30th Annual Meeting of the Society for Virology

24–26 March 2021

30th Annual Meeting of the Society for Virology

24–26 March 2021

Conference Details

Plenary speakers

Our list of speakers is growing daily and we are looking forward to welcoming national and international renowed experts to share their recent insights and latest developments with you.

Short CV
Germán Andrés is a Research Scientist at the Center for Molecular Biology `Severo Ochoa´ in Madrid, Spain. He obtained his PhD in molecular biology from the Autonoma University of Madrid. Dr. Andrés’s research is focused on fundamental aspects of the African swine fever virus (ASFV) life cycle, such as the molecular mechanisms underlying virus entry and morphogenesis. Recent contributions include the determination of the virion proteome, the elucidation of the ASFV architecture, the characterization of its entry pathway and the identification of novel proteins involved in viral fusion and core penetration.

Title of talk:
African swine fever virus: recent insights into the molecular architecture and entry pathway

Short CV
Current Position: Full Professor of Medicine (W3), Head of Institute of Virology, Charité Berlin

Major research interests
Medical virology, viral evolution and ecology, epidemic preparedness research, coronaviruses

Title of talk:
tba

Short CV
Experience

Experienced in human and animal immunology, vaccinology, virology, development of in vitro assays and 3D cell culture modules, culture automation, software development, bioinformatics, and people/project management.

  • Current:  Immunology research, vaccine development, and project management
  • Past:  Neuroscience & Software development

June 2019 – present

ModernaTX, Inc, Cambridge, MA
Director of Immunology – Infectious Disease Group

  • Non-clinical research leader of mRNA-1273, Moderna’s SARS-CoV-2 vaccine
  • Non-clinical research lead for development of mRNA vaccine against CMV (mRNA-1647)
  • Lead and direct Immunology team in support of Vaccine development programs and foundational research efforts
  • Lead and interact with external academic and industry collaborators, as well as external working groups like WHO animal working group, Pathogenesis working group

Objective
Development of new treatments and therapies with the goal of improving global human health.

Title of talk:
Rapid response to SARS-CoV-2 enabled by mRNA technology

Short CV

Sarah Gilbert is Professor of Vaccinology in the Nuffield Department of Medicine at the University of Oxford. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of East Anglia and her doctoral degree at the University of Hull. Following four years as a research scientist at the biopharmaceutical company Delta Biotechnology she joined Oxford University in 1994 and became part of the Jenner Institute (within NDM) when it was founded in 2005. Her chief research interest is the development of viral-vectored vaccines that work by inducing strong and protective T and B cell responses. She works on vaccines for many different emerging pathogens, including influenza, Nipah, MERS, Lassa, Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever, and in 2020, initiated the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine project. Working with colleagues in the Jenner Institute research labs, the Clinical Biomanufacturing Facility and Centre for Clinical Vaccinology and Tropical Medicine, all situated on the Old Road Campus in Oxford, she is able to take novel vaccines from design to clinical development, with a particular interest in the rapid transfer of vaccines into manufacturing and first in human trials. She is the Oxford Project Leader for ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, a vaccine against the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 with approval for use in many countries around the world.

Title of talk:
Development of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19

Short CV
2004-10: Studies of Biochemistry, University of Tübingen.
2010-14: PhD in Biochemistry/Proteomics, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Martinsried
2015-20: Postdoc in Functional Genomics/Virology at the University of California, San Francisco
2020- Research Scholar, Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, San Francisco

Title of talk:
Functional single-cell genomics of human cytomegalovirus infection

Short CV

Betsy C. Herold, M.D. is a Professor of Pediatrics and Microbiology-Immunology, Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Pediatrics, and Division Chief, Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in the Bronx, NY.  Dr. Herold graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, completed a residency in pediatrics, clinical fellowship in pediatric infectious diseases, and postdoctoral fellowship in herpes virology at Northwestern University. She leads a translational research program focused on understanding herpes simplex (HSV) viral entry and pathogenesis, the HIV-HSV syndemic, and exploiting that knowledge to develop safe and effective vaccines and antivirals.  She also helped establish the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society (PIDS) ID Transplant Research Network whose goal is to conduct multicentered research studies to optimize treatment and prevention of infectious complications in solid and stem cell transplant recipients.  She has applied her research experiences to study COVID-19, focusing on why the clinical outcomes in children differ from adults.

Title of talk:
Innate immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 in children protect against severe disease

Short CV

Professor Akiko Iwasaki has made major discoveries in innate anti-viral and mucosal immunity that have resulted in paradigm shifts in the understanding of the immune response to pathogens as well as in vaccine design.  Her research focuses on the mechanisms of immune defense against viruses at mucosal surfaces, which are a major site of entry for infectious agents. The knowledge gained in her lab can be used to design more effective vaccines or microbicides to prevent transmission of viral and bacterial pathogens.  

