Conference Reports

30th Brazilian Society for Virology 2019 Annual Meeting—Cuiabá, Mato Grosso, Brazil

Viruses 2020, 12(5), 494; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12050494

The 30th meeting of the Brazilian Society for Virology (SBV) was held, for the first time in its 30 years of existence, in Cuiabá, the capital of Mato Grosso State, Central Western Brazil, a tropical region between the three richest biomes in the world: Amazon Florest, Cerrado and Pantanal. In recent years, the field of virology has been built in the State. The aim of this report is to support participants and virologists to receive the most up-to-date information about the meeting, which occurred from 16 to 19 October 2019. National and international speakers gave SBV the opportunity to learn about their experience on their virology fields, sharing recent scientific findings, compiling conferences, round table presentations and work presentations in oral and poster sessions. The meeting held over 300 attendants, who were also involved on oral and poster presentations, showing a great variety of recent unpublished studies on environmental, basic, animal, human, plant and invertebrate virology. In addition, SBV offered the Helio Gelli Pereira award for the best research studies in each field presented during the meeting. The 30th meeting of SBV was very productive and has also encouraged scientific partnership and collaboration among virologists worldwide.
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“French Phage Network” Annual Conference—Fifth Meeting Report

Viruses 2020, 12(4), 446; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12040446

Attracting about 100 participants, the fifth edition of our French Phages.fr annual conference was once more a success. This year’s conference took place at the Institute for Structural Biology on the European Electron and Photon Campus in Grenoble, 8–9 October 2019. Similar to previous years, our meeting gathered scientists mainly working in France, from academic labs and hospitals as well as from industry. We also had the pleasure of welcoming attendees from different European countries and even beyond. The conference was divided into four sessions: Ecology and Evolution, Phage Therapy and Biotechnology, Structure and Assembly and Phage–Host Interaction, each opened by a keynote lecture. The talks, selected from abstracts, gave the opportunity for young scientists (especially students and post-docs) to present their project and results in a friendly atmosphere. Poster sessions also favoured interactions and discussions between young researchers and more senior scientists. Here, we provide a summary of the topics developed during the conference.
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The Beginning of Ending Hepatitis C Virus: A Summary of the 26th International Symposium on Hepatitis C Virus and Related Viruses

Viruses 2020, 12(3), 302; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12030302

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infects ~71 million people worldwide, and 399,000 people die annually due to HCV-related liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. The use of direct-acting antivirals results in a sustained virologic response in >95% of patients with chronic HCV infection. However, several issues remain to be solved to eradicate HCV. At the 26th International Symposium on Hepatitis C Virus and Related Viruses (HCV2019) held in Seoul, South Korea, October 5–8, 2019, virologists, immunologists, and clinical scientists discussed these remaining issues and how we can achieve the elimination of HCV.
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The 19th Rocky Mountain Virology Association Meeting

Viruses 2020, 12(1), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12010085

This autumn, 95 scientists and students from the Rocky Mountain area, along with invited speakers from Colorado, California, Montana, Florida, Louisiana, New York, Maryland, and India, attended the 19th annual meeting of the Rocky Mountain Virology Association that was held at the Colorado State University Mountain Campus located in the Rocky Mountains. The two-day gathering featured 30 talks and 13 posters—all of which focused on specific areas of current virology and prion protein research. The keynote presentation reviewed new tools for microbial discovery and diagnostics. This timely discussion described the opportunities new investigators have to expand the field of microbiology into chronic and acute diseases, the pitfalls of sensitive molecular methods for pathogen discovery, and ways in which microbiology help us understand disruptions in the social fabric that pose pandemic threats at least as real as Ebola or influenza. Other areas of interest included host factors that influence virus replication, in-depth analysis of virus transcription and its effect on host gene expression, and multiple discussions of virus pathology, epidemiology as well as new avenues of diagnosis and treatment. The meeting was held at the peak of fall Aspen colors, surrounded by five mountains >11,000 ft (3.3 km), where the secluded campus provided the ideal setting for extended discussions, outdoor exercise and stargazing. On behalf of the Rocky Mountain Virology Association, this report summarizes 43 selected presentations.
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The XIth International Symposium on Thysanoptera and Tospoviruses Co-sponsored by Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Sciences and Nanjing Agricultural University in Kunming, China 2019

