World Renowned Experts Discuss Zika Risks, Mechanisms & Prevention

UC San Diego’s Center for Better Beginnings hosted a special Zika virus symposium on Friday, July 1, 2016. The symposium aimed to educate medical professionals, researchers and public health officials on the current status of the microcephaly epidemic caused by the Zika virus, how Zika can disrupt fetal brain development, and the mechanisms of the virus that could impact immunity and drug discovery.

“We want the community to hear first-hand the experience of Brazil in battling this epidemic, and hear what we at UCSD are doing to help,” said Miguel del Campo, MD, PhD, associate clinical professor at UC San Diego Center for Better Beginnings and medical geneticist at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego who traveled to Brazil to examine babies born with Zika microcephaly.

Symposium presenters included del Campo; Brazilian scientist Lavinia Schuler-Faccini, MD, PhD; and UCSD professors Alysson Muotri, PhD, and Tariq Rana, PhD. Schuler-Faccini is lead author of one of the first ground-breaking studies in Brazil to examine the association between the Zika virus in pregnant women and microcephaly in their babies, and is President of the Brazilian Society of Medical Genetics (Sociedade Brasileira de Genetica Medica).

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