No One Was Immune: The 500-Year History and Science of Pandemics in the Americas from Columbus

Dates:September 24 - October 29, 2020
Meets:Th from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM, 6 sessions
Location:Online Zoom
Instructor:John Hessler
Fee: $158.00

This course will take place online via Zoom: Thurs. (9/24-10/29); 6:30-8:00 p.m. EST

There are still openings remaining at this time.


Course Description

This class will focus on the genomics and geospatial transmission of infectious disease, concentrating on the VARV Variola virus (Smallpox), from which we have the oldest complete genome sequence, on the science of ancient DNA sequencing, and on the complexities of mapping the genome and mutation patterns of pandemics like COVID-19. We will examine in detail archaeological evidence, like the Vilnius mummies, and look into the genomic origins of the Smallpox strains that came to the Americas in the 16th century. Highlighting new techniques and mathematical and algorithmic breakthroughs in phylogenetic analysis, we will also try to understand the geospatial dynamics, the complex disease transmission network, and the nucleotide mutation patterns in COVID-19. No previous mathematical experience is required.