Just as satirical cartoonists can illustrate complex issues with a few strokes of a pen -- Dr. Elodie Ghedin 's dream alternate career -- she has a gift for illustrating complex concepts in molecular biology in an engaging three dimensional way that students can understand. "It's important to have a foundation in human biology in order to work in any area of public health. It's important to understand how toxins affect us, genetic mutations can lead to cancer, how to test for these things, and how to do surveillance using the new genetic tools."
An award-winning molecular parasitologist, Dr. Elodie Ghedin is one of NYU's newest faculty teaching biology as a Professor of both the College of Global Public Health and the Department of Biology/College of Arts and Sciences. Armed with a palette of various microbes, including agents responsible for Neglected Tropical Diseases, Dr. Ghedin paints a picture of evolutionary genomics of infectious agents in low resource countries as no one else can. In Essentials of Public Health Biology, she explains everything from the differences in parasites' molecular mechanisms to the key to determining their effect on a host. The most important lesson she hopes to impart with her students is that diseases are not separate and clear cut. "When one system is interrupted, it upsets the balance in another system. For example, your nutritional health can affect your microbiome and how prone you may be to cancer. In biology, it's all interrelated."
Students have a chance to expand their understanding of infectious diseases in the Ghedin Lab. A molecular biology and genomics laboratory, Ghedin Lab offers students an opportunity to participate in the study of genomic characteristics of human parasites and other pathogens. Undergraduate and graduate students have a strong presence in the lab, working on projects of public health relevance. Currently, Dr. Ghedin is collaborating with Dr. Rumi Chunara and one of her PhD students on the GoViral Project with Ghedin Lab students leading the sequencing of flu samples.
As a successful parasitology and virology research scientist, Dr. Ghedin has an active research lab working on decoding the genomes of human pathogens. A 2011 MacArthur Fellow and affiliate of the Center for Genomics and Systems Biology, Dr. Ghedin is conducting several prominent research studies such as a $10M research program on the systems biology of Influenza.
This predictive modeling project conducted in collaboration with Mount Sinai and other institutions -- aims to predict disease severity. The study seeks to predict how sick someone might become from influenza and why some people are more prone to severe versus mild influenza infections. Dr. Ghedin is also working on decoding the genomes of the parasitic worms responsible for River blindness and Elephantiasis.
Prior to her appointments at NYU, Dr. Ghedin was Associate Professor in the Department of Computational and Systems Biology, and a member of the Center for Vaccine Research at the University of Pittsburgh.
Elodie Ghedin received a Master in Science from Université du Québec à Montréal and a Ph.D. from McGill University. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and then led the Viral Genomics group at the Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR; now the J. Craig Venter Institute).