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Stackyard News Feb 08

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Veterinary Research in a Highland Location

Mr George Gunn, SAC Professor of Population Medicine and Zoonoses will be giving his Inaugural Professorial Lecture entitled ‘Specialisation in Generalisation: Veterinary Research in a Highland Location’ in Inverness on Friday 15 February 2008 at 13:30.


highland cow

The lecture will look at the changing population dynamics in the Highlands; the ebb of the population over the preceding centuries and the rejuvenating flow over the last few decades. It will touch on the export of a culture and its global effects, lost managerial skills, and the departure of young people seeking an education in larger population centres. It will go on to look at the return of some young people to the Highlands and the resulting resurgence of Scottish culture. This population flow into the Highlands and the creation of a focus for university education in the Highlands, should help support the resurgence and revitalisation in the Northern economy.

The presentation will explore the need for and the definitions of population medicine, epidemiology and zoonoses (diseases that could be transmitted from animals to humans) and explain how such diseases have evolved. It will explore how developments in human medicine combined with epidemiology have led to a new way of measuring and exploring diseases.

This will be developed to review the academic progress of Professor Gunn and how his journey led to new challenges; from traditional livestock medicine through disease outbreak investigation, pathology and disease control to training in analytical epidemiology overseas.

Professor Gunn will go on to describe how he and his research team have built upon the language of veterinary medicine, layering it with statistics, mathematics, economics and a smattering of social science to pool existing information together in statistical and mathematical models, blending the results with economics and findings from social science to feed the need for improved decision making about animal diseases and their control.

The lecture will conclude by describing how an earlier path away from the Highlands later re-emerged in Inverness, coinciding with and contributing to a flow of young, intelligent people back to the Highlands. People armed with open minds and modern technology who are able to make some innovative impact on the rest of the world.

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