GeneConvene-Hosted Webinar Series

Photo by J. Kelly Brito on UnsplashAn archive of those genetic biocontrol and gene drive-related webinars.

As part of the GeneConvene Global Collaborative‘s interests and efforts to support and promote learning and discussion around genetic biocontrol and gene drive technologies and associated issues, it hosts webinars regularly.  Although ranging in subject matter, all webinars relate to genetic biocontrol directly or indirectly.

The Virtual Institute also aggregates webinars related to gene drive and genetic biocontrol that were organized and hosted by others and that collection can be viewed HERE.

Hector Quemada and David O'Brochta,  GeneConvene Global Collaborative,  2021.

GeneConvene Global Collaborative

Webinar Series:

Decision and Analysis Tools for Complex Problems 

Nov 3, 17, December 1,8,16
11 am- 12:30pm
(Washington, D.C.)

Decisions concerning the testing and use of gene drive technologies are expected to be challenging because of complexity and uncertainty, but this is not a unique decision-making scenario. There are numerous approaches to decision-making under these conditions and this webinar series will introduce a few and illustrate, in very accessible ways, how they are used.
A key step in all approaches is the explicit conceptualization of the system under consideration and its graphical representation as a collection of interacting entities. The resulting graph(s) forms the basis for further analyses, either qualitative (e.g. Signed Digraphs – Webinar 1), semi-quantitative (e.g. Fuzzy Cognitive Maps – Webinar 2) or quantitative (e.g. Bayesian Network Analysis – Webinar 3).
The utility of decision support systems is that they are highly adaptable and not limited to technical problems such as risk assessment but are equally useful in all manner of stakeholder engagement (Webinars 4 & 5).

Nov 3, 2021

Qualitative Mathematics to Understand, Predict, and Intervene in Complex Sytems

Speaker: Dr. Jeffrey Dambacher, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization

A Table of Contents is available when viewed on YouTube.

Nov 17, 2021

Fuzzy cognitive maps to conceptualize complex problems 

Speaker: Dr. Steven Gray, Michigan State University.

A Table of Contents is available when viewed on YouTube.

Dec 8, 2021

Modeling, Learning and Planning Together: Addressing Big Questions with Participatory Modeling

Speaker: Dr. Moira Zellner, Northeastern University

A Table of Contents is available when viewed on YouTube.

Dec 16, 2021

Participatory modeling applied to problems in Africa

Speaker: Dr. Laura Schmitt-Olabisi, Michigan State University

A Table of Contents is available when viewed on YouTube.

David O'Brochta and Hector Quemada,  GeneConvene Global Collaborative,  2021.

GeneConvene Global Collaborative

Webinar Series:

Invasive Species Management:
Informing Gene Drive Considerations

October 13, 27, November 3
11 am- 12:30pm
(Washington, D.C.)

The management, control and elimination of invasive species involves solving problems that have analogs to those anticipating the use of gene drive technologies to control and eliminate malaria in Africa.  Avoiding unintended consequences from interventions designed to reduce or remove a species from an ecosystem has parallels in some applications of gene drive technologies.  Monitoring and surveilling for the movement of invasive species is critical for making management decisions and methods and approaches that have been devised to deal with challenges such as large geographic areas, low species densities, limited resources to name just a few could inform thinking about monitoring and surveillance of gene drive-containing organisms.  This series of webinars by invasive species specialists will feature research into how these challenges are being successfully addressed.

Each seminar will be 45-50 minutes in length followed by questions and answers.

Not a convenient time?  Each webinar will be recorded and promptly posted on the GeneConvene Virtual Institute, and questions will be taken for 48 hours after the initial presentation. The speaker’s responses will be attached to the original presentation.

October 13, 2021

Conservation in the Anthropocene: can community ecology help avoid unintended outcomes and improve conservation success?

Speaker: Dr. Dean Pearson,USDA/ Forest Service

A Table of Contents is available when viewed on YouTube.

October  27, 2021

Targeting Surveillance for Invasive Agricultural Pests and Diseases  

Speaker: Dr.Gericke Cook, USDA/ APHIS/ VS/ CEAH

A Table of Contents is available when viewed on YouTube.

