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Evolutionary biologist Daniel Brooks visits the KLI

In November, we welcomed Prof. Daniel R Brooks into the KLI as a visitor. Prof Brooks is an evolutionary biologist who pioneered the integration of phylogenetic information and ecology and behavior, with a personal focus on parasite-host systems. He is currently Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto and a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. In the past decade, he has focused on integrating evolutionary principles in actions plans for coping with global climate change. This work resulted in the Stockholm Paradigm, a novel perspective on the evolutionary drivers of the emerging infectious disease crisis, and the associated DAMA Protocol, a proactive public policy framework based on Stockholm Paradigm principles. His most recent books include The Stockholm Paradigm: Climate Change and Emerging Infectious Diseases, with Eric Hoberg and Walter Boeger (2019), The Major Metaphors of Evolution, with Salvatore Agosta (2020) and the just-completed Surviving the Anthropocene: A Darwinian Guide, also with Salvatore Agosta.

His visit was facilitated by his collaboration with KLI Fellow and evolutionary biologist Orsolya Bajer-Molnár, who is currently working on mapping ways of implementing an evolutionary approach in global, national and local health security programs. Their joint efforts foster and establish building communication channels and collaborative task forces between evolutionary parasitology and public health interventions, in an effort to prevent future outbreaks and epidemics. By exploring global health security concepts, national policy landscapes and grassroot level knowledge, their project reveals opportunities for adapting preventive frameworks and decreasing exposure to newly emerging diseases. Prof Brooks and Orsolya are currently working on two major perspectives conceptualizing evolutionary prevention within the global public health infrastructure and an overview of ways to implement a precautionary approach.