October 10, 2023

PBC Focus Meeting: Pandemic Planning and Lessons Learned from COVID-19

Welcome to the 2023 Pacific Basin Consortium for Environment and Health Focus Meeting

The PBC organizing committee is happy to welcome you to the 2023 Focus meeting website!

Here you will find more information about the meeting and speakers.

Theme: Pandemic planning - lessons from COVID-19

Date: 30 - 31st October 2023

Venue: C.B. Pennington, Jr. Building Conference Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, hosted by Louisiana State University (LSU)

Room: The meeting will take place in Building G, MAIN HALL Auditorium (right-hand side once you enter the main entrance) - Event parking is also available. Please view the Pennington map.

The conference will bring together scientists, engineers, policy makers, industry representatives, government officials and students to present research in areas relevant to human and environmental health and discuss effective, affordable solutions.

This Focus Meeting will also utilize a new virtual concept of the “hub and spoke” model in which participants will gather in person at several venues. The hub for the proposed meeting will be at LSU, with spokes in cities where PBC Board members reside and can serve as local host.

The PBC Board members and sites that have agreed to sponsor a “spoke” are presented in Table 1. Local hosts will plan the local aspects of the meeting securing A/V needs, facilitating discussion/interaction with the hub and other spokes and in general, making the local attendees feel welcome and part of the larger event. In addition, a virtual poster session will be organized by the hub and available for all participants across hub and spokes.

You will also be able to explore the content and see the list of participants. You can also register, pay the registration costs and submit an abstract directly through this website.

Conference Map - Pennington

Focus Meeting Program_final_printable version

PBC Behaviour Policy

Guidelines for POSTER presentations

Guidelines for ORAL presentations

Meet our speakers and our session chairs

  • Professor Stephania Cormier (PBC Chair)

    Professor Stephania Cormier (PBC Chair)

    Louisiana State University

    Dr Stephania Cormier is the Wiener Chair Professor of biological sciences at Louisiana State University and Pennington Biomedical Research Center. In addition, Dr Cormier is an honorary professor in child health at the University of Queensland, is the current chair of the Board of Directors of the Pacific Basin Consortium for Environment and Health.

    Dr Cormier’s research focuses on the effect of exposure to environmental factors early in life on the predisposition for respiratory diseases in adults. Additionally, she was instrumental in responding to the emergence of COVID-19, heading the testing lab that serviced 18 facilities and first responders across Louisiana in the first months of the pandemic. As the director of the LSU Superfund Research Center, she is responsible for the coordination of several programs aimed at bettering public health for environmental mediated disease and pathologies. Through her work, she builds resilience in the communities through public engagement of those most at-risk - especially living near superfund sites where hazardous wastes are remediated and/or environmental exposures are more frequent.

    Her research has continued to shed light on the initiators of the immune and pathophysiological changes that occur during early stages of pulmonary airway disease to ultimately develop effective interventions and therapies. As such, Dr Cormier is uniquely situated at the nidus of basic, translational, and operational support research.

  • Professor Peter Sly (PBC Emeritus)

    Professor Peter Sly (PBC Emeritus)

    The University of Queensland

    Professor Peter Sly is a former Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Pacific Basin Consortium for the Environment and Health, Director, Children’s Health and Environment Program and Director, WHO Collaborating Centre for Children’s Health and Environment. Professor Sly is a NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow and a paediatric respiratory physician with extensive research experience in respiratory physiology, developmental immunology and children’s environmental health.

    Professor Sly’s research aims to understand the mechanisms underlying chronic childhood lung diseases in order to improve clinical management and to delay or prevent their onset, with consequent reductions in adult lung diseases. A combination of basic science, longitudinal cohort studies and translation of research findings into clinical practice, including clinical trials, are included in three main areas: children’s environmental health, asthma, and cystic fibrosis.

