York professor to deliver keynote at BE-STEMM conference

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On Jan. 31, Jude Kong, an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics in the Faculty of Science, will deliver the plenary keynote at BE-STEMM 2022, which features established and rising stars in research, medicine and academia. The conference runs from Jan. 30 to Feb. 2.

Jude Kong
Jude Kong

Kong, who is also the director of the Africa-Canada Artificial Intelligence and Data Innovation Consortium (ACADIC), will deliver the Black Excellence Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Medicine & Health (BE-STEMM) conference keynote talk on Monday, Jan. 31 at 10:15 a.m. He will also serve as the host for a networking and mentorship event for Black scientists later that day.

His talk, titled “How to harness the power of mathematical models to inform disease outbreak policies,” will focus on the increasing need for informed policy and decision-making to address the unprecedented nature of the pandemic. Kong will speak to how the pandemic has brought mathematicians and infectious disease modelling to the centre stage of public health.

“Mathematicians and mathematical models are playing a key role in real-time delivery of reliable and comprehensive information to predict the spread of COVID-19 and its impact, and in guiding governmental policies and best practice,” said Kong. “So, how do we design a mathematical model of an infectious disease outbreak? How can models be harnessed to inform public health measures at different stages of an outbreak? In this talk, I will provide answers to these questions.” 

Throughout COVID-19, Kong has been leading an interdisciplinary team of more than 50 researchers from key academic and government institutions in nine African countries that have been leveraging Artificial Intelligence to predict and forecast COVID-19 infections in Africa. In 2020, he won a York Research Leader Award.

He is a member of the Canadian Black Scientists Network, a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Mathematics for Public Health Network, and a member of the Canadian COVID-19 Modelling Rapid Response Task Force. Kong is an expert in artificial intelligence, data science and mathematical modelling.

Hosted by the Canadian Black Scientists Network, BE-STEMM is a four-day virtual event that highlights outstanding research, career and recruitment opportunities. The program is designed to engage with Canadians from across the country and focused on removing barriers to attracting and retaining Black Canadians in STEMM.

Topics of the plenaries, panels and presentations cover a wide range of STEMM, including health and disease research, population health and epidemiology, organic and environmental chemistry, biomedical research, cell and molecular biology, new discoveries and innovation in cancer research, ecology, the physical sciences, and earth and environmental science. The conference will end on Feb. 1 with a fireside chat and presentation featuring medical geographer Kirsty Duncan, who is the Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and a Member of Parliament for the riding of Etobicoke North.

Highlights include keynote talks by established and rising star Black Canadian scholars in STEMM; talks and posters from across fields by scientists, clinicians, educators and applied professionals; research presentations by undergraduates and high-school students; and a virtual career fair. BE-STEMM will also feature a Leadership Summit Day focused on best practices and programs for supporting Black Canadians in STEMM.

York University is a platinum sponsor of BE-STEMM 2022 with support coming from the Office of the President, Office of the Vice-President Research & Innovation, Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic, Office of the Vice-President Equity, People & Culture, the Faculties of Science and Health, the Lassonde School of Engineering and the Harriet Tubman Institute.