UQ Microbiology Celebration and Annual Skerman Lecture
- Full Description:
- This celebration of Microbiology will incorporate the 2012 Skerman Lecture, an annual public lecture which recognises the contribution of Professor Vic Skerman to the development of Microbiology at The University of Queensland. If you would like to come, it is essential that you RSVP either by clicking on the URL above or directly to the Event Contact.
The event will also celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Department of Microbiology at The University of Queensland. It will provide an opportunity for former staff and students to meet with each other and with current members of the School. There will be historical presentations, displays and plenty of time to socialise over drinks, canapes and a sit-down dinner.
This year we are very pleased to welcome Professor Ralph Tripp of The University of Georgia (USA) to deliver the Skerman Lecture, which will be entitled The Eradication of Poliovirus and Other Vaccine Preventable Diseases.
Professor Ralph Tripp, Georgia Research Alliance Chair of Animal Health Vaccine Development, GRA Eminent Scholar: Research interests include understanding the mechanisms of immunity and disease pathogenesis associated with respiratory virus infection, and using this information to develop therapeutic protocols and vaccines that will confer long-term protective immunity.
The Eradication of Poliovirus and Other Vaccine Preventable Diseases: Despite a cessation of poliomyelitis in most areas of the world, outbreaks continue in nations where polio is endemic and in countries previously free of polio. Both inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) and live oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) have been widely used in immunization strategies. IPV is the vaccine-of-choice for routine infant and childhood immunization due to the absence of risk of vaccine-associated paralytic poliomyelitis. OPV has advantages for developing countries, e.g. cost and transmission of vaccine virus to unimmunized contacts. However, there is global consensus that to eradicate polio there is a need to switch to IPV to prevent reversion to wild type. The problem with this approach is the high level of virus required per dose and the efficiency of its manufacture. This goal could be achieved by improving virus yields during production in vaccine cell lines. Increased virus yields would reduce the volume required for vaccine administration.
As part of their natural defence against pathogens, most cells express genes that interfere with virus replication. Our goal in this project was to silence those virus resistance genes that are non-essential for cell growth with the expectation that the virus would then be able to replicate more efficiently. This is being accomplished in a genome-wide approach by separately silencing each gene in the host genome and examining whether that silencing results in an increase in virus yield. Once identified, the target gene(s) are permanently silenced. This study has fundamentally changed vaccine development and has increased our understanding of the biology of virus replication, innate host defence mechanisms and host-pathogen interactions. This is a sustainable technology that can be applied across all vaccine production cell lines to lessen the demand on current production operations.
About Professor Vic Skerman: In 1962, Dr VDB Skerman was appointed as Foundation Professor and Head of Microbiology. He led the Department's expansion both in terms of size and into non-medical areas of microbiology. By the 1980s, the Department had established strong research programs in all major areas of the discipline and, in addition to Science, taught into degree programs offered in medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, agricultural science and engineering.
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