November 3, 2021

Monitoring gene drive vertebrates in the environment

Speaker: Dr. Toni Piaggio, USDA/ NWRC.

A Table of Contents is available when viewed on YouTube.

David O'Brochta and Hector Quemada,  GeneConvene Global Collaborative,  2021.

GeneConvene Global Collaborative

Webinar Series:

Controlling Gene Drives 

September 22, 29, October 6
11 am- 12:30pm
(Washington, D.C.)

Some gene drive technologies being explored in the laboratory for possible use in the control and elimination of malaria in Africa are predicted to efficiently spread and persist indefinitely following their initial release into an environment containing the targeted mosquito species.  While the autonomous properties of some gene drive technologies are desirable features that are expected to make them effective at controlling hard to reach populations of targeted mosquitoes and to provide sustained control with minimal additional inputs, the ability to control spread and persistence remains important.  This series of webinars will feature researchers and developers exploring various control options for gene drive technologies.

September  22, 2021

Development of Gene Drives and a Method to Block Them in Anopheles gambiae

Speaker: Dr. Chrysanthi Taxiarchi, Imperial College London.

A Table of Contents is available when viewed on YouTube.

September  29, 2021

 Lessons Learned from Neutralizing Drives 

Speaker: Dr.Ethan Bier, University of California, San Diego.

A Table of Contents is available when viewed on YouTube.

October 6, 2021

Chemical approaches to control and enhance CRISPR-based technologies

Speaker: Dr. Amit Choudhary, Harvard University.

A RECORDING OF THIS WEBINAR IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE

Stephanie James, Hector Quemada and David O'Brochta,  GeneConvene Global Collaborative,  2021.

GeneConvene Global Collaborative

Webinar Series:

Ecological Relationships of Mosquito Disease Vectors:

Anticipating Risk Assessment of Gene Drive Technologies

GeneConvene Global Collaborative Logo

April 21, 28, May 5, 12, 19 
11 am- 12:30pm
(Washington, D.C.)

An often-raised concern for the development of genetically modified mosquito technologies, particularly those involving gene drive, as tools to prevent disease transmission is the limitation of our understanding of the roles these species may play within the ecosystem. This series of webinars begins to explore what is known about the ecological relationships of mosquito vectors with regard to major types of species interactions. The speakers also will describe some of the methods by which potential interactions that may impact human or animal health and the environment can be examined in the context of case-by-case risk assessment and safety testing.
Each seminar will consist of two 30-minutes presentation followed by questions and answers.

There will be 2 speakers per meeting.  Each will speak for 30 minutes followed by a joint question and answer session.

Not a convenient time?  Each webinar will be recorded and promptly posted on the GeneConvene Virtual Institute,

April 21, 2021

Theme: Interspecific competition

Competition, coexistence, and exclusion among Aedes mosquitoes: insights from ecological theory.

Speaker: Steven Juliano, Ph.D. Illinois State University

A systematic review assessing the potential for release of vector species from competition following insecticide-based population suppression of Anopheles species in Africa.

Speaker: John Connolly, Ph.D. Imperial College London

Video Table of Contents available on YouTube


April 28, 2021

Theme:  Non-target effects and predator/competitor interactions

Understanding the risks vs benefits of classical biological control programs for crop pests: Case studies from Africa

Speaker: Ivan Rwomushana, Ph.D. CABI, Nairobi, Kenya

What does eat an Anopheles ? Potential ecosystem effects of focused species reductions.

Speaker: Tilly Collins, Ph.D. Imperial College London

Video Table of Contents available on YouTube

References Related Dr. Rwomushana’s Presentation. (on this page)

References Related Dr. Collins’ Presentation. (on this page)


May 5, 2021

Theme:  Symbiosis and mutualism

Mosquito-microbe interactions: are there implications for gene drives?.

Speaker: Nsa Dada,, Ph.D. Mosquito Microbiome Consortium

Pollination of plants by mosquitoes: Do some plants depend on disease vectors to transfer their pollen?

