Speakers

 
GRACIELA ANDREI holds a PhD in Biological Sciences and is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Medicine, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium. At the Rega Institute for Medical Research, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, she carries out her research work that is mainly focused on chemotherapy of viral diseases, with emphasis on herpesviruses (cytomegalovirus, varicella-zoster virus and herpes simplex), poxviruses (vaccinia, cowpox, orf), polyomaviruses and papillomaviruses, and the study of the molecular mechanisms underlying the antiviral drug resistance phenomenon and anticancer activity of nucleotide analogues. Dr. G. Andrei has authored approximately 30 and co-authored approximately 260 papers in international peer-reviewed journals between 1983 and 2011. She has also (co)authored 6 book chapters and 10 proceedings articles and about 260 published abstracts between 1983 and 2011.

ANDREA BRANCALE is a Professor in Medicinal Chemistry at Cardiff University. He undertook his PhD and postdoctoral work in synthetic medicinal chemistry under Professor Chris McGuigan, focusing on the design and synthesis of novel nucleosides and nucleotides as potential anticancer and antiviral drugs. With his appointment as lecturer in the Cardiff School of  Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences he strategically directed his research interests on the use of computer-aided techniques to design and discover novel anti-viral and anti-cancer compounds. In 2017, he was promoted to Professor and he continued to establish his reputation as an internationally recognised drug design expert in the antiviral and anticancer field. He is author on more than 130 peer-review papers and actively collaborates with several academic groups in the UK and the rest of the world. His focus to drug discovery and development emerges also from his strong connection with the private sector. He was a scientific consultant for the NASDAQ listed biotech Synergy Pharmaceuticals and for the NASDAQ listed biotech Inhibitex. He is an elected Board member of the International Society for Antiviral Research. In 2013, he was presented with the Young Researcher William Prusoff Award for his contribution to the antiviral field. Currently, he is also the Editor-in-Chief of Antiviral Chemistry and Chemotherapy.


LUCA G. GUIDOTTI is a virologist and viral immunologist who is internationally recognized for his pioneering studies on the mechanisms of viral clearance and organ damage during hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. Currently, LGG serves as Deputy Scientific Director of Ospedale San Raffaele (OSR) and as Full Professor of Pathology at University Vita-Salute San Raffaele in Milan, Italy. Over the years, LGG has published his work in prestigious scientific journals such as Cell, Nature, Science, Nature Medicine, Journal of Clinical Investigation, Journal of Experimental Medicine and others. Many of these studies have been carried out in animal models (mainly genetically manipulated mice) that LGG originally created. Notably, these animal models have also been used by the pharmaceutical industry to develop direct acting antivirals such as FDA-approved nucleos(t)ide analogues for the treatment of chronic HBV infection.
LGG has been a member of numerous Study Sections at the NIH and the ERC for the allocation of funds to biomedical research and holds different SAB and board member positions. LGG is also inventor in many international patents. (Researcher unique identifier,Google scholarScopus ID: 55692251800)

REUBEN HARRIS is a Professor of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics, the Associate Director of the Institute for Molecular Virology, and a Member of the Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota. 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. 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 ChemistryJournal of Virology, and Cancer Research. He has published over 160 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, including discovering multiple APOBEC3s in HIV-1 restriction, demonstrating the mechanism by which HIV-1 Vif degrades APOBEC3 proteins, and elucidating the first structures of APOBEC-ssDNA and APOBEC-RNA complexes. 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 APOBEC3B and APOBEC3H 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. This breakthrough has created new opportunities for cancer diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment by targeting tumor evolvability.


