Osorio will lead the UW Institute for Global Health
Jorge Osorio, an expert in epidemiology, virology and vaccines, has been named the next director of the Global Health Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Osorio, a professor of pathobiological sciences in the School of Veterinary Medicine, has decades of international experience studying emerging diseases — particularly viruses and other pathogens jumping from animal hosts to humans — and ways to prevent their spread with vaccines, antivirals and other public health measures.
The Global Health Institute applies research, education, and awareness to advance equitable and sustainable health in Wisconsin and around the world. Working across multiple disciplines, GHI promotes a better understanding of the complex determinants of health and disease and the connections between animal, human and planetary health. In May, Osorio will take over the leadership of the institute from Jonathan Patz, Vilas Emeritus Professor and John P. Holton Professor of Health and Environment and director of GHI since its founding in 2011.
“I am very excited and honored to lead the Global Health Institute,” Osorio says. “Over the past 10 years, GHI has advanced important global health issues under the leadership of Dr. Jonathan Patz and his team. As their new director, I will build on their achievements, finding new opportunities for our faculty and students to investigate and find solutions to current health challenges around the world.
Osorio is also co-director of the Colombia-Wisconsin One Health Consortium, a joint effort between UW-Madison and Universidad Nacional in Colombia that studies emerging diseases and how the complex interactions of living things and the environment affect health outcomes – a concept called One Health.
“Jorge has a wonderful blend of research, teaching, industry and political experience,” says UW-Madison Provost Karl Scholz. “With GHI’s platform and Jorge’s foundational work with the Columbia-Wisconsin One Health Consortium, we are excited to see the institute grow in the future as it expands its work with human, animal, and health. planetary across the world.”
Osorio received a master’s degree in veterinary science and a doctorate in animal health and biomedical sciences from UW-Madison and a doctorate in veterinary medicine from the Universidad de Antioquia in Colombia. During more than 30 years of work in academic and industrial settings, Osorio has produced more than 130 scientific publications in international journals and 32 patents. Recently, Osorio founded Colombian company VaxThera, which will produce vaccines and biologicals for the region. He was co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Inviragen, a biotechnology company that developed a dengue virus vaccine that recently successfully completed phase 3 clinical trials. He has also developed vaccines against many other emerging infectious diseases.
“Dr. Osorio has designed his professional experiences to be ready to respond quickly to global threats from diseases such as bubonic plague, Zika, and dengue fever,” says Lyric Bartholomay, professor of pathobiological sciences at UW-Madison and chair of the committee that recommended Osorio’s appointment.”He has worked tirelessly to create global connections, anchored here at UW, to detect and respond to infectious diseases that affect people living in low- and middle-income countries.”
Osorio served as vice president of research and government affairs for the Vaccine Business division of Takeda Pharmaceuticals and worked for Heska Corporation in Colorado, Merial LTD in Georgia, and Chiron-PowderJect Vaccines in Wisconsin.
“At GHI, I will encourage multicultural and international research collaborations that will bring equity and diversity to our campus,” says Osorio. “I will seek opportunities for international and U.S. students and scholars to work together and connect, and work to enhance the reputation and reach of UW science around the world.”
Jonathan Patz became director of the Global Health Institute when the university combined the Center for Global Health and the Global Health Initiative. GHI’s portfolio has expanded over the past decade, developing educational programs in global health, grants and awards, interdisciplinary collaborations on campus, and public programs.
Under Patz’s leadership, GHI has been a key partner in establishing several campus-wide initiatives, including the Undergraduate Certificate in Global Health, the 4W Initiative (Women & Wellbeing in Wisconsin & the World ), the UniverCity Alliance, the Health-Oriented Transportation Initiative, and the Graduate/Professional Certificates and Capstone in Global Health Online.
“We are very grateful for Jonathan’s many contributions during his tenure as Director of GHI, as we look forward to learning from his important ongoing work on climate change and planetary health,” Scholz said.