Conference Welcome and Introductions

Srirama Rao, Chair, iCOMOS Organizing Committee, University of Minnesota

Laureate Panel Discussion: Science and Policy at the Interface of Environment, Agriculture, and Medicine—Global Challenges and Opportunities

Moderator: Kerri Miller, Minnesota Public Radio

Session Panelists: Peter Agre, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, United States; Hualan Chen, L’Oreal-UNESCO Women-in-Science Laureate, China; Peter Doherty, Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, Australia; Robert Mwanga, World Food Prize Laureate, Uganda

iCOMOS Monday, April 30

University Welcome

Eric Kaler, President, University of Minnesota

Nobel Keynote: Opening Doors Worldwide through Medical Science

Nobel Laureate Peter Agre, University Professor & Director, Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute, Johns Hopkins University, United States

Session I: Social and Economic Impact on Health

Moderators: Laura Bloomberg, Beth Virnig, University of Minnesota

Session summary: The structural determinants and conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. These social determinants of health include factors like socioeconomic status, education, the physical environment, employment, and social support networks, as well as access to health care. Within this conference we will focus specifically on migration, age, poverty/well-being and the challenges of antimicrobial resistance, and how these topics influence health and policy.

Migration and Health

Eric Schwartz, President, Refugees International, and Professor of Public Affairs (on leave), Humphrey School, University of Minnesota, United States

Familial Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease in Colombia: An Opportunity for Prevention

Francisco Lopera, Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia

Social and Behavioral Drivers of Antimicrobial Resistance

Ramanan Laxminarayan, The Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy, Princeton University, United States

Addressing Societal Norms That Affect Well-being Through Transectoral Collaboration: Examples from the Field

Lynne Gaffikin, Stanford University, United States

Session II: Infectious Disease and Environmental Disturbance

Moderators: Srinand Sreevatsan, Michigan State University; Nick Phelps, University of Minnesota

Session summary: Speakers will present science issues surrounding infectious diseases as they pertain to emerging zoonotic and other infectious diseases. The session will end with a panel discussion of issues. A major outcome of this session is expected to be a monograph on problems and expert suggestions of mitigation strategies.

Keynote: Pandemic Avian Influenza: The Chinese Experience

Hualan Chen, UNESCO Women-in-Science Laureate, Harbin Veterinary Research Institute, China

Predicting and Preventing Emerging Infectious Diseases

Woutrina Smith, University of California, Davis, United States

Viral Biocontrol of Invasive Vertebrates: An Australian Perspective

Ken McColl, CSIRO, Australia

Nobel Keynote Presentation: The Killer Defense

Nobel Laureate Peter Doherty, University of Melbourne, Australia

Introduction: Karen Hanson, Executive Vice President and Provost, University of Minnesota

iCOMOS Tuesday, May 1

Day Two Welcome

Al Levine, Vice President for Research, University of Minnesota

Session III: Agriculture Advancing Health

The future of global health is inextricably linked to agriculture, the key source of human and animal nutrition and energy. The session highlights the central role of agriculture in improving health, along with economic and policy issues that intersect with science. Speakers in this session will explore engineering and genetic selection of plants for the production of medicines and vaccine delivery in food, growing healthy food in stressed environments, and enhancement of food qualities that limit waste and increase nutrition and economic return.

Moderators: Greg Cuomo and Dan Voytas, University of Minnesota

Keynote: Plant Modification to Reduce Hunger and Improve Health

Robert Mwanga, World Food Prize Laureate, Uganda

Public Sector Constraints to Plant Biotechnology for Human Health: The Golden Rice Experience

Adrian Dubock, Golden Rice Project, Switzerland

Plants Engineered to Improve Health

Dan Voytas, University of Minnesota, United States

The Science and Politics of Livestock Production in the Era of Gene Editing

Alison Van Eenennaam, University of California, Davis, United States

Unravelling the Food–Health Nexus

Cecilia Rocha, Director and Professor, Ryerson University, Canada

Panel Discussion: International Aspects of Food Enhancement and Nourishment

"Space, Environment, and Health"

Pamela Melroy, United States Air Force, Retired

Session IV: New Paradigms at the Environment-Health Interface

All health problems have an environmental component at some level, yet recognizing and focusing solutions on environmental linkages remains a challenge. Speakers in this session will highlight emerging scientific paradigms—new methods, approaches, or policies that offer new ways of exploring connections between human, animal, and environmental health—and the potential for fostering discovery and novel solutions to complex one-health problems. Speakers and panel discussants will present emerging approaches directed toward long-term, multidisciplinary, intersectoral health research and policy making.

