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Assembly Series

A tradition of convening thought leaders since 1953

McKelvey School of Engineering

COVID-19 Pandemic: Response, Lessons Learned and Recovery

Thursday, October 29 | 8:30 AM - 4:30 AM

Virtual Event

Each fall, the Institute for Public Health at Washington University in St. Louis hosts a popular and informative annual conference. This year’s conference, COVID-19 Pandemic: Response, Lessons Learned and Recovery, will focus on the coronavirus pandemic: what went right, what needs improvement and what we learned.

The conference will be a virtual event and is free and open to the public. We plan to include keynote presentations, panel speakers and Q&A. Please register to receive more information on attending this event virtually.

Event Type

Meetings & Conferences


Science & Technology, Humanities & Society, Medicine & Health



Institute for Public Health
Event Contact

Emily Hickner | ehickner@wustl.edu

Speaker Information

Keynote Presentations from:

Alexander Garza

As Chief Medical Officer of SSM Health, Alexander Garza, is responsible for quality, patient safety, clinical analytics and for positioning SSM Health as a leader in healthcare nationally and internationally.

Garza became Chief Medical Officer of SSM Health in January 2018. Prior to this role, he most recently served as Chief Quality Officer for SSM as well as the Chief Medical Officer for the St. Louis Region, where he oversaw medical staff affairs, patient safety/quality and clinical resource management across the region’s eight hospitals.

Before joining SSM Health, he was an Associate Dean and Professor at the Saint Louis University College of Public Health and Social Justice. Previously, he served as Assistant Secretary and Chief Medical Officer to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, an appointment he received from President Barack Obama. He legislated health, medical and biodefense authority for the DHS and played a critical role in protecting the United States from threats of terrorism. Garza has over 13 years practicing and teaching in academic emergency medicine. He has published numerous scientific papers on original research in peer reviewed journals and lectured nationally and internationally. Dr. Garza is also a Colonel with over 20 years of service in the US Army Reserves. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and serves as the Command Surgeon for the 352 Civil Affairs Command. He has received numerous awards for his service including the Bronze Star and the Combat Action Badge.


Sean Whelan

Sean Whelan, is head of the Department of Molecular Microbiology and the Marvin A. Brennecke Distinguished Professor of Microbiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Prior to his appointment at WashU, Whelan was a professor of microbiology and of immunobiology, and head of the virology program at Harvard Medical School. 

Whelan studies how viruses attach to cells and slip inside, a critical step toward causing disease. Among other accomplishments, he identified the protein that Ebola virus uses to latch onto cells, and the molecular process by which rabies virus invades cells. Whelan also studies how a group of viruses called negative-sense RNA viruses – which includes rabies, measles and influenza viruses – copy themselves inside of cells. Most approved antiviral drugs target the molecular machinery that viruses use to replicate, but such drugs do not exist for negative-sense RNA viruses. Understanding the molecular underpinnings of viral invasion and replication provides new targets for the development of antiviral therapeutics.

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