The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

A joint venture between The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital

04 Oct 2019

2019 International HBV Meeting - Thao Huynh’s ‘Hep B Briefing’

This week, leading hepatitis B (HBV) experts converged on Melbourne for the International HBV Meeting. Here, PhD Student Thao Nguyen shares her insights on the first two days of the meeting. 

It’s D-Day and the fun begins! The International HBV meeting is an annual gathering of researchers to disseminate current research and discuss all things hep B, and this year the conference makes its big debut in Australia!

Since its beginning in the 1980s, the hosting country for the meeting has rotated between Europe, Asia and the US, and this year for the first time over 500 delegates from around the world converge at the Convention centre in the worlds most liveable city to learn about how we are all tackling the challenge of curing HBV.

Day one begins late in the day with a traditional Welcome to Country and Smoke ceremony and is followed by addresses from the Victorian Parliamentary Secretary for Health, and a lived experience talk, to remind us of the importance of the research that we conduct and will be discussing over the next few days.

A retelling description around the history and discovery of HBV from Professor Ian Gust then officially opens the conference and after the first session of the conference, the day ends with a welcome reception – and some much-needed rest for conference volunteers and international guests alike, before the long days begin.

The talks for the first couple days of the conference revolve around the molecular virology, model systems and evolution of HBV.

Each session features eight outstanding abstracts chosen by the judges, and over the first two days we hear about some innovative cell culture and animal models developed to better study HBV mono- and co-infection,  gain insight into the intricacies of HBV replication stages including cccDNA biogenesis, and learn about changes in the genome may affect HBV infection and outcomes.

This year the conference also introduced mini poster tours, which were a great way to showcase a few more of the impressive abstracts which just missed out on oral presentations.

On the second day of the conference, we also heard from the first of two keynote speakers, including our institute’s very own Director Professor Sharon Lewin, who gave great insight into the molecular control of HIV persistence on ART, highlighting key challenge similarities and differences shared between HIV and HBV.

After the first long day of the conference I am sure we are all exhausted yet inspired and stimulated, and ready to learn even more over the next few days!

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