Dr. David B. Weiner directs a translational molecular immunology research team focused on synthetic nucleic acid-based approaches for disease prevention and treatment. His group is one of the first research teams in the field of Nucleic Acid Vaccines & Immune Therapies, advancing some of their first clinical trials. His lab has contributed to multiple aspects and technology developments in advancing DNA vaccines. Work resulted in clinical studies of an early Zika vaccine, the first MERS vaccine, an advanced Ebola Vaccine, a SARS-CoV2 Vaccine and a novel HIV immunogen platform, among others in the infectious disease arena. In oncology his laboratory has helped to advance novel immune therapy approaches for HPV disease, prostate disease, GMB immunotherapy which are in clinical testing. This year a therapeutic DNA vaccine (HPV CIN) (VGX3100) moved into a licensure trial (REVEAL). His lab work is also advancing dMAb in vivo antibody technologies for immune prevention and therapy.
Dr. Weiner’s laboratory has published over 430 papers/chapters & reviews and provided > 450 lectures. He has received several awards/honors, including the WW Smith Family Chair in Cancer Research - 2016, Vaccine Industry Association Outstanding Academic Research Laboratory (2015 & 2016) (runner up 2017, 2018, 2019), Top 20 Translational Research Laboratories of the Year (Nature Biotechnology 2016 - 2020), Stone family award for Cancer Research 2014, NIH Directors Translational Research Award 2011, and the Pennsylvania Life Sciences Achievement Award (2019). He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science 2011 and a Fellow of the International Society for Vaccines 2010. He served as President of the International Society for Vaccines (2018-2020). He serves on the Executive Committee of the UPENN CFAR and served as chair of the prestigious Gene Therapy and Vaccine Training Program at the University of Pennsylvania (2004-2016). He is currently a Wistar Institute Professor, Director of the Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center and the Executive Vice President of the Wistar Institute, and a Professor Emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Weiner has been an avid teacher, trainer, advisor, and advocate for students, fellows and junior faculty as he is highly committed to developing of the careers of young scientists.
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).
Prof. Ken Ishii is currently appointed as Director for Vaccine and Adjuvant Research Center (CVAR) at National Institutes for Biomedical Innovation, Health and Nutrition (NIBIOHN) recently established by Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) of Japanese government, as well as Professor of the Laboratory of Vaccine Science at the Immunology Frontier Research Center (IFREC), Osaka University in Japan. He is also affiliated as Science and Technology Advisor for Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED), Japan. Prof. Ishii graduated with a MD in 1993, practiced medicine for 4 years and then obtained a PhD from the School of Medicine, Yokohama City University, Kanagawa, Japan. He is further qualified with his years of experience in vaccine research supported by numerous books and over 180 periodical publications over 20,000 citations since 1998 including 7 years as a Visiting Scientist and IND reviewer at US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and 14 years in Osaka University and NIBIOHN. His H-index is 56 and elected as one of highly cited researchers for 3 years in raw (2014-16) by Thomson Reuters (Clarivate Analytics as of 2016). Based on his career, he conducts basic research on immunology related to vaccines and adjuvants and try to translate into vaccine markets globally.
Dr. Maria Issagouliantis started her research carrier as a bioorganic chemist, and throughout the years developed a profile of immunology and vaccinology research. At Karolinska Institutet (Stockholm, Sweden) she led a project group working on the development of naked DNA vaccines against chronic viral infections and cancer with financial support of the Swedish Research Fund, Horizon 2020 program, and the Swedish Institute. From 2002-2010, she acted as the Swedish co-coordinator, and in 2011-2016, act as the coordinator of the Baltic partnership “Baltic Network against life-threatening viral infections” overseeing planning, organization and management of the activities in this field in 12 institutes from Sweden, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Finland and Russia. In 2017-2018, she coordinated the Initiation Project on Innovative Strategies of Vaccination and Immunotherapy INNOVIMMUNE for 5 Baltic countries, funded by the Swedish Institute.
Since 2013 she has been working at the Riga Stradins University, in EU projects “BALTINFECT” in 2013-2015, and “VACTRAIN” as coordinator in 2016-2018. EU project VACTRAIN/“Twinning on DNA vaccines against cancer” aimed to promote research on cancer vaccines, with partners in Poland, Sweden, Latvia and Ukraine. In 2018 she was attested as the leading researcher, and received research grants of the Latvian Research Council on immunotherapy of hepatitis C related liver cancer (2018-2019) and on in vitro and in vivo assessment of the direct immunomodulatory effects of HCV proteins (2020-2021).
In Russia, she pioneered the field of DNA immunization (first paper published 1999), developed candidate consensus DNA vaccines for the supportive immunotherapy of drug resistance in HIV-1 infection on the background of HAART. Lately, her group in the Gamaleya Research Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology focused on the development of DNA vaccines against oncoproteins of human papilloma virus, mainly HPV 16, for for immunotherapy of HPV related cervical cancer. Both arms of the research were and are currently supported by grants from the Russian Science Foundation (2015-2018, application pending) and the Russian Fund for Basic Research 2015-2022, totally eight grants, including collaborative grant with National Institutes of Health 2017-2019 “Development of therapeutic vaccines against papilloma virus for HIV infected men and women”.
