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Dr. Nathan Wolfe, the “Indiana Jones of virus hunting,” will speak in Sherman

Mar 20, 2014 11:00am - 2:00pm

Dr. Nathan Wolfe, the “Indiana Jones of virus hunting,” will speak in Sherman

SHERMAN, TEXAS—Internationally acclaimed scientist Dr. Nathan Wolfe will speak at Austin College Thursday, March 20, at 11 a.m. in Wynne Chapel. The event is free and open to the public. Doors will open at 10:15 a.m.

Wolfe has been selected as the 2014 recipient of the Austin College Posey Leadership Award in recognition of his service toward global health. Austin College President Marjorie Hass will make the award presentation Thursday evening in Dallas at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science following an address by Wolfe.

The Speaker

Wolfe has been dubbed the “Indiana Jones of virus hunting” and has dedicated himself to studying deadly viruses to detect disease pandemics before they kill millions. He is the founder and executive chair of Global Viral, a non-profit organization that promotes understanding, exploration and stewardship of the microbial world.

Wolfe’s endeavors coordinate over 100 scientists and staff globally by spotting viruses as soon as they surface by collecting and cataloguing blood samples, surveying wild animals, scanning urban blood banks, and documenting the transfer and distribution on disease. Data gleaned from a dozen field sites in Cameroon, China, Malaysia, and other countries have led to the discovery of a number of previously unknown infectious agents.

The 43-year-old scientist was included in TIME’s “2011 Top 100” listing of the world’s most influential people and was named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer in 2011. Previously, Rolling Stone named him one of the “100 Agents of Change” (2009) and Popular Science recognized him as one of their “Brilliant 10” (2006). He has been honored with a Fulbright award and the National Institute of Health Director’s Pioneer Award. 

His book, The Viral Storm: The Dawn of a New Pandemic, details his work to neutralize the threats of viruses and use them for the good of humanity.

The Lorry I. Lokey Visiting Professor at Stanford University, Wolfe has published articles or chapters in more than 80 scientific publications and his work has been covered in Nature, Science, The New York Times, The Economist, The New Yorker, and Forbes, among others. 

Wolfe earned his doctorate in immunology and infectious diseases at Harvard University in 1998.

The Award

The Austin College Leadership Award was created in March 2005 through the generosity of Sally and Lee Posey, founder of Palm Harbor Homes. When Lee died in 2008, Austin College officials added the Posey name to the award that honors outstanding individuals who, through their work, have demonstrated the principles of servant leadership. Previous recipients include Wendy Kopp, founder of Teach For America; Dr. Paul Farmer, Harvard professor, medical anthropologist, physician, and medical activist; Geoffrey Canada, president and CEO of the Harlem Children’s Zone; Mrs. Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children’s Defense Fund; and Salman Khan, who through Khan Academy seeks to provide basic learning skills for all people around the globe.

Austin College is a leading national independent liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas. Founded in 1849, making it the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original charter and name, the college is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA). Recognized nationally for academic excellence in the areas of international education, pre-professional training, and leadership studies, Austin College is one of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives.


Media Contacts:

Lynn Z. Womble, lwomble@austincollege.edu, 903-813-2891 or 214-450-3317

Vickie S. Kirby, vkirby@austincollege.edu, 903-813-2414

Releases can be viewed online: www.austincollege.edu/about/news-events/articles/



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