8th European Congress of Virology 2023

4–7 May 2023
Gdańsk, Poland

8th European Congress of Virology 2023

4–7 May 2023
Gdańsk, Poland


Plenary speakers

Ralf Bartenschlager is a virologist and cell biologist working in the field of RNA viruses. He researches the interaction between these viruses and their host cells with a special focus on the replication strategies of RNA viruses and the use of obtained results for development of antiviral therapy. Another focus is the control of viral infection by the innate immune response. The work is mainly performed with hepatitis C virus, dengue virus and SARS-CoV-2 with light and electron microscopic techniques being a central experimental approach in these studies.

Head of the Institute of Diagnostic Virology
Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut Insel Riems 
7493 Greifswald-Insel Riems, Germany 

Martin Beer was born in Erlangen and graduated in veterinary medicine in 1992 in Munich. In 1995, he received his PhD from the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich studying the T-cell immunity against bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV). In 2000, Martin Beer moved to the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut (FLI) as head of the reference laboratory for bovine herpesvirus type 1 infections and continued his work on BVDV and other pestiviruses. Since 2004, he is head of the Institute of Diagnostic Virology at the FLI, working with transboundary animal diseases, zoonosis and emerging diseases like avian influenza virus, Schmallenberg virus or SARS-CoV-2. Modern diagnostics, molecular epidemiology and pathogenesis studies with transboundary viral diseases (e.g Bluetongue Disease virus and African swine fever virus) and viral zoonoses (e.g. influenza- and corona-viruses) are a major focus of his research. For selected viruses, also the development of strategies for immunoprophylaxis is an important research goal. A special feature is the work with animals including livestock animals under BLS3 and BSL4 (animal) conditions. During the past years, especially workflows for virus characterization and discovery using next-generation sequencing (NGS) were developed and several new viruses could be identified and further characterized. 

Gabriella Campadelli-Fiume  is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Experimental Medicine at the University of Bologna, Italy.
Gabriella's researched focussed on: the genetics of Herpes simplex virus entry into the cell with the discovery of nectin1 and 2 as major receptors, and integrins as co-receptors; Pathways of entry; the molecular basis of Herpes simplex virus exocytosis and virus-induced modifications to cellular organelles; Innate response to infection with Herpes simplex virus; Identification, mapping and functions of major glycoproteins of Human herpes viruses 6 and 7 and design of tropism retargeted herpes simplex viruses as oncoimmunotherapeutic agents.

Antonella Folgori is Chief Executive Officer at ReiThera Srl. 

She has been one of the founders of Okairos Srl (now ReiThera Srl) and founder of a ReiThera Partner Company named Nouscom. She has 25 years of experience within the biotech and pharma industry with increasing levels of responsibility and leadership at scientific and strategical levels. 

She has served as Director of the Immunology Department of Okairos and ReiThera for many years towards successful anti-infectious preclinical and clinical programs engaging teams in both industry and academia. Previously, she was Group Leader at IRBM, where she focused her research interest in the field of diagnosis and prevention of chronic infectious diseases.  

Antonella conducted post‐doctoral studies in immunology at the Institute of Genetics and Molecular and Cellular Biology (IGBMC) in Strasbourg, France. She received her degree in Biology and a PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Rome, La Sapienza. 

She has a consolidated research experience in the field of gene delivery and immunological analysis in preclinical and clinical settings. Antonella has authored several scientific publications on subjects including peptide phage display technology, immunology, viral infections and vaccines in leading peer-reviewed journals and authored several patents. 

Ron Fouchier is professor in Molecular Virology at Erasmus MC Rotterdam. He obtained a PhD in 1995 for HIV/AIDS research at the University of Amsterdam and continued HIV work as a postdoc at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Late 1998 he started a Molecular Virology research line on respiratory viruses, in particular influenza, at Erasmus MC. Ron’s team contributed substantially to the identification and characterization of various “new” viruses, such as human metapneumovirus, human coronavirus NL63, SARS coronavirus, MERS coronavirus, and influenza A virus subtype H16. Currently, his research is focused on respiratory viruses of humans and animals, antigenic drift, and influenza virus zoonoses, transmission and pandemics. Fouchier is elected member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences (KNAW), the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities (KHMW) and Academia Europeae. In 2006 he received the Heine-Medin award of the European Society for Clinical Virology and in 2013 the Huibregtsen award for top innovative science with societal impact. Fouchier is a web-of-science Highly Cited author.

Bart Haagmans obtained his PhD at the Utrecht University and now is an associate professor at the Viroscience department of the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam. His research focusses on the pathogenesis of viral infections and especially those viruses that emerge through zoonotic transmission, as a basis for interventions and medical countermeasures. He is a recognized leader in the field of Coronaviruses.  Studies on MERS and SARS coronaviruses led to a more detailed understanding of the biology of these emerging viruses and novel intervention strategies to contain the outbreaks. He is an expert consultant of WHO, FAO and OIE on coronaviruses, and PI on several Dutch and EU grants.