  • Associate Professor Jennifer Richmond-Bryant

    Associate Professor Jennifer Richmond-Bryant

    North Carolina State University

    Jen Richmond-Bryant specializes in human exposure to air pollution. Her research has an emphasis on the influence of variability in human exposure to air pollution and impacts on environmental justice communities. She is currently leading an exposure assessment of hazardous waste combustion emissions in a rural Louisiana town as part of the Louisiana State University Superfund Research Center on Environmentally Persistent Free Radicals.

    Jen joined the Forestry and Environmental Resources faculty at North Carolina State University in 2019, using her experience as a federal scientist to inform teaching and research. She served as a Physical Scientist focused on exposure assessment for the U.S Environmental Protection Agency from 2008 to 2019, where she authored chapters of the Integrated Science Assessment on exposure assessment and/or atmospheric science for PM, ozone, carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen, oxides of sulfur, and lead.

    From 2005 to 2008, she was an Assistant Professor at the City University of New York (CUNY) Urban Public Health program and studied exposure to air pollution from mobile sources and bus idling near NYC schools in high-asthma neighborhoods. Her work has been published in several high impact journals including Environmental Health Perspectives, Environmental Science and Technology, and Atmospheric Environment.

  • Dr Bill Cassidy

    Dr Bill Cassidy

    United States Senator for Louisiana

    Bill co-founded the Greater Baton Rouge Community Clinic, a clinic providing free dental and health care to the working uninsured. Bill also created a private-public partnership to vaccinate 36,000 greater Baton Rouge area children against Hepatitis B at no cost to the schools or parents. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Bill led a group of health care volunteers to convert an abandoned K-Mart building into an emergency health care facility, providing basic health care to hurricane evacuees.

    In 2006, Bill was elected to the Louisiana State Senate.

    In 2008, he was elected to the United States House of Representatives to represent Louisiana’s Sixth Congressional District.

    In 2014, he was elected to the U.S. Senate. He serves on the Finance Committee, the Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions Committee (HELP), the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and the Veterans Affairs committees.

    Following his successful efforts to lower the cost of health care, secure coastal restoration projects to protect Louisiana families from natural disasters, reform our nation’s mental health system, and secure many other legislative accomplishments, Bill was re-elected in 2020 to his second term in the U.S. Senate.

    In 2023, he became Ranking Member of the Senate HELP Committee. He is the first physician to sit as HELP Ranking Member or Chairman since 1933, when it was called the Education and Labor Committee.

  • Dr Luan Vu

    Dr Luan Vu

    LSU River Road Testing Lab

    Dr Luan Vu is a dedicated researcher with significant accomplishments in COVID-19 related studies. His expertise in developing in vitro diagnostics for Dengue and Hantavirus was instrumental in the rapid establishment of the FDA-licensed LSU River Road Testing Lab. This lab was essential for COVID-29 testing in 18 Louisiana hospitals, as helping to alleviate the backlog in coronavirus test results that were paralyzing hospitals right from the onset of the pandemic. Collaborating with Dr Beverly Ogden at Woman's Hospital and Dr Stephania A. Cormier at LSU, Dr Vu made the groundbreaking discovery that BNT162b2 vaccination prevents robust antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 N protein in COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough cases. The findings emphasizes the urgent need to reassess current COVID-19 serology surveillance strategies and develop more accurate methods for evaluating prior infectivity and viral circulation. Additionally, Dr. Vu led an innovative, interdisciplinary project to develop a patented rapid at-home COVID-19 testing device protected by the World Intellectual Property Organization.

    These impactful works earned him recognition from NAFSA: Association of International Educators - USA as one of the leading international scholars on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19 in the United States. Currently, Dr Vu is focusing on the immune mechanisms underlying SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy and early infancy, with the goal of developing innovative preventive and therapeutic approaches to combat the virus.

