Top GVN Experts Inspire Rising International Virologists

Baltimore, Maryland, USA, August 29, 2019: The Global Virus Network (GVN) earlier this month held its 6th Annual Short Course in Basic and Translational Virology on July 28-August 3 for 18 early-career human and animal virologists from Argentina, Bolivia, Germany, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Nigeria, South Korea and United States of America. The preeminent one-week course on basic, translational and clinical aspects of viruses featured world-renowned researchers drawn from GVN Centers of Excellence, encompassing 51 Centers of Excellence and nine affiliates in 30 countries and comprising foremost experts in every class of virus causing disease in humans and some animals. The Short Course is designed to counter a declining number of researchers entering the field of human and animal virology.

The announcement was made by Robert Gallo, MD, Co-Founder and International Scientific Advisor, GVN and Christian Bréchot, MD, PhD, President, GVN.

“The annual GVN Short Course is a unique opportunity I wish I had when I was new to the field,” said Gallo, who is also The Homer and Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor in Medicine, Co-Founder & Director, Institute of Human Virology (IHV), University of Maryland School of Medicine, a GVN Center of Excellence. “Scientific research challenges, such as developing an effective preventive HIV vaccine candidate, abound. It is incumbent upon my colleagues and I to cultivate an environment to advance and train burgeoning medical virologists, and to prepare them to take collective responsibility for current and future viral threats.”

“This year’s agenda included presentations from GVN experts in hepatitis, hepatocellular carcinoma, human T-cell leukemia virus, human immunodeficiency virus, measles, arboviruses, Ebola, Lassa fever, bioinformatics, influenza, human papilloma viruses, polio and other enteroviruses, bio-surveillance, biosafety and biosecurity, antiviral drug discovery, laboratory diagnostics, vaccine development and One Health,” said Bréchot. “Participants visited GVN Centers of Excellence at the IHV and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where they received an insectary tour. They also visited the National Institutes of Health for a tour of the National Library of Medicine and to hear presentations from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Fogarty International Research Center.”

At the end of the annual course, participants elect a fellow participant as the “next emerging leader in virology” based on leadership and expertise. This year’s nominee, who will return next year as a speaker, is Matilu Mwau, MB, ChB, MTM, DPhil, Chief Research Officer, Kenya Medical Research Institute. Past nominees include Florian Krammer, PhD (2014), Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, USA; Christina Gavegnano, PhD (2015), Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Emory University, USA; Miguel Garcia-Knight, PhD (2016), Centro de Investigaciones en Ciencias Microbiológicas, Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, Mexico; Yuki Furuse, MD, PhD (2017), Assistant Professor at the Institute for Frontier Life and Medical Sciences at Kyoto University, Japan; and, Elysse Grossi-Soyster, MS, (2018) Laboratory Manager & Researcher, LaBeaud Lab, Stanford University School of Medicine.

“The GVN Annual Short Course is intense and comprehensive,” said Mwau. “We were trained by renowned experts including, Drs. Robert Gallo and Scott Weaver, on the most important emerging and reemerging viral diseases. By the end of the course, I had already decided that my infectious diseases research interests must be adjusted to capture these realities.”

“The GVN short course is a unique opportunity to learn first-hand from the experts who have generated much of the cutting edge research that forms the basis of our understanding of viral outbreaks causing the worst diseases in the world today,” said Allison Totura, PhD, a participant of this year’s course and ORISE Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Viral Pathogenesis Branch, Virology Division, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. “To be able to gain the perspective of collective leaders in the many aspects of medical virology on where the field stands as well as where it is going is an unparalleled resource to early career scientists. Although I have a PhD in Microbiology and Immunology, this course helped to fill gaps in my didactic training that can only be provided by the best of the best in the fields of basic and translational science. One of the greatest benefits of the course is the connections made with virologists studying similar pathogens, as the GVN works to link virologists around the globe who have similar interests, but might not otherwise connect with each other.”*

This year’s GVN Short Course speakers, in addition to Gallo and Bréchot, among others, included: Konstantin Chumakov, PhD, Associate Director for Research, Office of Vaccines Research and Review, U.S. Federal Drug Administration; José Esparza MD, PhD, Adjunct Professor of Medicine, IHV and formerly of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Health Organization; Genoveffa Franchini, MD, Senior Investigator, Vaccine Branch, Head, Animal Models and Retroviral Vaccines Section, National Cancer Institute, NIH; Robert Garry, PhD, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, Associate Dean for the Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences, Tulane Medical School; Diane Griffin MD, PhD, University Distinguished Service Professor of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; RADM Peter Kilmarx, MD, FACP, FIDSA, Deputy Director, Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health (NIH); Shyam Kottilil, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine, Director, Division of Clinical Care and Research, IHV; Christopher Kratochvil, MD, Professor, Associate Vice Chancellor for Clinical Research Chief Medical Officer, UNeHealth, University of Nebraska Medical Center; Mary Marovich, MD, Director, Vaccine Research Program, Division of AIDS, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH; Gene Morse, PharmD, FCCP, BCPS, SUNY Distinguished Professor, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Director of the UB Center for Integrated Global Biomedical Sciences, Co-Director of the SUNY Global Health Institute, University at Buffalo; Ab Osterhaus, PhD, DVM, Director, Research Center for Emerging Infections and Zoonoses, Professor, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, CEO, Artemis One Health Foundation; Manizhe Payton, MPH, Director, Office of Clinical Site Oversight, Division of AIDS, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH; Richard H. Scheuermann, PhD, Director, La Jolla Campus. J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI); and, Scott Weaver, MS, PhD, John Sealy Distinguished University Chair in Human Infections and Immunity, John S. Dunn Distinguished Chair in Biodefense, Scientific Director, Galveston National Laboratory, The University of Texas Medical Branch.

The GVN is a global authority and resource for the identification and investigation, interpretation and explanation, control and suppression, of viral diseases posing threats to mankind. It enhances the international capacity for reactive, proactive and interactive activities that address mankind-threatening viruses and addresses a global need for coordinated virology training through scholarly exchange programs for recruiting and training young scientists in human and animal virology. The GVN also serves as a resource to governments and international organizations seeking advice about viral disease threats, prevention or response strategies, and GVN advocates for research and training on virus infections and their many disease manifestations.

The GVN will host its 12th International meeting in Colombia, Medellin, September 13-15, 2020.

*The information contained in this press release does not necessarily reflect the position or the policy of the Government and no official endorsement should be inferred.

About the Global Virus Network (GVN)

The Global Virus Network (GVN) is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization, comprised of leading human and animal virologists from 30 countries. The GVN’s mission is to combat current and emerging pandemic viral threats through international collaborative research, training the next generation of medical virologists, and advocacy. For more information, please visit Follow us on Twitter @GlobalVirusNews

Media Contact:
Nora Samaranayake, GVN
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