Michael Oglesbee, DVM, PhD, is a professor of virology and comparative pathology at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. He is the inaugural Director of the Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI) at The Ohio State University. The IDI consists of six interdisciplinary research networks that span eleven colleges at Ohio State and the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and includes over 220 faculty members. The institute is built upon the One Health concept.
Dr. Oglesbee also serves as Director of the college’s signature program in infectious diseases, and leads the infectious disease node of a Comparative and Translational Medicine Program for the university Center for Clinical and Translational Science – activities that facilitate integration of basic and clinical sciences and activities in the College of Veterinary Medicine with the larger IDI community.
Dr. Oglesbee has built a research career on viral infectious disease, with an emphasis on comparative modeling. This means looking at the way different viruses interact with different human and animal hosts in order to identify common themes, themes that can be used to understand how viruses cause disease and thus how we can prevent or treat virus-induced disease.
“As IDI Director, I look at infectious disease from the standpoint of building interdisciplinary teams to address infectious disease threats. The current COVID-19 pandemic represents a focus point that facilitates team building and establishes best practices to ensure maximal impact of our efforts,” said Oglesbee. “This means combining basic research with translational outcomes, communicating science to the public in order to enhance outreach and emphasizing public health relevance in our educational endeavors.”
The IDI is addressing the COVID-19 pandemic from multiple perspectives, leading a partnership among Ohio State academicians and clinicians, the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Hospital Association to design a “contact network” model that takes into account the effects of disrupting networks through social distancing. The model predictions are refined daily based on the latest symptomatic test-positive COVID-19 cases reported.
The IDI is also addressing the development and deployment of surveillance strategies, identifying disease mechanisms in order to development effective treatments, development of vaccines to protect against the viral cause of COVID-19, and understanding how viruses such as SARS-CoV-19 can jump from one animal species to another in order to prevent the next emergent infectious disease of humans or other domestic animal species.