ASV 2023 Election Candidate Guide

 Candidates for President-Elect

Cornell University
Professor of Virology

Degree: University of Southern California, 2002

Description of my research
Viral glycoproteins and their roles in viral entry, viral assembly and structure, and broad-spectrum vaccines and antivirals.

Viruses are considered the most likely pathogens to cause future pandemics, and my lab specializes on the diverse roles of the glycoproteins of emerging RNA viruses. For example, the Paramyxoviridae family comprises important human and veterinary pathogens [e.g., MeV, MuV, CDV, Nipah (NiV) and Hendra (HeV) viruses], with NiV and HeV reaching 40-100% mortality rates in humans. The Orthomyxoviridae family comprises endemic and pandemic influenza viruses. The Coronaviridae family includes SARS-CoV-1, MERS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2, with 1-35% mortality rates in humans. We study the roles of viral glycoproteins and their associated cellular factors in: 1) modulating viral entry into host cells; 2) viral particle assembly and structures; 3) host immune responses; and 4) broad-spectrum vaccines and antivirals. Our basic knowledge on viral glycoproteins feeds our preclinical research on vaccines, antivirals, and new pathogenic animal models.

Reason for Running
I am honored to be nominated as a candidate for President of ASV. If chosen I would seek to expand the scope of our Society in areas including community outreach, mentoring, networking, and diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA), in addition to coordinating our annual meeting. As a junior postdoc, I attended my first ASV meeting in 2005, where I had the opportunity to present and network with the many incredible virologists whose papers I had read and whom I admired. Since then, my lab and I have been participating in the annual ASV meetings, and I recognize the important roles of ASV in keeping virology a vibrant and exciting discipline. I am very grateful to our Society for the valuable role it has played in my career, hence my eagerness to give back. My involvement supporting the mission of ASV has shown me areas of ASV excellence, as well as opportunities for our Society to develop further. I also served as a member and Chair of the ASM Education-DEI committee from 2015-2018. I have also served as the Director of the NIH-funded Program for Achieving Career Excellence (PACE), a program focused on mentoring junior faculty and post-doctoral fellows at the national level. This program has given me insight for the common needs of postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty. From the needs of our ASV members at the grassroots level to informing public perception of virology, I bring my experiences to further the mission of ASV.

Past ASV Service
Education & Career Committee: 2013-2016
Workshop Convenor: 2015, 2022
Veterinary Virology Satellite Speaker: 2015
DEI Committee Chair: 2020 - Present
Plenary Speaker: 2022

Indiana University, Department of Biology
Professor of Biology

Degree: University of Illinois, Chicago 1996

Description of my research
Areas of Interest: Arbovirus structure, assembly and spread

The long-term goal of my research program is to understand how arboviruses assemble to form new infectious virions in vastly different environments: arthropods, fish, avians, and mammals. Using alphaviruses as a model system, we study the viral and host determinants that promote and inhibit viral infection. Our research seeks to identify the fundamental pathways used by arboviruses and how these mechanisms are conserved in different vectors and hosts. Our results will potentially provide us with specific sites to target for vector control, vaccination, and/or anti-viral treatment. Last, determining the mechanisms of virus assembly allows us to engineer nanoparticles for drug delivery and medical imaging, and to further understand the biology and pathogenesis of viral infections.

Reason for Running
I am truly honored to be nominated for ASV President-Elect. As for many of us, ASV has been integral to my scientific growth through the different stages of my career. The annual meetings initially provided me with opportunities to present posters and talks, and to network with my peers and meet my virology idols. Our roles and responsibilities as scientists have extended beyond “getting grants and writing papers.” Accordingly, ASV has responded by expanding the scope of the meetings and society mission to include career development, curriculum and education, scientific communication, involvement in science policy, and establishing an international presence. I am running for ASV president because I would like to help ensure we continue to have a vibrant and engaging society that meets the needs of our members and presents new opportunities for growth. Key to this is inclusivity and equity; we need to recognize that successful scientists do not come from one mold, and as a society we need to make changes so junior scientists can succeed. I have served on ASV Council and the ASV Program and Finance committees, and I have had University and Departmental leadership roles at Indiana University. I look forward to working with others to help ASV continue to have a positive impact and allow virologists to thrive in our many roles.