Professor Iwasaki’s research group developed a new vaccine strategy, termed “Prime and Pull”, that can be used to treat those infected with virus, unlike many vaccines that are given preventatively. This method is currently under phase 2 clinical trials for the treatment of high grade cervical lesions caused by infection human papillomavirus (HPV).  

Professor Iwasaki received her Ph.D. in Immunology from the University of Toronto and completed her postdoctoral training with the National Institutes of Health before joining Yale’s faculty in 2000. She has received numerous awards and honors, including the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award in Biomedical Sciences, the Wyeth Lederle Young Investigator Award, the BD Biosciences Investigator Award, and the Seymour & Vivian Milstein Award for Excellence in Interferon and Cytokine Research. Professor Iwasaki has been a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator since 2014, a prestigious honor that provides the researcher long-term, flexible funding that gives them to freedom to explore new avenues of research. She was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2018, and to the National Academy of Medicine in 2019. Dr. Iwasaki is also well known for her Twitter advocacy on women and underrepresented minority in the science and medicine fields.   

Currently, Professor Iwasaki is directing translational immunology team to investigate the role of immune response in COVID-19 disease outcome. She also co-directs the IMPACT (Implementing medical and public health actions against coronavirus in Connecticut) team to generate an extensive biorepository for specimens collected from patients and health care workers, as well as implementing viral testing in both groups.

Title of talk:
Immune responses to SARS-CoV-2

 

Short CV

Vice Rector of Research, University of Greifswald
Professor for Bioinformatics, University of Greifswald and
Director, Institute of Bioinformatics, University Medicine Greifswald
Research Focus

  • Mathematical Modeling of molecular and cellular processes, with a focus on infection and immune response
  • High-throughput data integration, network-based data analysis
  • Virus bioinformatics, Medical bioinformatics

Title of talk:
In Silico Modeling of Infection and Immune Response

Short CV
Florian Klein  is director of the Institute of Virology and full professor at the University of Cologne. His research focuses on the development of human B lymphocytes and antibodies, with a particular interest in the humoral immune response to viral pathogens. Together with his team, he employs new approaches for single B cell analyses and humanized mouse models. In addition, his team conducts early-phase clinical trials to translate basic laboratory findings into clinical applications. Florian received his MD degree from Cologne University in 2005 following clinical training in internal medicine. In 2009, he worked at the Rockefeller University, where he became Instructor in Clinical Investigation in 2011 and Assistant Professor in 2013. He returned to Cologne University in 2015.

Title of talk: Antibody-mediated SARS-CoV-2 Neutralization
 

 

Short CV

Nevan Krogan, PhD, is a molecular biologist, UC San Francisco professor, and director of the intensely interdisciplinary Quantitative Biosciences Institute (QBI) under the UCSF School of Pharmacy. He is also a senior investigator at the Gladstone Institutes.

He led the work to create the SARS-CoV-2 interactome and assembled the QBI Coronavirus Research Group (QCRG), which includes hundreds of scientists from around the world. His research focuses on developing and using unbiased, quantitative systems approaches to study a wide variety of diseases with the ultimate goal of developing new therapeutics.

Nevan serves as Director of The HARC Center, an NIH-funded collaborative group that focuses on the structural characterization of HIV-human protein complexes. Dr. Krogan is also the co-Director of three Cell Mapping initiatives, the Cancer Cell Mapping Initiative (CCMI), the Host Pathogen Map Initiative (HPMI) and the Psychiatric Cell Map Initiative (PCMI). These initiatives map the gene and protein networks in healthy and diseased cells with these maps being used to better understand disease and provide novel therapies to fight them.

He has authored over 250 papers in the fields of genetics and molecular biology and has given over 350 lectures and seminars around the world. He is a Searle Scholar, a Keck Distinguished Scholar and was recently awarded the Roddenberry Prize for Biomedical Research.

Title of talk:
Host Factor Targeted Drug Discovery for SARS-CoV-2 Through an International Collaboration

Short CV

Since 2010 Head of the Infection Biology Unit, German Primate Center and full professor at Georg-August-University Göttingen.

The Pöhlmann lab has a long standing interest in host-cell interactions of emerging viruses, including coronaviruses. We recently showed that SARS-CoV-2 uses ACE2 and TMPRSS2 for infection of human lung cells and that this process depends on pre-cleavage of the viral S protein by furin and can be inhibited by the clinically-proven protease inhibitors nafamostat and camostat. Moreover, we contributed to the identification of antibodies that block SARS-CoV-2 infection and we demonstrated that chloroquine does not inhibit SARS-CoV-2 infection of lung cells.

