Targeting functional condensates of negative strand RNA viruses
Dr. Ralf Altmeyer, CEO of Medusa Therapeutics Limited, graduated from University of Tubingen in Germany and did his PhD and postdoctoral training at Institut Pasteur Paris. His scientific career focuses on pathogen-host interactions and development of innovative drugs. He directed the Hong Kong University – Pasteur Research Centre (2003-2006), CombinatoRx-Singapore (2006-2009), Institut Pasteur Shanghai – Chinese Academy of Sciences (2010-2014) and the Helmholtz International Lab at Shandong University (2015-2019). Using approved drug repurposing his team identified suramin as an entry inhibitor of EV-A71 (Ren, 2014, EMI; Ren, 2017 SciRep), the causative agent of Hand Foot Mouth Disease in children. Suramin is currently in clinical development in China. More recently his team worked on RSV, the leading cause of pneumonia in children. His team identified the transcription factor M2-1 as a target for therapeutic intervention (Bailly, 2016, SciRep) leading to the recent discovery that RSV inclusion bodies are LLPS biomolecular condensates which can be hardened by small molecules resulting in reduction of virus in the lungs of infected animals (Risso-Ballester, 2021, Nature). This study provided proof of concept that viral condensates can be targeted by drug-like small molecules for the development of fast-acting therapeutics against acute viral infections.
Profile of PBI-0451 an orally administered 3CL protease inhibitor of SARS-CoV-2 for COVID-19
Lee D. Arnold, PhD, CSO, Pardes Biosciences, has held scientific leadership roles in diverse public and private companies. Most recently, Lee was the Senior Vice President of Research at Kinnate Biopharma. Prior to Kinnate, Lee was CSO at Assembly Biosciences, where he was a co-inventor of vebicorvir and ABI-H2158 for hepatitis B. As CSO of Coferon, Lee pioneered novel bivalent therapeutics based on the in vivo self-assembly of ligands upon their targets. Earlier he was Vice President of US Research at OSI Pharmaceuticals (now part of Astellas), Project Team Leader at BASF/Abbott Bioresearch Center, and held positions at Pfizer and Syntex.
COVID-19: Antiviral discovery pipeline
Sara Cherry is a Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Scientific Director of the High-throughput Screening Core and Director of the Chemogenomic Discovery Program in the School of Medicine. She obtained her BS with Dr. Peter Schultz at Berkeley, her PhD with Dr. David Baltimore at MIT and her postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Norbert Perrimon. Upon starting her laboratory at Penn she has applied High-throughput Screening technology to discover mechanisms by which emerging viral pathogens hijack cellular machinery while evading defenses. She has identified innate immune mechanisms and cellular interactions between viruses and cells comparing and contrasting viral families. More recently, she has uncovered new insights into the interplay between metabolic regulation, the microbiota and immune defense. Given the recent pandemic, her laboratory has now applied her screening platform to study the emerging coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 identifying new antivirals active in the respiratory tract.
Advances in the development of HBV core inhibitors for the treatment of Chronic Hepatitis B
William Delaney, PhD joined Assembly Bio as Chief Scientific Officer in 2020. Prior to joining Assembly, he held positions of increasing responsibility over a 20-year period at Gilead Sciences, serving most recently as an Executive Director in the Biology department. While at Gilead, he led the Viral Hepatitis & Herpes Discovery Biology Group, served as the Research Therapeutic Area Head for HBV, and contributed to the development of several marketed products, including Hepsera®, Viread®, and Vemlidy® for HBV and Sovaldi®, Harvoni®, Epclusa®, and Vosevi® for HCV. He earned a BS in Biotechnology from the University of Delaware and a PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology from the Penn State College of Medicine. In addition, he completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory (VIDRL), Department of Research & Molecular Development.
Antiviral strategies for arboviruses: a ‘buzzing’ role for the mosquito vector?
