Western University of Health Sciences invites researchers to submit abstracts on their avian diseases work.

The Current Research in Avian Diseases Conference will be held at Western University of Health Sciences, 309 E. Second St., Pomona, Calif., on Sept. 19-20, 2009.

The conference will include a symposium, “Past, present and future of West Nile virus in the Americas: What have we learned from birds?” The keynote speakers have been instrumental in the detection and research of West Nile virus since its arrival in the U.S. in 1999 – WesternU Professor Tracey McNamara, DVM, Dipl. ACVP, and Nicholas Komar, ScD, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

West Nile virus has been a hot topic in the 10 years since it arrived in the United States, said Miguel Saggese, DVM, MS, PhD, College of Veterinary Medicine Assistant Professor and conference co-organizer. The virus has since spread across the U.S. and is still causing problems in wildlife and humans, he said.

“It’s a very typical disease – it doesn’t respect the barrier between wild animals, domestic animals and humans. It affects all equally,” he said.

But West Nile virus is not the only focus of the conference. Researchers, graduate students, clinicians, biologists and all avian health professionals involved in avian disease research are invited to submit abstracts and present their findings on a variety of avian disease topics at this conference.

“We really want to push forward research at the College of Veterinary Medicine,” Saggese said. “One of the goals of this conference is to put CVM on the national research map in the field of avian diseases.”

Last year’s Avian Conference provided continuing education opportunities on avian diseases and conservation efforts – including lectures and visits to the Los Angeles Zoo and the International Bird Rescue and Research Center in San Pedro, said Teresa Morishita, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACPV, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and conference co-organizer. This year’s conference focuses on West Nile virus and other emerging diseases in avian species, and future conferences will alternate their focus between education and research, she said.

“We have a strong group of avian researchers that we wanted to feature to outside communities,” Morishita said. “We also wanted to invite local avian health practitioners and professionals to come to Western University to enhance and increase our collaboration with our community partners.”

The registration fee for this conference is $120 if payment is made before Aug. 25, 2009. After this date, the conference fee will be $160. The student fee is $60 for payments made before Aug. 25 and $80 after that date. Registration fees include access to the scientific program, meals during the conference and a copy of the proceeding. Registration includes breakfast, lunch and dinner for both days of the conference. On the evening of Saturday, Sept. 19, an Argentinean barbecue (vegetarian and vegan options will also be available) will be offered at WesternU accompanied by live music.

Please visit the conference Web page www.westernu.edu/avian-conference to learn more about this upcoming conference or feel free to e-mail Dr. Miguel D. Saggese at avianconference@westernu.edu or call him at 909-706-3532 for additional information.