Support us | Visit us | Contact us
Organised by Sir John Skehel FRS and Professor Neil Ferguson
This one day international meeting to discuss pandemic influenza will look in turn at where influenza viruses come from, how they spread, what they look like and how humans respond. The discussion will also include the global response to the new H1N1 virus.
Audio recordings are now available below.
Sir John Skehel FMedSci FRS, MRC National Institute for Medical Research, UKOrganiser
Professor Neil Ferguson OBE FMedSci, Imperial College London, UKAnalysis and modelling of the 2009 pandemic: lessons learned
Neil Ferguson is founding director of the MRC Centre for Outbreak Analysis and Modelling at Imperial College London. He uses mathematical and statistical models to investigate the processes shaping infectious disease pathogenesis, evolution and transmission. In addition to some basic theoretical work, Prof Ferguson’s research has applied models to study the transmission and control of influenza, SARS, BSE/vCJD, HIV, dengue, foot-and-mouth disease and bioterrorist threats. He was educated at Oxford University, held a Royal Society University Research Fellowship at Oxford, then a readership at the University of Nottingham before moving to Imperial College. Prof Ferguson is a Senior Investigator of the National Institute of Health Research, a Fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences and received an OBE in 2001 for his work on the foot and mouth disease epidemic that year. His recent work has focussed on the use of mathematical models as contingency planning tools for emerging human infections (notably pandemic influenza), bioterrorist threats and livestock outbreaks (FMD and avian influenza), though he also undertakes research on the dynamics and control of vector-borne diseases (dengue and malaria). Prof Ferguson sits on multiple UK government scientific advisory bodies, and also advises the US government, the World Health Organisation and the European Union on pandemic planning and infectious disease modelling. Most recently he was heavily involved in providing real-time analysis and scientific advice during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.
Web address: http://www1.imperial.ac.uk/medicine/people/neil.ferguson/
Peter CotgreaveIntroduction by Peter Cotgreave
Professor Robert G Webster FRS, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, USAThe role of avian influenza viruses in the genesis of mammalian strains
Robert G. Webster is Professor in the Division of Virology; Department of Infectious Diseases at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and holds the Rose Marie Thomas Chair. A native of New Zealand, Professor Webster received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Microbiology from Otago University in New Zealand. In 1962, he earned his Ph.D. from the Australian National University and spent the next two years as a Fulbright Scholar working on influenza in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Professor Webster's interests include the emergence and control of influenza viruses, viral immunology, the structure and function of influenza virus proteins and the development of new vaccines and antivirals. The major focus of his research is the importance of influenza viruses in wild aquatic birds as a major reservoir of influenza viruses and their role in the evolution of new pandemic strains for humans and lower animals. His curriculum vitae contains over 500 original articles and reviews on influenza viruses. He has trained many scientists who now contribute to our understanding of the evolution and pathogenesis of influenza.
He continues to direct a research program in the Center of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance (CEIRS) at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and also serves as a consultant at the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), Department of Human and Health Services (HHS), Washington, DC.
Honours: Fellow of the Royal Society, London, 1989 and National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 1998.
Dr Gavin Smith, Duke-NUS Graduate School of Medicine, Singapore, Hong KongOrigins and evolutionary genomics of the 2009 H1N1 influenza A pandemic
Dr Gavin Smith is an Associate Professor of Emerging Infectious Diseases at Duke-NUS Graduate School of Medicine, Singapore. Dr Smith’s research interests relate to the ecology and evolution of emerging infectious viruses, particularly influenza and SARS, and in using computational methods to determine genetic factors involved in the adaptation of viruses to different hosts. In 2007 Dr Smith was awarded a 7-year Career Development Award by the US NIAID/NIH for his work on influenza. He is Secretary of the International Society for Influenza and other Respiratory Virus Diseases, Co-Chair of the WHO/OIE/FAO Working Group on the Evolution and Nomenclature of Influenza A (H5N1) Virus, and Member of the Orthomyxoviridae Study Group, Virology Division of the IUMS.
