About Verena

Verena (the Viral Emergence Research Initiative) was founded in 2019 by Colin Carlson and Greg Albery, and established as a U.S. National Science Foundation Biology Integration Institute in 2022. Our mission is to use the science of the host-virus network to advance efforts to predict, prevent, and prepare for disease emergence. The Institute's work includes a mix of data synthesis, algorithm-in-the-loop machine learning, model-guided experiments, and boots-on-the-ground partnerships. All of our data and code is 100% open, giving you the tools you need to study viral emergence from anywhere in the world. Using that platform, we're training the next generation of scientists, from K-12 up through graduate and postgraduate mentorship.


The Pathogen Harmonized Observatory (PHAROS) is an open-access database of wildlife disease surveillance. The platform's objectives are to enable data sharing across borders and projects in real-time; to incentivize the sharing of negative data; and to help bring open science into fields like One Health and disease ecology. PHAROS is as much a data rescue project as a forward-looking database: for decades, researchers have immortalized genetic sequence data while the line list data from animal disease surveillance is lost to the grey literature, supplemental files, or unpublished spreadsheets. With your help, we hope we can change that.

About "Pharos"

Pharos is an island that was the home of the Lighthouse of Alexandria until the 1400s. The lighthouse is the symbol of the Verena team; this one specifically is also a tongue-in-cheek reference to the Library of Alexandria, and how easily knowledge can be lost when we don't take steps to ensure its survival.