The keynote speakers of Europic 2020 will be:
Cara C. Burns, PhD, is the Team Lead of the Molecular Epidemiology and Surveillance Laboratory in the Division of Viral Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia. Serving as a Team Lead since 2006, she also served as the Deputy Branch Chief of the Polio and Picornavirus Laboratory Branch from 2016-2019. She obtained her B.S. in Biochemistry in 1985 from Texas A&M University. She obtained her Ph.D. in 1991 from the University of Utah studying poliovirus replication in Dr. Ellie Ehrenfeld’s laboratory. In 1998, she completed postdoctoral training in Dr. Julie Overbaugh’s laboratory at the University of Washington, studying feline leukemia virus receptors, envelope processing, and HIV-1 integrase evolution. Her doctoral and postdoctoral research was supported by National Institutes of Health Training Grants. As a Microbiologist at CDC since 1998, she has focused on poliovirus molecular epidemiology and using poliovirus as a model for rational vaccine design. Her team performs high resolution sequencing and tracking of wild and vaccine-derived polioviruses circulating globally, performs CLIA-certified poliovirus assays, and provides support to >40 World Health Organization Global Polio Laboratory Network laboratories, including administration of Sequencing Lab Proficiency Test panels. She is the author of >60 scientific manuscripts and book chapters. She is a co-inventor on federal government patents in more than 15 countries for vaccine technology and is a founding member of the New OPV Consortium, which has brought two new type 2 oral polio vaccine candidates to clinical trials.
Urs Greber has been trained in cell and molecular biology and virology at the Scripps Research Institute La Jolla, and Yale University, USA. He was a START fellow of the Swiss National Science Foundation, became Assistant Professor at the University of Zurich (UZH), and was promoted to Associate Professor, and Full Professor. Urs Greber is an elected member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO), the president of the largest non-profit organization for Life Sciences in Switzerland (LS2), and a cofounder of the Biotech Start-Up company 3V-Biosciences. He is an expert in cell biology and molecular genetics of virus infections. He made pioneering contributions in virus-receptor interactions, virus entry and uncoating, membrane traffic, cytoplasmic transport and DNA import into the nucleus.
Prof. Greber published over 118 peer reviewed articles and reviews in journals, such as Cell, Nature Cell Biology, Nature Communications, Nature Nanotechnology, Cell Host & Microbes, Journal of Cell Biology, EMBO Journal, PNAS USA, ACS Nano, ACS Infectious Diseases, Cell Death & Disease, Journal of Cell Science, PLoS Pathogens, Journal of Virology, Cellular Microbiology, Traffic, PLoS ONE, mSphere or Biophysical Journal. His recent work expands towards systems analyses, innate immunity and cell-cell transmission of human DNA and RNA viruses. In there, his group addresses how human viruses cause disease by infecting the respiratory organs. Studies include adenovirus, rhinovirus and influenza virus, and employ a range of approaches, such as system-wide analyses of proteins, lipids and nucleic acids in organelles, cells and micro-tissue. Advanced light and electron microscopy, biochemical and cell biological tests, systems profiling and numerical models drive towards answering the paramount question of the underlying mechanisms behind cell-to-cell variability in health and disease.
Dr. Gromeier holds a degree in Medicine (1992) from the University of Hamburg, Germany. He has studied the molecular neuropathogenesis of poliovirus as a Medical Student (since 1989) and later on as a Postdoctoral Scientist from 1993-2000 at the State University of New York, Stony Brook, USA. Dr. Gromeier made seminal discoveries of the molecular mechanisms driving poliovirus translation in the central nervous system. His work led to the design of novel, highly attenuated recombinants that we are devising for immunotherapy of primary brain malignancies. He currently is a Professor of Neurosurgery and a member of the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke University, USA. Recombinant poliovirus immunotherapy has yielded unprecedented durable clinical and radiographic responses in clinical trials in patients with recurrent glioblastoma and was granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation by the Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Gromeier’s research is focused on elucidating mechanisms of poliovirus-host relations with regards to viral translation, the innate antiviral response and the host inflammatory response to poliovirus infection. The overarching goal of these investigations is to understand how tumor infection with recombinant poliovirus generates tumor antigen-specific antitumor immunity.
