Dr. Adolfo Garcia-Sastre is a Professor of Medicine and Microbiology and co-director of the Global Health & Emerging Pathogens Institute at The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. Dr. García-Sastre earned his Ph.D at the University of Salamanca. He is the Director of the Global Health & Emerging Pathogens Institute. He is also Principal Investigator for the Center for Research on Influenza Pathogenesis (CRIP), one of five NIAID Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance (CEIRS). He served as the President for the International Society for Vaccines from 2013-2015, which is termed ended at the recent 9th Annual Vaccine and ISV Congress in Seoul. For the past 20 years, his research interest has been focused on the molecular biology of influenza viruses and several other negative strand RNA viruses. During his postdoctoral training in the early 1990s, he developed for the first time, novel strategies for expression of foreign antigens by a negative strand RNA virus, influenza virus. He has made major contributions to the influenza virus field, including 1) the development of reverse genetics techniques allowing the generation of recombinant influenza viruses from plasmid DNA (studies in collaboration with Dr. Palese); 2) the generation and evaluation of influenza virus vectors as potential vaccine candidates against different infectious diseases, including malaria and AIDS; 3) the identification of the biological role of the non structural protein NS1 of influenza virus during infection: the inhibition of the type I interferon (IFN) system; and 4) the reconstruction and characterization of the extinct pandemic influenza virus of 1918. His studies provided the first description and molecular analysis of a viral-encoded IFN antagonist among negative strand RNA viruses. These studies led to the generation of attenuated influenza viruses containing defined mutations in their IFN antagonist protein that might prove to be optimal live vaccines against influenza. His research has resulted in more than 100 scientific publications and reviews. He was among the first members of the Vaccine Study Section of the NIH. In addition, he is an editor for Journal of Experimental Medicine and PLoS Pathogens and a member of the Editorial Board of Journal of Virology, Virology, Journal of General Virology and Virus Research.
Dr. Annie De Groot is a physician and Research Professor of Biotechnology at the University of Rhode Island and co-founder and CEO/CSO of the immunoinformatics company EpiVax. She founded and directs the Institute for Immunology and Informatics at the University of Rhode Island, one of the first centers of excellence for immunoinformatics-driven vaccine design in the world. Dr. De Groot graduated from Smith College with a BA and from the Pritzker School of Medicine at University of Chicago. She completed her residency in internal medicine at Tufts New England Medical Center in 1986 and completed fellowships in Parasitology and Vaccine Research at the NIH (1989) and in Infectious Disease at the Tufts New England Medical Center (1993). While still an assistant professor at Brown University, Dr. De Groot and Bill Martin (COO/CIO EpiVax) co-founded EpiVax (1998) to use the immunoinformatics tools that De Groot had developed to design epitope-driven vaccines; services were then expanded to offer immunogenicity screening services for protein therapeutics in 2002. She led the team that discovered Tregitopes in 2008 and a new tool for predicting Treg epitopes, JanusMatrix. She is most excited about the relevance of this tool for the development of improved vaccines. In addition to her research on vaccines, Dr. De Groot has also contributed to the care of HIV-infected women inmates at the Yale HIV in Prison program and the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Framingham, and founded the GAIA Vaccine Foundation (in West Africa) for improving global AIDS treatment. De Groot is also volunteer medical director at Clinica Esperanza (Hope Clinic), a free clinic for Rhode Island residents who do not have health insurance.
Professor Margaret A. Liu, obtained an M.D. from Harvard Medical School, a B.A. in Chemistry, summa cum laude, from Colorado College, and passed the Epreuve pour le Diplôme d’Enseignement, à l’unanimité (judges’ unanimous decision), in piano from the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris, and is the recipient of an honorary Medical Degree (MD honoris causa) from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, and an honorary Doctorate of Science from Colorado College. She completed Internship and Residency in Internal Medicine and a Fellowship in Endocrinology, all at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. She received Board Certification in Internal Medicine and in Endocrinology and Metabolism. Dr. Liu was a Visiting Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Instructor at Harvard Medical School, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, a Visiting Professor at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, and the recipient of an NIH Physician Scientist Award. She served as Senior Director at Merck Research Laboratories, Vice President of Vaccines Research and Gene Therapy at Chiron Corporation, Vice-Chairman of Transgène, Senior Advisor in Vaccinology at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Executive Vice-Chair of the International Vaccine Institute, and was on the US NIH NIAID Council.
