Professor Amy Jacobs Represents UB at the annual Global Virus Network Conference in Melbourne Australia

Green letters spelling G-V-N for Global Virus Network logo.

Published November 9, 2017

Amy Jacobs, PhD, Research Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, represented the University at Buffalo, Global Virus Network Center of Excellence at the Annual Meeting in Melbourne, Australia in October 2017.

The meeting was co-hosted by Australia’s Peter Doherty Institute, and the Institut Pasteur. It was held in the Peter Doherty Institute on the University of Melbourne Medical Campus. Peter Doherty was awarded a Nobel Prize for his discoveries, along with colleague Rolf Zinkernagel, on the specificity of cell-mediated immune defense and the role of the major histocompatibility complex.  One of the highlights of the meeting was the chance to see Dr. Peter Doherty speak in the building that bears his name.

The GVN Annual Meeting had a broad range of topics including:

  • HTLV-1 in indigenous communities to the South African laboratory response during the Ebola epidemic of 2014-2016
  • dramatic advances in treatment of Hepatitis C virus, an update on HIV vaccine trials,
  • an update on the GVN Zika Task Force
  • the latest status on humanized mouse models for HIV, Dengue, and Zika and more across epidemiology, care in the field, basic science, and response and preparedness

One of the novel highlights was hearing about the phylogenetic and evolutionary analysis of Koala retroviruses by Professor Alex Greenwood from the Leigniz Institute, Berlin. Professor Greenwood described how it was hard to find any specimens of koalas in Australia for his studies because Australians consider koalas akin to squirrels. His historic samples are mostly gathered from museums around the western world where people find the koala novel.

Jacobs summarized her experience of the GVN annual meeting, “This meeting was truly an enlightening experience for me as someone who studies the basic science and drug development for three emerging viruses with global impact, HIV, Ebola, and Zika. I realized at the GVN meeting that a lot of my knowledge and my ‘talk’ of global impact was in reality limited to about half the world. I now have a much better fundamental understanding of the interconnectedness of viruses on a global scale across disciplines and most importantly how we as researchers need to make global connections not only to directly collaborate but also to make sure knowledge of developments is disseminated rapidly and how we all can be better informed of the specific problems in different corners of the world that our basic research could potentially impact. Not an easy task… but the Global Virus Network is doing it.”

The GVN mission is to strengthen medical research and response to current viral causes of human disease and to prepare for new viral pandemic threats. It is an essential and critical defense against viral disease. It is a coalition comprised of leading virologists spanning more than 20 countries worldwide, all working to advance knowledge about how viruses make us sick and to develop drugs and vaccines to prevent illness and death.

Learn more about CIGBS involvement with GVN here.

GVN Group at Annual Conference.