Virtual mini-conference: Responding to a global pandemic through research

Conference one of the digital projects highlighting University of Cincinnati’s global partnerships

On March 11, 8 a.m.-noon EST, UC International is hosting a digital mini-conference, “Responding to a Global Pandemic through Research,” to showcase research that University of Cincinnati and partner university faculty are conducting in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The four-hour conference features 16 “lightning talks” by faculty and researchers from 12 universities and institutions in 11 countries. The presentations span disciplines in five tracks: Mental Health/Psychology, Science/Medicine, Public Health Modeling, Education and Business/Government. Conference attendees will be able to browse among the prerecorded video presentations and interact with the presenters via chat during the conference. UC International directors hope that more research connections and collaborations with our partner universities will result.

Two UC professors and a doctoral student are among the presenters. Dr. Georg F. Weber, a researcher in immunology and cancer in the James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy, and doctoral student Gulimirerouzi Fnu will present on “Induction of a Cytokine Storm by Suppression of the TH1 Response,” highlighting research they conducted in the Weber Laboratory on key proteins in immune regulation.

Dr. Xia Wang, associate professor of statistics in the Department of Mathematical Sciences, will speak on “Complex Systems Analysis Informs on the Spread of COVID-19.” The presented research studying the progression of the pandemic applies the tools of complex systems data analysis to help guide public health decision-making. Weber will co-present.

Presentation abstracts and speaker biographies are up on the conference website.

The conference is free, but registration is required.

Mini-conference series

The multidisciplinary conference is the second in series of virtual conferences. Its research focus complements the teaching focus of last October’s conference, “Best Practices for Innovative Teaching and Engaging Students during the COVID-19 Pandemic." The recorded presentations from this earlier conference are still accessible.

Other virtual partnership initiatives

The conferences and UC International’s other virtual initiatives this year were organized in response to needs expressed by our partner universities around the world. The goal is to share best practices and current scholarship, to promote collaboration with our international strategic partners and to provide opportunities for global networking and professional development while travel remains restricted.

Also among these initiatives is a series of free, virtual short courses taught by faculty from UC and our partner institutions. The second short course, “Global Perspectives on Public Health,” is running now, though March 6. It is geared toward third- and fourth-year students, though current professionals in the field are among the participants. Seven sessions offer multidisciplinary, multicultural approaches to public health topics, and the course concludes with a panel discussion on careers in global health. The fall course, “Global Back to Business,” was geared to alumni and community members facing economic displacement due to the pandemic, providing micro-credentialling on a spectrum of topics in international business.

UC International is also sponsoring a Virtual Global Student Lounge, a student-led online discussion group on global health. Interested students may contact the Global Health Advocates of UC to join through May 1.

This year’s international incentive grants from UC International have a virtual focus this year as well. Piloted in 2019, the grants were created to support faculty and staff travel to our strategic partner institutions for work on joint research, academic programs or other key collaborations. In the absence of travel, this year’s awards support innovative virtual collaborations or virtual international experiences for UC students.

International strategic partnerships

UC International builds long-term, comprehensive global partnerships for the University in important regions of the world. These strategic partnerships allow the University of Cincinnati to fulfill our global education and research missions by

  • Providing diverse international opportunities for our students to help prepare them for a truly global future, and
  • Establishing a strong foundation for innovative research collaborations that can tackle the world’s challenges through multiple disciplines and multiple perspectives.

Featured image at top: Doctoral candidate Gulimirerouzi Fnu, one of the conference presenters, at work in the Weber Laboratory.