The Brandon Brei Memorial Lecture commemorates the outstanding achievements and character of Brandon Brei (1976-2003). A PhD student in microbiology, Brandon worked with Durland Fish in the Vector Biology Lab where he was happy to be able to combine his interests in microbiology and ecology with his fascination with ticks.
As one of five recipients of a CDC Fellowship in Vector-Borne Disease at Yale University, he traveled to San Juan, Puerto Rico in March 2003 to spend a week studying the CDC Dengue Research Lab. During the week, the group, which consisted of 10 doctoral and masters students from the Departments of Public Health and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology listened to presentations on the ecology, epidemiology, and entomology of Dengue, met with local mosquito control officials, and learned to trap and identify mosquitoes. As a part of the week's program, Brandon presented his doctoral research to the staff of the CDC lab and students from the University of Puerto Rico. On Saturday, March 22nd, the group was snorkeling and swimming near Fajardo, a town on the northeast coast of the island. It was here that Brandon drowned while rescuing another student who was caught in the strong current.
The inaugural Brandon Brei Memorial Lecture was given in September 2013 by John Brownstein, '04 PhD, Associate Professor Harvard Medical School, Computational Epidemiology Group Children’s Hospital Informatics Program.