She has an international group of Swedish, Latvian and Russian researchers. Her main research focus is cancer associated with chronic viral infections and development of therapeutic DNA vaccines against these forms of cancer based on combination of viral and host tumor associated antigens, such as telomerase reverse transcriptase. Research results have been published in over 90 papers in peer-reviewed international and national research journals.
Linda S. Klavinskis, PhD, is Professor of Viral Immunology at King’s College London where her laboratory focuses on immunity to vaccination and virus infection. The goal is to understand and harness cross talk between dendritic cells and T cells, and use this knowledge to develop new and more effective vaccines. This work has led to deciphering an alternative mode of antigen presentation, termed ‘cross-dressing’ and unravelling mechanisms contributing to epitope selection and CD8 T-cell immunodominance. At the translational level, her lab has made contributions to the development of gene delivery systems for DNA and viral-mediated vaccination. More, recently she made inroads in understanding the biology of skin immunisation and developed a microneedle vaccine delivery platform. This has led to the new finding that skin immunisation activates cross talk with innate cells in epithelial barrier tissues to recruit effector CD8+ T-cells and can establish immune surveillance at the barrier tissues. During the COVID-19 pandemic her lab has focused on the role of innate immunity in the hyperinflammatory response in severe COVID-19 and applying therapeutic approaches. Her laboratory has co-authored over 100 peer-reviewed publications.
Professor Klavinskis currently serves as a member of the UK Medical Research Council’s Infection and Immunity Board. She also serves as Associate Editor of Frontiers in Mucosal Immunology and as an Editor of Frontiers in HIV and AIDS. She has served as President of the ‘Medical Research Club’, a prestigious London based biomedical society established 1891 with a focus in infection and immunity. She contributes to national and international peer review in vaccine sciences and as a consultant in industry. She has expertise in executive and senior management positions, including most recently as Vice Dean for Postgraduate Research (Life Sciences and Medicine) at King’s College London. She is a Fellow of the International Society for Vaccines and was elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists.
Linda Klavinskis has been an active member of the International Society for Vaccines since 2015 and is an elected ISV Fellow. Her service to the ISV includes, membership of the Executive Board since 2018 (where she has championed promoting opportunities for women and junior/early career researcher members in ISV activities); Secretary for the 2020-2021 term; and is President-elect for the 2022-2023 term.
She served as Co-Chair of the 2019 ISV Annual Congress in Ghent, playing a key role in identifying the Scientific Committee (SC) and planning the scientific program with the SC and also introduced further opportunities for junior researchers e.g. the “Bright Sparks in Vaccinology’ junior PI session and a career focus event illustrating opportunities beyond the purely academic career path. During the COVID-19 pandemic she served as Co-chair for the ISV COVID-19 Vaccine Congress mini-series (2020 -2021). With Drs Shan Lu and Margaret Liu she wrote an article published in Emerging Microbes and Infections, which described the leadership role of the ISV in providing the global community with balanced presentations of progress and challenges in COVID-19 vaccine development.
Over the past 5 years she has annually contributed to the ISV as a workshop chair and as a plenary/workshop speaker. She regularly contributes to the ISV newsletters to publicise and feedback on the ISV’s work. She brings a trans European and North American perspective to the Society from her training and extensive research experience in several labs on these continents.
Odile Y Leroy, MD, MPH, is the Executive Director of the European Vaccine Initiative, an European Product Development Partnership committed to development of vaccines against diseases of poverty. She began her career in both France and Africa and observing neonatal and adolescent deaths due to tetanus propelled her to move from medical practice to vaccine research, convinced that the vaccine was the solution to avoid all this vast suffering in the world at that time. She started with implementation of tetanus vaccination in pregnant women in Senegal, and was investigator on the High-titer measles vaccine efficacy trial in Senegal, funded by the Task force on Child Survival. She was also consultant for UNICEF, WHO, and John Snow Inc, to assess vaccination programs in Madagascar, Senegal, and Haiti. From 1990 to 1996 she was international project leader at Sanofi Pasteur of recombinant, live attenuated, and combined measles vaccines, oral subunit cholera vaccine, and yellow-fever vaccine and from 1996 to 2000 Corporate Clinical Director under Prof Stanley Plotkin’s leadership, responsible for the clinical development of airborne vaccines, e.g., pneumococcal conjugate, varicella (and zoster), influenza and para-influenzae, RSV, meningococcal conjugate vaccines.
Since 2002 she has been leading European organizations, first European Malaria Vaccine Initiative (2002-2004), the European Developing Countries Clinical Trial Partnership (2005-2006), and then The European Vaccine Initiative (EVI) (2007-now). She has been a member of the Science Board of the Brighton Collaboration (2004-2008), of the WHO measles aerosol product development group (2006-2013), a member of the Expert Advisory Group of FP5 and FP6 on Health R&D Directorate at European Commission. She is member of the scientific board of the Global Immunization and Vaccine Research Forum (WHO/NIH/Bill Melinda Gates Foundation).
