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Professor Aris Katzourakis

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Duration: 1:02:06 | Added: 30 Mar 2023
Georgina Ferry interviews Aris Katzourakis, Professor of Evolution and Genomics, 27 January 2022.

Topics discussed include (00:00:32) AK's early interest in science, virus evolution, PhD studies, post doctoral work in Oxford and later post as a professor in this area; (00:01:48) what is a virus?; (00:04:07) the role of viruses in the evolution of their hosts; (00:04:45) methods of research; (00:06:35) why viruses are interesting in the context of evolutionary biology; (00:11:00) bats as reservoir species, transmission of viruses between species; (00:14:00) AK's first interest in COVID-19, impact on life and research owing to lockdown restrictions, trade union involvement; (00:21:00) shift in research to COVID-19, work with PhD student on measuring the impact of COVID-19 in Iran, collaboration with a team at Imperial College London on the concept of herd immunity; (00:25:10) peaks of infection waves over time and a lack of natural end to the pandemic through natural immunity; (00:27:10) variants and transmission over time; (00:29:10) emergence of other viruses over time, adaptation of viruses; (00:30:32) interactive and collaborative nature of pandemic-related research, interaction by the scientific community on social media; (00:32:47) advisory and media work during the pandemic, trade union work and contribution to 'Scientists for Labour' and Independent SAGE; (00:34:54) collaborative paper with Trish Greenhalgh on mitigation measures at universities, an open letter in the British Medical Journal 'COVID-19: An urgent call for global 'vaccines-plus' action'; (00:37:40) natural selection and evolution of the COVID-19 virus; (00:40:15) Government response to scientists and scientific advice; (00:42:55) endemicity; (00:46:46) personal response to COVID-19; (00:48:45) working hours during the pandemic; (00:50:00) the impact of the pandemic on teaching; (00:54:28) the University's response to the pandemic; (00:56:30) the impact of the pandemic on personal well-being; (00:58:10) research questions to explore in the future, including the emergence of new variants; (01:00:54) changes to approach to work as a result of the pandemic.

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