Professor Peter Palese, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, USAInfluenza virus transmission: new insights from the guinea pig model
Peter Palese is Professor of Microbiology and Chair of the Department of Microbiology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. He has over 270 scientific publications that include research on the replication of RNA-containing viruses with a special emphasis on influenza viruses, which are negative-strand RNA viruses. Specifically, he established the first genetic maps for influenza A, B and C viruses, identified the function of several viral genes, and defined the mechanism of neuraminidase inhibitors (which are now FDA-approved antivirals). Professor Palese also pioneered the field of reverse genetics for negative strand RNA viruses, which allows the introduction of site-specific mutations into the genomes of these viruses. This technique is crucial for the study of the structure/function relationships of viral genes, for investigation of viral pathogenicity and for development and manufacture of novel vaccines. In addition, an improvement of the technique has been effectively used by him and his colleagues to reconstruct and study the pathogenicity of the highly virulent but extinct 1918 pandemic influenza virus. His recent work in collaboration with Garcia-Sastre has revealed that most negative strand RNA viruses possess proteins with interferon antagonist activity, enabling them to counteract the antiviral response of the infected host. Professor Palese was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2000 for his seminal studies on influenza viruses. At present he serves on the editorial board for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and as an editor for the Journal of Virology. He has been a Corresponding Member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences since 2002 and a Member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina since 2006. Professor Palese was president of the Harvey Society in 2004, president of the American Society for Virology in 2005 and he was a recipient of the Robert Koch Prize in 2006 and of the Charles C. Shepard Science Award in 2008.
Sir Andrew McMichael FRS, University of Oxford, UKT cell immunity in influenza
Andrew McMichael qualified in Medicine in 1968 and obtained a PhD in Immunology at NIMR supervised by Ita Askonas and Alan Williamson in 1974. He first showed that virus specific CD8 T cells were HLA restricted and, later, Alain Townsend in his group demonstrated that virus derived peptides were presented to T cells by MHC class I molecules. Since 1987 he has studied the T cell response to HIV, with a particular interest in virus escape from T cell recognition. For the last five years he has focussed on HIV vaccines. His group have designed and tested two candidate HIV vaccines in phase I clinical trials. His group has also been involved in developing novel methods for measuring T cell responses, such as HLA tetramer staining.
He is Director of the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine in Oxford University and is Honorary Director of the Medical Research Council Human Immunology Unit He was knighted in 2008 for services to medical sciences.
Professor Antonio Lanzavecchia, Institute for Research in Biomedicine, SwitzerlandThe human heterosubtypic antibody response to influenza virus
In 1976 Antonio Lanzavecchia obtained his degree in Medicine at the University of Pavia where he specialized in Pediatrics and Infectious Diseases. From 1983 to 1999 he was a member of the Basel Institute for Immunology and in 1999 became the founding director of the Institute for Research in Biomedicine in Bellinzona, Switzerland. He has been teaching Immunology at the University of Genoa and Siena and since 2009 is professor of Human Immunology at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich. His research has covered several aspects of immunology: antigen processing and presentation, dendritic cell biology, lymphocyte activation and traffic and, more recently, the cellular basis of T and B cell memory and the production of human monoclonal antibodies. He received the EMBO medal in 1988 and the Cloëtta prize in 1999.
Dr Steve J Gamblin, MRC-National Institute for Medical Research, London, UKReceptor binding to HA and inhibitor binding to NA
Trained in biochemistry (BSc & PhD) at Bristol University, studying enzymology and crystallography with Herman Watson. Postdoctoral studies with Stephen Harrison at Harvard mainly involved crystallography to look at the HIV reverse transcriptase, SV40 virus and topoisomerase. Moved to MRC-NIMR in 1994 to work in the newly established Protein Structure division headed by Guy Dodson. Studies focussed on signal transduction pathways, transcriptional regulation and influenza surface proteins HA and NA. Appointed Joint Head of Molecular Structure division, with Stephen Smerdon, in 2005.
Dr Stephen Cusack, EMBL Grenoble Outstation, FrancePolymerase protein structures
Dr Stephen Cusack obtained his first degree in physics and theoretical physics at Cambridge University and subsequently a PhD in theoretical solid-state physics at Imperial College London. He then switched his interests to molecular biology and in 1977 joined the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Grenoble, France, where he has been ever since, first as a post-doc, then a staff scientist and finally his current post, as Head of Outstation and group leader in the structural biology of protein-RNA and viral proteins. He is also director of the EMBL-CNRS-Grenoble University international unit for virus host cell interactions. Dr Cusack’s research group uses X-ray crystallography as a central technique to study the structure-function relationships of complexes involving RNA in eukaryotic cells, for instance RNA maturation (5’ cap-dependent processes), mRNA quality control (nonsense-mediated decay) and translational fidelity (aminoacylation and editing mechanisms of aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases). In parallel Dr Cusack has focussed on the structural biology of viral proteins, most notably adenovirus capsid proteins and influenza virus polymerase. Both the aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase and viral polymerase projects have recently developed a significant anti-pathogen drug design aspect.
