Organizers of the 6th IAASS 2022: scientific curricula & career path.
Enzo Tramontano holds a degree (1990)from the University of Cagliari (Italy), he was Visiting Research Scientist at the Dept. of Pharmacology at Yale University Medical School (CT, USA, 1990-1992 and 1996-1998). He was given two awards granted by the Istituto Superiore di Sanità for “Research in the HIV field: AIDS Project”, for research activities performed in national (1993-1995) and international (1996-1998) institutions. Since 1998 he has worked at the Departments of Experimental Biology (1998-2003), Biomedical Sciences and Technologies (2003-2007), Applied Sciences in Biosystems (2007-2010) and Life and Environmental Sciences (2011-2016) at the University of Cagliari, being appointed as Research Associate (1998), Assistant Professor (2001), Associate Professor (2006) and Full Professor (2015). From 2015 he is also associated to the Institute of Genetic and Biomedical Research of the National Research Council (CNR) in Cagliari. Since 2006 he is head of the Molecular Virology laboratory of the Department of Life and Environmental Sciences of the University of Cagliari. From 2012 to 2015 he has been Vice-Director of the Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, from 2013 is Director of the PhD program in “Life, Environmental and Drug Sciences” and from 2015 he is Dean of the Faculty of Biology and Pharmacy of the University of Cagliari. He is founder member of the European Society of Virology, the International Society for Antiviral Research (for which he is Ambassador for Italy), the Italian Society of Virology and the Italian Society of General Microbiology and Microbial Biotechnologies (for which is currently member of the Executive Council).
Reuben Harris is an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and chair of the Biochemistry and Structural Biology department at University of Texas Health San Antonio. He received his B.S. (1993) and Ph.D. (1997) degrees from the University of Alberta and performed postdoctoral work at Baylor College of Medicine (1997-1998), Yale University (1998), and Cambridge University (1998-2003). He joined the University of Minnesota as an Assistant Professor in 2003 and was promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure in 2008 and to Full Professor in 2013. In 2022, Dr. Harris moved his laboratory to University of Texas Health San Antonio. Dr. Harris has received numerous grants and awards, including a Searle Scholarship, membership to the American Academy of Microbiology, and a Distinguished McKnight University Professorship. In 2015, he was also appointed as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. Dr. Harris is an Associate Editor for Science Advances and an Editorial Board Member for Journal of Biological Chemistry, Journal of Virology, and Cancer Research. He has published over 200 manuscripts, contributed to 13 patent applications, and co-founded a cancer therapeutics company. Dr. Harris’s scientific passion is elucidating mechanisms of mutation and establishing relevance to human biology and disease. As a doctoral student, he discovered a novel recombination-dependent mutation process operative in stationary-phase bacteria with implications for antibiotic resistance and microbial evolution. As a postdoctoral fellow, he helped solve an immunology Rosetta stone by discovering the DNA cytosine deaminase activity of AID and proposing a DNA deamination model for antibody gene diversification. Also as a postdoctoral fellow, he discovered the DNA cytosine deaminase activity of several APOBEC family members and, during the transition to faculty, elucidated a new mechanism of antiviral immunity by demonstrating APOBEC3G-catalyzed retroviral cDNA hypermutation. As a Principal Investigator, Dr. Harris has become known for his work on APOBEC enzymes in antiviral immunity. This body of work has shed light on fundamental mechanisms of antiviral immunity and yielded new strategies for drug development. In recent years, Dr. Harris’s virology studies have also enabled a major breakthrough in cancer research. His group found that APOBEC3 enzymes are responsible for a large proportion of mutations in breast, head/neck, lung, bladder, cervical, and other cancers. Independent work has confirmed these results and indicated that “APOBEC mutagenesis” far exceeds most other sources of mutations in cancer, including those attributable to smoking and UV rays. These breakthroughs have created new opportunities for cancer diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment by targeting tumor evolvability.