Moderators: Bruce Alexander, University of Minnesota; Kimberly Thigpen Tart,National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

Keynote: Environmental Health Without and Within: From Ecosystems to Communities to the Microbiome

Linda Birnbaum, Director, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, US Department of Health and Human Services, United States

Environmental Health through the Lens of Global Urbanization

Maria Neira, Director, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health, World Health Organization, Switzerland

Climate Change and Health

Kristie Ebi, Director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment, University of Washington, Seattle, United States

Planetary Health: Protecting Global Health on a Rapidly Changing Planet

Samuel Myers, Director, Planetary Health Alliance, United States

Panel Discussion: New Education and Policy Paradigms at the Interface of Environment and Health

Moderators: Jessica Hellmann and Dominic Travis, University of Minnesota

Overview of iCOMOS-2019 and iCOMOS-2020

Chiang Mai University, Thailand (iCOMOS 2019)

Universidad Andres Bello, Chile (iCOMOS 2020)

Outlook for the Future and Overview of the Concurrent Interactive Sessions

Michael Murtaugh, Co-Chair, iCOMOS 2018, University of Minnesota

iCOMOS Networking Event: Urban Growler Brewing Company

iCOMOS Wednesday, May 2


Trevor Ames, Dean, College of Veterinary Medicine

Keynote: Getting Ahead of the Curve: Using Earth Observations to Predict Health Risks

Juli Trtanj Climate and Health Lead, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, USA

1: One Medicine One Science Approaches to Health at Two NIH Institutes

Coordinators: Hortencia Hornbeak, Peter Jackson, Kimberly Thigpen Tart, Heather Henry, National Institutes of Health (NIAID, and NIEHS – Joint)

This session will explore One Medicine One Science (OMOS) approaches applied by two NIH institutes to complex human health issues requiring coordinated, multidisciplinary research programs and teams. Senior institute staff and funded investigators of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) will lead discussions of Zika as a case study of an emerging disease and pandemic threat, and studies of chronic disease resulting from the interactions of living systems with environmental threats such as chemicals and other contaminants that affect human health. Presentations will feature diverse NIH-supported, OMOS-related research studies, as well as methods and resources for integrating OMOS approaches into aspects of infectious disease and environmental health research including surveillance, epidemiology, prevention and intervention, data collection and analysis, partnership building, and training and capacity building.


Jakub Tolar, Interim Vice President for Health Sciences, University of Minnesota

Introduction: One Medicine, One Science at Two Institutes of the NIH

Hortencia Hornbeak, NIAID, NIH; Linda Birnbaum, Director, NIEHS, NIH

OMOS at NIAID: Zika Case Study

Moderator: Hortencia Hornbeak, NIAID, NIH

Zika Epidemiology/Control/Pathology

Esper Kallas, University Medical School of Sao Paolo, Brazil

Zika and Other Zoonotic Diseases: Lessons Learned in Puerto Rico

José Cordero, University of Georgia, United States

Pan-Viral Analyses of a Novel Antiviral Strategy

Louis Mansky, University of Minnesota, United States

Vaccine Preparedness for Viral Pandemics

Barney Graham, NIAID, NIH Vaccine Research Center, United States

OMOS in Environmental Health Research

Moderator: Heather Henry, NIEHS

The Use of Sentinel Species in Health Disparities Research

Frank Von Hippel, Northern Arizona University, United States.

Chronic Kidney Disease, Pollution, and Sentinel Species in Sri Lanka

Nishad Jayasundara, University of Maine, United States.

One Health Approach to the Impacts of The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Maureen Lichtveld, Tulane University, United States.