Title of talk:
SARS-CoV-2 entry into cells and its inhibition

Short CV
Dr. Zhengli SHI graduated from Wuhan University in 1987 and pursued her graduate studies in Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (1987-1990), and Montpellier University II, France (1996-2000). She has been working on discovery and characterization of novel viruses from bats and other wildlife. She carried out systemic studies on epidemiology, genetic evolution, interspecies infection mechanism and pathogenesis of bat viruses. The accomplishments of Dr. Shi include 1) identify the pathogen of COVID-19 and its probable bat origin; 2) identify the pathogen causing swine acute diarrhoea syndrome and its bat origin; 3) identify a gene pool of SARS-related coronaviruses; 4) discover a large number of novel bat viruses, including filoviruses, adenoviruses, reoviruses, circovirus, etc. Owing to her original scientific findings and contributions to bat virus research field, Dr. Shi won the second prize of Natural Science Award of China in 2018 and was elected as fellowship of American Academy of Microbiology in 2019. She has provided editorial service to VirologyVirol J and has served since 2017 as Editor-in-Chief for Virologica Sinica

Titel of talk:
Probable origin and interspecies transmission of SARS-CoV-2

Short CV
I am a population geneticist studying human evolutionary history. A particular interest is in reconstructing population structure and dispersals of both ancient humans and their associated pathogens, to understand how their interaction has shaped their genetic diversity. In order to achieve this goal, I use computational and statistical modeling of large-scale genomics datasets, combining both present-day and ancient DNA.

I obtained a Master’s of Science in Biotechnology from the University of Agricultural Sciences in Vienna, Austria in 2004, and a PhD in Genetics from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain, in 2010. Between 2010 and 2014 I was a postdoctoral scholar at the Department of Genetics, Stanford University, USA. Since then I have held an appointment as Associate Professor at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Title of talk:
New frontiers in paleovirology - Tracing the evolutionary history of viruses from the Stone Age to the present using ancient DNA

 

Short CV
Since April 2016 Professor of Virology, University of Oxford.
Following graduation in Medicine, Peter Simmonds pursued postgraduate medical training (MRCPath 1995) and a PhD in HIV pathogenesis. His recent research focuses on disease impacts, molecular epidemiology and transmission dynamics of RNA viruses and evolutionarily based studies of virus/host interactions at the level of innate cell defences.
Investigation of the role of large scale RNA secondary structure and dinucleotide composition in virus replication and persistence has led to a major reappraisal of current understanding of the forces behind the evolution of RNA viruses. The evidence for selection pressures operating on viral genomes beyond their conventional protein coding function sheds new light on RNA virus recognition mechanisms. They also provide the means to manipulate virus compositional variables to modulate protein expression and replication dynamics.
Better understanding of viral evolutionary processes and sequence change is of considerable value in the creation of virus classifications that match better with evolutionary histories, and provide a framework for incorporating the large number of newly discovered viruses into the current taxonomy. Through membership of the ICTV Executive Committee, Peter Simmonds is closely involved in the ongoing development of virus classification methods and the assimilation of vast amounts of new viral metagenomics data. 
The ongoing research / development programme with clinical virology has helped with the assessment of the risk of newly discovered human viruses to human health and the development of methods to evaluate their prevalence, epidemiology and clinical associations to guide current and future diagnostic services.

Title of talk:
RNA virus genome structure and persistence

Short CV
Gerd Sutter is Professor and Chair of Virology in the Department of Veterinary Sciences at the Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München (LMU Munich). He obtained his doctoral degree (Dr. med. vet., 1990) for work on the genetics of vaccinia virus Ankara at LMU Munich. Then as a postdoc in the laboratory of Bernard Moss at NIH, USA (1990-1993), he developed Modified Vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) as an expression vector and established the use of first recombinant MVA vaccines. In 1994, he returned to Germany and continued working with poxviruses and MVA vaccines leading his own research group in the Institute of Molecular Virology at the Helmholtz Zentrum Munich. In 2003, Professor Sutter joined the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut in Langen, the Federal Institute for Vaccines and Biomedicines in Germany, to serve as Professor and Director of the Division of Virology. In 2009, he moved back to LMU Munich earning the position as Full Professor and the Chair for Virology.

In addition to his responsibilities at LMU Munich, he is a member of several scientific advisory boards and review boards relating to his expertise in virology. Since 2012 he has been a Principal Investigator for the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF).

