NIGMS Stetten Lecture: Evolutionary Dynamics of SARS-CoV-2

October 21, 2021

NIGMS Stetten Lecture: Evolutionary Dynamics of SARS-CoV-2

The 2021 Stetten Lecture will be presented by Trevor Bedford, PhD, of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) began supporting Bedford’s work in 2014.

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has remarkable potential for adaptive evolution. This is in part because it uses RNA to carry its genetic information. Trevor Bedford, PhD, specializes in tracking the evolutionary changes of RNA viruses.

In the 2021 Stetten Lecture, Bedford will discuss the evolutionary dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 with a focus on the emergence of variants of interest and concern, which may spread more easily, cause more severe disease, or have other negative impacts. He will characterize patterns of mutations in these variants and chart their spread. He also will provide a larger perspective on genomic surveillance, projected virus circulation patterns, and strategies for ongoing pandemic management.

Bedford uses computational methods to study the rapid spread and evolution of viruses. His work helps researchers develop successful strategies for monitoring and controlling infectious diseases. Bedford codeveloped an open-source platform called Nextstrain that provides continually updated virus genomic data alongside powerful analytic and visualization tools.

Bedford received a B.A. in biological sciences from the University of Chicago in 2002 and a PhD in biology from Harvard University in 2008. He joined the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in 2013 and is currently an associate professor in its vaccine and infectious disease, public health sciences, and human biology divisions. Bedford is also an affiliate associate professor of epidemiology and genome sciences at the University of Washington.