Programs, resources, and tools for integrating One Medicine, One Science approaches to health

Moderator: Kimberly Thigpen Tart, NIEHS

One Science, Many Needs: Global Training and Capacity Building at NIEHS

John Balbus, NIEHS, NIH, United States

Building Clinical Research Capacity

Gray Handley, NIAID, United States

Global Perspectives on Access to Bio-Samples and Data Sharing

Yaffa Rubinstein, U.S. National Library of Medicine, United States

NIAID Mechanisms and Initiatives Supportive of OMOS Research

Susana Mendez and Amir Zeituni, NIAID, NIH

NIEHS Programs and Funding Mechanisms Used to Support Research in an OMOS Framework

Heather Henry, NIEHS, NIH

Panel Discussion, Q&A, and Wrap-Up

Moderators: Heather Henry, NIEHS, NIH and Hortencia Hornbeak,NIAID, NIH

Small Group Meetings with NIH Administrators and Other Federal Staff

2: Effective Policy when Consumer Preferences Do Not Match Actions

Coordinator: Shaun Kennedy, The Food System Institute and the University of Minnesota; Wantanee Kalpravidh, Emergency Center for Transboundary Animal Diseases, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

The public in general or a significant subset often drive specific food and health policies as governments and the private sector attempt to meet their expressed desires. The challenge for effective policy implementation, however, is that consumers do not always choose health behaviors or foods that are consistent with their priorities. This is especially challenging when consumers make choices based on one priority that appears to conflict with other expressed priorities. While not a new concept in philosophy or what is sometimes called moral mathematics, it is not generally applied when developing and implementing health and food policies. This is easy to understand when it is an economic priority, cost, overriding a personal priority, enhanced food safety, with simple choices such as not purchasing irradiated ground beef for food safety due to the cost of irradiation. It becomes far more complicated to implement effective policy when it is more nuanced such as consumers making health or food choices that are demonstrably less favorable to their own family’s health or the environment than alternatives. This workshop will look at how to consider health or food policies in the face of competitive, unexpressed or conflicting priorities and the extent to which the policies can achieve their objectives. It will draw beyond policy experts to include experts in consumer behavior, individual to group dynamics, game theory and economics from the academic, public and private sectors to consider policy differently.

Anticipated Outcomes from the Session and group discussion include at least two papers: (1) On the similarities between outwardly very different policy areas (obesity, food safety, food security and autism; (2) Proposed new strategies to address these important policy areas.

Case Studies in Priorities and Choices Conflicts

Welcome and Overview

The Efficacy of Avian Influenza Control Policies in Light of Conflicting Stakeholders’ Preferences

Damian Tago Pacheco, Emergency Center for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD) of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

How Consumers Really Make Food Purchasing Decisions, Not How They Say They Do

Darren Seifer, Industry Analyst - Food Consumption, The NPD Group

The Politics Surrounding Autism

Dana Baker, Associate Professor, Political Science, California State University, Channel Islands

Markets, Educational Programs and Other Non-regulatory Policy Approaches to Advancing Food Security: Examples from Brazil

Cecilia Rocha, Director and Professor, School of Nutrition, Ryerson University, Canada

Voting Procedures to Choose Leaders and Policies That Produce Consensus (Rather Than Division)

Steven Brams, Department of Politics, New York University

Small Group Discussion – Exploring the Gaps Between Policy and Behavior

Small Group Discussion – New Strategies for Regulatory and Non-Regulatory Policy

3: Breaking Silos and Building Bridges Within and Across Geographies for One Medicine, One Science: Workforce development needs and implementation programs

Coordinators: Andres Perez and Katey Pelican University of Minnesota; Aziz Arda Sancak, Ankara University, Turkey

Despite an increasingly popular One Health rhetoric, authentic examples of multiple disciplinary efforts to transcend the traditional silos of public, animal, and environmental health are still rare. The ultimate goal of COMOS is to contribute to securing food and protecting health of human, animals, and the environment through a network of equal partners. Prerequisite for accomplishing that goal is the development of the required workforce to identify problems and provide solutions to recurrent and emerging grand challenges regionally and globally. In this workshop, we will provide an overview of needs assessment and implementation programs in the areas of food animal trade and one health. Capacity building programs, including issues related with needs assessment, implementation, and evaluation, for veterinary and public health will be presented. Multisectoral approaches to identify and address emerging needs and issues will be introduced. Regional perspectives on gaps and challenges will be discussed. Finally, a debate focused on particular opportunities identified during the session for workforce development at regional and global scales will be promoted.