Her research has focused on novel technologies for vaccines and immune treatments for cancer. She pioneered the development of DNA vaccines, which are now in clinical trials for many human diseases and are licensed for several veterinary applications. She also was an innovator in the field of bispecific antibodies to activate T cells for tumor cell killing. The Nobel Committee invited her to lecture in the Karolinska Research Lecture series, and she was named by Discover magazine as one of the 50 most important female scientists. She consults world-wide for companies, investment firms, non-governmental organizations, and governmental scientific advisory bodies, and has held positions as an Adjunct Professor at UCSF, and as a Foreign Adjunct Professor at the Karolinska Institutet. Dr. Liu was previously the President of the International Society for Vaccines for the 2015- 2017 term, then President Emerita, and is currently the Chairman of the Board of ISV (2020-2021).
Dr. Ray Spier has been a leader in vaccines and the founder of ISV.
Having been educated at Christ Church, Oxford and University College, London in Biochemistry (First Class Honours), Chemical Microbiology and Biochemical Engineering he then spent 7 years as a Senior Process Engineer in industry. The last 3 years in America were spent with Merck Sharpe and Dohme where he was introduced to animal cell biotechnology and the production of viruses for use in veterinary and human vaccines. On returning to the UK he worked for 10 years at the Animal Virus Research Institute, Pirbright, scaling-up bioreactors for virus vaccine production processes and maximizing the biological productivity of the BHK cell lines for Foot-and-Mouth Disease virus generation. He then moved to the University of Surrey as Professor and was Head of Microbiology (7 years) and was then (1997) appointed to the first chair in the UK in ‘Science and Engineering Ethics’. His publication record includes over 200 research papers and reviews along with over 20 edited books and an encyclopedia on animal and plant cell culture technology. In 2002 his book, ‘Ethics Tools and the Engineer’, was published by CRC Press. He is currently the Vaccine Series Editor in Chief, and Editor in Chief of Vaccine Research Quarterly, Procedia in Vaccinology, Trials in Vaccinology and ‘Science and Engineering Ethics’. Having founded the European Society for Animal Cell Technology in 1975 and the International Society for Vaccines in 1996 (President: 2007-11), he was elected to be President of the European Association for Higher Education in Biotechnology in 2000.
Dr. Rhee is a Professor of Microbiology at Chonnam National University Medical School where is Korea Chief. He also is the Director of the National Research Laboratory of Molecular Microbial Pathogenesis and the Director of the Research Institute for Vibrio Infections at the Clinical Vaccine R&D Institute in South Korea.
Dr. Rhee graduated from the Chonnam National University Medical School and received his PhD from the same university. He has spent the last 20+ years working on the molecular pathogenesis of Vibrio vulnificus infections. His laboratory has recorded V. vulnificus-host interactions using molecular and cellular microbiological tools. In 2002, he reported the whole genome sequence of CMCP6 which became one of the standard strains in our research field. Virulence regulatory roles of ToxRS, cAMP-CRP, LuxS quorum sensing, and HlyU were also documented by graduate students and post-doctoral fellows in his laboratory that he has mentored over his career. Since the early 2000s, he has focused on the genes preferentially expressed while the pathogen is interacting with host animals. Recently, he had the fortune of solving the puzzle of cytotoxic mechanism exerted by V. vulnificus which proved that a RTX toxin is the major exotoxin responsible for the hallmark cytotoxic activity and triggers a programmed necrotic cell death mechanism.