Over 50 researchers, representing the five CEIRS Centers and their affiliates, came together in October for a 2-day CEIRS Surveillance Meeting at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, MA. The goal of the meeting was to discuss and establish priorities for surveillance activities being conducted within the CEIRS Network. The meeting was organized by Dr. Jon Runstadler from MIT, who hoped that the meeting would allow “CEIRS investigators to brainstorm ideas to align surveillance activities and enhance collaboration within the CEIRS Network.”
Day 1 sessions at the meeting provided a big picture overview of the surveillance activities conducted within the CEIRS Network, with each Center providing an update of the types and locations of ongoing surveillance sites. Influenza surveillance activities are conducted in humans, wild birds, poultry, swine, marine mammals, and at the human-animal interface across a wide geographic area. This information will be collated into a data visualization tool to enable filtering by subtype and to assess geographic and temporal coverage of the sampling sites. Such a tool will be useful for researchers assess the strengths and weaknesses of current surveillance studies, and can inform experimental design for future surveillance studies. Moreover, this tool will be helpful for the broader research community and the public to understand where and why influenza surveillance activities are conducted by the CEIRS Network.
Day 2 sessions focused on ongoing inter-Center projects, such as the Ferret Reagent Core, which will ensure that ferret reagents are readily available to CEIRS researchers. Another inter-Center collaboration is the Primary Respiratory Cell Core which will function as a central repository to create, characterize, and distribute differentiated and undifferentiated primary respiratory epithelial cells to CEIRS researchers. Ideas for future inter-Center projects were discussed as well, such as an informal Gull Group to follow the ecology and evolution of gull viruses, an Analysis Core to provide consultation on experimental design, and a centralized mechanism to provide researchers access to new virus isolates, among other ideas.
The next CEIRS Surveillance Meeting is scheduled tentatively for 29 July 2015, and is slated to take place immediately after the CEIRS Network Annual Meeting in Rochester, NY.