Viruses 2019, 11(10), 939; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11100939

The XIth International Symposium on Thysanoptera and Tospoviruses co-hosted by the Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Sciences, and Nanjing Agricultural University was held from September 21–25 in Kunming, China (Figure 1) [...]
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“French Phage Network” Annual Conference 2018—Fourth Meeting Report

Viruses 2019, 11(5), 470; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11050470

The present meeting report aims to cover the scientific activities of the 4th French Bacteriophage Network (Phages.fr) symposium which took place during 24th–25th September 2018, at the Agora du Haut-Carré in Talence (France). The hosting institute was University Bordeaux and 72 participants attended the meeting from both public and private sectors, coming from France, Belgium, Ireland, Germany, Portugal and Canada. The scientific program was structured in three themed oral sessions entitled “ecology and evolution”, “bacteriophage-host molecular interaction”, and “therapy and biotechnology applications” consisting of 21 oral presentations, including three keynote lectures, and a presentation of the activities of the Spanish bacteriophage network. A poster session included 22 presentations.
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Twelfth International Foamy Virus Conference—Meeting Report

Viruses 2019, 11(2), 134; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11020134

The 12th International Foamy Virus Conference took place on 30–31 August 2018 at the Technische Universität Dresden, Dresden, Germany. The meeting included presentations on current research on non-human primate and non-primate foamy viruses (FVs; also called spumaretroviruses) as well as keynote talks on related research areas in retroviruses. The taxonomy of foamy viruses was updated earlier this year to create five new genera in the subfamily, Spumaretrovirinae, based on their animal hosts. Research on viruses from different genera was presented on topics of potential relevance to human health, such as natural infections and cross-species transmission, replication, and viral-host interactions in particular with the immune system, dual retrovirus infections, virus structure and biology, and viral vectors for gene therapy. This article provides an overview of the current state-of-the-field, summarizes the meeting highlights, and presents some important questions that need to be addressed in the future.
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CSV2018: The 2nd Symposium of the Canadian Society for Virology

Viruses 2019, 11(1), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11010079

The 2nd Symposium of the Canadian Society for Virology (CSV2018) was held in June 2018 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, as a featured event marking the 200th anniversary of Dalhousie University. CSV2018 attracted 175 attendees from across Canada and around the world, more than double the number that attended the first CSV symposium two years earlier. CSV2018 provided a forum to discuss a wide range of topics in virology including human, veterinary, plant, and microbial pathogens. Invited keynote speakers included David Kelvin (Dalhousie University and Shantou University Medical College) who provided a historical perspective on influenza on the 100th anniversary of the 1918 pandemic; Sylvain Moineau (Université Laval) who described CRISPR-Cas systems and anti-CRISPR proteins in warfare between bacteriophages and their host microbes; and Kate O’Brien (then from Johns Hopkins University, now relocated to the World Health Organization where she is Director of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals), who discussed the underlying viral etiology for pneumonia in the developing world, and the evidence for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) as a primary cause. Reflecting a strong commitment of Canadian virologists to science communication, CSV2018 featured the launch of Halifax’s first annual Soapbox Science event to enable public engagement with female scientists, and the live-taping of the 499th episode of the This Week in Virology (TWIV) podcast, hosted by Vincent Racaniello (Columbia University) and science writer Alan Dove. TWIV featured interviews of CSV co-founders Nathalie Grandvaux (Université de Montréal) and Craig McCormick (Dalhousie University), who discussed the origins and objectives of the new society; Ryan Noyce (University of Alberta), who discussed technical and ethical considerations of synthetic virology; and Kate O’Brien, who discussed vaccines and global health. Finally, because CSV seeks to provide a better future for the next generation of Canadian virologists, the symposium featured a large number of oral and poster presentations from trainees and closed with the awarding of presentation prizes to trainees, followed by a tour of the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site and an evening of entertainment at the historic Alexander Keith’s Brewery.
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The 18th Rocky Mountain Virology Association Meeting

