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. Albrecht earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree in Microbiology and Immunology from the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Shreveport, Louisiana in 2003 under the mentorship of Dr. Dennis J. O'Callaghan. He conducted his postdoctoral studies in the laboratory of Dr. García-Sastre in the Department of Microbiology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York.
Specific areas of research have focused on developing novel influenza vaccines, studying humoral responses of animals and humans to influenza vaccines, developing immunological reagents and assays to examine the adaptive immune response of ferrets, testing the protective efficacy of novel influenza vaccines in small animal models of influenza disease, and in vitro assays of antibody-mediated virus neutralization. Novel influenza vaccines that induce protective immunity against more conserved antigens such as the hemagglutinin stalk domain are an exciting and rapidly developing area of research on influenza virus vaccines. These vaccine approaches hold the promise to induce broadly neutralizing antibody and cellular immune responses that could confer increased protection against antigenic drift and possibly against pandemic influenza. Dr. Albrecht has contributed to preclinical research studies that have examined in the ferret model of influenza the potential of sequential immunization regimens with vaccines that are designed to focus humoral immune responses against the conserved hemagglutinin stalk domain.
Dr. Albrecht, an active member of ISV, serves as the Editor of the ISV newsletter. Dr. Albrecht served on the Scientific Organizing Committee for the 2018 ISV Annual Congress held in Atlanta, Georgia (USA), and was elected a member of the ISV Board (2020-2021).
Dr. Gary Kobinger obtained his PhD magna cum laude from the University of Montreal was recruited by the Public Health Agency of Canada where he became Chief of the Special Pathogens Biosafety Level 4 program. He is now a Professor at the Université Laval and is Director of the Centre de Recherche en Infectiologie. He also holds appointments at the University of Manitoba and the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Kobinger supported the development the rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine as well as the monoclonal antibody cocktail ZMapp which was advanced to treat Ebola virus infection, the first such antibody approach advanced for Ebola, thus helping to advance the MAb approach for EID in resource limited settings. His preclinical NHP work and service to WHO helped advance rVSV-ZEBOV, which is an important tool for control of Ebola. He also pioneered simple mobile diagnostic laboratories for field use for Ebola testing during outbreaks facilitating public health controls of outbreaks, and used these diagnostic tools in the current SARS-CoV2 outbreak in Canada. For this and other contributions he has been granted several awards including the 2015 scientist of the year award from Radio Canada (CBC), the Order of Manitoba and the Meritorious Service Cross (civil division) of the Governor General of Canada in 2016, and the Manning principal award in 2017. Dr. Kobinger has co-authored over 300 peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts, and has given numerous invited seminars in Universities, national and international funding agencies, departments of national defenses, the White House, and the World Health Organization (WHO) concerning research on high consequence pathogens and the development of new public health policies and recommendations. His work presently focuses on developing and testing new vaccine platforms and immune treatments against pathogens of high consequences to global public health.
Serving the international community, Gary sits on several committees such as the IHR roster of experts in Viral Haemorrhagic Fever, the WHO’s High Priority Pathogen advisory board, the STAG-IH advisory board to the Deputy Director-General and ad-hoc advisor to the SAGE committee. He has contributed to ISV meeting through speaking, helping to organize sessions, and providing speakers. In addition Dr. Kobinger serves on the ISV Board.
Professor Punnee Pitisuttithum is the Head of the Department of Clinical Tropical Medicine, and also the Head of the Vaccine Trial Centre (VTC) at the Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Thailand. She is an internationally recognized expert on tropical infectious diseases, especially on vaccine trials and clinical studies. She has completed over 40 clinical trials and has 170 publications in international peer-reviewed journals. Her research has been cited more than 5,000 times according to Scopus database. She has designed and conducted numerous clinical studies (phase I, II, III vaccine trials) of tropical diseases and vaccine against HIV/AIDS, HPV, Cholera, and other infectious diseases. She was the lead clinical investigator in the largest community trial of HIV vaccines (prime-boost regimen) involving 16,000 participants (RV144) which was the first time showed efficacy in human. She played a key role in the testing of the world’s first commercial dengue vaccine.
She served as a member of the Initiative for Vaccine Research (IVR) of the World Health Organization (WHO), the WHO-UNAIDS Vaccine Advisory Committee (VAC) on HIV/AIDS, the International AIDS Vaccine Institutes, and the Task Force on Research and Development during the establishment of The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI). She has also chaired and co-chaired numerous international conferences or reviewing committees. She has received numerous honors and awards including the Most Outstanding Researcher in Medical Science in 2015 from the National Research Council of Thailand, as well as the Mahidol University Award for Outstanding Research in 2013.
She received her MBBS degree from Lady Hardinges Medical College, New Delhi, India. She has a Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and a Doctor of Clinical Medicine degree, both from Mahidol University, Thailand. She also holds a Diploma of Thai Board of Internal Medicine from the Medical Council of Thailand.
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.
Dr. Xavier Saelens obtained his PhD degree from the University of Ghent (Ghent, Belgium) in 1990 in the laboratory of Walter Fiers. After postdoctoral training in the influenza research group of Willy Min Jou, and in the Molecular Signaling and Cell Death group of Peter Vandenabeele, both at Ghent University, he became an assistant professor in Molecular Virology in 2008. Currently, he is a full professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology at Ghent University and a principle investigator at the VIB-UGent Center for Medical Biotechnology.
The research team of Xavier Saelens applies modern biotechnology methods to develop new vaccines and antivirals against important human respiratory viruses such as influenza, respiratory syncytial virus and, more recently, coronaviruses. In addition, his group uses interactomics tools to gain new insights in the molecular interplay between host and viral factors.
His research group pioneered the development of a universal influenza A vaccine candidate based on the viral matrix protein 2 and elucidated it’s mechanism of protection. More recently, his team proposed a new human respiratory syncytial vaccine candidate that is based on the small hydrophobic protein of this virus. This vaccine candidate has successfully passed a Phase I clinical study. The group also develops single domain antibodies and formats thereof as new candidate biologics to control infections by human respiratory viruses. A recently started research focus point is the development of respiratory delivery technologies for antibody-based antivirals.
In 2015 he received the biennial price in Virology from the Study Centre Princess Joséphine- Charlotte from the Flanders and Walloon Research Foundations of Belgium. In 2019 and 2020 Xavier Saelens obtained excellence awards from VIB for outstanding scientific and technology transfer output.
He is a board member and the treasurer of the Belgian Society for Microbiology and member of the board of the International Society for Vaccines where he has contributed in many ways to the society.