22 Nov 2018
Miegunyah Fellowship Public Lecture: From AIDS to Zika - what’s next?
22 Nov 2018
05.30 - 7.30pm
The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity warmly invites you to attend the Miegunyah Fellowship Public Lecture by Professor David O'Connor from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
From AIDS to Zika - what's next?
Thirty-five years after its discovery, HIV is the world's most intensively studied virus. This research has led to extraordinary breakthroughs including safe combinations of effective drugs and the identification of multiple strategies to protect people from becoming infected. Knowledge gained from studying HIV has had a halo effect on all infectious disease research, as tools developed initially to combat HIV are applied to other pathogens.
Yet the sudden emergence of H1N1 influenza in 2009, West African Ebola in 2014 and Zika virus in 2015 demonstrate that we remain underprepared for the scientific, social, and political consequences of new virus outbreaks - and such outbreaks will happen again in the future.
In this lecture, Professor O'Connor will show how a global scientific research community, that included significant partnerships between wealthy and resource limited countries, improved the public health response to HIV, and how these same partnerships have catalysed research into other new viruses. Strengthening these collaborations is essential to maximise infectious disease preparedness in an interconnected world. Professor O'Connor will discuss his own experience discovering and characterising novel viruses to illustrate how obscure viruses circulating in wild African primates today, share biological features with HIV, and whether we should worry that these viruses may pose a major risk to human health later in the 21st century.
Professor David O'Connor
Professor David O’Connor is a UW Medical Foundation Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His laboratory studies the interplay of viruses, immune responses, and host genetics. His research group studies HIV, Zika virus, and emerging, understudied viruses that might threaten human health in the future, as well as the genetic attributes that make some individuals unusually susceptible or resistant to infectious diseases. Among these viruses, he is particularly interested in simian arteriviruses, a group of viruses that infect African nonhuman primates and share worrisome features with the simian immunodeficiency viruses that gave rise to HIV.
The Miegunyah Distinguished Visiting Fellowship
The Miegunyah Distinguished Visiting Fellowship Program was established in 1993 by the University of Melbourne to enable distinguished academics from international institutions the opportunity to visit the University of Melbourne and share their work. The program is generously funded by the Russel and Mab Grimwade Miegunyah Fund.
Professor O'Connor is a Miegunyah Distinguished Visiting Fellow on a yearlong sabbatical at the University of Melbourne with his wife, Professor Shelby O’Connor, and his 10-year old son, Eli O’Connor.