VINCENZO SUMMA is a full professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of Naples Federico II since 2019. He earned a Master’s Degree in Chemistry from the University of Rome La Sapienza in 1991, in 1996 obtained his PhD in Organic Chemistry at Bergische Universität Wuppertal. He became Research Fellow at Merck from March 1996 to August 2001. He was promoted to Senior Research Fellow (September 2001), Senior Investigator Merck (November 2005) and Director in the medicinal chemistry department from November 2007 to October 2009. From June 2010 he is Associate Researcher CNR-ITB National Research Council – Institute for Biomedical Technologies and he has been Member of the Board of Directors at CNCCS Consortium (IRBM SP – Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche – Istituto Superiore di Sanità) from 2013 to 2019.
Elias Maccioni (1966) holds a degree from the University of Cagliari, Italy, (1990) and was appointed Assistant Professor of medicinal chemistry in 1992. In 1993 to 1994 he was Visiting Researcher at the Department of Chemistry of the University of Bangor, North Wales. In 2005 he was appointed Associate Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Cagliari. He now leads a research group of Drug Discovery at the Department of Life and Environmental Sciences of the University of Cagliari. He is member of the Italian society of Medicinal Chemistry . Moreover he is coordinator of the Paul Ehrlich Network of European Medicinal Chemistry PhD for the University of Cagliari. His research is mainly directed towards the design and synthesis of HIV 1 reverse transcriptase and human monoamine oxidase inhibitors.
Cristina Parolin received the Bachelor Degree in Biology (1988), the PhD in Basic and Applied Microbiology (1995) from the University of Padova and the Specialty diploma in Microbiology and Virology (1998) from the University of Genova. She was “Research fellow” and Research Associate (1991-1997) at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston. She was appointed as Research Associate (1998) and Assistant Professor (2001) at the University of Padova, where she is now Professor in Microbiology since 2006 (Department of Molecular Medicine). Member of the Italian Society of Virology (Board 2008-); Italian Society of General Microbiology and Microbial Biotechnologies (Board) (2003-2006); International Committee for Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) (Italian representative) (from 2004); European Society for Virology (from 2009). Author of publications on national and international “peer-reviewed” journals. Major research interests are: studies on the mechanism of action of antiviral compounds; development of retroviral vectors for transgene expression (1995: “European Gene Therapy Award – Fondazione Baschirotto”; 1997: LINUS PAULING AWARD; patent for heterologous gene expression by means of an HIV-1 vector “Novel expression vectors and method of use”, PCT/US96/16531); lentivirus biology (life cycle, HIV/herpesviruses interactions and role on AIDS pathogenesis); interactions between viral and cellular proteins in order to identify potential targets for antiviral approaches.
Angela Corona graduated in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of Cagliari in 2010 and earned in 2014 a PhD in Biology and Biochemistry. She was Guest Researcher in 2011/2012 at the Drug Resistance Program, Center for Excellence in HIV / AIDS and Cancer Virology, Center for Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute, MD, USA and in 2013 at the Laboratoire de Biologie et Pharmacologie appliquée, Ecole Normale Superieure de Cachan, Paris. Since 2015 she has been a post-doctoral researcher at the Molecular Virology Laboratory of the Department of Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Cagliari. In 2017 she was Research Fellow at the IrsiCaixaAIDS Research Institute, Hospital Germans Trias and Pujol, Barcelona, granted by Chu Family Foundation (CFF) Women Scientists Award. Since 2020 she is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Biology and Pharmacy, Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, Section of Molecular Virology, University of Cagliari (Italy). Angela is a molecular virologist whose research activity has different topics related to the identification and characterization of the mechanism of action of antiviral molecules with different targets: she started her antiviral research activity working on the ribonuclease-H function associated with the HIV-1 reverse transcriptase. She also investigates the pathological roles of viral proteins to validate novel targets for drug development. In particular, she focused on Ebola virus proteins involved in the inhibition of innate immune response (VP35 and VP24 proteins). Her expertise in biochemical assays is coupled with expertise in the evaluation of antiviral activity in cell-based assays for Class 2 and Class 3 viral agents. Recently she has been involved in several grants regarding Coronaviruses, as in the EU-granted project EXSCALATE4CoV (E4C), a 2020 tender for projects to counter the Coronavirus pandemic and improve the management and care of patients (https://www.exscalate4cov.eu/). For her research activities, she was awarded the “Cecilia Cioffrese- Malattie Virali 2016” prize by the Carlo Erba Foundation. Her work has resulted in 78 publications including papers and book chapters. She is part of the editorial board of Frontiers as Review Editor in Experimental Pharmacology and Drug Discovery and in Antivirals and Vaccines.