Past ASV Service
Virology Education Curriculum Committee: 2021-present
Member and Chair of Finance committee: 2018-2019, Chair 2020-2022
Member of Program Planning committee: 2016-2019
Workshop Convener: 2006, 2011, 2017, 2018
State of the Art speaker: 2018
Discussion leader/Panelist: Assistant professor bootcamp (2022), Vaccine Education Town Hall (zoom; 2021), Career development lunch tables
Contributing member since 1999

 Candidates for Applied Virology Councilor

Pfizer Biotherapeutics Pharmaceutical Sciences
Gene Therapy BioProcess Research and Development
Research Fellow

Degree: Vanderbilt University, 2000

Description of my research
My doctoral thesis work in the laboratory of Dr. Terry Dermody was focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms of virus tropism in vivo and the biophysical interactions that enable tissue-specific virus targeting. After postdoctoral studies at Washington University in St. Louis with Herbert “Skip” Virgin, I spent eight years studying viral pathogenesis and immunity to chronic infections as an NIH-funded faculty member at Purdue University and Wake Forest University. It was during my PhD and postdoctoral training that I fell in love with the intelligent nanomachines that we call viruses and the dynamic between viruses, cells, and the immune system that has played out across the scope of cellular evolution. In 2015, I joined Pfizer gene therapy in St. Louis, Missouri; I transferred to the Pfizer Research Triangle site in 2019. During my time at Pfizer, I have made significant contributions to the development of internal gene therapy capabilities, with efforts focused on improving the productivity of Pfizer’s AAV platform by engineering highly productive host cells and optimizing expression plasmids.

Reason for Running
Throughout both my academic and industry career, I have been a passionate advocate for excellence in teaching in virology, and for focused dedication toward mentoring future generations of virologists regardless of their career path. However, the needs of trainees to enable a successful transition into industry are unique and shrouded with intimidating myths; addressing these needs and dispelling these myths is a special focus of my vision for the next stage of my career.

Past ASV Service
Education & Career Development Committee Member: 2022 - Present
Co-organizer, Careers in Industry Workshop: 2021, 2022, and 2023

F. Hoffmann-La Roche, Ltd.
Head of Virology

Degree: Purdue University, 2000

Description of my research
My research interests include viral assembly, viral protein structural biology, viral replication mechanisms, virus-host interactions, antiviral drug development, broad spectrum antivirals, antiviral diagnostic development, and antiviral resistance. I am particularly interested in hepatitis viruses, alphaviruses, flaviviruses, human immunodeficiency virus, influenza viruses, coronaviruses, respiratory syncytial virus, parainfluenza, and human rhinovirus.
My work is currently focused on the development of antiviral compounds targeting chronic hepatitis B virus infections and pediatric respiratory viral infections. Our research efforts in hepatitis B virus include five clinical stage investigational drugs, and a number of pre-clinical stage molecules targeting viral gene expression, HBV cccDNA formation and stability, capsid assembly, immune stimulation, and restoration of immune function for exhausted immune cells. In the pediatric respiratory virology area, we are combining a variety of -omics-based methods to determine what common host factors and host pathways are required for the replication and pathogenesis of respiratory syncytial virus, human metapneumovirus, parainfluenza virus, and human rhinovirus, with a goal of developing broadly acting antivirals. Finally, we have a substantial effort in SARS-CoV-2, including the testing and launch of Actemra for hospitalized COVID patients, and the REGEN-CoV cocktail in collaboration with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.

Reason for Running
I am honored to submit my application for the new position of Councilor for Applied Virology for the American Society for Virology.

I often feel a large part of my career is owed to ASV, from my first travel grant allowing my first scientific conference presentation many years ago that allowed me to present my Ph.D. research at the ASV annual meeting, to all the things that came after that first talk via exposure to a large group of colleagues that share my love of virology. I remember being absolutely terrified of the international experts in the audience before my presentation, and really pleased afterwards when people were genuinely interested in what I was doing and were so very supportive. I count a good number of them as colleagues and friends to this very day, and that is why the opportunity to give something back to ASV means a lot to me.

