Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

A Conversation with Dennis Carroll: Predicting Pandemics

Archived Webinar

The Zoom webinar with pandemic expert Dennis Carroll aired April 28, 2020, as the first program in the "Contextualizing COVID-19" series. Watch a recording in the player above.


As we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, a better understanding of what causes zoonotic diseases to emerge will help inform what we can do to reduce our risk. Dennis Carroll shares what he learned in his 15 years as director of the Pandemic Influenza and other Emerging Threats Unit at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). While in that role, Carroll designed and led the PREDICT project, a trailblazing 10-year study aimed at identifying dangerous viruses in animals before they spread to humans. In this video webinar, Dennis shares the knowledge gained through PREDICT and how it can be used to mitigate future disease spillovers. The webinar was moderated by Sabrina Sholts, Curator of Biological Anthropology at Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

Contextualizing COVID-19

The global spread of COVID-19 has caused dramatic changes in our daily lives and left many wondering, “How did we get here?” and “How can we do better?”. The exhibit Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World explores the factors that increase the risk that new diseases will emerge and provides an intellectual framework for understanding how viruses can spill over from animals and become a global pandemic. In conjunction with the exhibition, we hosted two programs to help put COVID-19 into context.

Related Resources


Resource Type
Videos and Webcasts
Life Science, Anthropology and Social Studies
Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World