Dr. Gupta is a Senior Scientist in the Division of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases at the Indian Council of Medical Research, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, India. She is the National coordinator for research on viral infections and vaccine preventable diseases and has contributed to strengthening public health surveillance for infectious disease in India especially related to enteroviruses, arboviruses (dengue, chikungunya, Japanese encephalitis & Zika), Influenza, Measles Rubella etc. She was part of the team who worked extensively on deciphering the etiology and develop management guidelines for acute encephalitis syndrome in different parts of India. During the last few years she has primarily focused on sustaining the Polio free status of India. Dr. Gupta has been involved in the journey of India transitioning from a Polio endemic to Polio free Nation. She is the coordinator of the Indian Task Force program on Laboratory containment of polioviruses and implementation of Global Action Plan to minimize facility associated risk of poliovirus transmission. Furthermore, she is also investigating the transmission and outbreaks of enteroviruses causing hand foot and mouth disease in India.
Dr. Hirai-Yuki is a senior researcher in the Division of Experimental Animal Research at National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID), Japan. Her current research is focused on understanding the interplay of innate and adaptive immunity to hepatitis A virus (HAV) and the molecular and cellular mechanisms of restriction of oral infection and transmission of hepatotropic viruses. The ultimate goal of her research is to develop strategies to control illness of viral hepatitis as well as to universal strategies to prevent oral transmission of pathogenic viruses.
She received her DVM degree in 2003 and a PhD in 2006 from Nihon University in Japan. Her dissertation work focused on phylogeny and pathogenicity of a yeast like fungi Malassezia isolated from animals and was supported by a fellowship by the Japan Society for Promotion of Science (JSPS). Soon after her graduation, Dr. Hirai-Yuki was hired by the NIID as a researcher, and she was promoted to a senior researcher in 2011. During the first six years in the NIID, she studied virus-host interactions of the mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) and was supported by funding from the JSPS. While she takes her current position at the NIID, she received postdoctoral training under the direction of Prof. Stanly Lemon at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 2013 to 2016. She developed a novel murine model of HAV infection and elucidated molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis of HAV and the contribution of host innate immune responses to virus control or liver damage in collaboration with Dr. Jason Whitmire. In 2018-2019, she earned U.S.-Japan Cooperative Medical Sciences Program Collaborative Awards.
Dr. Marjomäki obtained her PhD and postdoctoral training on membrane traffic studies, enteroviruses, confocal / TEM imaging and image analysis. The interest of Marjomäki lab is to study the regulation of virus entry and to elucidate the host factors that affect virus stability or promote viral uncoating in endosomes. The group has especially studied the infectious entry pathways of enterovirus B group viruses including echoviruses and coxsackieviruses. The studies have included extensive microscopy, both confocal light and electron microscopy as well as live microscopy. The lab has contributed to the development of an in-house open-source software, BioImageXD for processing, analysis and animation of 3D/4D image data (www.bioimagexd.net). In addition, Marjomäki has led projects developing novel probes, antivirals and vaccines for enteroviruses, and provided. tools utilizing fluorescent tags and atomically precise gold clusters, as well as several assays to address different steps in virus uncoating, stability and infection. Enteroviruses, especially the B group, have recently been associated with chronic diseases such as type 1 diabetes, cardiomyopathies and atherosclerosis. Despite of their significance, there are no common antiviral drugs against enteroviruses. Fundamental cell biology studies are thus needed to understand the infectious entry pathways and to develop new antiviral strategies. Recent major focus in the laboratory is to study the mechanistic basis of potential antiviral molecules that have recently been found from several molecular and drug screens.
