London 2019 scholar reports

The IVVN awarded 18 scholarships for Masters Students, PhD Students, Post Docs, and Senior Researchers to attend the UK & International Veterinary Vaccinology Network Conference 2019.


Scholar Reports

Jennifer Wayland, University of Cape Town, South Africa

My name is Jennifer Wayland and I am a PhD student in the Biopharming Research Unit at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. My research focus is on developing a candidate vaccine as well as a DIVA compliant diagnostic reagent for West Nile virus using a plant-based expression system. I was delighted to have been awarded the IVVN scholarship to attend the 2nd IVVN conference in the breath-taking city of London, 10-12 January. I thoroughly enjoyed the four themes addressed throughout the oral presentations, learning from the variety of topics discussed and their various approaches to vaccine development. Most interesting was the effectiveness of the reverse vaccinology approach used in various studies. The talk by Dr. Omar Khan from TIBA Biotech about a modified Dendrimer-mRNA Platform as a programmable system for animal vaccines was most riveting, especially with successes achieved in the employment of this platform for a variety of viruses. With the conference focus on networking for the promotion of collaborations among its members, the tea breaks, delicious lunches and dinners provided ample opportunity to converse with conference attendees. The use of a ‘who I would like to meet’ whiteboard also assisted in reaching specific persons, chances that other otherwise might have been missed. Personally, I was able to meet several prospective collaborators during the social gatherings throughout the conference.

Prior to the start of the conference I attended the hosted workshop on ‘Ethics, Study Design and the 3R’s’, which I found most rewarding. The workshop outlined the need to consider all ethical aspects of a project when writing a proposal, with hands-on exercises to put the theory to practice. The attention to detail by the conference organisers ensured an educational and very enjoyable experience, and a want for ones return to the next. I would once more like to extend my gratitude to IVVN for allowing me to be part of this event.

Reuben Ocholi, National Veterinary Research Institute, Vom, Nigeria

I work as the Director of Research at the National Veterinary Research Institute, Vom Nigeria whose mandate include research into livestock diseases of economic importance to Nigeria, research and development of veterinary vaccines and surveillance of animal diseases. My research includes epidemiology of brucellosis, Brucella infection and immunity, host pathogen interaction, diagnostics. I was delighted to have been awarded a scholarship to attend the second meeting of the International Veterinary Vaccinology Network held at The Tower Hotel, London UK.

Attending the Conference offered me the opportunity to meet with researchers from other parts of the world working in the same areas of research that is of interest to my Institute. It afforded me the opportunity of networking and exploring areas of collaboration and funding to support research in my Institute.

I enjoyed the presentations of various topics on a wide range of veterinary related diseases including the presentations on vaccine development against ticks, bacterial and viral pathogens and the challenges together with the discussions by experts that followed.

The scholarship provided by IVVN allowed me to present, via poster, the results from a project “Immune Response of Calves and Adult Cattle to Brucella abortus Strain 19 Vaccine Administered by Conjunctival Route” under the Integrated Control of Neglected Zoonoses (ICONZ) funded by the EU.

I found the grant-writing workshop on Tuesday afternoon to be excellent and most useful, as it provided very practical insight on ethics and its impact on research and with regard to successfully applying for funding.

The Tower Hotel was an excellent venue for the Conference, with its beautiful location and surroundings. The accommodation and the food served in the hotel were very good. The hosting of the Conference as packaged and delivered was excellent. I would like to thank the IVVN for granting me the opportunity to be part of the Conference and providing scholarship that funded  my attendance.

Kiran Afshan, Quaid-i-Azam University, Pakistan

My research interests include vaccine development, immunology, proteomics and diagnostics of parasitic infections. I was delighted to receive a scholarship to attend the IVVN meeting and grant writing workshop in London, and found the meeting was extremely useful for early career researchers. Talks on vaccines of ectoparasites and vaccine commercialization gave an insight into new approaches to vaccine development. I presented a poster and large number of projects were showcased via poster and encouraged interaction among attendees. The Tower Hotel was an excellent venue for the conference, with fantastic food, facilities and surroundings. This award really provided me with the opportunity to network with peers in my field of interest and discuss future research collaborations. I would like to thank the IVVN for hosting an excellent conference.  It has made a great impact on my research and I look forward to attending future events hosted by the IVVN.

Marc Nicolas Faber, University of Aberdeen, UK

I am from the Scottish Fish Immunology Research centre in Aberdeen and at the end of my PhD and in the beginning of a Postdoc project. I work on the development of a vaccine against Tetracapsuloides bryosalmonae, a Myxozoan endoparasite, and the causative agent of proliferative kidney disease in rainbow trout. I developed an interest in fish health, environmental factors influencing disease progression, parasite-host interactions, in-silico based uncovering of novel antigens and therapeutic strategies to combat fish diseases.

I was awarded an IVVN scholarship, and was able to present at the IVVN conference in London and partake in the preceding career development activity. It was a great experience to participate in the workshop on the topic “Ethics, Study Design and the 3Rs” with fellow international scientists. The ethical question is a core part of research, and even though I came across a lot of the concepts I encountered during my personal research licence application in the UK, it was interesting to see how other nations approach this. I appreciated our discussions on the framework for international collaboration and how to sensibly approach a project involving academic, economic and social stakeholders. It was also a great chance to break the ice with other people attending the conference and get to know what they wanted to achieve during this conference. The conference itself was able to balance the presentation topics from upcoming challenges, current approaches, novel techniques and the demands from large- and small-scale farmers. I especially enjoyed the talk of Dr Peter Jefferies on technology licensing, especially for ECR it is good to get a feel on how to handle the academic-economic intersection. Overall, I want to express my gratitude to the IVVN organisers for doing a great job in making this conference the success it was.