Leen Delang is an Assistant Professor in Virology at the Rega Institute for Medical Research in Leuven, Belgium. She received her PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Leuven in 2011, working on new antiviral therapies for the hepatitis C virus. As a postdoctoral researcher she identified new antiviral drugs against the chikungunya virus. In 2016, she was a visiting researcher in the team of Prof. Anna-Bella Failloux at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, where she studied the transmission of antiviral drug-resistant chikungunya viruses by mosquitoes. In 2019, Leen became an independent principle investigator in Leuven. Her research focuses on understanding the interactions between arboviruses, their mosquito vectors and the mammalian host, and on translating this work into new antiviral strategies to reduce arbovirus transmission and disease. Leen is an editor for the Journal of General Virology and a member of the editorial board of Antiviral Research.
Drug development for viruses of pandemic potential, Where are we now and where are we going?
Carl W. Dieffenbach, PhD is the Director of the Division of AIDS at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health. Under his leadership, the Division supports a global research portfolio to advance biological knowledge of HIV/AIDS, its related co-infections, and co-morbidities. As a result of his leadership on therapeutics and vaccines for HIV, he was asked to lead the Antiviral Program for Pandemics, a whole of government program to advance direct-acting antivirals for SARS-CoV-2 and additional viruses of pandemic potential in March 2021. Dr. Dieffenbach received his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Maryland in 1976 and his PhD in biophysics from The Johns Hopkins University in 1984.
Targeting the replication-transcription machinery of SARS-CoV-2: a single molecule perspective
David Dulin is assistant professor at the Physics and Astronomy department of VU Amsterdam and junior group leader at the Medicine Faculty of FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg. He earned a Bachelor (2004) and a Master of Science (2006) in physics and mathematics at Bordeaux University, including a one-year Erasmus exchange at Bristol University. He earned a PhD at the Charles Fabry Laboratory of the Institut d’Optics and University Paris-Sud, where he developed a single molecule fluorescence microscopy assay to study the mechanism of bacterial and eukaryotic translation elongation dynamics. In 2009, he moved onto his first postdoc at the Bionanosciences Department of TU Delft, where he pioneered high-throughput and high-resolution magnetic tweezers to study viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerases (RdRps) elongation dynamics, nucleotide addition cycle and fidelity. He applied his newly developed assay to characterize the mechanism of action of several nucleotide analogue, discovering that a pyrazine carboxamide incorporation induces long-lived, backtracking pauses in poliovirus elongation dynamics. In 2014, he moved onto a second postdoc at University of Oxford to study bacterial transcription initiation dynamics using single molecule FRET. In 2016, he accepted the Junior Research Group Leader “Physics and Medicine” position at FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg. In 2021, he accepted a second appointment at VU Amsterdam as assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Dulin’s research focuses on developing single molecule microscopy techniques to investigate at the single molecular level the mechanism that regulates RNA synthesis and processing in RNA viruses. In particular, his lab has pioneered the study of the coronavirus polymerase nucleotide addition cycle using high-throughput magnetic tweezers, and discovered the mechanism of action of Remdesivir.
What role can foundations play in driving innovation globally in antiviral development
Ken Duncan is Deputy Director of Discovery & Translational Sciences within the Global Health Program of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He leads the foundation’s efforts in drug discovery across therapeutic areas currently including TB, malaria, antivirals and contraception. He recently coordinated the drug discovery response to COVID-19 then developed and is implementing a strategy for pandemic preparedness, working together with other funding agencies, to identify safe, effective agents that can be deployed in low-resource settings. He established the TB Drug Accelerator, a new model of public-private collaboration, which aims to discover drug candidates that will contribute to a short-acting TB therapy. He played a major role in launching the Global Health Drug Discovery Institute in Beijing, China. He serves on the Selection Committee of the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund in Japan. Before joining the foundation in 2007, he spent 16 years in the pharmaceutical industry, most recently as Director, Diseases of the Developing World at GlaxoSmithKline. During that time, he helped establish the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development and served on its Scientific Advisory Committee for six years. Dr. Duncan obtained a BSc in Molecular Biology from the University of Edinburgh and a PhD from the University of Glasgow, and completed Postdoctoral Research Fellowships at the University of Glasgow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Medical School.