MICHELLE HASTINGS, PhD, is an Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Genetic Diseases at the Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science. Her research focuses on understanding genetic basis of disease and discovering new therapeutics that modulate the process of pre-mRNA splicing to alter gene expression. Her work has resulted in the discovery of effective means of targeting splicing with antisense molecules for the potential treatment of a number of neurodegenerative diseases including Batten disease, Usher syndrome, cystic fibrosis, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Hastings’ studies on Usher syndrome led to the first demonstration that hearing and balance can be recovered in mice with a mutation that causes congenital deafness in humans, laying the groundwork for developing a treatment for Usher in humans. Her recent work has demonstrated that antisense technology can modulate gene expression pathways associated with Alzheimer’s disease to mitigate learning and memory deficits in mouse models of the disease. A major focus of the lab currently is on developing approaches to treat Batten disease using antisense technology. Dr. Hastings holds a number of patents for her work and has been supported by the National Institutes of Health and numerous Foundation grants. She was recognized as a 2019 Researcher to Know by the Illinois Science and Technology Consortium.

BRANKA HORVAT, MD PhD (CV:http://cvscience.aviesan.fr/cv/1422/branka-horvat) is Inserm Research Director and Head of the “Immunobiology of Viral Infections” team at the International Centre for Infectiology Research (CIRI) in Lyon, France (http://ciri.inserm.fr/). She received MD degree at Belgrade University and performed her doctoral studies at Yale University, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, in New Haven, USA and postdoctoral research at CIML in Marseille, France. She has worked from 1994 as Associate Professor at the prestigious Ecole Normale Supérieure in Lyon. From 2006, she is full time researcher in major French medical research Institute INSERM, where she currently directs her research group. Research projects of her team aim understanding the immunopathogenesis of Nipah and measles virus infection and particularly the early stages of activation of the innate immune response and development of novel antiviral approaches, as well as analysis of the mechanism of the neuroinflammation caused by human herpesvirus 6. She focuses her studies on the analysis of the host-pathogen interactions, control of the entry of the virus into the cell and investigation of the role of viral non-structural proteins in the regulation of the viral replication cycle. Her team is fully accredited for the work in the Biosecurity Level 4 laboratory INSERM Jean Merieux in Lyon. Her work has led to major advances in this area, including the development of different animal models of infection and new vaccine and therapeutic approaches. She is involved in the teaching Lyon University and has been actively implicated in the training and supervision of numerous students and postdoctoral fellows. She is co-inventor of 5 patents and has published 80 papers in international journals (among them Nature Immunology, Immunity, Nature pj Vaccines, J Inf Dis, mBio, Emerging Infectious Diseases etc.) (ResearcherID: www.researcherid.com/rid/M-3504-2014, orcid.org / 0000-0003-0578-7765).


MATTEO IANNACONE obtained a M.D. degree from the University of Milan, Italy, followed by a residency in Internal Medicine and a Ph.D. in Immunology from Vita-Salute San Raffaele University in Milan, Italy. He trained as a postdoctoral fellow at The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA and at Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA. Since 2010, he directs the Dynamics of Immune Responses Laboratory at the San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Milan, Italy. By combining cutting-edge in vivo imaging techniques and advanced animal models, Matteo has made fundamental contributions to our understanding of the immune response and viral-induced immunopathology. His work has been published in the most important scientific journals (including Nature, Cell, Science, Immunity, Nature Medicine, Nature Immunology) and he holds 14 international patents. He has received numerous awards for his work, including the Armenise-Harvard Foundation Career Development Award, an ERC Starting Grant, the Young Investigator Award from the European Association for the Study of the Liver, the EMBO Young Investigator Award, an ERC Consolidator Grant, and the Chiara D’Onofrio Award. As of April 2021, his work has received more than 6600 citations with an H-index of 38.