C. Harder graduated as a veterinarian from the Hannover Veterinary School, Germany. He specialized as a virologist with positions in research and diagnostic departments in Rotterdam, The Netherland, Kiel and Neumünster, Germany, and is now head of the German National Reference Laboratory for Avian Influenza at the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute (FLI, Federal Institute for Animal Health), Isle of Riems, Germany. The laboratory is an active member of international networks of the World Health Organization for Animal Health (O.I.E.) and the Fodd and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN for research and diagnosis on animal influenza.

Dr. Sander Herfst is an associate professor at the department of Viroscience of the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. He studies the genetic and phenotypic adaptations that are required for zoonotic influenza viruses to spread via the air between mammals and he has led studies on the anatomical site of the respiratory tract from which influenza viruses are transmitted via the air. More recently his team studied the transmissibility of MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 after they emerged in humans and his group was the first to show that SARS-CoV-2 can be transmitted via the air over a distance of more than 1 meter in an animal model. The current focus of his team is to study virus-mucus interactions, virus shedding kinetics in the air by means of air sampling, and factors that affect virus survival in the air. In 2018 he received the Heine-Medin award from the European Society of Clinical Virology for his research on the mechanisms that drive airborne transmissibility of respiratory viruses.

Prof. Marion Koopmans is director of the Department of Viroscience at Erasmus Medical Centre in The Netherlands, the WHO collaborating centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID), director for EID of the Netherlands Centre for One Health NCOH and scientific director of the Pandemic and Disaster Preparedness Centre in Rotterdam/Delft The Netherlands. Her research focuses on emerging infections with special emphasis on unravelling pathways of disease emergence and spread at the  human animal interface. Creating global networks to fight infectious diseases systematically and on a large scale is a common thread in Koopmans' work. Koopmans coordinates the EU funded consortium VEO, which develops risk based innovative early warning surveillance in a One Health context, and is deputy coordinator of a recently awarded HERA funded network of centres of  excellence for EID research preparedness. In 2021, Koopmans founded the Pandemic and Disaster Preparedness Centre PDPC, a research centre with a focus on the occurrence and prevention of pandemics and climate-related disasters, combining  expertise from technical, bio-medical, environmental and social sciences.
Koopmans has co-authored more than 700 articles that have been cited more than 40,000 times.

By the implementation of hygienic and infrastructural measures, as well as the introduction of novel preventive and therapeutic measures, infectious disease related mortality rates in humans have dropped dramatically in the industrialized world over the 20th century. This even prompted prominent policymakers and scientists to speculate that the global control of infectious diseases would just be a matter of time. However, since the second half of this century we were confronted with numerous newly emerging viruses and three pandemics in the human population, all of which originated from the animal world1. The emergence of a new viral pandemic was and remains a matter of when, rather than if, even today in the tail of a devastating pandemic. Among the prime candidates are those caused by influenza viruses that originate from animals. The SARS and MERS outbreaks in the past two decades highlighted the threat posed by animal coronaviruses before the unprecedented COVID-19 assault started. But members of other virus families affecting the animal kingdom have also been quite successful at jumping host species, like paramyxoviruses, hantaviruses, filoviruses, bunyaviruses, flaviviruses, just to name a few. However, this exchange of pathogens at the human-animal interface is not new. Childhood diseases, such as smallpox, mumps and measles, have been acquired up to thousands of years ago by transmission of their ancestral viruses from domesticated livestock. Recently, countless reports of novel viral disease emergence events have made the news, revealing a most worrying trend. These include the AIDS pandemic caused by HIV, hemorrhagic fever outbreaks caused by arena-, hanta- flavi- and filoviruses, pneumonia and viral encephalitis caused by Nipah and Hendra viruses, debilitating arthralgia in people with Chikungunya, or even more unexpected ailments such as microencephaly in newborns with Zika. This trend is mirrored by a similar increase in viral outbreaks among wild and domestic animal species worldwide, threatening and often decimating their populations. It is fueled by dramatically accumulating anthropogenic changes of our planet, including relentless urbanization and industrialization, natural habitat destruction, global trade and travel, collectively making the current geological epoch, the “Anthropocene”.