As my career progressed to a faculty position, I became an editorial board member for Journal of Virology, a position I enjoyed greatly, and a lifetime member of ASV. Career paths often develop in ways that are not what we expect at the outset, and my path led from an academic faculty position to a career in industry. I call the transition my midlife crisis. My time as an academic at Scripps Research was focused on mixing basic science in virology and antiviral drug development. As time progressed, I became more interested in the antiviral development aspects of the work, and when an opportunity came to take on the role of the Head of Virology at Roche, I jumped at the chance. Gone were the days of academic grant writing, although the excitement of no longer writing grants quickly faded to a never-ending list of equally difficult budget meetings, regulatory interactions, and strategic alignments. I still got to do basic science and the antiviral target identification and validation that comes from it, but now I had the chance to turn that data into medications with the help of an incredibly talented multidisciplinary team of scientists.

I am really excited for the potential to try to bring some of my academic and corporate virology life experience to ASV. Science is increasingly complex, and corporate-academic interactions will be needed to drive future discovery and antiviral development. As part of my current work at Roche, I oversee academic-industrial partnerships, and I have even participated in some efforts to help start new multi-center academic institutions that require a corporate partner. I have also had the opportunity to train many young undergraduate and postdoctoral scientists who are interested in careers in industry. I think a Councilor for Applied Virology is a place where I can offer something useful to ASV, because I have spent time in both academia and industry, and this gives me a perspective on how to think about partnerships and training a future generation of scientists that might follow the path to the corporate world, and how to harness the immense talent that exists in both of these worlds to tackle the ever present, and often emerging, challenges in virology.

Past ASV Service
ASV 2022 Corporate Sponsor
State-of-the-Art Speaker: 2013
Annual Meeting Workshop Convener: 2013

 Candidates for Evolution & Ecology Virology Councilor

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Associate Professor of Microbiology

Degree: University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, 2010

Description of my research
My research group studies the evolution and pathogenesis of RNA viruses, primarily influenza A virus. We are particularly interested in (a) understanding how heterogeneity and collective interactions within both viral and host cell populations influence infection outcomes, (b) defining viral features that influence evolutionary dynamics across different scales, and (c) using quantitative methods to dissect spatiotemporal dynamics of viral infection in vitro and in vivo. The different avenues of research in my laboratory are united both by a focus on evolution that guides everything we do and an enthusiasm for the immense complexity of viral infection. The overall goals of our work are to both uncover new and surprising facets of the fundamental biology of viruses and to use these basic insights to drive development of new tools for mitigating the public health threats posed by viruses.

Reason for Running
I am running to give back to a community that has given me so much over the years since I attended my first ASV meeting in 2005. By serving as Evolution and Ecology Councilor for ASV, I will represent and advocate for all members of the diverse ecology and evolution community within ASV and will work to initiate and support efforts that promote cross-disciplinary collaborations and intellectual exchange between the ecology and evolution field and the broader virology community. I am a huge believer in the enormous potential for discovery that comes from bridging disciplines, and I aim to bring this zeal to the ASV council by working to help break down barriers between the ecology and evolution community and other sub-fields. My dedication to ASV has been demonstrated by my record of service through two terms on the program planning committee and repeated service as a workshop convener, as well as my enthusiastic attendance at every ASV meeting I have been able to attend over the past 17 years. I look forward to the opportunity to enthusiastically serve the ASV as Evolution and Ecology Councilor!

Past ASV Service
Program Planning Committee: 2017-2020; 2022-present
Annual Meeting workshop convener: 2014, 2016, 2018, 2021.
ASV Member: 2013-present

Gregory Ebel, Professor, Microbiology, Immunology, Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, October 21, 2022

Colorado State University, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
Professor, Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology
Director, Center for Vector-borne Infectious Diseases

Degree: Harvard School of Public Health. 2000

Description of my research
I am interested in arboviruses, emerging viruses and surveillance.