  • Mr Md Jiaur Rahman

    Mr Md Jiaur Rahman

    Hiroshima University

    Md Jiaur Rahman is a Bangladeshi international Ph.D. student in the Department of Health Sciences at Hiroshima University in Japan. He completed his master's degree at the same department, during which he was involved in research on eHealth and telepathology. Currently, he is conducting research on the impact of eHealth education on school-going adolescents with anemia and menstrual hygiene issues in semi-urban areas of Bangladesh. Throughout his academic career, he has presented his research findings at international conferences and international journals.

    In addition to his academic pursuits, after completing his bachelor's degree, he engaged in preventive care and eHealth research project such as Telemedicine, Telepathology, and Virtual Blood Bank within the organization of Grameen Communications in Bangladesh. His research interests are adolescents' health, eHealth education, anaemia, nutrition, menstrual hygiene, and environmental health.

  • Miss Hoang Thi Phuong Anh

    Miss Hoang Thi Phuong Anh

    Gwangju University of Science and Technology (GIST)

    Hoang Thi Phuong Anh is a PhD student in the School of Earth Science and Environmental Engineering at Gwangju University of Science and Technology (GIST). She received her BSE from Hanoi University of Science and Technology (HUST) in 2019 and her MSE from GIST in 2022. Her research focuses on bioremediation. Her work has been on the use of specific bacteria for alleviating environmental pollutants.

  • Associate Professor Rebecca Christofferson

    Associate Professor Rebecca Christofferson

    LSU School of Veterinary Medicine

    Rebecca Christofferson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pathobiological Sciences at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine. She graduated from College of Science with a BS in Zoology and the College of Agriculture with a Master of Applied Statistics, both at LSU. She then went on to receive her PhD from the LSU SVM, focusing on disease transmission of mosquito-borne viruses. Her current research focuses on the factors that define the (re)emergence of arboviruses and zoonotic viruses, especially environmental determinants of transmission trajectories. She uses a combination of laboratory, field, and computational methods to interrogate assumptions made about emergent pathogen transmission.

    She has worked during outbreaks, such as the Zika virus outbreak in 2015/16 and Rift Valley Fever in 2018 Rwanda and COVID-19. In addition, Dr. Christofferson translates her research into operational support through grassroots education, media engagements, and as a subject matter expert for infection control, biosafety, and biosecurity both domestically and internationally.

  • Dr Diana Lewis

    Dr Diana Lewis

    University of Guelph

    Dr Diana Lewis (she/her) is a member of the Sipekne’katik Mi’kmaq First Nation in Nova Scotia. She is an Assistant Professor and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Environmental Health Governance at the University of Guelph. Her research interests are to foster a wider understanding of Indigenous worldviews and how Indigenous worldviews must inform environmental decisions, specifically as Indigenous peoples are impacted by resource or industrial development. She is a strong advocate for Indigenous data sovereignty and Indigenous-led decision making, and she is currently working with Indigenous communities across Canada to develop an Indigenous-led environmental health risk assessment approach.

  • Dr Antonio Pascale

    Dr Antonio Pascale

    University of Montevideo

    Dr Antonio Pascale is Medical Toxicologist, current Professor of the Biomedical Science Center, University of Montevideo. His academic appointments include being Associate Professor of Clinical Toxicology at the School of Medicine, University of the Republic, in Montevideo, Uruguay between May 2013 and February 2021. He is the Director of the National Center for Information and Reference of the Drug Network (National Drug Treatment Center in Montevideo) since October 2020 and also Director of the Toxicology Service of the National Direction of Police Health, Ministry of Interior, since September 2014.

    As a physician he assesses and treats patients with acute poisonings and chronic intoxications related to occupational and environmental exposures. His activities include the assessment of pesticides exposure in children and workers, as well as the diagnosis and treatment of pesticides related diseases. He also focused his research in e-waste exposure, health effects, treatment and prevention. His work also includes the consequences of the environmental and non intentional exposure of cocaine and cannabis in children.

  • Dr Laura Cassidy

    Dr Laura Cassidy

    Louisiana Key Academy

    Dr Cassidy is the founder and board chair of the Louisiana Key Academy (LKA). Her professional career consists of being a general surgeon at Kaiser Permanente LA and Chief of surgery at Louisiana State University-Health Science Center, Baton Rouge.