1) Reperant and Osterhaus. One Health Outlook. 2020

Dr. Benjamin Petsch, Senior Director Infectious Disease Research at CureVac SE. His responsibility is the pre-clinical research and development of mRNA-based prophylactic vaccines using CureVac’s technology. He received his university degree in biology from University of Munich and performed his doctoral thesis on the generation of monoclonal antibodies at the Institute of Immunology of the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Tuebingen, Germany. Subsequently, he continued as a postdoc followed by a research group lead position working on mRNA vaccination against Influenza and on intervention of Influenza replication using small molecules. He joined CureVac in 2010 as a scientist in the department of Vaccines developing mRNA based vaccines against infectious diseases and is leading this department since 2013. Dr. Petsch performed the ADVAC training in 2018 and is inventor on several patent applications on mRNA based vaccination and author of several scientific articles on infectious disease research including high ranking publications within the field of SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccination.

Wolfgang Preiser is Professor and Head of the Division of Medical Virology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Stellenbosch / National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) Tygerberg. He specialised as medical virologist in his home town Frankfurt, Germany, and at University College London and received his second doctoral degree (Habilitation) in 2005 while working as consultant virologist in Frankfurt.

His principal research interests cover three broad themes: improving and advancing diagnostic virology, with emphasis on, but not limited to, HIV infection; the epidemiology, diagnosis, and monitoring of opportunistic viral infections, esp. hepatitis B and cytomegalovirus, in immunocompromised patients; and emerging and potentially zoonotic viral diseases. His research on viruses in small mammals (rodents, shrews and bats) from Southern Africa has identified several novel corona-, paramyxo- and astroviruses, most notably a beta-coronavirus closely related to the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus in South African bats.

Prof. Dr. Martin Schwemmle is Professor of Molecular Virology at the University of Freiburg, Germany. He has conducted research in several renowned laboratories in the USA and Switzerland, including UC Irvine, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the University of Zurich. His research focuses on antiviral responses of the innate immune system and host adaptation mechanisms that allow influenza viruses to overcome species barriers.

Dr. Noam Stern-Ginossar received her Ph.D. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, studying the modulation of NK cells cytotoxic activity under the supervision of Prof. Ofer Mandelboim. She conducted her postdoctoral work in Jonathan Weissman lab at UCSF, CA studying protein translation mechanisms in virally infected cells by using ribosome profiling. 2014 - 2021 she was a Senior Lecturer at the department of molecular genetics in the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel. Since 2021 she works as Associate Professor at the department of Molecular Genetics in the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.


Volker Thiel is an expert in Coronavirus Biology. He has worked on coronaviruses since the 1990ies on basic aspects of coronavirus replication, immune responses and virus-host interactions. He hass received his PhD in 1998 at the University of Würzburg and has moved in 2003 a principal investigator to the Kantonal Hospital St. Gallen, Switzerland. Since 2014 he is leading the division Virology at the Institute of Virology and Immunology (IVI) in Bern and Mittelhäusern and is chair in Virology at the Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern. Since 2021 he is Co-Chair of the „Multidisciplinary Center for Infectious Diseases" (MCID), a strategic center of the University of Bern. During the pandemic he has been a member of the National Swiss Science Task Force and is member of the Technical Advisory Group on SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution (TAG-VE) of the WHO. 

Annette Vogel is a virologist and immunologist working in the field of vaccine development. She is the Senior Director Infectious Disease Vaccines in the Vaccines & Immunology Department at BioNTech SE. In 2012, she obtained her PhD in biology on the research focusing on highly pathogenic avian Influenza virus at the Institute for Immunology, University of Tuebingen working at the German Federal Research Institute for Animal Health. After a research phase at the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute focusing on mRNA vaccine development against different pathogens, she joined BioNTech in 2014. Together with the BioNTech team, she developed a potent mRNA-based vaccine platform that is in different preclinical and clinical programs which was the basis for a rapid development of the BioNTech and Pfizer’s COMIRNATY vaccine against SARS-CoV-2. Her research and responsibility field today overarches viral, bacterial, and parasitic diseases. 

Professor Chiara Zurzolo, MD, PhD, is head of the Membrane Trafficking and Pathogenesis Unit and co-director of the Brain connectivity and neurodegenerative diseases researchprogram at the Institut Pasteur (Paris). She received her MD and then PhD in molecular and cell biology from the University of Naples Federico II. She then obtained a postdoctoral fellowship to spend four years at Cornell Medical School, New York where she uncovered some of the mechanisms of apical protein trafficking in polarized epithelial cells. In 1995, she returned to Naples to establish her laboratory at the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery at Naples University “Federico II” as a professor of cell biology. In 2003, she became director of research at the Institut Pasteur in Paris where she studies the mechanisms of protein trafficking in health and diseases with a focus on neurodegenerative diseases and brain tumors. They have uncovered mechanisms of apical sorting in polarized epithelial cells and pioneered the field of tunneling nanotubes, (TNTs), revealing their structure, and their role in the intercellular spreading of amyloid proteins in neurodegenerative diseases and cancer, as well as their role in viral spreading.