Dr Rupert Russell, University of St Andrews, UKStructural insights into the multifunctionality of the NS1 protein
Rupert Russell graduated in Biochemistry from Bristol University and obtained a PhD from Bath University.He then moved to the University of St Andrews to investigate the haemagglutinin-neuraminidase proteins of paramyxoviruses before spending a number of years at Ribotargets Ltd, Cambridge UK, performing structure based drug design against the 30S and 50S subunits of the bacterial ribosome. In 2003 he moved to the MRC-National Institute for Medical Research, London, working for Sir John Skehel FRS, where he solved the structure of the neuraminidase from a H5N1 Influenza virus that revealed new opportunities for antiviral drug design. Since 2006, he has had his own research group at the University of St Andrews where he continues to study influenza virus, specifically targeting the structural basis for drug resistance, novel drug targets and the structural basis for NS1 multifunctionality.
Dr Kathleen L. Coelingh, MedImmune, USACurrent status of live attenuated influenza vaccine for seasonal and pandemic influenza
Kathleen L. Coelingh, Ph.D. is Senior Director, Medical and Scientific Affairs at MedImmune, the biologics unit of AstraZeneca. She has authored more than 60 research papers in peer-reviewed journals, and is responsible for strategic health policy planning for MedImmune’s intranasal influenza vaccine.
Prior to joining MedImmune, Dr Coelingh was a senior staff fellow in the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases for ten years at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). While at the NIH she led the team that discovered the mouse monoclonal antibody that neutralizes Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), which was humanized at MedImmune and is licensed for prevention of serious lower respiratory tract disease caused by RSV in high-risk pediatric patients. She began her career as a post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr Robert Webster in the Division of Virology at St. Jude Childrens’ Research Hospital, Memphis, TN.
Dr Coelingh earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from Calvin College and her doctorate degree from the University of Michigan in epidemiologic science.
Professor Karl Nicholson, University of Leicester, UK Humoral response to human vaccination with different formulations of inactivated H1 2009 pandemic vaccine, and H5, H7, and H9 vaccines
Professor Karl Nicholson studied medicine at Guy’s Hospital Medical School, London. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists and Member of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians. He trained in Infectious Diseases in the Medical Research Council, Clinical Research Centre, Northwick Park Hospital. He was an Eli-Lilley/MRC International Travelling Fellow at the US Centers for Disease Control and a WHO Consultant working at the National Institute of Health, Pakistan.
Professor Nicholson is currently Honorary Consultant in Infectious Diseases in Leicester. He is a Member of the Influenza Sub-Committee of the UK Departments of Health Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. He serves on the UK Scientific Pandemic Influenza Advisory Committee
(SPI) and the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE-Pandemic influenza) and is Chair of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Clinical Countermeasures Committee. He also serves as an ad hoc adviser to the World Health Organisation and European Medicines Agency.
Dr Charles Penn, World Health Organisation’s global influenza programme, SwitzerlandChallenges of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic: a World Health Organisation perspective
Charles Penn joined the Global Influenza Programme, World Health Organization, Geneva earlier this year at the start of the influenza pandemic, and is primarily responsible for the use of antivirals in influenza management.
Charles has extensive experience in influenza, gained through a PhD in virology from the University of Cambridge, followed by research on human and avian influenza viruses at Cambridge University and the UK Institute for Animal Health. In 1988 Charles joined Glaxo (now GSK) to lead research on influenza and HIV, first as a Senior Research Associate and later as Senior Medical Strategy Head. During this time he saw two new antiviral medicines from discovery through to regulatory approval (lamivudine for HIV, and zanamivir for influenza),
In 1998 he moved to the (now) UK Health Protection Agency Centre for Emergency Preparedness and Response, as Director for Research and Development. Activities included infectious disease diagnosis through the Special Pathogens Reference Unit, vaccines research and development, and epidemic and intervention modelling in infectious diseases including pandemic influenza.
Book prize event 6 Mar
History of science lecture 7 Mar
Enter your email address to receive updates about scientific meetings at the Royal Society
Full listing of our events and exhibitions.
Watch videos of past events.
Most of our talks are free and open to the public.
We host major conferences for leading scientists.
Explore our annual science exhibition
Contact the events team.