Speaker: Woody Foster, Ph.D. Ohio State University

Video Table of Contents available on YouTube

References Related Dr. Dada’s Presentation. (on this page)

References Related Dr. Foster’s Presentation. (on this page)


May 12, 2021

Theme:  Hybridization and gene flow among African Anopheles species

How likely is Anopheles hybridization and introgression?

Speaker: ora Besansky, Ph.D. Notre Dame University

Assessing the impact of landscape features on gene flow of malaria mosquitoes in Kenya.

Speaker: Guiyun Yan, Ph.D. University of California, Irvine

Video Table of Contents available on YouTube


May 19 2021

Theme: Parasitism and vector competence

Laboratory methods to study mosquito infections with pathogens.

Speaker: Stephen Higgs, Ph.D. Kansas State University

Relative potential for harm of pathogens vectored by Anopheles gambiae s.l.

Speaker: Geoff Hosack, Ph.D. CSIRO

Video Table of Contents available on YouTube

Hector Quemada and David O'Brochta,  ,  2021.

GeneConvene Global Collaborative

Webinar Series:

Ecological Modeling in Risk Assessment
of Gene Drives

GeneConvene Global Collaborative Logo

March 10, 17, 24, 31 
11 am- 12:30pm
(Washington, D.C.)

Risk assessment of gene drive organisms will require the development of new tools to complement established risk assessment methodologies for genetically modified organisms with the paradigm for risk assessment agreed to by most countries in the world being the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. One recognized need is the use of models to help predict the ecological consequences of released gene drive organisms. Unlike non-gene drive organisms, which can be limited in time and space and therefore provide data in small scale tests that can be relevant to large scale releases, the potential for large-scale spread gene drive-containing organisms even from a limited release and even in well-isolated trials, means that risk assessors will need to consider models and forecasts in their decision-making.

To date, this work has only started to receive attention. This series of four presentations deals with the development and use of models in ecology generally and some of these presentations will also deal with the use of models specifically to assess the ecological impacts of gene drive organisms.

Each seminar will be 45-50 minutes in length followed by questions and answers.

Not a convenient time?  Each webinar will be recorded and promptly posted on the GeneConvene Virtual Institute, and questions will be taken for 48 hours after the initial presentation. The speaker’s responses will be attached to the original presentation.

March 10, 2021

Use of models in environmental risk assessment for gene drive insects

Speakers: Drs. John Mumford1 and Michael Bonsall2,
1Imperial College, London
2Oxford University

March 17, 2021

Qualitative Mathematical Modelling of Complex Systems

Speakers: Dr. Jeffery Dambacher, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization

March 24, 2021

Embracing dynamic models for gene drive management

Speakers: Drs. Kim Pepin and Andrew Golnar, USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

March 31, 2021

The application of quantitative ecological risk assessment to the release of gene drives

Speaker: Dr. Wayne Landis, Western Washington University

David O'Brochta and Hector Quemada,  GeneConvene Global Collaborative,  2021.

GeneConvene Global Collaborative

Webinar Series:

Genetic Biocontrol

Feb 3, 10, 17, 24 
11 am- 12:30pm
(Washington, D.C.)

In the mid 20th century various ideas emerged concerning how genetics and genetic principles could be directly applied to age-old problems of managing insects that threaten food security and public health.  This series of webinars will explore the current state-of-the-art of what has been termed genetic control, genetic pest management and genetic biocontrol.  It will cover the use of sterility, conditional dominant lethality and Wolbachia-induced cytoplasmic incompatibility.  Gene drive, another type of genetic biocontrol, will not be covered in this series; it was recently the focus of webinar series dedicated to the topic.  This webinar series is a scientific forum where one will hear and learn about the latest research in this area of applied genetics from those conducting the research.

Each seminar will be 45-50 minutes in length followed by questions and answers.

Not a convenient time?  Each webinar will be recorded and promptly posted on the GeneConvene Virtual Institute, and questions will be taken for 48 hours after the initial presentation. The speaker’s responses will be attached to the original presentation.