Explore herpesvirus infection to probe the roles of protein deamidation
Pinghui Feng is currently a Professor and the Chair of the Section of Infection and Immunity, Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry, Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center of University of Southern California. Pinghui obtained his BS from Hunan Normal University, MS from Wuhan Institute of Virology, and PhD from University of Missouri-Kansas City. Before joining University of Southern California, he received postdoctoral training from Dr. Jae Jung’s laboratory at Harvard Medical School and established his independent research group at UT Southwestern Medical Center as the Virginia Murchison Linthicum scholar in Medical Research. Pinghui is a recipient of Sustaining Outstanding Achievement in Research award (R35) from NIH.
Pinghui’s group has outstanding interest in viral immune evasion strategy, particularly those of human herpesviruses. His lab has discovered that herpesviruses deploy protein deamidation to inactivate innate immune defense. This discovery led to the endeavor to probe the general roles of protein deamidation in fundamental biological processes, such as protein nuclear transport, transcriptional regulation and metabolic reprogramming, in addition to immune defense. Protein deamidation is catalyzed by cellular metabolic enzymes known as glutamine amidotransferases, thus forging potential link between cellular metabolism and other key biological processes. Research in the Feng laboratory was supported by generous startup funds from University of Southern California and grants from private foundations and federal agencies. Pinghui is an Associate Editor for PLoS Pathogens and an editorial member for Journal of Virology. He is a standing member of the advisory committee of International Herpesvirus Workshop and International Workshop on KSHV and Related Agents.
Talk Title - TBD
George F. Gao, is a member (academician) of Chinese Academy of Sciences, an international member of National Academy of Sciences, and fellow of African Academy of Sciences, Director-General of Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and Director and Professor of CAS Key Laboratory of Pathogen Microbiology and Immunology, Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.Professor Gao obtained his PhD (DPhil) degree from Oxford University, UK and did his postdoc work in both Oxford University and Harvard University (with a brief stay in Calgary University). His research interests include enveloped viruses and molecular immunology. His group research is mainly focusing on the enveloped virus entry and release, esp. influenza virus interspecies transmission (host jump), structure-based drug-design and structural immunology. He is also interested in virus ecology, esp. the relationship between influenza virus and migratory birds or live poultry markets and the bat-derived virus ecology and molecular biology. He has published lots of refereed papers (Including papers in Cell, Nature, Science, The Lancet, New England Journal of Medicine, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA etc.). His research has recently expanded on public health policy and global health strategy. Gao is a recipient of several international and national awards, including TWAS Medical Prize (2012), Nikkei Asian Prize (Japan 2014), Shulan Medical Sciences Award (2016), the Gamaleya Medal (Russia 2018), HKU Centennial Distinguished Chinese Scholar (2019) and the Qiu Shi Outstanding Scientist and Outstanding Scientific Research Team Awards (2019).
2022 Diversity Speaker Award Winner
The COVID-19 pandemic: A view from the bench
Dr. J. Victor Garcia-Martinez, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, uses humanized mouse models, including recently developed humanized-lung mice, to study the pathogenesis of human-specific viruses and therapeutic interventions. Dr. Garcia is using these models to study an array of human respiratory pathogens including RSV, CMV, influenza, MERS, SARS, SARS-CoV-2 and tuberculosis. He has trained over 13 PhD students 40 postdoctoral fellows (past and present). His trainees hold positions in industry, government and academic institutions. Dr. Garcia is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and his contributions to Inclusion and Diversity have been recognized by the American Academy of Microbiology and the American Society for Cell Biology. Dr. Garcia is also the Director of the International Center for the Advancement of Translational Science.Throughout evolution, humans have been challenged by viral pathogens new to the species. The immune system mounts an adequate response that protects us from the fatal consequences of infection. However, in some instances viruses can circumvent the immune system and cause fatal diseases such as cancer (EBV, KSHV, HCV), hemorrhagic fever (Ebola virus), AIDS (HIV) and pandemics (Influenza, SARS, MERS, SARS-CoV-2). Understanding the host pathogen relationship at a cellular level provides rational approaches to therapy and vaccine development. It also provides a better understanding of human biology and immunology. Dr. Garcia is interested in how human viruses cause human cancer, how HIV causes AIDS and why the immune system is not able to control viral infections and how coronaviruses cause disease in humans. His working hypothesis is that specific viral genes are the key determinants of viral pathogenesis and are responsible for disease progression. To evaluate the role of these genes in disease progression, he has developed in vivo models that recapitulate specific aspects of viral infection. His emphasis has been placed on precision animal models where human specific pathogens can be studied and where novel therapeutic interventions can be evaluated.