Viruses 2019, 11(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11010004

This autumn, approximately 100 scientists and students from the Rocky Mountain area along with invited speakers attended the 18th annual meeting of the Rocky Mountain Virology Association that was held at the Colorado State University Mountain Campus. The two-day gathering featured 31 talks and 33 posters all of which focused on specific areas of current virology and prion protein research. Since the keynote presentation focused on the oligoadenylate synthetase-ribonuclease L pathway the main area of focus was on host–virus interactions, however other areas of interest included virus vectors, current models of virus infections, prevention and treatment of virus infections, separate sessions on RNA viruses and prion proteins, and a special talk highlighting various attributes of targeted next-generation sequencing. The meeting was held at the peak of the fall Aspen colors surrounded by five mountains >11000 ft (3.3 km) where the secluded campus provided the ideal setting for extended discussions and outdoor exercise. On behalf of the Rocky Mountain Virology Association, this report summarizes 42 selected presentations.
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“FAGOMA: Spanish Network of Bacteriophages and Transducer Elements”—V Meeting Report

Viruses 2018, 10(12), 722; https://doi.org/10.3390/v10120722

The Spanish Network of Bacteriophages and Transducer Elements (FAGOMA) was created to answer the need of Spanish scientists working on phages to exchange knowledge and find synergies. Seven years and five meetings later, the network has become a fruitful forum where groups working on distinct aspects of phage research (structural and molecular biology, diversity, gene transfer and evolution, virus–host interactions, clinical, biotechnological and industrial applications) present their work and find new avenues for collaboration. The network has recently increased its visibility and activity by getting in touch with the French Phage Network (Phages.fr) and with different national and international scientific institutions. Here, we present a summary of the fifth meeting of the FAGOMA network, held in October 2018 in Alcalá de Henares (Madrid), in which the participants shared some of their latest results and discussed future challenges of phage research.
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Glycans Controlling Virus Infections: Meeting Report on the 1st International Symposium on Glycovirology Schöntal, Germany, 02–04 May 2018

Viruses 2018, 10(11), 636; https://doi.org/10.3390/v10110636

Glycans are, with nucleic acids, proteins and lipids, one of the four founding structures of cellular life. Due to their non-template synthesis, they are inherently heterogeneous and difficult to study with regards to their structure and function. Since 2016, the research group ViroCarb, funded by the German Research Foundation, has investigated the role of glycans in non-enveloped virus infections with a highly interdisciplinary approach. The core idea was to bring together scientists and students from various disciplines such as structural biology, cell biology, virology and chemistry to advance research by an interdisciplinary means. In 2018, ViroCarb hosted the 1st International Symposium on Glycovirology in Schöntal, Germany, with a similar aim. Scientists from various disciplines gathered to discuss their area of study, present recent findings, establish or strengthen collaborations, and mentor the next generation of glycovirologists through formal presentations and informal discussions. The secluded meeting at the monastery of Schöntal gave ample time for in-depth discussions. On behalf of ViroCarb, this report summarizes the reports and highlights advances in the field.
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Meeting Review: 2018 International Workshop on Structure and Function of the Lentiviral gp41 Cytoplasmic Tail

Viruses 2018, 10(11), 613; https://doi.org/10.3390/v10110613

Recent developments in defining the role of the lentiviral envelope glycoprotein (Env) cytoplasmic tail (CT) in Env trafficking and incorporation into virus particles have advanced our understanding of viral replication and transmission. To stimulate additional progress in this field, the two-day International Workshop on Structure and Function of the Lentiviral gp41 Cytoplasmic Tail, co-organized by Eric Freed and James Hoxie, was held at the National Cancer Institute in Frederick, MD (26–27 April 2018). The meeting served to bring together experts focused on the role of gp41 in HIV replication and to discuss the emerging mechanisms of CT-dependent trafficking, Env conformation and structure, host protein interaction, incorporation, and viral transmission. The conference was organized around the following three main hot topics in gp41 research: the role of host factors in CT-dependent Env incorporation, Env structure, and CT-mediated trafficking and transmission. This review highlights important topics and the advances in gp41 research that were discussed during the conference.
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Sixth European Seminar in Virology on Virus–Host Interaction at Single Cell and Organism Level