Dr. Steve Oberste is Chief of the Polio and Picornavirus Laboratory Branch in the Division of Viral Diseases at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. He received a B.S. in Genetics from the University of California, Davis, in 1982, and a Ph.D. in Immunology and Medical Microbiology from the University of Florida College of Medicine in 1988. His thesis work was on the biochemistry of poliovirus replication in vitro, in the laboratory of Dr. Bert Flanegan. From 1988 to 2003, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the National Cancer Institute Frederick Cancer Research Facility in Frederick, Maryland, working on animal models for HIV and AIDS. He then spent two years at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, also in Frederick, developing vaccines and molecular epidemiological methods for Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis Virus. In 1996, Dr. Oberste joined the Enterovirus Laboratory at CDC to lead the reference diagnostics team. He and his team developed molecular typing methods for enteroviruses and other picornaviruses that supplanted the traditional antigenic serotyping methods that were the gold standard at the time. Dr. Oberste became Branch Chief in 2012 and is responsible for overall direction and supervision of CDC’s laboratory activities in support of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, acute flaccid myelitis, and diseases caused by non-polio human picornaviruses (other than hepatitis A virus and rhinovirus). The branch’s activities include assay development, reference diagnostics, laboratory surveillance, genomics, molecular epidemiology, population immunity, new vaccine research, vaccine clinical trials, antivirals, and virus discovery.
Dr. Pfeiffer is a Professor of Microbiology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. She received a B.A. in Microbiology from Miami University in 1996. She earned a Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Michigan in 2001. Her thesis work on retroviral recombination was performed in the laboratory of Dr. Alice Telesnitsky and earned the MacNeal Distinguished Thesis Award. From 2001 through 2005, she performed postdoctoral research in Dr. Karla Kirkegaard’s laboratory at Stanford University where she examined RNA virus evolution and pathogenesis and was supported by a fellowship by the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation. In 2006, Dr. Pfeiffer started her independent laboratory at UT Southwestern with a focus on RNA virus pathogenesis, population dynamics, host barriers, and antiviral drug resistance. Her recent interests include examining the impact of intestinal microbiota on enteric virus infections. Her lab has determined that intestinal bacteria promote replication of several enteric viruses and ongoing work is examining mechanisms and consequences of bacteria-virus interactions. Dr. Pfeiffer was named a Pew Scholar in 2007, a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Investigator of the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease in 2012, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Faculty Scholar in 2016. In addition to serving on NIH Virology B Study Section and the Annual Review of Virology Editorial Board, Dr. Pfeiffer is an Editor at the Journal of Virology and a member of the Board of Reviewing Editors at Science.
Prof David I. Stuart currently holds two positions; the first as Joint Head of the Division of Structural Biology at the University of Oxford and the second as the Life Sciences Director at Diamond Light Source, Didcot, where he pursues interests in Synchrotron radiation; as well as these roles Prof Stuart is also the Director of INSTRUCT-ERIC, a pan-European infrastructure project which aims to develop and provide access to cutting edge technologies for integrative Structural Biology.
Prof Stuart’s principal research interests include the structure of viruses and viral proteins as well as cellular proteins, especially those that interact with viruses. Over a number of years, in addition to structures of a large number of proteins and protein complexes his group has determined the structures of a wide range of viruses, including foot-and-mouth disease virus, bluetongue virus and the membrane containing phages PRD1 and PM2. These were at the time, and remain, some of the most complex structures determined in atomic detail. Furthermore they provided profound insight into the function of the viruses and are currently underpinning efforts aimed at improved vaccines for some of the most economically important viruses infecting livestock.
Amongst his many accolades Prof Stuart was awarded the FEBS Anniversary Prize in 1990; elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1996, a member of EMBO in 1997 and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2006. In 2006 he was awarded (along with S Harrison, Harvard) the Aminoff Prize by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and in 2007 was awarded the ECA Max Perutz Prize.