Hafza Zahira Manzoor, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Pakistan

My area of research interest is virology both on human and animal side. Currently in my MPhil research I am working on Foot and Mouth Disease Virus type O. The high mutation rate in the VP1 gene of FMD Virus has become a major problem in vaccine failure. I want to check Homology and Heterology among different isolates of Foot and Mouth Disease Virus type O, so that we can select a suitable vaccine candidate that can provide broad-spectrum protection.

I submitted my research abstract for poster presentation in International Veterinary Vaccinology Conference 2019 held in Tower Hotel, London. I got a scholarship to attend this conference and my research abstract was selected for the poster presentation.

I attended the workshop on career development held in The Tower Hotel on 8th January 2019 that was quite helpful in career decision making.

As it was fully funded scholarship for early career researchers, especially from LMIC. It was my first time to attend an international conference outside of my country, which was a great experience because IVVN provided a huge platform to collaborate with scientists and researcher from different countries, to share my research views and ideas with them and to improve my research skills. It was helpful in my research and broadened my views.

It was great – I enjoyed the full experience because the IVVN Team members were very cooperative especially the IVVN Director Timothy, conference organizers Carly, Madeleine, Francesca and Anne. In future, I want to remain a member of this organization, and attend future conferences organized by the IVVN.

Mohammed Rohaim, Cairo University, Egypt

It has been a great experience attending the IVVN Conference as one of the scholars in London, where I met many intelligent international colleagues from different cultures. Personally, I think this conference was very well organized and very successful. I fully enjoyed it with so many interesting seminars and discussions on various topics. Several of the sessions, delivered by several IVVN committees that I attended, had been very informative and insightful on their subjects. I would like to take this chance to reflect upon my enriching experiences in London and summarize in what ways this conference helps me to adopt an international perspective on how to benefit from exchange of ideas, sharing of expertise, socializing with international scientists, etc., and examine its relevance to my career in Egypt.

My research focuses mainly on understanding molecular mechanisms of inter-species pathogenesis of viruses (i.e, zoonotic viruses). My research aims to explore host and viral RNA biology and define structural and functional differences in human and animals, which determine the transmission dynamics of animal viruses to human. My research aims to study differential virus pathobiology, diagnosis and vaccine developments against viruses in different animal hosts with special focus on Newcastle disease virus and Influenza viruses.

It was very interesting when I had very pleasant private conversations with senior scientists in the field of veterinary vaccines and we soon found that there might be some chances to work together in the committee of veterinary viral vaccines. I have a suggestion regarding choosing the presentations which have been presented during the conference - many were focused mainly on parasites and so few were on viruses. For the website, it was very good and highly informative with all the required information regarding the arrangements, scholarships and agenda.  The key persons who were responsible for communication with scholars were so kind and cooperative from the first time of contact, attending the conference until leaving. I hope my future interactions with my colleagues of IVVN in other countries will shed some light on many of the seemingly baffling problems faced by the veterinary and introduce the effective measures and practices of other countries to Egypt, where I will make an effort to disseminate related helpful and effective measures and information to my Egyptian colleagues.

In conclusion, I would like to express my heart-felt thanks to people who have made this IVVN conference possible and those who have shared their experiences during that exciting conference in London. I have benefited very much from this fantastic event.

Ruth Tamara Montero, Friedrich-Löffler-Institut, Germany

My name is Ruth Tamara Montero, a Chilean Biochemist currently doing my PhD in the Friedrich-Löffler-Institut in Germany. Since my Bachelor degree I started to work in the immunology and vaccinology area, specifically for species of aquaculture interest like Rainbow trout and Atlantic Salmon. Since I saw the publication of this interesting Conference in London I wanted to assist, so I applied to the Travel Scholarship the IVVN was offering. Happily, I was honored with the grant to attend and this experience turned into a remarkable and outstanding experience.

The main themes for this meeting were focus on vaccines for ectoparasites, vaccine commercialization, antigen discovery and Control of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) with Vaccination, all of them relevant and extremely important for the comparative immunology community. The speakers were from an excellent expertise level and gave me the opportunity to meet and learn from great scientists. Beside this, the technique support with good audio, visuals and live streaming to open and communicate science to everybody, were just making the whole experience even better.

As I got the grant, I presented a poster and this offered me the opportunity to talk and discuss with top leaders of research and with people who were not directly related to my specific topic, turning the discussion into a great experience, leading to new edges, new experiments to do, other techniques and approaches to apply, which was an invaluable chance to learn and improve.

From the general organization of the meeting to the smallest detail were planned with an extraordinary taste and quality, making you feel you belong and participate of a really important community. Networking, having a special activity for PhDs for improving project writing and learning about ethics just make this invaluable and “a must go” for young scientist and PhD students.

Finally, I do not have any doubt that like me, everybody left the conference with a huge inspiration to continue pursuing science and being better scientist and better persons. Thanks for this unforgettable life experience.

Arash Ghalyanchi Langeroudi, University of Tehran, Iran

My research interests are on the design of viral vaccines for birds and assessing the effects of present vaccines on emerging strains, especially in Avian Infectious Bronchitis, Newcastle Disease, and Avian Influenza. Our research fields are on molecular epidemiology and surveillance of the mentioned agents (Sequencing, full-genome analysis, phylogenetic studies) and pathogenesis and host-pathogen interaction with novel techniques.

The congress was held at a very good scientific level. And I found the right ideas to continue my job and commercialize the research results and find the perfect connections. Thank you so much for scholarship and that it covers the cost.  The workshop also helped me in my training in ethics in research.