Dr. Leroy has published widely on vaccine development and has presented in approximately hundred international conferences. In the last ten years she has organized more than 20 workshops addressing harmonization on immune-assays, safety assessment, big data, system biology, animal models, adjuvant, human challenge trials, and other aspects of vaccine research and development. She is leading the European Vaccine Research and Development Infrastructure TRANSVAC, designing the Roadmap for European Vaccine R&D Infrastructure and the Roadmap for European Vaccine R&D Innovation
Dr. Joon Haeng Rhee is a graduate of Chonnam National University Medical School and received PhD from the same university. He has been working on molecular microbial pathogenesis and vaccine biology for more than 30 years.
For the molecular microbial pathogenesis studies, his laboratory has been observing the V. vulnificus-host interactions using various molecular and cellular microbiological tools. His team was the first reporter of the whole genome sequence of V. vulnificus, which became one of the most widely used standard strains in the Vibrio research field. They identified an RTX (repeats in toxin) toxin as the culprit of deadly host-killing mechanism in the V. vulnificus infections and recently developed an effective preventive vaccine and therapeutic monoclonal antibody targeting a specific region of the toxin. Vaccine study was first started aiming the high mortality V. vulnificus infections. During the vaccine research, his team came across the finding that a flagellin protein of V. vulnificus has an excellent mucosal adjuvant effect in late 1990s, which was later proved by his group and others to be mediated by the TLR5 signaling. Currently his laboratory is studying the basic science and applications related to the flagellin-TLR5-mediated immune modulation. His team reported the mechanism how TLR5 is very well maintained in senescent animals and proposed that flagellin could be used an effective adjuvant for vaccines against infectious diseases affecting elderly population. Now flagellin is applied to the development of effective vaccines and immunotherapeutics against diverse diseases such as cancers, allergies, and Alzheimer’s disease.
He was the president of Korean Vaccine Society (KVS) from 2013 to 2015. He hosted the 2015 International Society for Vaccines (ISV) Congress in Seoul as a local co-chair. He was elected as an ISV Fellow and serves a member of ISV Executive Board. He served editorial board member for Infection and Immunity and Microbiology and Immunology journals. He is currently the director of Clinical Vaccine R&D Center and Combinatorial Tumor Immunotherapy Research Center of Chonnam National University. As of August 2021, he has more than 160 papers published in peer-reviewed journals and named as an inventor on 20 patents
Anna-Lise Williamson was awarded her Ph.D. in 1985 from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her training is in virology and vaccinology. She has worked in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Cape Town (UCT) since 1987, where she was promoted to full professor in 2004. In 2008 she was awarded a South African Research Initiative Research Chair in Vaccinology. She is one of the founding members of UCT's Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, which is generally regarded as the best institute in Africa for infectious disease research. Her laboratory has successfully tested novel vaccines against papillomaviruses, Rift Valley fever virus, rotavirus and rabies virus in animal challenge models. These vaccines were based on recombinant Bacille Calmette Guerin or recombinant poxviruses as vaccine vectors. In collaboration with Professor Ed Rybicki (UCT), also an ISV member, subunit vaccines to HPV and HIV based on production in tobacco or insect cell systems were developed and tested in mice, rabbits or non-human primates.
On the basis of this expertise, research into the development of HIV vaccines was initiated under the auspices of the South African AIDS Vaccine Initiative (SAAVI), with the long-term goal of moving candidate HIV vaccines through the vaccine development pipeline from basic research to clinical trials. The pipeline to get vaccines from concept to clinical trials is complex, requiring many different sets of expertise and major funding support. One of her most significant achievements was to direct the vaccine development group that got two locally-developed HIV vaccines into clinical trials. These are the only HIV vaccine candidates developed in Africa to go into human clinical trials. Their role was vaccine design and construction, as well as generation of pre-clinical data to support regulatory documentation, including vaccine stability assays and immunogenicity in mice and non-human primates. This was funded by SAAVI and the NIH, which was crucial to the success of the project as it enabled a critical mass of people to participate in the project with the flexibility to respond to the challenges of the project. The two candidate HIV vaccines, SAAVI DNA C2 and SAAVI MVA-C, have successfully been taken from basic research concepts through to Phase 1 clinical trial, which required the establishment of a sophisticated laboratory infrastructure and skill-set for the preclinical part of the programme, and the exploitation of various networks and of different sets of expertise. Once the vaccines were ready for Phase 1 clinical trials, the clinical teams under Professor Glenda Gray and Professor Gavin Churchyard took over with funding from HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) and the SA MRC. This represents a unique example of a multidisciplinary research effort taking a project from the basic concept through to clinical trial in Africa. It shows that academic institutions in South Africa have the capacity to do these projects, and to contribute meaningfully to the global initiative to make a successful prophylactic HIV vaccine.
Present projects include novel HIV vaccines and recombinant veterinary vaccines based on lumpy skin disease virus. She is also an expert on human papillomavirus, and has participated in national committees on the introduction of HPV vaccine in South Africa, as well as serving as a consultant for the WHO. She is actively involved in training post-graduate students and has over 200 peer reviewed publications.
Prof. Williamson served as a member of the ISV Board for two years and was elected a Fellow of ISV in 2019.