Prof. Walker studied microbiology at the University of Guelph (Canada). My Ph.D. studies at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario focused on T cell immunity to arenaviruses under the mentorship of Drs. Ken Rosenthal and Bill Rawls. After graduation in 1985, post-doctoral studies were pursued with Dr. Jay Levy at the University of California, San Francisco. His work at UCSF provided initial characterization of T cell immunity to the human immunodeficiency virus. Following that, he joined Chiron Corporation in Emeryville, California in 1989 to pursue studies of the newly discovered hepatitis C virus. During 10 years at Chiron, Prof. Walker’s laboratory provided the first comparison of T cell responses in chimpanzees with resolving and persistent HCV infections, and evasion of immunity by mutational escape in HCV epitopes. He accepted a position at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and The Ohio State University in 1998 to continue studies of HCV pathogenesis and immunity. His laboratory provided direct proof that T cell immunity is required for protection from HCV persistence, and insight into mechanisms of T cell failure in infections that persist. Studies of immunity to the hepatitis A virus were also initiated, and demonstrated an unexpectedly dominant role for CD4+ T helper cells in control of acute infection.
Prof. Walker currently holds the Wilby S. Cowan endowed chair in Pediatric Research and direct the Center for Vaccines and Immunity at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Ohio, USA. He is also a Professor of Pediatrics in the College of Medicine at the Ohio State University. His group works on immunity to HAV, HCV, and more recently the hepatitis E virus.
Dr. Wolthers a clinical virologist working as a senior staff member at the Dept of Medical Microbiology of the Amsterdam University Medical Centers in Amsterdam. She earned her MD degree in 1993, and in 1998 a PhD, focusing on T cell function and dynamics in HIV-1 infection, both at the University of Amsterdam. In 1998-2003 Dr. Wolthers did her medical specialty training for medical microbiology at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam and in 2003 started as a staff member clinical virology at the Academic Medical Center at Amsterdam. Since 2005 she is an Amsterdam UMC Principal Investigator heading a research group on Molecular Epidemiology and Pathogenesis of Human Parechoviruses and Enteroviruses.
Dr. Wolthers has been the coordinator of a Marie Curie FP7 consortium AIROPico, an Academy-Industry partnership on Research and Developent Opportunities for Picornaviruses, collaborating on human picornavirus biology, diagnostics, and therapy development. She is currently co-coordinating an H2020 Innovative Training network (ITN), Organovir. In this network, innovative 3D organoid technology is applied to develop new models for studying virus pathogenesis and antivirals (www.organovir.com).
Hongjie Yu is a professor of infectious disease in School of Public Health, Fudan University. He was the former Director of the Division for Infectious Diseases, China CDC. Dr. Yu joined the Expanded Program on Immunization Division of the Liaoning Provincial CDC in 1994, and he devoted himself in Liaoning province to eradicating polio and elimination of measles for seven years. After selected to participate in the first cohort of Chinese Field Epidemiology Training Program in China CDC in 2001, he was appointed as the Chief of the Branch of Respiratory Infectious Disease, Office for Disease Control and Emergency Response, China CDC in 2003, where he remained until accepting a new position as the Deputy director of the Office for Disease Control and Emergency Response in 2006. From 2010 to 2011, he worked in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA as a guest researcher. In 2012, he was promoted to the Director, Division for Infectious Diseases, China CDC. After serving to public health in China CDC for 16 years, he moved to the School of Public Health, Fudan University as a professor of infectious disease since May 2017.
His research interests include the transmission dynamics, epidemiological parameters, disease burden, evaluation of interventions, patients orientated bedside clinical research to understand the interaction between pathogen infection and host immune response, as well as vaccine efficacy, effectiveness, safety, and cost effectiveness for emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases with public health importance, e.g. human with infection of novel animal influenza virus, seasonal influenza, Hand, foot, and mouth disease caused by enteroviruses, dengue, rabies, pneumococcal and Hib diseases.