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.
ROBERTO DI SANTO is a Full Professor in Medicinal Chemistry at “Sapienza” University of Rome. He graduated in Chemistry and then in Pharmacy at University of Rome. He started his work in synthetic medicinal chemistry, focusing on the design and synthesis of heterocyclic compounds based on pyrrole moiety as potential chemotherapeutic agents. The activity was focused in drug design and discovery (DDD). Main reserach is in the field of antimicrobial agents, in particular as antiviral agents (HIV IN, RNase H, NNRT inhibitors, HCV RdRpIs), antifungal azole agents, zinc chelators as inhibitors of ZnuABC transporter of Gram-negative bacteria and antitumor agents. Since 1996 studied HIV-1 integrase inhibitors as antiretroviral agents obtaining polyhydroxylated derivatives and aryldiketoacids, including quinolinones, endowed of potent antiviral activities. Also, inhibitors of RNase H function of the reverse trascriptase enzyme of HIV were developed as DKA derivatives and metabolically stable isosters. Further studies were devoted to the discovery of inhibitors of viral (HCV RdRp, HIV-1 RT) and human (TdT, pol l) polymerases. Finally, he developed a novel approach to antitumor and antiviral chemotherapy with the discovery of novel modulators of chromatin remodeling (HAT inhibitors). Cooperating with Companies to develop anti-Alzheimer, antimalarial agents and ligands of 5-HT4 receptors. Board Member and Vice-President of the Divisione di Chimica Farmaceutica della Società Chimica Italiana, Member of International Organizing Committee of International Symposium on Medicinal Chemistry (ISMC) of the European Federation on Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology (EFMC) (Lubiana 2016, Nice 2022). Designed Chairman of the next ISMC-EFMC Rome 2024.
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 Chemistry, Journal 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.
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.
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.
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)