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31st ICAR Speakers' Bios
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Thijn Brummelkamp received his Msc in biology from the Free University in Amsterdam and his PhD from Utrecht University in 2003. After his PhD he led a research group at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, USA. In 2011 his team moved to the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam and he became an Adjunct PI at Center for Molecular Medicine (CeMM) in Vienna. He is a co-founder of the biotech companies Haplogen (in Vienna) and Scenic Biotech (in Amsterdam). He develops and applies genetic technologies in human cells to study biological processes. The development of application of haploid human cells as a genetic model system resulted in the identification of host factors for pathogens such as the Niemann-Pick C1 gene as the long-sought entry receptor for Ebola virus. 

For his studies, he received the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Award (2003), The Annual NVBMB Award (2004, Dutch Association for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology), he was chosen as one of the world's top 35 Young Innovators by MIT's Technology Review Magazine (2005), received the Kimmel Scholar Award (2006), an ERC starting grant from the European Research Council (2012), the 2012 Molecular Biosystems Early Career Award, EMBO's Gold Medal 2013, and the Ammodo KNAW Award (2015).

David Durantel obtained his PhD at the University of Montpellier in 1997. After three postdoctoral trainings respectively at Oxford Brookes University (UK), University of Oxford, and at INSERM-U271, he obtained a tenure position at INSERM in 2005, his Habilitation in 2008 from the University of Lyon (UCBL), and was recently promoted Director of Research. He currently heads a group at the Cancer Research Center of Lyon (CRCL, INSERM-U1052) in France on a program of research aiming at better understanding the interplay between HBV/HDV and liver innate immunity in order to contribute to the development of novel immune-therapeutics.
He has been involved in the past on several research projects related to drug discovery, in particular research on HCV/HBV morphogenesis inhibitors, research on PRR agonists as potential adjuvant for immune-therapeutic concepts, as well as to antiviral resistance.
He has authored/co-authored 85 PubMed-recorded publications, as well as numerous reviews/editorials, proceedings and book chapters. He acts as reviewers for many journals, including Gastroenterology, Gut, Hepatology, J. Hepatol, Plos-Pathogen, etc…
Since 2014, he is editor for the Antiviral Research journal, section viral hepatitis.
He contributes to national coordination on HCV/HBV/HDV research at ANRS and is member of the executive board of AFEF (French association for liver research).

Paul Griffiths is Professor of Virology at University College, London. He is Editor-In-Chief of Reviews in Medical Virology. His research concerns cytomegalovirus infection, where he has helped to define the natural history and pathogenesis of this infection and used this information to design randomised controlled trials of antiviral drugs and prototype vaccines.





Michael Jacobs is Consultant Physician in Infectious Diseases at the Royal Free Hospital in London. He trained at Oxford and London universities before completing a PhD in Virology. He is interested in all aspects of clinical infectious diseases with a special interest in serious viral infections. He is director of the UK High Level Isolation Unit and is a member of the UK Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens. He worked at the centre of the UK response to the West Africa Ebola outbreak, and served on several national and international Ebola advisory committees. He is NHS England Programme Director for High Consequence Infectious Diseases. He was knighted in 2016 for services to the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases.



Dr. David Kimberlin holds the Sergio Stagno Endowed Chair in Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he is Vice Chair for Clinical and Translational Research and Co-Director of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases. Dr. Kimberlin also is the Principal Investigator for the Collaborative Antiviral Study Group (CASG).  Funded continuously by NIH/NIAID/DMID since the early 1970s, the CASG is a network of pediatric academic medical centers that evaluates antiviral therapeutics in rare diseases with a large unmet medical need, including neonatal herpes simplex virus (HSV) infections, congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) disease, congenital Zika syndrome, neonatal and infantile influenza infection, and neonatal enteroviral sepsis syndrome.  The number of participating academic medical centers varies by study, but generally ranges from 15 to 30 across the United States, the United Kingdom, and Peru.  Studies conducted by the CASG have led to new drug indications and label changes for acyclovir, valganciclovir, and oseltamivir, and non-CASG studies conducted by Dr. Kimberlin also have led to label changes for valacyclovir. Current CASG studies are evaluating novel diagnostic modalities for and incidence of neonatal herpes, treatment studies of congenital CMV infections, and natural history studies of Zika virus infection in pregnancy. These studies build upon previous CASG studies conducted by Dr. Kimberlin that have defined the standard of care for the treatment of neonatal HSV and congenital CMV infections.

Dr. Kimberlin also is Editor of the 2018 AAP Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases (Red Book), and was Editor of the 2015 edition and Associate Editor for the 2009 and 2012 editions. He served as a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Committee on Infectious Diseases (COID) from 2005-2011. Dr. Kimberlin also is the AAP Red Book liaison to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), having served in this capacity since 2006. During this time, he has served as the COID liaison to six different ACIP Working Groups.

Dr. Kimberlin is a Past-President of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society (PIDS), which is the world's largest organization of professionals dedicated to the treatment, control, and eradication of infectious diseases affecting children. In 2016 he received the Ronald McDonald House Charities 2016 Medical Award of Excellence. He has received numerous education awards.

Philippe Lemey is an Associate Professor at the Rega Institute, University of Leuven. His research interests lie in the fields of molecular epidemiology, computational biology and viral evolution. In particular, he has studied the evolutionary processes that shape viral genetic diversity, spanning from large-scale epidemic processes, such as population growth and spatial dispersal, to small-scale transmission histories and within-host evolutionary processes. Specific applications include the origin of HIV, the source-sink dynamics of seasonal influenza, rabies metapopulation dynamics, and Ebola virus patterns of spread. Philippe is the lead author of the second edition of the Phylogenetic Handbook and a two-time ERC grant awardee. His team has made important contributions to the popular BEAST software, which was acknowledged by the Mitchell prize in Bayesian statistics.

Marco Vignuzzi has been a faculty member at Institut Pasteur since 2008, developing computational and experimental tools to study RNA virus evolution. His laboratory studies the behaviour of viruses as populations during infection, trying to identify stages of the virus multiplication, dissemination and transmission cycle that are most sensitive to antiviral strategies. His lab takes an evolutionary perspective to target virus fitness by trying to hinder, alter or subjugate their adaptation and evolution.






Xavier Saelens obtained his PhD in the laboratory of Walter Fiers at Ghent University. He is currently a group leader in the VIB-UGent Center for Medical Biotechnology and a full professor at Ghent University (Belgium). The research of his group is primarily focused on the development of novel vaccines and antibody-based antivirals against influenza A and B viruses and human Respiratory Syncytial virus. A more fundamental research line of his team is to try to elucidate how the interferon induced GTPase MX1 exerts its antiviral activity. His group is well known for its work on a broadly protective influenza vaccine that is based on M2e, an approach that was conceived by Walter Fiers. More recently, his group proposed a novel human RSV vaccine candidate and reported the discovery of prefusion F-specific single domain antibodies that can potently neutralize RSV.






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