Viruses 2018, 10(8), 400; https://doi.org/10.3390/v10080400

The 6th European Seminar in Virology (EuSeV) was held in Bertinoro, Italy, 22–24 June 2018, and brought together international scientists and young researchers working in the field of Virology. Sessions of the meeting included: virus–host-interactions at organism and cell level; virus evolution and dynamics; regulation; immunity/immune response; and disease and therapy. This report summarizes lectures by the invited speakers and highlights advances in the field.
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Bioinformatics Meets Virology: The European Virus Bioinformatics Center’s Second Annual Meeting

Viruses 2018, 10(5), 256; https://doi.org/10.3390/v10050256

The Second Annual Meeting of the European Virus Bioinformatics Center (EVBC), held in Utrecht, Netherlands, focused on computational approaches in virology, with topics including (but not limited to) virus discovery, diagnostics, (meta-)genomics, modeling, epidemiology, molecular structure, evolution, and viral ecology. The goals of the Second Annual Meeting were threefold: (i) to bring together virologists and bioinformaticians from across the academic, industrial, professional, and training sectors to share best practice; (ii) to provide a meaningful and interactive scientific environment to promote discussion and collaboration between students, postdoctoral fellows, and both new and established investigators; (iii) to inspire and suggest new research directions and questions. Approximately 120 researchers from around the world attended the Second Annual Meeting of the EVBC this year, including 15 renowned international speakers. This report presents an overview of new developments and novel research findings that emerged during the meeting.
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Expert Opinion on Three Phage Therapy Related Topics: Bacterial Phage Resistance, Phage Training and Prophages in Bacterial Production Strains

Viruses 2018, 10(4), 178; https://doi.org/10.3390/v10040178

Phage therapy is increasingly put forward as a “new” potential tool in the fight against antibiotic resistant infections. During the “Centennial Celebration of Bacteriophage Research” conference in Tbilisi, Georgia on 26–29 June 2017, an international group of phage researchers committed to elaborate an expert opinion on three contentious phage therapy related issues that are hampering clinical progress in the field of phage therapy. This paper explores and discusses bacterial phage resistance, phage training and the presence of prophages in bacterial production strains while reviewing relevant research findings and experiences. Our purpose is to inform phage therapy stakeholders such as policy makers, officials of the competent authorities for medicines, phage researchers and phage producers, and members of the pharmaceutical industry. This brief also points out potential avenues for future phage therapy research and development as it specifically addresses those overarching questions that currently call for attention whenever phages go into purification processes for application.
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1st German Phage Symposium—Conference Report

Viruses 2018, 10(4), 158; https://doi.org/10.3390/v10040158

In Germany, phage research and application can be traced back to the beginning of the 20th century. However, with the triumphal march of antibiotics around the world, the significance of bacteriophages faded in most countries, and respective research mainly focused on fundamental questions and niche applications. After a century, we pay tribute to the overuse of antibiotics that led to multidrug resistance and calls for new strategies to combat pathogenic microbes. Against this background, bacteriophages came into the spotlight of researchers and practitioners again resulting in a fast growing “phage community”. In October 2017, part of this community met at the 1st German Phage Symposium to share their knowledge and experiences. The participants discussed open questions and challenges related to phage therapy and the application of phages in general. This report summarizes the presentations given, highlights the main points of the round table discussion and concludes with an outlook for the different aspects of phage application.
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“French Phage Network”—Third Meeting Report