Infections transmitted by arthropods such as mosquitoes and ticks represent some of the most difficult and persistent problems facing public health and medicine. We are mainly interested in arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses), such as West Nile, dengue and Zika viruses. We exist in order to help find ways to make these types of infections less burdensome. Our research addresses several areas, including arbovirus population biology and evolution, mechanisms that permit mosquitoes to transmit arboviruses, mosquito immunity and disease surveillance. Our currently funded projects focus on West Nile, dengue, Zika and chikungunya viruses, as well as the mosquitoes that transmit them. We are also involved in developing novel methods for detecting emerging viruses in resource-poor settings such as rural West Africa. We take a multidisciplinary approach to science that combines classical virology, entomology, and molecular and computational biology. Central concepts that guide our work include the notion that arthropod-borne viruses, like other RNA viruses, form genetically complex populations within individual hosts, and that natural selection powerfully shapes which of these variants are most fit in a given environment. We are also active in local health initiatives that consist mainly of efforts to limit the impact of West Nile virus in Fort Collins and elsewhere on the great plains.

Reason for Running
ASV has been a fantastic society that has helped me to grow as a scientist. I very much appreciate the venue that it provides for my students and fellows to network and present their work. I think it’s important to contribute to these societies in whatever way is possible, so when I was approached about this opportunity to serve on ASV Council, I was very excited to consider it. Next year I will be rotating out of my role as the scientific program chair for virology for the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and thus have some ‘society duty’ bandwidth to contribute. I’m really looking forward to becoming more involved with ASV!

Past ASV Service
Veterinary Virology Satellite Speaker: 2009
Annual Meeting Workshop Convenor: 2010
Annual Meeting Local Organizing Committee: 2014

 Candidates for Plant Virology Councilor

University of Kentucky
Professor, Plant Pathology Department 

Degree: University of Keszthely, Hungary, 1990

Description of my research
I am interested in plant RNA virus replication, recombination and virus-host interactions.

My research involves tomato bushy stunt tombusvirus (TBSV) and yeast as a model host. Since viruses are intracellular parasites that use the resources of eukaryotic cells, it is feasible to study virus replication and recombination in yeast (S. cerevisiae) cells. This makes the awesome power of yeast genetics, biochemistry and cell biology available for virus research. Accordingly, we have conducted genome-wide and proteome-wide screens in yeast, which led to the identification of over 500 cellular proteins that are involved in TBSV-host interactions. The findings from the yeast model host are validated and expanded in the plant host. We are dissecting the mechanism of virus replication with novel cell-free authentic tombusvirus replication assays based on yeast cytosolic extracts and artificial giant unilamellar vesicles. Altogether, we have characterized the functions of over 50 host proteins in TBSV replication and recombination, viral replication organelle formation.

Reason for Running
I would like to serve the plant virology community and the ASV to continue on the path of the long line of outstanding prior council members who have made the ASV such a successful organization with fun annual meetings.

Past ASV Service
I served twice, a 3-year term each time, on the ASV Program Planning Committee. I also co-organized (with Cheng Kao) a satellite meeting in 1999.

North Carolina State University
Emerging Plant Disease and Global Food Security Cluster

Professor of Entomology and Plant Pathology

Degree: University of Wisconsin, 2004

Description of my research
Plant-virus-vector interactions

My research focuses on identifying the molecular determinants of vector transmission for some of the most widespread and impactful viruses affecting agronomic crops. Plant viruses are a significant threat to global food security, and arthropod-borne plant viruses constitute 50% of the newly emerging plant disease threats. My team employs a combination of genomic and molecular biology research tools to define the mechanisms of virus transmission. We use the knowledge of plant-virus-vector interactions to develop new strategies to disrupt the disease cycle in the field. We are also developing plant rhabdovirus systems for gene expression, gene silencing, and genome editing in plants, enabling rapid modification of traits to avert threats to crops. The long-term goal of our fundamental and applied research is to enable the production of a safe, sustainable, and more secure food supply.

