Record Turnout for Pathology Grand Rounds By Marine Mammal Expert

The Department of Pathology, in conjunction with the Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI), hosted a special Grand Rounds by marine mammal expert and pathologist Gregory Bossart, V.M.D., Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Animal Health, Research, and Conservation and Chief Veterinary Officer at Georgia Aquarium. In his May 1 presentation, “Marine Mammals as Sentinels for Ocean and Human Health,” Bossart discussed the application of aquatic species as sentinels for the effects of global climate change, ecosystem and human health.

More than 100 students, clinicians, scientists and veterinarians turned out for the Grand Rounds in the Lois Pope LIFE Center’s seventh-floor auditorium.

“It was the largest group to attend Pathology Grand Rounds,” said Carolyn Cray, Ph.D., professor of clinical pathology and microbiology and immunology, who helped organize the event. “The great turnout was testimony to the concept of zoobiquity and the unique translational science that studies of wildlife populations offer to better understand human health issues.”

Bossart, a former associate professor of pathology at the Miller School, where he also completed his comparative pathology residency, said he enjoyed returning to the Medical Campus to see the substantial progress it has made over the past few years and share data on the health of marine mammals and our oceans. “After all, human health is inextricably linked to ocean health,” he said, adding that the high attendance was inspiration that the human medical community appreciates this important connection.

For the past 10 years, Bossart has served as principal investigator of a study of the health of free-ranging dolphins in the Indian River Lagoon, one of the most diverse estuaries in the country that runs from Volusia to Palm Beach County, and in the coastal waters of Charleston, South Carolina. In recent years, high levels of anthropogenic pollutants have been found in these animals that are associated with changes in immune function, hematologic and biochemical abnormalities, and increasing evidence of newly emerging infectious diseases and neoplasia.

“Greg has made an enormous contribution to our understanding of marine mammal biology,” said Richard J. Cote, M.D., professor and the Joseph R. Coulter, Jr. Endowed Chair in Pathology. “He is the foremost scientist studying the Indian River Lagoon ecosystem, which is one of the most important marine mammal environments in the world. His contributions have indicated a direct link between stresses in the marine ecosystem and human health.”

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