Emerging Viruses: Disease Models and
Strategies for Vaccine Development
A Symposium in Honor of CJ Peters, MD 

This meeting has now concluded.


Angela Culler 
University of Texas Medical Branch/ Center for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases 


Tuesday October 23, 2012 at 8:00 AM CDT to Wednesday October 24, 2012 at 5:00 PM CDT
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Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa and Convention Center 
7 Hope Boulevard
Galveston, TX 77554

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Viruses from nature are an ever increasing threat to human and animal health, or they effectively circumvent political boundaries and other borders that define our global societies. Approximately 75% of emerging infectious diseases are zoonoses, underscoring the inexorable link between human and animal health. Indeed, this intersection of human and veterinary pathogens serves as the basis for the One Health initiative, which emphasizes the integration of public health with human and veterinary medicine, and is expanded to include environmental science. The One Health concept is central to understanding the emergence of vector-borne and zoonotic viral diseases that threaten public health.

Our goal for this symposium is to bring together researchers with diverse expertise in many aspects of emerging and re-emerging viral zoonoses in the context of rational vaccine development. A discussion of strategies for advancing vaccine research would not be complete without considering the human pathology of these viral diseases and how this knowledge aids in the elucidation of protective immune mechanisms. Determining whether currently available animal models are adequate for simulating human disease is not only critical for anticipating licensure through the FDA animal rule but also paramount before undertaking preclinical in vivo challenge experiments for vaccine efficacy and safety. This is particularly relevant when using animal models in which their innate and/or adaptive immune systems have been altered so that the development of protective antiviral antibodies and cellular responses may be diminished. For example, in some invalid models, the animals support productive infection with certain viruses but do not show clinical signs or appropriate pathology, which raises questions as to the relevance to human disease.

We trust that this symposium will inform, generate interest across disciplines, address key questions in vaccine development for emerging viral diseases, and create awareness of challenges when assessing disease models. Travel awards are available to encourage postdoctoral fellows and graduate students to attend, and women and minorities are especially encouraged to apply. A poster session will be held to encourage additional scientific contributions to the meeting, and to provide a forum for interactions among junior and senior researchers.

CJ Peters cropped photoRecognition of CJ Peters, MD

The symposium will be held in honor of Dr. Clarence J. "CJ" Peters to acknowledge his lifelong dedication and contributions to infectious disease research. Dr. Peters, a native of Midland, Texas, completed his undergraduate studies at Rice University in Houston. From there, he went to medical school at Johns Hopkins followed by a residency at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. Dr. Peters began his scientific career in 1968 as a Research Associate for the US Public Health Service at the Middle America Research Unit, a former NIAID field laboratory in the Panama Canal Zone. This training was followed by a research fellowship at Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation. In 1977, Dr. Peters joined the US Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) where he became Division Director and Deputy Commander. While there he worked with biothreats, biodefense, and emerging viral diseases, particularly hemorrhagic fevers. In 1992 he moved to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to lead the Special Pathogens Branch in the National Center of Infectious Diseases, and was involved in epidemiological investigations of hemorrhagic fevers and other emerging infections. Dr. Peters joined the University of Texas Medical Branch in 2001, where he is currently professor of Pathology and of Microbiology and Immunology as well as Director for Biodefense in the Center for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases. A few of the many emerging infectious diseases he has studied include Rift Valley fever, arenavirus hemorrhagic fevers, Ebola and Nipah outbreaks, SARS, and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. His current research interests are Rift Valley fever biology and vaccine development, Phlebovirus pathogenesis, SARS coronavirus, arenaviral hemorrhagic fevers, and monoclonal antibodies for therapy.






General Information:

Attendance is limited to 150 people, with preference given to academic institutions. The cost is $50 for students and fellows, and $150 for all others (excluding invited speakers). 

Travel grants will be available for junior-level faculty (i.e., persons within two years of completing their postdoctoral fellowship) and trainees (postdoctoral fellows and students) that are women, people of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, people that identify themselves as American Indian, Alaskan Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, persons with disabilities, or other individuals who have been traditionally underrepresented in science. Additional travel awards for junior-level faculty and trainees will be offered that do not have these restrictions (i.e., gender, race, ethnicity, and disability information will not be considered). Interested applicants should select the "Apply for a Travel Grant" button below, which will have eligibility information and an application that is submitted directly via Adobe FormsCentral. Applicants will have to supply information on their research and career goals, what they expect to gain from attending the meeting, and an abstract for the poster session. UPDATE: The deadline for submitting travel grant applications has passed.

The meeting will provide a unique opportunity for close interaction and exchange of research information among investigators with an interest in vaccine development and design as well as viral pathogenesis. We have attempted to address diverse, emerging zoonotic viruses in the sessions (including influenza virus, filoviruses, flaviviruses, bunyaviruses, arenaviruses, alphaviruses, and henipaviruses), and that are not typically available to all attendees of larger meetings because they occur in concurrent sessions. We have also recruited speakers who have expertise in vaccine platforms or in methods to analyze or stimulate the host immune system that are applicable to a wide array of pathogens.

A two-hour poster session on October 23rd will be held to encourage further significant scientific contributions to the meeting, and to provide a forum for interactions among junior and senior researchers. Junior investigators will also be chosen from submitted abstracts to present their research in podium sessions for 10 minute short talks. UPDATE: The deadline for submitting a poster abstract has passed.

This meeting has now concluded.


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Thanks to our sponsors:

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Funding for this conference was made possible in part by a conference grant (1R13AI102525) from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. Partial support has also been received from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) McLaughlin Endowment, the UTMB Center for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases, the UTMB Institute for Human Infections and Immunity, and the UTMB Sealy Center for Vaccine Development. Web site contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NIAID, NIH, or the University of Texas System.