In this Eureka Talk, explore the science behind the deadliest event of the 21st century. Australian Museum Eureka Prize winning journalist, Olivia Willis, sits down with world-leading evolutionary biologist and virologist, Professor Eddie Holmes, and our Chief Scientist and Director of the Australian Museum Research Institute, Professor Kris Helgen, to discuss what is being done to prevent future zoonotic outbreaks.
Explore how viruses move between hosts, and the debates over their origins. Learn about the triggers for virus mutations and the cutting-edge research and discoveries that are paving the way towards preventing the next pandemic. Discover the fascinating links between habitat destruction, illegal wildlife trade and the next global health emergency.
Recorded live at the Australian Museum on 8 July 2023.
Listen to Eureka Talks Series: Zoonotic Diseases
The Eureka Talks Series shines a light on research and innovations changing the fields of Climate, Health and Science Communication. Hear from Australian Museum Eureka Prize winners, finalists and other science leaders as they share their experiences, challenges and discoveries in their particular fields of research. The Australian Museum Eureka Prizes were established in 1990 to celebrate the work of Australian scientists, and how their contributions are producing world-leading results that can influence the lives of many across the globe.
Olivia Willis is a health reporter for ABC Science and the host of Patient Zero on ABC Radio National. She has worked as a journalist and producer for the ABC since 2014, including for RN Breakfast, All In The Mind, and Ladies We Need to Talk. Olivia's work has appeared in The Best Australian Science Writing, and in 2019, she was the recipient of a Logan Science Journalism Fellowship in the United States. In 2021, Olivia and the Patient Zero team were awarded the highly prestigious Eureka Prize for Science Journalism.
Professor Eddie Holmes
Professor Eddie Holmes is an NHMRC Leadership Fellow and Professor of Virology in the School of Medical Sciences, University of Sydney, Australia, which he joined in 2012. Eddie received his undergraduate degree from the University of London (1986) and his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge (1990). Between 1993-2004 he held various positions at the University of Oxford, including University Lecturer in Evolutionary Biology and Fellow of New College. He was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (FAA) in 2015 and of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2017. In 2017 Eddie won the New South Wales Premier’s Prize for Science and Engineering – Biological Sciences and in 2020 he won the overall New South Wales Premier’s Prize for Science and Engineering. In 2021 he received the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science.
Professor Kris Helgen
Professor Kris Helgen is Chief Scientist and Director of the Australian Museum Research Institute (AMRI). Prior to joining the AM in 2020, Kris was Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Adelaide. He has focused his research primarily on fieldwork with living animals and research in museum collections to document the richness of life, understand global change, and contribute to important problems in biomedicine.
Originally from Minnesota, Kris gained his undergraduate degree in Biology at Harvard University and his Ph.D. in Zoology as a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Adelaide. From 2008-2017 he served as Curator-in-Charge of Mammals at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.