Host-targeting broad-spectrum antivirals for pandemic preparedness
Jeffrey Glenn, MD, PhD is a Professor of Medicine (Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology) and Microbiology & Immunology at Stanford University School of Medicine, and the Director of the Center for Hepatitis and Liver Tissue Engineering. He also heads a research laboratory focused on studying molecular virology and the translation of that knowledge into novel antiviral strategies, as well as the development of new treatments for liver diseases and cancer. He is the founder of Eiger BioPharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:EIGR), co-founder of Riboscience LLC, and founder of I-Cubed Therapeutics, biotechnology companies developing several new classes of antiviral and anti-cancer drugs.
Glenn was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Switzerland. He received his BA degree in Biochemistry and French Civilization from U.C. Berkeley from where he graduated summa cum laude. He received his MD and PhD in Biochemistry and Biophysics from U.C.S.F. He trained in internal medicine at Stanford University where he completed specialty training in gastroenterology and joined the faculty in 2000.
He is the principal investigator on multiple NIH grants, an inventor on numerous patents, an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, and a member of the FDA Antiviral Drugs Advisory Committee.
NITD688: a pan-serotypic NS4B inhibitor against dengue virus
Feng Gu is Head of Global Program Management and Partnership at Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases (NITD). NITD is dedicated to discover and develop drugs for neglected tropical diseases. She received undergraduate and graduate trainings in biochemistry in University of Geneva and carried out postdoc research in cell biology and cell signaling in Vollum Institute in the US and McGill Cancer Center in Canada before joining NITD as a research investigator. In NITD, she spent eight years in dengue drug discovery and carried out dengue cell based screens and host target research. She is leading the NITD688 development project team and is also the Head of Global Program Management and Partnership at NITD.
New insights into cellular infection by the mosquito-transmitted Rift Valley fever virus
Dr. Amy Hartman is an Associate Professor in the Center for Vaccine Research and the Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology in the Pitt Graduate School of Public Health. She performed post-doctoral work in the Special Pathogens Branch at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta where she studied the pathogenesis of Ebola and other hemorrhagic fever viruses. While at CDC, she was deployed to Angola in 2005 as part of an international response team for the largest Marburg Hemorrhagic Fever outbreak on record. In 2008, she returned to the University of Pittsburgh Regional Biocontainment Lab, a large high containment laboratory designed for the study of pathogenic bacteria and viruses. She uses her expertise with high hazard viruses to ask questions about the basic pathogenesis of these viruses and to perform preclinical evaluation of novel broad-spectrum therapeutic drugs and vaccines in animal models. The focus of her lab is currently on understudied disease outcomes caused by mosquito-borne bunyaviruses, with particular emphasis on Rift Valley fever virus.