Professor Sutter´s primary research fields include: vaccine development with emphasis on vector vaccines based on Modified Vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA), prevention of zoonotic and emerging virus infections, e.g. avian influenza, MERS and SARS coronavirus or flavivirus infections, and mechanisms of (pox-)viral modulation of the host immune system including evasion of innate and adaptive responses to infection.

Titel of talk:
A MERS vaccine protecting dromedary camels as blueprint for developing COVID-19 candidate vaccines

Short CV

Since 2015 Icahn Scholar and Fishberg Professor Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine.
Since 2016 Director of the Virus Engineering Center for Therapeutics and Research (VECToR)
Since 2018 Co-Director of the Microbiology Training Program, Icahn School of Medicine.

Title of talk:
The short- and long-term consequences of SARS-CoV-2 infection

Short CV
Özlem Türeci, M.D., Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer of BioNTech, is a physician, immunologist, and cancer researcher with translational and clinical experience. Türeci has helped lead the discovery of cancer antigens, the development of mRNA-based individualized and off-the-shelf vaccine candidates and other types of immunotherapies which are currently in clinical development. Türeci leads the clinical development of BioNTech’s “Project Lightspeed,” the company’s successful effort to develop and distribute an mRNA-based vaccine against COVID-19, a historic achievement completed in less than one year. Türeci previously served as CEO and Chief Medical Officer of Ganymed Pharmaceuticals AG, which she co-founded with Ugur Sahin and Christoph Huber. The company was acquired by Astellas in 2016. She currently serves as President of the Association for Cancer Immunotherapy (CIMT) in Germany. She is a recent recipient of the German Sustainability Award, among other notable recognitions. Türeci is married to Prof. Ugur Sahin.
 

Short CV
Volker Thiel has studied Biology at the University of Würzburg, Germany. Already during his master thesis he started to work on coronaviruses at the Institute of Virology in Würzburg and has then completed his PhD in 1998. One of the major achievements is the establishment of reverse genetics system for various coronaviruses, including Human Coronavirus 229E, SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 and he was the first to report a molecular clone for a human coronavirus. In 2003 he moved to the Kantonal Hospital in St.Gallen where he was leading a research group at the Institut of Immunobiology. He habilitated in Virology at the Vetsuisse Faculty in Zürich and moved 2014 to University of Bern where he is Professor and chair in Virology at the Vetsuisse Faculty Bern and head of the division Virology at the Institute of Virology and Immunology (IVI).

Titel of talk:
From Genome to Function - Phenotypic Characterisation of Pandemic SARS-CoV-2 Variants

Short CV
Jonathan Weissman, Ph.D., studies how cells ensure that proteins fold into their correct shape, as well as the role of protein misfolding in disease and normal physiology. He is also widely recognized for building innovative tools for broadly exploring organizational principles of biological systems. These include ribosome profiling, which globally monitors protein translation, CRIPSRi/a for controlling the expression of human genes and rewiring the epigenome, and lineage tracing tools, to record the history of cells.

Dr. Weissman is a member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, a Landon T. Clay Professor of Biology Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for Amgen, a member of the President’s Advisory Group for the Chan-Zuckerberg Biohub, and a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization.

Dr. Weissman has received numerous awards including the Beverly and Raymond Sackler International Prize in Biophysics (2008), The Keith Porter Award Lecture from the American Society of Cell Biology (2015), the National Academy Science Award for Scientific Discovery (2015), and the Ira Herskowitz Award from the Genetic Society of America (2020).

Title of talk:
Functional single-cell genomics of human cytomegalovirus infection

Short CV
Roland Zahn is currently head of preclinical immunology for viral vaccines at Janssen Vaccines and Prevention B.V.. Here he is responsible for all aspects of preclinical research for viral vaccines for new vaccines entering the clinical pipeline and supporting clinical development. He joined the company in 2009 as scientist and is now responsible for the immunological and efficacy evaluation of viral vaccine candidates in the appropriate animal models. He is an immunologist with a major research interest in the immunological response to viral infections and its prevention by vaccination. In 1999 he obtained his Biochemistry diploma from the University of Bielefeld, Germany and in 2005 his PhD from the University of Frankfurt, Germany. The doctoral thesis focused on the innate immune response to arenavirus infection. His postdoctoral training was in Frankfurt, Germany and at Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA in the immunology of viral infections. Here he studied the immune response to non-pathogenic simian immunodeficiency virus infection in comparison to pathogenic SIV infection. He published his research papers in international peer-reviewed science journals, reviews, and book chapters.

Title of talk:
Janssen’s efforts in the development of a COVID-19 Vaccine