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ECWG Annual December Gala Dinner: Climate, Oceans, and Human Health by Dr. Rita Colwell

December 4, 2021 @ 6:00 pm - 9:30 pm


Explorers Club Members, Associates, Friends, & Member’s Guests are cordially invited to the December 2021 ECWG Annual Gala Dinner and presentation at the Cosmos Club  Saturday December 4, 2021, at 6:00PM  (Black Tie Suggested).

Presentation by Dr. Rita Colwell, Distinguished University Professor, University of Maryland, College Park and Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health

About the Presentation

Climate and the oceans historically intertwine with human health. Today significant advances in science and technology have brought new discoveries – from the outer reaches of space, where remote sensing monitors on satellites circle the earth, to the ultramicroscopic through application of next generation sequencing and bioinformatics. Vibrio cholerae provides a useful example of the fundamental link between human health and the oceans.  This bacterium is the causative agent of cholera and is associated with major pandemics, yet it is an aquatic bacterium with versatile genetics and occurs naturally in estuaries, coastal regions, and aquatic systems of the world. Vibrio species, both nonpathogenic and those pathogenic for humans, marine animals, and marine vegetation, play a fundamental role in nutrient cycling and respond to warming of surface waters, with increase in their numbers correlated with increased incidence of vibrio disease in humans. The models we developed for understanding and predicting outbreaks of cholera, based on work done in the Chesapeake Bay and the Bay of Bengal, today assist UNICEF and aid agencies in predicting risk of cholera in Yemen and other countries of the African continent.  With onset of COVID-19, the models were modified and are used to predict risk of COVID-19, the current pandemic of coronavirus.  Thus, molecular microbial ecology coupled with computational science and remote sensing can provide a critical indicator and prediction of human health and wellness. 

About our Speakers

Dr. Rita Colwell is Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland at College Park and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and President of CosmosID, Inc.  Her interests are focused on global infectious diseases, water, and health. She has authored or co-authored 20 books and more than 800 scientific publications and has been awarded 63 honorary degrees from institutions of higher education and is the recipient of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, bestowed by the Emperor of Japan, 2006 National Medal of Science, awarded by the President of the United States, the 2010 Stockholm Water Prize awarded by the King of Sweden, and the 2018 Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize of Singapore.  A geological site in Antarctica, Colwell Massif, has been named in recognition of her work in the polar regions.

Dr. Colwell served as 11th Director of the National Science Foundation and Co-chair of the Committee on Science, National Science and Technology Council. She oversaw the creation of NSF’s ADVANCE program, which was established to increase the representation and advancement of women in academic engineering and science careers. ADVANCE supported women pursuing science careers through a variety of funding opportunities, including Fellow Awards designed to assist women during career leaves of absence to fulfill family obligations, Institutional Transformation Awards aimed at developing institutional procedures for encouraging women faculty to hold leadership roles, and Leadership Awards designed to recognize the efforts already made by institutions and individuals to encourage women in engineering and science careers. Dr. Colwell has recently published a new book, “A Lab of One’s Own: One Woman’s Personal Journey Through Sexism in Science”.

Dr. Colwell served as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the American Academy of Microbiology, President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington Academy of Sciences, and American Society for Microbiology.  Dr. Colwell is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Royal Society of Canada, Royal Irish Academy, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and American Philosophical Society.


  • Roasted Pear & Pomegranate Salad
    Arugula, Pistachio, Chevre Panna Cotta, Pomegranate-Ginger Vinaigrette
  • Spinach Stuffed Leg of Lamb
    Potato-Leek Gratin, Roasted Spiced Butternut Squash, Cippolini Onion, Natural Jus
  • Bûche de Noël
    chocolaté mousse

COVID-19 Regulations:

The Explorers Club Washington Group will follow the regulations set by the Cosmos Club and the District of Columbia. Masks are required for entrance into the Cosmos Club and must be worn at all times except when drinking and eating. We kindly ask that you also wear your mask during the guest speaker’s presentation. Space may be limited to comply with Cosmos Club capacity regulations. Priority will be given to ECWG members and their significant others. Temperature checks may be required at the door.

Buy Using a Check

Please include the following information:

  • Number of seats Reserved ($70 each)
  • Guest names(s)
  • Number of vegetarian meals (if any) desired
  • Organization Affiliation if other than ECWG

Mail with check to :

Austin Ager
2707 Parkway Place
Cheverly, MD 20785-3029
Mobile & text: 301-646-5418

Your RSVP must be received by Austin no later than COB Monday, November 29, 2021.  ECWG Members will receive RSVP priority until November 19th. No changes or cancellations after Tuesday, November 30, 2021



December 4, 2021
6:00 pm - 9:30 pm


Austin Ager


The Cosmos Club
2121 Massachusetts Ave NW,
Washington DC, 20008 United States
+ Google Map
(202) 387-7783