The SARS-CoV-2 main protease: structures, inhibitors, and mutations
Professor Rolf Hilgenfeld was the Director of the Institute of Biochemistry at the University of Lübeck, Germany, from 2003 to 2020. Since May 2020, he has held a Senior Professorship at the Institute of Molecular Medicine of the same university. Following his PhD in chemistry and macromolecular crystallography at the Free University of Berlin and postdoctoral training at the Biocenter in Basel, he joined the pharmaceutical company Hoechst AG in Frankfurt, where he established protein crystallography and structure-based drug design. Here he worked on inhibitors of HIV protease and elongation factor Tu. He led the design of a long-acting insulin, which has now annual sales of around 3 billion US$ (2015: 7 billion US$) under the name LantusÒ. In 1995, he accepted the chair of Structural Biochemistry at the University of Jena, where he was Director of the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology from 1998 to 2000. Following his move to Lübeck in 2003, he determined the first crystal structure of any coronavirus protein, that of the main protease, and designed early inhibitor leads against the SARS virus. Later, his group published the crystal structure of the Zika virus protease and more recently, that of the SARS-CoV-2 main protease. His research group follows an integrated approach towards antiviral drug discovery, which includes X-ray crystallography, drug design, and chemical synthesis of inhibitors. In 2009, Rolf Hilgenfeld was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of South Bohemia, Budweis (Czech Republic), and from 2010 to 2012, he was a Chinese Academy of Sciences Visiting Professor with a co-affiliation at the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica. In 2015, he received the Ge Hong Medal of the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The focus of his present research is on the structure-based design and chemical synthesis of coronavirus and enterovirus protease inhibitors.
Host factors modulating viral entry and release
Dr. Shan-Lu Liu is a Professor of Virology and Co-Director of the Viruses and Emerging Pathogens’ Program of The Ohio State University’s Infectious Diseases Institute. He obtained his PhD from the University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle before being recruited to McGill University where he was named as Canada Research Chair. Dr. Liu’s research is focused on virus-host interaction, particularly host factors that modulate virus entry and release. In the last few years, research from Dr. Liu’s lab has provided insights for understanding how some host restriction factors IFITM, TIM and SERINC limit infection by HIV, Ebolavirus, Zika virus, and SARS-CoV-2, as well as how viruses have evolved antagonism to counteract the host restriction. Dr. Liu is an elected Fellow of American Academy of Microbiology (AAM) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
Inhibiting entry of human paramyxoviruses
Anne Moscona is the Sherie L. Morrison Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, Professor of Pediatrics, and Professor of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics; Director, Center for Host-Pathogen Interaction, at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. She is a pediatrician-scientist bridging basic virology with infectious diseases. Her research is focused on basic research on paramyxoviruses that cause serious and prevalent childhood diseases, and on newly emerging paramyxoviruses that affect humans. The focus of her team’s work is on the mechanisms of viral entry into host cells in the initial stages of infection, and strategies for interfering with entry and infection. The human parainfluenza viruses, a consistent focus of her study, are an important cause of croup, pneumonia and infant bronchiolitis, major causes of disease and death in infants and in children under 5 years of age. The laboratory is best known for identifying critical roles of the viral receptor binding protein in activating the viral fusion process during infection. By identifying the mechanism of fusion activation, Dr. Moscona and her colleagues identified potential targets for interfering with the viral entry process of these and other enveloped respiratory viruses. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology; Member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation (ASCI); Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society; Society for Pediatric Research, and is currently the Councilor for Medical Virology, American Society for Virology.
Antiviral therapy for Lassa Fever
Lisa Oestereich studied Biochemistry at the Medical School Hanover, Germany and obtained her Diploma in 2014. She started her PhD in the Department of Virology of the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, focusing on the development of mouse models and antiviral therapy for haemorrhagic fever viruses. During her PhD, she could show that the nucleoside analogue Favipiravir is a potent antiviral for the treatment of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic Fever virus, Ebola virus and Lassa virus infections. From 2015 to 2018, she worked as a postdoctoral fellow and project leader in the Department of Virology. She continued her work with a focus on examining the murine immune response after Lassa Virus infections and started to evaluate drugs that modify the host response as Lassa Fever treatment options. As part of a DFG-funded collaborative research project from BNITM and the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, she analyzed samples from Lassa Fever patients to identify biomarkers for severe Lassa Fever. Since 2019 she has been leading a Leibniz Junior Research Group at BNITM, focusing on analyzing the pathomechanism of Lassa Fever in humans and mice. Her research aims to unravel the host responses, especially of the immune system, to better understand potential targets for host-directed therapeutic approaches.