Feb 3, 2021

Self-Limiting Insects for Accessible and Sustainable Biological Pest Management

Speakers: Drs. Kevin Gorman and Nathan Rose, Oxitec, Ltd.
Feb 10, 2021

Using Wolbachia to control arboviruses

Speaker: Dr. Luciano Moreira, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz and World Mosquito Program
Feb 14, 2021             

Development of the SIT package against Aedes mosquitoes: progress and challenges

Speakers: Drs. Jeremy Bouyer and Kostas Bourtzis, Joint FAO/IAEA Programme Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture
Feb 24 2021

Wolbachia bacteria as a ‘pesticide’ against mosquito populations

Speakers: Dr. Stephen Dobson, University of Kentucky and MosquitoMate, Inc.
Dr. Johanna Ohm, Verily Life Sciences
Hector Quemada and David O'Brochta,  GeneConvene Global Collaborative,  2020.

Engineered Gene Drives: Policy and Regulatory Considerations
October 21, 28, November 4, 18, December 2 
11 am- 12:30pm
(Washington, D.C. -GMT -5)

This was a series of public seminars by experts on policy and regulatory affairs who will speak about the research and development of engineered gene drive  Presentations were aimed at scientists, policy makers, regulators and the general public.

Oct. 21    Overview of Regulatory Frameworks Covering Gene Drives . (1:30:25)

Speaker 1: Wadzanayi Mandivenyi, Head of Biosafety Unit, Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (08:00 – 28:00 +question at end)

Speaker 2:  Marion Law,  Team Lead, Prequalification Team-Vector Control Products, World Health Organization (28:00 – 1:03:00 + question at end)


Oct. 28   Regional Development of Regulatory Policies on Gene Drives and Risk Assessment. 

Martin Lema, Quilmes National University, Argentina.


Nov. 4    The Value of Existing Regulatory Approaches for Risk Assessments of Gene Drive Organisms. 

Speaker 1: Michael Bonsall, Professor of Mathematical Biology, University of Oxford

Speaker 2:  Owain Edwards, Domain Leader, Environment & Biocontrol CSIRO Synthetic Biology Future Science Platform


Nov 18    Regulatory and Governace Challenges Posed by Gene Drives . 

Speaker 1: Natalie Koffer, Founder of Editing Nature; Lecturer, Harvard Scientific Citizenship Initiative

Speaker 2:  Jesse Reynolds, Emmett /Frankel Fellow in Environmental Law and Policy, Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, University of California, Los Angeles School of Law

Questions and Answers not captured in November 18 recording

Dec 2   Environmental Impact Assessments and Gene Drive Applications. 

Speaker 1: Willy Tonui, Chief Executive Officer, Environmental Health and Safety Consultancy, Ltd.

Speaker 2:  Katharine Gotto Walton, Chair, The Social Practice Forum


David O'Brochta and Hector Quemada,  GeneConvene Global Collaborative,  2020.

Engineered Gene Drives: State of Research
September 9,16,23,30, October 7, 14
11 am- 12:30pm
(Washington, D.C. -GMT -5)

This was a series of public scientific and technical seminars by researchers actively involved in the research and development of engineered gene drive and related systems. Presentations were aimed at other researchers and scientists, highlighting the latest investigations in this area of applied genetics.

Sept. 9    Gene-drive systems for mosquito population modification. Anthony James, Ph.D., University of California, Irvine

Sept. 16  Manipulation wild populations using Cleave and Rescue (ClvR) selfish genetic elements. Bruce Hay, Ph.D., California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

Sept 23  Advanced genetic control of human disease vectors. Omar Akbari, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego

Sept 30  Transmission Zero: Converting malaria vector mosquitoes into non-vectors via minimal genetic modifications. George Christophides, Ph.D., Imperial College, London

Oct 7  Anoheles gambiae population suppression gene drive technologies. Andrea Crisanti, Ph.D. Imperial College, London

Oct 14  Engineered Genetic Incompatibility- species-like barriers to sexual reproducing insects. Michael Smanski, Ph.D., University of Minnesota