GVN Announces Inaugural Participants of Postdoctoral Fellowship Program

The three awardees will receive training and mentorship to help support and propel their rising careers in virology

BALTIMORE, MD, March 8, 2022: The Global Virus Network (GVN), a coalition comprised of human and animal virologists from 68 Centers of Excellence and 10 Affiliates in 36 countries, today announced the three inaugural members of the GVN Postdoctoral Fellowship Program.  This new program, funded by a private donor and Sanofi, was created to identify and support promising, postdoctoral researchers and engage them with top virology experts and cutting-edge research initiatives.

“GVN is a safety net against viral disease and is our best defense against current viral killers and those unknown on the horizon,” said Christian Bréchot, MD, PhD, President of the GVN, Associate Vice President for International Partnerships and Innovation at University of South Florida, and Professor, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Internal Medicine at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, the GVN Southeast U.S. Regional Headquarters. “We are so pleased to welcome our inaugural postdoctoral fellows to GVN’s elite training and mentoring program so that the global safety and preparedness network against viruses is strengthened.”

“Sanofi is committed to helping train the next generation of scientists and so was pleased to be able to sponsor a postdoctoral fellow as part of the GVN postdoctoral fellowship program,” said Jim Tartaglia, PhD, Vice-President R&D for vaccines, Sanofi.

“Throughout history, millions died and millions more were infected by pandemic viruses because governments and health authorities throughout the world were insufficiently prepared and unable to join forces in order to harness the collective knowledge, expertise, resources, and technologies necessary to effectively battle such viruses,” said Robert Gallo, MD, The Homer & Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor in Medicine, Co-Founder and Director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, a GVN Center of Excellence, and Co-Founder and International Scientific Director of the GVN. “Even in our current pandemic, we have seen mistakes that have cost lives unnecessarily.  We cannot permit this to happen again, either in our lifetime or in future generations, which is why my colleagues, and I formed the GVN to, among other important initiatives, highly train the next generation of virologists.”  

As the only coalition of its kind, the GVN Postdoctoral Fellowship Program offers a rare opportunity for future virology leaders to collaborate with key researchers, medical practitioners and decision makers driving scientific, evidence-based solutions for some of today’s largest challenges in public health. The three awardees and the three hosting GVN Centers of Excellence for the inaugural cohort of the program include:

  • Rubaiyea (Ruby) Farrukee, PhD, (Australia), The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, University of Melbourne, Australia, GVN Center of Excellence
  • Birendra Prasad Gupta, PhD, (Nepal), Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, USA, GVN Center of Excellence
  • William Marciel de Souza, PhD, (Brazil), Institute for Human Infections and Immunity and the Department of Microbiology & Immunology at the University of Texas Medical Branch, USA, GVN Center of Excellence

“I am really honoured to have received this amazing opportunity to build my career in virology,” said Rubaiyea (Ruby) Farrukee, PhD.  “This Fellowship will be pivotal in my pursuit of setting up an independent research program, with the aim of studying respiratory viruses within the context of innate immunity. I look forward to conducting some exciting science and increasing my collaboration with the GVN network”.

“The GVN has provided me the opportunity at the appropriate phase in my career to expand my portfolio in innovative research on viral disease and vaccine development,” said Birendra Prasad Gupta, PhD. “Recently, Nepal, and nations around the world, have experienced COVID-19’s harsh impact on every aspect of life. The pandemic alerted regulatory bodies to provide more resources in cutting-edge technology and to promote research through collaborative work.”

“I am excited by this exceptional opportunity to receive training in cutting-edge research in arbovirology and grantsmanship, and to expand my scientific expertise, and increase research collaborations with members of the GVN,” said William Marciel de Souza, PhD“This program will accelerate my research activities and support my pursuit towards an independent career in research, building my own group. After the GVN fellowship, I will apply for long-term support to sustain and conduct my own research line on arboviruses.”

Last year, GVN received a donation of US$1 million to support the GVN Academy, an initiative that fosters global collaboration by providing training and mentoring programs for rising junior virologists. With these funds, the organization launched the GVN Rising Star Program, which plans to mentor 15 scientists over the course of two years as well as connect each mentee with a GVN senior virologist who can help provide one-on-one research and career guidance, and the GVN Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, which will train three postdoctoral researchers during a two-year term with the option to rotate among two GVN Centers of Excellence.  Sanofi provided funding for a third awardee to be trained under the GVN Postdoctoral Fellowship Program.  Participants of the program will also be invited to participate in exclusive GVN meetings and other professional development opportunities in virology.

We are very pleased and honored to host one of the inaugural fellows here at the University of Texas Medical Branch, one of the first GVN Centers of Excellence,” said Scott Weaver, PhD, the John Sealy Distinguished Chair in Infection and Immunity, Chair, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Director, Institute for Human Infections & Immunity
Scientific Director, Galveston National Laboratory (GNL), and Director of its GVN Center of Excellence. “Bright, energetic young scientists like Dr. William Marciel de Souza, who bring a global orientation to new approaches for controlling emerging viral diseases, often catalyze the most effective international collaborations in the unique spirit of the GVN.”

“GVN is well positioned to enable those at the top of their field to mentor and train the next generations of virologists so that we can be more assured of a healthy future with a continuous adequate supply of responsible, highly-trained virologists,” said Sharon Lewin, AO, FRACP, PhD, FAAHMS, GVN Center Director and Director at The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, University of Melbourne, Australia, a GVN Center of Excellence, and evaluation committee member of the GVN Postdoctoral Fellowship Program.

To learn more about the GVN Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, visit here.

About the Global Virus Network (GVN)

The Global Virus Network (GVN) is essential and critical in the preparedness, defense and first research response to emerging, exiting and unidentified viruses that pose a clear and present threat to public health, working in close coordination with established national and international institutions. It is a coalition comprised of eminent human and animal virologists from 68 Centers of Excellence and 10 Affiliates in 36 countries worldwide, working collaboratively to train the next generation, advance knowledge about how to identify and diagnose pandemic viruses, mitigate and control how such viruses spread and make us sick, as well as develop drugs, vaccines and treatments to combat them. No single institution in the world has expertise in all viral areas other than the GVN, which brings together the finest medical virologists to leverage their individual expertise and coalesce global teams of specialists on the scientific challenges, issues and problems posed by pandemic viruses. The GVN is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. For more information, please visit www.gvn.org. Follow us on Twitter @GlobalVirusNews

Media Contact:
Nora Samaranayake, GVN
[email protected]