Audience Scientists, intergovernmental organizations, students, industry partners, and stakeholders engaged or interested in workforce development and education on ecosystems health, agribusiness, food production, economics and policy regionally and globally.


  1. A “perspective” paper outlining the vision for workforce development in the context of COMOS
  2. Proposals for workforce development and capacity building of veterinary services and One Health, promoting regional and global alliances
  3. Outline plans for the organization of iCOMOS in the Ibero-American region in 2020

Session 1: Unfolding the OMOS paradigm shift through capacity building programs

Moderator: Andres Perez, University of Minnesota

Presentation, Introduction, and Expectations

Andres Perez, University of Minnesota, United States

The Agrovet Project

Brigitte von Rechenberg, Vetsuisse Faculty ZH, University of Zurich, Switzerland

Implementing Programs for Capacity Building of Veterinary Services at a Global Scale

Francois Caya, OIE, France

The ProgRESSVet Capacity Building Program for Latin American Veterinary Services

Emilio León, CEBASEV, OIE Collaborating Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Mary Katherine O’Brien, CAHFS, OIE Collaborating Center in Minnesota

Capacity Building Program for Sustainable Implementation of OIE Standards - A Training for the Improvement of Veterinary Services Perform

Agnes Leblond and Vincent Brioudes, ENSV, OIE Collaborating Center, Lyon, France

Emerging Needs and Opportunities for Capacity Building in Southern Asia

Tongkorn Meeyam, Chiang Mai University, Thailand

Emerging Needs and Opportunities for Capacity Building in Western Africa

Yalace Kaboret, Ecole Inter Etats des Sciences et Medecine Veterinaires, Dakar, Senegal

Roundtable Discussion: Emerging Needs and Opportunities for Capacity Building of Veterinary Services

Caya, Leon, O’Brien, LeBlond, Brioudes, Meeyam and Kaboret

Roundtable Presentation and Discussion: Emerging Needs and Opportunities for Capacity Building in Aquaculture

Fernando Mardones, Universidad Andres Bello, Chile and Rolando Ibarra, Salmon Technological Institute (INTESAL), Chile

Conclusions and Introduction to Session 2

Andres Perez, University of Minnesota

Session 2: Diagnosing Regional Gaps and Emerging Challenges to Prioritize Multi-Sectoral Opportunities

Moderator: Katey Pelican University of Minnesota, United States

Challenges and Opportunities of Building a Global One Health Workforce

Katey Pelican, University of Minnesota

Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) and Field Epidemiology Training Program for Veterinarians (FETPV): Expanding the Global Public Health Workforce Across Human and Animal Health

Stephanie Salyer, CDC, United States

Emerging Issues in Latin America and Emerging Needs for Workforce Development

Enrique Perez, PAHO, United States

Opportunities and Needs for Workforce Development in Food Safety With a Focus in Chile and Other Latin American Countries

Juan Carlos Hormazabal, Department of Infectious Diseases, Institute of Public Health, Government of Chile

Improving Multisectoral Health Responsibility in Turkey: Opportunities and Challenges for Health

Aziz Arda Sancak, Ankara University, Turkey

Roundtable Discussion: Outcomes and Lessons Learned from 8 Years of One Health Workforce Development in Africa and Southeast Asia

Pham Duc Phuc, Coordinator of the Vietnam One Health University Network (VOHUN), Hanoi, Vietnam

Yalace Kaboret, Ecole Inter Etats des Sciences et Medecine Veterinaires, Dakar, Senegal

Irene Naigaga, Regional Program Manager, OHCEA

Roundtable Synthesis and Reflections / Final Remarks

4: Precision Medicine and Genome Editing: Science and Ethics

Coordinators: Cliff Steer and Pamala Jacobson, University of Minnesota; Kavita Berger, Gryphon Scientific