JASON MCLELLAN, Ph.D., is a Welch Chair in Chemistry and Professor of Molecular Biosciences, The University of Teas at Austin. Dr. Jason McLellan researches viral proteins, and his work to understand how these proteins are structured and how they function has factored into the development of vaccines and potential treatments for deadly viruses that have impacted the lives of  billions of people. He is one of the inventors of a way to engineer a key protein in coronaviruses for use in vaccines. The technology his team developed can be found in many leading vaccines against COVID-19 (Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson and Johnson and Novavax). McLellan and his colleagues also designed key proteins that form the basis of several vaccines now in clinical trials against the coronavirus, as well as separate proteins used in vaccines against respiratory syncytial virus, a virus especially dangerous for young children and seniors. He is the winner of multiple scientific awards, including the Golden Goose Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the William Prusoff Memorial Award from the International Society for Antiviral Researchand the Viruses Young Investigator in Virology Prize, among others. His research and expertise have been featured in multiple media outlets including CNN, Fox News, USA Today, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Washington Post and National Geographic. Dr. McLellan earned a B.S. in chemistry with an emphasis in biochemistry from Wayne State University and his Ph. D. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He conducted his postdoctoral research at the National Institutes of Health’s Vaccine Research Center. After serving on the faculty at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth in the Department of Biochemistry for five years, he moved his laboratory to the University of Texas at Austin in 2018, where he serves as a tenured faculty member and associate chair for graduate education in the Department of Molecular Biosciences.


LUIS MENENDEZ-ARIAS studied biology at the Complutense University of Madrid, where he received his Ph.D. in 1989.  Between 1990 and 1994, he was trained as a postdoctoral fellow in the Frederick Cancer Research and Development Center (Frederick, Maryland, USA), where he conducted studies on the biochemical properties of retroviral proteases and their implications in virus maturation and antiviral therapy.  Currently, he is a Research Professor of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (Spanish National Research Council) and Group Leader at the Centro de Biología Molecular “Severo Ochoa” in Madrid, where he has been working since 1994.  His research is mainly devoted to understanding structure-activity relationships in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) reverse transcriptase (RT), elucidating mechanisms of HIV resistance to antiretroviral drugs, and understanding HIV replication fitness.  Part of this work involved the development of engineered RTs with increased fidelity and/or thermal stability.  These enzymes are currently used in biotechnological applications (ScriptoolsTM and SunScriptTM). Luis Menéndez-Arias has co-authored more than 100 peer-reviewed papers, and currently serves as academic editor ofPLoS ONE.  He is also member of the editorial boards ofAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, Antiviral Research, Antiviral Therapy, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Virus Research and Viruses. 

Dr.PATRICK REID received his PhD in microbiology from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in Manhattan, NY in the laboratory of Dr. Christopher Basler.  His worked focused on the Interferon antagonist proteins encoded by Ebola virus (EBOV), VP35 and VP24.  Dr. Reid elucidated the way VP24 impairs the host innate immune response to infection to support EBOV replication.  Dr. Reid continued his work on EBOV, including BSL4 work on live virus.  Recently, he has expanded his studies to include emerging arboviruses, including chikungunya virus (CHIKV).  Ongoing projects in the Reid lab include, 1) design and use of a 3D-vascualrized bone model to study CHIKV-induced bone pathology. 2) Elucidating the role of mesenchymal stem cells in chronic CHIKV infection, 3) Identifying novel functions of the EBOV nucleoprotein and 4) Elucidating the impact of post-translation modification/s of EBOV VP35 function.