    She has testified before Louisiana State legislative committees supporting various Acts and has presented multiple talks on dyslexia in the media and at conferences.

  • Dr Brittany Trottier

    Dr Brittany Trottier

    National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)

    Brittany Trottier is a Health Specialist with the Superfund Research Program (SRP) at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. She provides program analysis and support of SRP activities, supports communication of SRP grantees’ scientific accomplishments, and serves as the lead for SRP community engagement activities.

    She provides guidance to potential applicants for SRP’s Conference Grants and oversees the Conference Grant portfolio for SRP. She supports the NIEHS-WHO Collaborating Center (NIEHS-WHO CC) lead for Children’s Environmental Health and the NIEHS WHO-CC Children’s Environmental Health Network. She received her Master’s in Public Health from the Milken Institute School of Public Health of The George Washington University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry from Adrian College.

  • Miss Ulfi Hida Zainita

    Miss Ulfi Hida Zainita

    Universitas Indonesia

    Miss Ulfi Hida Zainita is a Master's Degree Student in Public Health Science, Universitas Indonesia.
    She graduated with a Bachelor of Public Health from the same department. Currently, she is active as the research team and teaching assistant at the Department of Health Education and Behavioural Science, Faculty of Public Health, Universitas Indonesia (FPH UI).

    In 2020 she was involved in COVID-19 prevention in Luwu Timur Region, South Sulawesi,
    Indonesia. She works as a Health Promotion Team of the FPH UI in collaboration with Vale Indonesia to raise COVID-19 awareness and build community resilience. Her current projects focus on mental health, climate change, and adolescent well-being. These projects are funded by the Ministry of Research and Higher Education Republic of Indonesia and Universitas Indonesia Superfund Research Center. She was also involved in the community service project to develop a healthy tourism village in Bali, Indonesia. She has published several books and published her research in international journals and conferences.

  • Associate Professor Kirsty Short

    Associate Professor Kirsty Short

    The University of Queensland

    Dr Short's research on influenza and COVID-19 falls into the broader body of research investigating the role of host susceptibility factors (e.g. age, obesity, diabetes, chronic inflammation) on viral disease, pandemic preparedness and anti-viral immunity. Her work plays an important role in shaping public policy, with her work on pandemic preparedness being featured on Prevention Web (the UN’s cite for disaster risk reduction). Similarly, her work on the role of children in SARS-CoV-2 transmission has been picked up by numerous media outlets (>100 Altmetric Score) and helped influence policy regarding reopening schools during the COVID-19 outbreak (data used by Victorian and UK governments).

    Consistent with Dr Short's strong interest in public health, she participated as a member of the Group of Eight University panel advising the Australian government on their response to COVID-19. Dr Short also co-wrote the Rapid Research Information Forum “What are the determinants of morbidity and mortality due to COVID-19 and are there differences between sexes?” for the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Commonwealth Government. The impact of her work in pandemic preparedness is further reflected by her work being cited >550 times in 2020 alone.

    Dr Short also play an active role the public communication of science. Specifically, from 10 February, 2020 until 8 February, 2021, Dr Short was featured in more than 1,200 media articles and reached an audience of over 14 million, giving her an advertising value equivalency (AVE) of around $30M.

  • Dr Akeem Ali

    Dr Akeem Ali

    World Health Organisation (WHO)

    Dr Ali has spent the last 25 years working as a public health doctor, manager and in various leadership roles in civil service, public sector and international organisations. Following initial clinical posts in teaching hospitals, and civil service role as a District Medical Officer of Health and Director of Health Services in Ghana, he worked in international humanitarian emergency response with the lead UK medical emergency agency - Merlin as a strategist, turnaround director, and led global emergency response teams working in Afghanistan, Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Eastern European countries, and the UK.

