Science Café guest Brad Ericson to discuss Zika virus


Sigma Xi Science CafeWHAT: University of Nebraska at Kearney Science Café

HOSTED BY: Sigma Xi The Scientific Research Society

TITLE: “From A to Zika: A Newly Emerged Virus Pathogen Problem”

TIME: 5:30 p.m.

DATE: Monday, Oct. 24

PLACE: The Loft, Cunningham’s Journal, 15 W. 23rd St., Kearney

TOPIC: Zika virus was first isolated in 1947 from a monkey from the Zika forest in Uganda. Until recently, the virus was not associated with any serious pathology, primarily causing mild headache and fever. However, in 2015, the virus became associated with microcephaly in newborns and Guillan-Bare syndrome in adults. These shifts in pathogenicity have fostered a renewed interest in the virus and a lot of work has been done quickly to examine the biology of the virus. UNK Associate Professor of Biology Brad Ericson will discuss some of this work and the potential need for a vaccine in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world.

PRESENTER: Brad Ericson received his B.S. in biology and chemistry in 1978 from Kearney State College. He received his Ph.D. in virology and epidemiology from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston in 1983. He did postdoctoral work on bunyaviruses at the University of Alabama-Birmingham and on baculoviruses at Texas A&M University.

In 1984, he joined a biotechnology company MicroGeneSys Inc. (now called Protein Sciences) in Connecticut, and while there worked on the development of an HIV vaccine. In 1989, he joined the faculty at Kearney State College, where he teaches virology, immunology and molecular biology. He currently works on a novel virus that infects fruit flies, called Nora virus.

CONTACT: Allen A. Thomas, assistant professor of chemistry, 308.865.8452,