KATHIE SELEY-RADTKE is a Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), UMBC’s Presidential Research Professor, and the University of Maryland’s Regents Professor for Research. In 2016 she was also named Maryland Chemist of the Year by the American Chemical Society. Her research involves using a medicinal chemistry approach to nucleoside/tide and heterocyclic drug discovery and development. Current projects include targeting Ebola, MERS-CoV, Dengue, Zika and Yellow Fever viruses, among other emerging and reemerging infectious diseases using her nucleos(t)ide “fleximers”. Kathie has given over 120 invited talks worldwide in 26 countries, published 90+ scientific articles and book chapters, and has organized a number of international conferences focused on nucleosides and medicinal chemistry.Related to this, for many years Kathie has been one of the driving forces behind the International Society for Nucleosides, Nucleotides & Nucleic Acids (IS3NA). She has served as President and is the current Secretary, having served in this capacity previously prior to being elected President. Kathie also served two consecutive terms on the Board of Directions for the International Society for Antiviral Research (ISAR), and was just elected as President-Elect of ISAR. Kathie is also the Co-Chair of the 2021 Gordon Research Conference on Nucleosides, Nucleotides & Oligonucleotides. Some of her other service contributions include her continuing role as one of the U.S. National Academies of Science’s Jefferson Science Fellows with the U.S. Dept. of State and the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Russia.For the past 20 years, Kathie has served on numerous NIH and other funding agency review panels, including as Chair/Alternate Chair. Kathie also serves as an Associate Editor for several journals. Most notably, Kathie has been heavily involved in mentoring junior colleagues, and as part of this, when she was President of IS3NA, she initiated the Chu Family Foundation Fellowships for Early Career Women for both IS3NA and ISAR, and she continues to Chair that important committee for both Societies. Most recently, Kathie was awarded the 2020 ISAR Antonín Holy Memorial Award for her outstanding accomplishments and demonstrated service to the antiviral and medicinal chemistry field.

VINCENZO SUMMA is a full professor of Chemistry at Federico II University, Naples. Vice-president of IRBM Science Park spa from February 2010. IRBM Science Park is a research center formally a spin-off of the Merck Research Laboratories located in Rome. He graduated in Chemistry at Università Degli Studi di Roma ‘La Sapienza’ in 1991 and in 1996 obtained his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry at Bergische Universität Wuppertal. From 1992 to 1994 was a researcher at the University of Rome “La Sapienza”. He became Research Fellow Merck from March 1996 to August 2001. Here was promoted Senior Research Fellow (September 2001 ); Senior Investigator Merck (November 2005 ) and Director in the medicinal chemistry department from November 2007 to October 2009. IN 2017 The American Chemical Society Honors IRBM Leading Scientists as Heroes of Chemistry for their effort in developing drugs,  among which 2 antiviral drugs invented by the team and currently on the market,ISENTRESS®, Grazoprevir-ZAPATIER®, From June 2010 is Associate Researcher CNR-ITB National Research Council – Institute for Biomedical Technologies and from April 2013 Member of the Board of Directors at CNCCS Consortium (IRBM SP – Consiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche – Istituto Superiore di Sanità)


YUN-XING WANG is a Senior Investigator; Head, Protein-Nucleic Acid Interaction Section; Head, Small Angle X-ray Scattering Facility, Center for Structural Biology, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Frederick, Maryland, USA.  Dr. Wang is a biophysicist and structural biologist, with his research focused on studying RNA structure and dynamics.  He is a trained protein NMR spectroscopist and a pioneer in both applying small angle X-ray scattering to study the structure and dynamics of RNA and RNA-protein complexes in solution and using X-ray free electron laser (XFEL) to study the synchronous behaviors of riboswitch in crystals.  Dr. Wang received his undergraduate education and a B.S. degree in polymer science from Jilin University in 1982, worked as an assistant engineer in a company in China before he obtained his Ph.D. degree in chemistry from the Johns Hopkins University in 1992.  His research tackles some of the long-standing fundamental questions about RNA structural dynamics and technical challenges in the field.  One such example is the mystery about how HIV recognizes its own viral RNA among much more abundant host RNA in the nucleus for export.   By collaborating with Drs. Alan Rein and Stuart LeGrice, we discovered the structural basis for the recognition by the HIV-1 virus of the viral RNA for nuclear export for viral protein translations or particle packaging.  Another example is the development of the Position-specific Labeling of RNA (PLOR) technology that has a broad range of applications in RNA biology and biotechnology. Currently, Wang Lab is working on mapping RNA conformational space in solution, the topic that Dr. Wang will discuss in his lecture.

 

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