Viruses 2018, 10(3), 123; https://doi.org/10.3390/v10030123

In its third year of existence, the French Phage Network (Phages.fr) is pursuing its expansion. With more than 25 groups, mostly based in France, working on the various aspects of phage research, the network has increased its visibility, interactivity, and activity. The third meeting of the Phages.fr network, held on November 2017 at the Gif-sur-Yvette Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) campus, was a great opportunity for many young scientists to present their work and interact with more senior scientists, amongst which several were invited from abroad. Here we provide a summary of the work presented at this occasion during the oral presentations and poster sessions.
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The Intersection of HPV Epidemiology, Genomics and Mechanistic Studies of HPV-Mediated Carcinogenesis

Viruses 2018, 10(2), 80; https://doi.org/10.3390/v10020080

Of the ~60 human papillomavirus (HPV) genotypes that infect the cervicovaginal epithelium, only 12–13 “high-risk” types are well-established as causing cervical cancer, with HPV16 accounting for over half of all cases worldwide. While HPV16 is the most important carcinogenic type, variants of HPV16 can differ in their carcinogenicity by 10-fold or more in epidemiologic studies. Strong genotype-phenotype associations embedded in the small 8-kb HPV16 genome motivate molecular studies to understand the underlying molecular mechanisms. Understanding the mechanisms of HPV genomic findings is complicated by the linkage of HPV genome variants. A panel of experts in various disciplines gathered on 21 November 2016 to discuss the interdisciplinary science of HPV oncogenesis. Here, we summarize the discussion of the complexity of the viral–host interaction and highlight important next steps for selected applied basic laboratory studies guided by epidemiological genomic findings.
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The 17th Rocky Mountain Virology Association Meeting

Viruses 2017, 9(11), 333; https://doi.org/10.3390/v9110333

Since 2000, scientists and students from the greater Rocky Mountain region, along with invited speakers, both national and international, have gathered at the Mountain Campus of Colorado State University to discuss their area of study, present recent findings, establish or strengthen collaborations, and mentor the next generation of virologists and prionologists through formal presentations and informal discussions concerning science, grantsmanship and network development. This year, approximately 100 people attended the 17th annual Rocky Mountain Virology Association meeting, that began with a keynote presentation, and featured 29 oral and 35 poster presentations covering RNA and DNA viruses, prions, virus-host interactions and guides to successful mentorship. Since the keynote address focused on the structure and function of Zika and related flaviviruses, a special session was held to discuss RNA control. The secluded meeting at the foot of the Colorado Rocky Mountains gave ample time for in-depth discussions amid the peak of fall colors in the aspen groves while the random bear provided excitement. On behalf of the Rocky Mountain Virology Association, this report summarizes the >50 reports.
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“French Phage Network”—Second Meeting Report

Viruses 2017, 9(4), 87; https://doi.org/10.3390/v9040087

The study of bacteriophages (viruses of bacteria) includes a variety of approaches, such as structural biology, genetics, ecology, and evolution, with increasingly important implications for therapeutic and industrial uses. Researchers working with phages in France have recently established a network to facilitate the exchange on complementary approaches, but also to engage new collaborations. Here, we provide a summary of the topics presented during the second meeting of the French Phage Network that took place in Marseille in November 2016
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1st Workshop of the Canadian Society for Virology

Viruses 2017, 9(3), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/v9030054

The 1st Workshop of the Canadian Society for Virology (CSV2016) was a Special Workshop of the 35th Annual Meeting for the American Society for Virology, held on 18 June 2016 on the beautiful Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia. The workshop provided a forum for discussion of recent advances in the field, in an informal setting conducive to interaction with colleagues. CSV2016 featured two internationally-renowned Canadian keynote speakers who discussed translational virology research; American Society for Virology President Grant McFadden (then from University of Florida, now relocated to Arizona State University) who presented his studies of oncolytic poxviruses, while Matthew Miller (McMaster University) reviewed the prospects for a universal influenza vaccine. The workshop also featured a variety of trainee oral and poster presentations, and a panel discussion on the topic of the future of the CSV and virus research in Canada.
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Eleventh International Foamy Virus Conference—Meeting Report