Reason for Running
I am interested in representing the Plant Virology constituency on ASV Council to advocate for our sub-discipline within the broader virology community. My hope is to promote understanding of our commonalities while also increasing appreciation of the importance of plant virology. I am deeply committed to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). I was the founding chair of the diversity committee in my home department at North Carolina State University. Consideration of DEI would be at the forefront of all my decisions and actions as Plant Virology Councilor.

Past ASV Service
State-of-the-Art Speaker: 2016
Satellite Symposium Speaker: 2017 and 2022
Symposium Speaker: 2018
Host of student/postdoc roundtable lunches: 2017 and 2018
Workshop Convener: 2021

 Candidates for Prokaryotic Virology Councilor

University of Minnesota
Professor, Department of Diagnostic and Biological Sciences

Degree: University of New Brunswick, 1997

Description of my research

My areas of research interest include virus assembly, viral DNA packaging, and force-generating ATP-driven molecular motors.

My research is centered around the use of the B. subtilis bacteriophage phi29 as a model system for virus assembly and viral DNA packaging. I am part of a long-standing, highly integrated research collective that includes biochemistry and genetics (my lab), structural biology, simulation, and single-molecule biophysics. Together we have pursued the common goal of elucidating, in great detail, the mechanism by which dsDNA phages package their DNA during virion assembly. By extension, this experimental system has developed into one of the best studied examples of the broad class of additional strand catalytic glutamate (ASCE) ring ATPases that drive numerous translocation processes across all biological systems. We have been fortunate to have almost continuous, shared federal support for this work (NIH, NSF) and been able to publish in top tier scientific journals. The two principles that guide my approach are the value of well-integrated, multidisciplinary research that is required to address complex scientific questions, and a deep respect for the biology of the model system, in my case phages, that is required to support rigorous experimental work on phage infection and assembly, develop phages as therapeutic agents, and begin to understand to role phages play in ecosystems on a variety of scales.

Reason for Running
I am running for a position in ASV Council in order to promote prokaryotic virology to the broader virology community. As a phage biologist whose research has been centered around interdisciplinary collaboration, I hope to have the opportunity to highlight the value of this approach in answering complex scientific questions and the utility of phage systems as platforms for discovery. By extension, I seek to engage the phage research community and facilitate the development of strong connections between phage biology and other areas of discovery, including antimicrobial therapy, microbial ecology, and biotech applications.

Past ASV Service
I have not previously served in any formal capacity with the ASV.

University of Connecticut
Professor and Department Head, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology
Professor, Department of Chemistry

Degree: Washington State University, 1990

Description of my research

  • Mechanism of dsDNA viral capsid assembly
  • Phage therapy
  • The role of the two SecA homologs in protein export in Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • Protein folding in vivo and in vitro; interaction of folding intermediates with molecular chaperones

Assembly of a virus is a highly coordinated process involving sequential addition of multiple proteins, ultimately leading to an infectious virion. The goal of my lab’s work is to investigate how protein interactions support the high-fidelity assembly of an icosahedral virus. We use dsDNA bacteriophages as model dsDNA viruses, primarily bacteriophage P22, in our studies because the system is so experimentally tractable. We use a combination of biochemical, biophysical, structural, and genetic techniques in our studies. We are also investigating storage methods for phages to be used in phage therapy.

Reason for Running
I would be happy to be the ASV Councilor for Prokaryotic Virology. All viruses are interesting and play important roles in our world, our health and the evolution of life. Scientists who study prokaryotic viruses should be represented in the ASV. That I still get the question “why would you study phages?” simply indicates that the entire diversity of perspectives on virology research and approaches needs to be included in the ASV. Thus, I would like to work on increasing participation by prokaryotic virologists in the organization. I am also interested in working with the other councilors on supporting young scientists and increasing participation in virology research by people underrepresented in virology.

Past ASV Service

ASV Member: 2017 - Present
Keynote speaker: 2022
Speaker satellite meeting: 2019
State of the Art Lecture: 2017
Lunch Discussion roundtables: 2017, 2019, 2022

 Candidates for Virology Trainee Councilor

Dartmouth, Geisel School of Medicine
Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Degree: The University of Toledo, 2020

Description of my research
My area of research are: Herpes virology, specifically neonatal infection and neuroscience.