    Dr Ali has worked as an executive director of public health for 10 years in the NHS as a joint appointee with 3 different English local authorities. His previous and current job roles involve managing large-scale public health programmes, strategic partnerships, and developing policies, leading response to public health emergencies and disease outbreaks with multidisciplinary teams. A major part of his role includes supporting local authority public health planning and undertaking staff training in diverse settings. Over the last 3 years, Dr Ali has been working in Small Island Developing States to strengthen health systems, first on the remote island of St Helena in the South Atlantic as the Director of the Health Service for the island and now in the Pacific, leading the WHO Health Systems Unit for the sub-region.

  • Dr Bin Wang

    Dr Bin Wang

    Peking University

    Dr. Bin Wang is a researcher/assistant professor, doctoral supervisor. His main interest is to use multidisciplinary study methods such as environmental chemistry, epidemiology, and clinical medicine to explain the migration and transformation processes of environmental pollutants in human body, reveal the impact and biological pathways of regional environmental pollution exposure on population reproductive health and chronic diseases, and construct various machine learning models for population health risk assessment and outcome prediction. Dr Wang created the exposome platform ExposomeX (www.exposomex.cn), an integrated analysis platform for the relationship between environmental exposure and human health, and built a complex network relationship and machine learning prediction models to explore the link of "Exposome-Biological pathway-Disease". As the first or corresponding author, he has published a total of 52 papers in international authoritative journals (H-index = 38, he-cited more than 4200 times), e.g., Environ Health Persp, Environ Sci Tech, Environ Sci Tech Lett, The Innovation, Environ Int, China CDC Weekly, and served as editorial board member of Environment and Health, Eco-Environmental Health, and Journal of Environmental Hygiene.

Accommodation & travel support

Accommodation - The Element Baton Rouge South. The guest rooms are smoke-free and feature maximized space, spacious airy Studios & One-Bedroom Suites. Each suite is designed with fully equipped kitchens, spa-inspired bathrooms, signature Westin Heavenly® Beds plus fast free WIFI. The hotel also provides complimentary breakfast Monday-Friday 6:00 - 9:30 AM & Saturday-Sunday 7:00 - 10:00 AM.

It is located in the heart of the Health District close to restaurants, the mall of Louisiana, Towne Center, Perkins Rowe, LSU & Southern University.

The Element by Westin Baton Rouge South team looks forward to having you as their guest and being your home away from home.

If you need to reach Guest Services on property, please feel free to email them at ElementGuestServices@gmail.com or call them at +1 225.831.7020.

Please view map.


You can book a room at The Element here.
Event Summary:
Pennington Pacific Basin Consortium Scientific Conference
Start Date: Sunday, 29 October 2023
End Date: Thursday, 02 November 2023
Last Day to Book: Friday, 13 October 2023


Address: 8649 Summa Ave, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70809 USA
Phone: +1 225-831-7020
Toll Free Phone: +1 504-831-7020
Check-in time: 3:00PM
Check-out time: 12:00PM


There will be a shuttle service provided to and from this hotel for meeting events only.

Travel support - The Pacific Basin Consortium for Environmental and Health will offer a limited number of grants to cover partial cost of travel for speakers selected from abstracts to give oral presentations. Please note that Student and Early Career researchers, who would not otherwise be able to attend will be given priority. All support offers are covered by the PBC Travel Support Guidelines.

The PBC Focus meeting hosts and sponsors

  • Louisiana State University
  • Pennington Biomedical Research Center
  • Pacific Basin Consortium for Environment and Health
  • Visit Baton Rouge
  • Capitol Park Museum
  • Louisiana Seafood


Hybrid event

Pennington Biomedical Research Center

6400, Perkins Road Baton Rouge, LA United States, 70808

Registration period

May 1, 2023 - 4:54 PM until October 31, 2023 - 6:00 PM

Submission period

May 1, 2023 - 4:54 PM until October 30, 2023 - 6:00 PM

Contact us

If you have any questions, please contact stephaniacormier@lsu.edu .

Powered by