Viruses 2016, 8(11), 318; https://doi.org/10.3390/v8110318

The Eleventh International Foamy Virus Conference took place on 9–10 June 2016 at the Institut Pasteur, Paris, France. The meeting reviewed progress on foamy virus (FV) research, as well as related current topics in retrovirology. FVs are complex retroviruses that are widespread in several animal species. Several research topics on these viruses are relevant to human health: cross-species transmission and viral emergence, vectors for gene therapy, development of antiretroviral drugs, retroviral evolution and its influence on the human genome. In this article, we review the conference presentations on these viruses and highlight the major questions to be answered.
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Tenth International Foamy Virus Conference 2014–Achievements and Perspectives

Viruses 2015, 7(4), 1651-1666; https://doi.org/10.3390/v7041651

For the past two decades, scientists from around the world, working on different aspects of foamy virus (FV) research, have gathered in different research institutions almost every two years to present their recent results in formal talks, to discuss their ongoing studies informally, and to initiate fruitful collaborations. In this report we review the 2014 anniversary conference to share the meeting summary with the virology community and hope to arouse interest by other researchers to join this exciting field. The topics covered included epidemiology, virus molecular biology, and immunology of FV infection in non-human primates, cattle, and humans with zoonotic FV infections, as well as recent findings on endogenous FVs. Several topics focused on virus replication and interactions between viral and cellular proteins. Use of FV in biomedical research was highlighted with presentations on using FV vectors for gene therapy and FV proteins as scaffold for vaccine antigen presentation. On behalf of the FV community, this report also includes a short tribute to commemorate Prof. Axel Rethwilm, one of the leading experts in the field of retrovirology and foamy viruses, who passed away 29 July 2014.
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The Ins and Outs of Viral Infection: Keystone Meeting Review

Viruses 2014, 6(9), 3652-3662; https://doi.org/10.3390/v6093652

Newly observed mechanisms for viral entry, assembly, and exit are challenging our current understanding of the replication cycle of different viruses. To address and better understand these mechanisms, a Keystone Symposium was organized in the snowy mountains of Colorado (“The Ins and Outs of Viral Infection: Entry, Assembly, Exit, and Spread”; 30 March–4 April 2014, Beaver Run Resort, Breckenridge, Colorado, organized by Karla Kirkegaard, Mavis Agbandje-McKenna, and Eric O. Freed). The meeting served to bring together cell biologists, structural biologists, geneticists, and scientists expert in viral pathogenesis to discuss emerging mechanisms of viral ins and outs. The conference was organized around different phases of the viral replication cycle, including cell entry, viral assembly and post-assembly maturation, virus structure, cell exit, and virus spread. This review aims to highlight important topics and themes that emerged during the conference.
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1st International Symposium on Stress-Associated RNA Granules in Human Disease and Viral Infection

Viruses 2014, 6(9), 3500-3513; https://doi.org/10.3390/v6093500

In recent years, important linkages have been made between RNA granules and human disease processes. On June 8-10 of this year, we hosted a new symposium, dubbed the 1st International Symposium on Stress-Associated RNA Granules in Human Disease and Viral Infection. This symposium brought together experts from diverse research disciplines ranging from cancer and neuroscience to infectious disease. This report summarizes speaker presentations and highlights current challenges in the field.
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Challenges, Progress, and Opportunities: Proceedings of the Filovirus Medical Countermeasures Workshop

Viruses 2014, 6(7), 2673-2697; https://doi.org/10.3390/v6072673

On August 22–23, 2013, agencies within the United States Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) sponsored the Filovirus Medical Countermeasures (MCMs) Workshop as an extension of the activities of the Filovirus Animal Non-clinical Group (FANG). The FANG is a federally-recognized multi-Agency group established in 2011 to coordinate and facilitate U.S. government (USG) efforts to develop filovirus MCMs. The workshop brought together government, academic and industry experts to consider the needs for filovirus MCMs and evaluate the status of the product development pipeline. This report summarizes speaker presentations and highlights progress and challenges remaining in the field.
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