Neonatal herpes simplex virus (nHSV) infections cause infant mortality and lifelong behavioral and neurological pathologies in survivors. These include psychomotor retardation, seizure disorders, cognitive and learning disorders, and possibly neurodegenerative diseases. We have developed a holistic approach using a novel mouse model to study nHSV that encompasses infection, neuroimmunity and behavioral studies. Understanding the influence that a nHSV infection can have on a healthy, developing brain is crucial to understanding the psychobiological impact of neuroinvasive infections. Subclinical nHSV infection causes an anxiety-like behavior in neonatally infected mice, which can be significantly decreased when the dam is immunized against HSV-1. Due to the importance of the neuroimmune response against viral infection, I investigated cytokines/chemokines involved in the induction of a pro-inflammatory state in microglia and astrocytes. My data reveal a subset of cytokines/chemokines that are associated with pro-inflammatory microglia/astrocyte response involved in neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration. This research seeks to characterize the mechanism of HSV-1 neuroimmune modulation and neurological sequelae in neonates by investigating the neuroinflammatory response to nHSV, defining the role of microglia and astrocytes against nHSV, and characterizing the correlation between nHSV infection and behavior morbidity from a neuroimmune point of view. My research seeks to obtain data that supports the hypothesis that nHSV infections influence host behavior via alterations to the neuroimmune environment.

Reason for Running
Ever since being involved in national associations as an undergraduate, I have been very active in providing resources to anyone who would benefit. It has been an important part of my work-life balance. As an undergraduate, I gave talks to schools and associations about opportunities to do research and I took that passion with me all the way to my current stage as a postdoc. We take for granted the importance of providing resources to making research in STEM approachable and most importantly, beneficial to one’s growth as a scientist. As an ASV Councilor for Trainees I want to further build upon the amazing work done by the current and past councilors and provide trainees with the necessary tools to enhance their experiences as virologists by facilitating opportunities to share, learn and develop their research and outreach.

Past ASV Service
This would be my first service to the American Society for Virology.

University of Texas Medical Branch
Postdoctoral Fellow, Galveston National Laboratory, Department of Microbiology & Immunology

Degree: University of Louisville, School of Medicine, 2020

Description of my research
My work involves the development of medical countermeasures against emerging viruses, especially those that cause viral hemorrhagic fevers. I focus on the use of infection models of Filoviruses (Ebola and Marburg viruses), Arenaviruses (Lassa, Lujo, and Chapare viruses), and Alphaviruses (Venezuelan equine encephalitis and chikungunya viruses) to test vaccines and antiviral compounds. I am also interested in the applications of molecular virology to study the host-pathogen interactions responsible for the pathogenesis of these diseases.

Reason for Running
I am passionate about representing the interest of trainees. During my PhD studies at University of Louisville, I was heavily involved in outreach efforts and led a program that placed secondary students in research labs for summer internships. I also represented my class in the school of medicine faculty leadership group and as an elected member of the microbiology & immunology student group. At UTMB, I am the president of the postdoctoral association, a founding member of the Texas Assembly of PDAs, and a member of the National Postdoctoral Association’s postdoc council. I am excited for the opportunity to be a voice for virology trainees within ASV.

Past ASV Service
Participation in the curriculum sub-committee and co-author of the ASV curriculum guidelines
Participant in developing the ASV regional student chapter pilot program

ASV OFFICE

Katherine R. Spindler
University of Michigan Medical School
Department of Microbiology and Immunology
1150 West Medical Center Drive, 5635 Med Sci II
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5620
Telephone: 734-764-9686
Email: krspin@umich.edu

Andréa Garcia
Administrator to the Secretary-Treasurer; Email: asv@asv.org

Photo Credit Gallery

Membership

Kevin J. Sokoloski
Associate Professor
Department of Microbiology and Immunology
University of Louisville, School of Medicine
Tel: 734-764-9686
membership@asv.org

 

ASV 2024

June 24 - 28, 2024

43rd Annual Meeting
The Ohio State University
Greater Columbus Convention Center
Columbus, Ohio

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