Stuart Le Grice received his Ph.D. from the Department of Biochemistry, University of Manchester, UK, in 1976, where he studied the mechanisms of R-factor-mediated multidrug resistance in Escherichia coli. After postdoctoral training in the United Kingdom, Germany, and the United States, he was appointed Senior Scientist in the Central Research Units of Hoffmann La Roche, Basel, Switzerland, where he worked from 1984 to 1990 evaluating HIV-1 and HIV-2 enzymes as therapeutic targets. In 1990, he joined the faculty in the Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), Cleveland, OH. Initially recruited as an Associate Professor of Medicine, he was awarded tenure in 1992, and in 1995 was promoted to Professor of Medicine, Biochemistry, and Oncology. From 1994 to 1999, he served as Director of the NIH-funded CWRU Center for AIDS Research. Dr. Le Grice joined the National Cancer Institute in 1999 as Chief of the Resistance Mechanisms Laboratory in the HIV Drug Resistance Program, Center for Cancer Research (CCR), and in 2005 was appointed to the Senior Biomedical Research Service. In 2006, he was appointed Head of the Center of Excellence in HIV/AIDS & Cancer Virology, CCR. He is now head of the Basic Research Laboratory at the Center for Cancer Research of the National Cancer Institute. He is a member of the CCR HIV and Cancer Virology faculty, Chemistry and Biology faculty, and the Steering Committee of the Molecular Targets Discovery Program. In addition to serving on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Dr. Le Grice has been an ad hoc (1990-1999) and permanent Study Section member of NIH AIDS review panels (2000-2004), as well as an ad hoc reviewer for several international funding agencies.
GRACIELA ANDREI holds a PhD in Biological Sciences from the Faculty of Sciences, University of Buenos Aires, where she received a competitive fellowship from the National Research Council (1984-1989). She undertook a post-doctoral training on antiviral chemotherapy under Prof. Eric De Clercq at the Rega Institute, with a focus on herpesviruses, where she was recipient of a KU Leuven fellowship (1989-1996). In 1997, she performed a visiting research training at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, University of Alabama at Birmingham and was appointed associate researcher at the Rega Institute (1997-2005). With her appointment as assistant professor at the Faculty of Medicine KU Leuven (Belgium), in 2005, she directed her research interest to chemotherapy of viral diseases, with emphasis on different herpesviruses, poxviruses, polyomaviruses and papillomaviruses. In 2008, she was promoted to Associate Professor. Her research is currently directed to the investigation of the molecular mechanism of action of antiviral drug resistance and pathogenicity of viral mutants, competitive fitness of drug-resistant viruses, three-dimensional culture models for the study of viral pathogenicity and antivirals efficacy (including SARS-CoV-2), the development of novel strategies to target cancer cells and the tumor microenvironment, and the molecular mechanism of action of the anticancer activity of nucleotide analogues. In 2009, she participated to the setup of the translational research platform RegaVir for typing drug resistance among DNA viruses. She was awarded the 2021 ISAR women in science award for her activity in the field of antiviral research.
BEN BERKHOUT studied molecular biology at the Leiden University in the Netherlands and obtained his PhD in 1986 on a research project concerning the regulation of gene expression in RNA bacteriophages, in particular translational control by means of RNA structure. He performed postdoctoral research at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute of the Harvard Medical School in the field of molecular immunology and initiated HIV-1 research at the NIH in Bethesda. BB initiated a molecular virology research line in 1991 upon his return to the Netherlands and has been at the University of Amsterdam since then. He became Head of the Laboratory of Experimental Virology and was appointed Professor of Human Retrovirology. BB is editor for several journals (Retrovirology, Virus Research, RNA Biology, Journal of Biomedical Science) and associate editor for many more (NAR, JVI, JGV, JBC etc.). BB published over 410 peer-reviewed manuscripts on diverse topics concerning HIV-1 replication, virus evolution, virus discovery, new antiviral therapeutic strategies and HIV-1 vaccine design. He received the Retrovirology Prize 2008 for his pioneering research on the structure and function of the HIV-1 RNA genome. His work received >13,400 citations and he has an H-index of 61.