2022 Gertrude Elion Award Winner
Developing a drug during a pandemic: Molnupiravir as a treatment for SARS-CoV-2 infection
Dr. George Painter holds the positions of Professor of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology, Emory University School of Medicine, CEO of DRIVE (Drug Innovation Ventures at Emory) and Executive Director of The Emory Institute for Drug Development. In these roles he has led the establishment of a freestanding drug discovery and development company inside the university structure, which currently has drugs under development for COVID-19 and enterovirus infections. Over the past 30 years he has played a major role in the discovery, development and implementation of modern antiviral therapy. Prior to coming to Emory, he was a cofounder of the biotechnology company Chimerix, Inc. (NASDAQ:CMRX) and served as its President and Chief Executive Officer for nine years. During his tenure, the company developed a drug for the prophylaxis and treatment of smallpox infection,Tembexa, which was approved by the FDA in June of this year. Before coming to Chimerix, he was a founding member of the management team of Triangle, Inc., an HIV company where he led the development of the key HIV drug emtricitabine. Prior to entering the biotechnology sector, Dr. Painter held senior management positions in two global pharmaceutical companies, Burroughs Wellcome Co. and GlaxoWellcome, where he led the discovery, development and commercialization of antiviral agents to treat HIV and HBV. He is an inventor on over one hundred fifty patents, many of which have led to approved commercially-available antiviral drugs or combinations of antiviral drugs for the treatment of HIV, hepatitis B, smallpox, and coronavirus infections. Dr. Painter has a PhD in Organic Chemistry and a Master’s degree in Physical Organic Chemistry from Emory University. He was a post-doctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology.
2020 Antonín Holý Award Winner
Flex-nucleosides – a strategic approach to broad-spectrum antiviral therapeutics
Dr. Kathie Seley-Radtke is a Professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Her medicinal chemistry research focuses on targeting coronaviruses including SARS-CoV-2 and MERS, as well as Ebola, Dengue, Yellow Fever viruses, among other infectious diseases using her nucleoside “fleximers”. Dr. Seley-Radtke was the 2015-2018 UMBC Presidential Research Professor, as well as the University of Maryland’s System-wide Regents Professor for Creativity in Research. In 2016 she was named Maryland Chemist of the Year by the American Chemical Society for her outstanding accomplishments and demonstrated service to the antiviral and medicinal chemistry fields, and most recently, was selected as one of the Baltimore Sun’s 25 Women to Watch. Dr. Seley-Radtke is currently the President-Elect of ISAR, as well as a past President for the International Society for Nucleosides, Nucleotides & Nucleic Acids (IS3NA), and a Co-Chair for the 2023 Gordon Research Conference on Nucleosides, Nucleotides & Oligonucleotides.
2022 Women in Science Speaker Award
Fighting Viral Hemorrhagic fevers: From the benches to the trenches
Christina Spiropoulou is a virologist with an extensive background in basic and translational research applied to the development of medical countermeasures for hemorrhagic fever viruses. She currently serves as the Deputy Chief of the Viral Special Pathogens Branch at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and lead scientist for the Molecular Pathogenesis and Therapeutics Team. For the past 29 years, her research interests have focused on hemorrhagic fever viruses, a diverse group of zoonotic RNA viruses that includes Ebola, Lassa, Nipah, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, Rift Valley fever, and tick-borne encephalitis viruses. During her tenure at CDC, she participated in the discovery of the pathogenic New World hantaviruses and has deployed to several VHF outbreaks. Her team’s current projects focus on scientific questions with the potential to lead to development of prototype vaccines and identification of targets for antivirals or immunotherapeutics.
Virus evolution and antiviral research
Marco Vignuzzi’s lab at the Institut Pasteur, founded in 2008, has carved its own niche between the fields of virology and evolutionary sciences. They have since become a mix of experimental evolution lab and computational group. They focus their attention on medically relevant RNA viruses. Their study models include several picornaviruses (EVA71, EVD68, polio, Coxsackievirus, rhinovirus); the alphaviruses (chikungunya, O’nyong’nyong, Sindbis, Mayaro); the flaviviruses (Zika, dengue, West Nile, yellow fever, Usutu); influenza A virus and Coronavirus-SARS-2. They study the population dynamics and evolution of these viruses in animal models (mostly lab mice and wild mosquitoes, but also Zebrafish and Drosophila). They have partnerships with labs in every tropical region of the world with whom they tackle projects in field settings. The lab develops new tools in data visualization and multi-dimensional scaling to study virus infection in lab and clinical settings. Finally, they combine experimental evolution and computation to generate new antiviral approaches that are of interest to both public health and industry.