According to the NIH, precision medicine is "an emerging approach for disease treatment and prevention that takes into account individual variability in genes, environment, and lifestyle for each person." It refers to the tailoring of medical treatment to the individual characteristics of each patient and the ability to classify individuals into subpopulations that differ in the biology, susceptibility and response to treatment for a particular disease. In January 2015, the US President launched the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI), a bold new research effort to revolutionize how we improve health and treat disease, empowering health care providers to tailor treatment and prevention strategies to individuals’ unique characteristics. Gene editing uses engineered nucleases or so-called “molecular scissors” to make changes to specific DNA sequences in the genome of a living organism. They include meganucleases, zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs), transcription activator-like effector-based nucleases (TALENs), and the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-Cas system. Genome editing is being developed to treat not only genetic diseases but also infectious diseases and those that have both a genetic and an environmental component. It is now widely used in biomedical research, including creation of disease models with desired genetic mutations, screening in a high-throughput manner for drug resistance genes, and making appropriate editions to genes in vivo for disease treatment. All of these applications have been facilitating the development of precision medicine research.


Clifford Steer, University of Minnesota

Rewriting the Genome

Speakers will discuss the state-of-the-science for precision medicine and genome editing, highlighting the key advances and limitations of each. Speakers will discuss new applications enabled by precision medicine and/or genome editing.

Moderator: Clifford Steer, University of Minnesota

Gene Editing Enters the Food Supply

Dan Voytas, University of Minnesota, United States

Precision Swine Models of Human Disease by Gene Editing

Dan Carlson, Recombinetics, Inc., United States

Targeted Nucleases for Finding Cancer Drivers and Vulnerabilities

David Largaespada, University of Minnesota, United States

Precision public health? The evolving paradigm in health and medicine

Speakers will discuss the implications of precision medicine on public health, describing specific examples where precision medicine limit or enhance public health. Speakers will highlight specific challenges and describe approaches for addressing those challenges.

Moderator: Pamala Jacobson, University of Minnesota

Personalized Medicine Versus Public Health: Contradictory or Complementary?

Nancy Cox, Vanderbilt University, United States

Integrating Pharmacogenomic Information Into Practice

Richard Weinshilboum, Mayo Clinic, United States

Million Veterans Program: Improving Care Through Large Scale Genomics

Ronald Przygodzki, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, United States

Societal Considerations of Ethics, Safety, and Security Speakers will discuss the ethical, safety, and security concerns associated with precision medicine and/or genome editing.

Moderator: Kavita Berger, Gryphon Scientific

Can We Ethically Modify our Genomes?

Debra Mathews, Johns Hopkins University, United States

Safeguarding the Bioeconomy

Edward You, U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States

Ensuring the Safety of Human Genome Editing at Home and Abroad

Gary Marchant, Arizona State University, United States

Panel Discussion: Pros and cons: applications of Precision Medicine and Genome Editing

The moderator will prompt discussants to consider and describe the pros and cons of precision medicine, genome editing, and the integration of both fields towards human health.

Moderator: Stephanie Huang, University of Minnesota

5: Science Communication and Strategic Engagement of Policy Makers

Coordinators: Emily Cloyd, American Association of Advancement of Science (AAAS)

Join your colleagues for an American Association for the Advancement of Science Communicating Science workshop specifically designed to help you plan and participate in a wide variety of public engagement activities. During this workshop, you will develop your public engagement and science communication skills through discussion, self-reflection, small-group work and practice sessions. The workshop focuses on the importance of effective, two-way communication and is designed to enable you to engage in meaningful, reciprocal dialogue with diverse audiences. When the session is complete, you will be able to clearly identify a public engagement goal, define a relevant audience, and craft and rehearse messages tailored to that audience.

Science Communication and Public Engagement Fundamentals

Emily Cloyd, American Association for the Advancement of Science, United States

The flagship Science Communication and Public Engagement Fundamentals module focuses on the core components of successful public engagement. Participants are introduced to the AAAS public engagement framework, a guide they can apply to all kinds of interactions. Participants learn how to identify a public engagement goal, determine the relevant audience, craft tailored messages to achieve their goal and rehearse their engagement scenario.

Engaging Policymakers

Emily Cloyd, American Association for the Advancement of Science, United States

The Engaging Policymakers module provides an overview of the science policy landscape and the role of science and scientists in the policy process. This workshop introduces basic best practices for engaging in dialogue with this target audience at a local, state or national level. Participants identify individual communication goals and develop short messages that will resonate with policy audiences.