2022 Antonín Holý Award Winner
Guided anti-viral drug discovery– a tale of two viruses
Prof Mark von Itzstein AO has international standing in glycoscience, medicinal chemistry and drug discovery, particularly in the area of anti-infective drug discovery. He has established an internationally-recognised research program that is investigating the discovery of novel anti-microbial drugs, including novel anti-influenza drugs, anti-parainfluenza and anti-cancer drugs based on carbohydrate-related pathways. In 2020 he was awarded the prestigious National Health and Medical Research Council Investigator L3 award.
He established and heads the Institute for Glycomics at Griffith University on the University’s Gold Coast Campus. The Institute is the only multidisciplinary translational glycoscience research centre in Australia and one of a handful in the world. Prof von Itzstein has now attracted over $50 million in the establishment of the Institute.
Prof von Itzstein's research led to the discovery of the anti-influenza drug, Relenza®. This drug was designed, synthesised and biologically evaluated (in vitro) in Prof von Itzstein’s laboratory. This discovery is considered to be the most significant outcome and flagship in glycotherapeutic drug development in the last century and has consolidated the world platform of using carbohydrates and carbohydrate-recognising proteins as drugs and drug discovery targets, respectively. Relenza® is the first ‘designer’ anti-viral drug in the world.
Prof von Itzstein’s contributions to the carbohydrate sciences and medicinal chemistry have been internationally recognised by continued conference invitations and requests to write significant chapters on carbohydrate science and drug discovery and act as a book editor/co-editor. Prof von Itzstein has published over 300 contributions and is one of Australia’s leading medicinal chemists.
2022 William Prusoff Award Winner
Targeted protein degradation as an antiviral strategy
Priscilla Yang earned her PhD in Bio-organic Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley. Following postdoctoral training in viral immunology at Scripps Research, she started her independent career at Harvard Medical School, where her laboratory combined chemical and pharmacological approaches to address fundamental and translational problems in virology. She is currently Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Stanford University School of Medicine where she focuses on leading and mentoring a multidisciplinary group of scientists focused on discovery and validation of new antiviral targets; identifying new strategies to achieve broad-spectrum activity and to avoid antiviral resistance; and investigating the function of lipid membranes in RNA virus replication. She is a strong advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion in science and is proud to have been the recipient of the inaugural ISAR Women in Science Award.
Clinical update on viral RNA targeting agents for chronic hepatitis B
Fabien Zoulim obtained his MD in Gastroenterology and Hepatology in Lyon Medical School in 1991. He has also obtained a PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology and was trained as a post-doctoral researcher at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. He is Professor of Medicine at Lyon I University since 1997. He is Head of the Hepatology Department at the Hospices Civils de Lyon, and Head of the Viral Hepatitis Research Laboratory of INSERM Unit 1052. Dr Zoulim is currently Associate Editor for Gut. He also served as a Governing Board member of the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL). Dr Zoulim received the William Prusoff award of the International Society for Antiviral Research. He is currently coordinating the ANRS “HBV cure” Task Force in France and the “IP-cure-B” project within the EU H2020 workprogram. He co-founded the International Coalition to Eliminate HBV (ICE-HBV: http//:www.ice-hbv.org). He has published more than 500 articles (Web of Science H index 84).
The International Society for Antiviral Research (ISAR) is an internationally recognized organization for scientists involved in basic, applied, and clinical aspects of antiviral research. The Society main event is the annual International Conference on Antiviral Research (ICAR), a truly interdisciplinary meeting which attracts the interest of chemists, biologists, and clinicians.