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Pathogens Webinar | Latest Updates on Gastroenteric Viruses

28 Sep 2021, 15:30 (CEST)

Gastroenteritis, Enteric Viruses, Rotavirus, Norovirus, Astrovirus, Evolution
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Welcome from the Chairs

4th Pathogens Webinar

Latest Updates on Gastroenteric Viruses

Acute gastroenteritis (AGE) is one of the most common illnesses in humans worldwide, being responsible for half a million deaths among children aged < 5 years, mostly in developing countries. Although in industrialized nations deaths from AGE are rarely seen, gastrointestinal diseases remain an important cause of morbidity in younger children resulting in substantial medical and healthcare expenses, lost productivity, and other costs to society and families. Enteric viruses have been recognized as the most significant etiologic agents of AGE in children and four viruses are being considered as clinically relevant: group A rotavirus (RVA), norovirus (NoV), adeno virus 40/41 (AdV) and astrovirus (AstV). These viruses are characterized by a high genetic and antigenic variability, due to evolutionary mechanisms such as rearrangement, re-assortment, inter-species transmission and positive accumulation of point mutations. The continuous emergence and re-emergence of several variants poses challenge for their classification, but also for development of diagnostics assays and suitable vaccines. The aim of this webinar is to focus on the temporal pattern of evolution of the main enteric viruses. In particular, large-scale surveillance studies on RVA, NoV and AstV will be showed in order to update information about their genetic evolution over the time. Moreover, the experience acquired on RVA vaccine will be presented to underline the importance of molecular epidemiology investigation as a valuable baseline information for new vaccines development.

Date: 28 September 2021

Time: 3:30pm CEST | 9:30am EDT | 9:30pm CST Asia

Webinar ID: 881 3272 0184

Webinar Secretariat:


Department of Health Promotion, Mother and Child Care, Internal Medicine and Medical Specialties

Simona De Grazia is an Associate Professor of Microbiology and Clinical Microbiology at the Department of Health Promotion, Mother and Child Care, Internal Medicine and Medical Specialties, University of Palermo, Italy. She obtained her Specialization in Clinical Microbiology and Virology in 2004 and from 2005 to 2014 was Researcher at the Medicine Faculty, Department of Health Promotion Sciences, University of Palermo. Her research is devoted to study genetic evolution and molecular epidemiology of human enteric viruses such as rotavirus, norovirus and astrovirus. Prof De Grazia is author/co-author of 78 publications in international journals (h-index: 26; total citations: 1768) and peer-reviewer for numerous international publication. She has teaching experience of graduate Microbiology courses at the Medical, Rehabilitation therapy, Nursing, Biotechnology Schools and of postgraduate Microbiology courses at the Microbiology and Virology and Infectious and Tropical Diseases Specialization Schools, of Infectious-Master course in Laboratory Medicine and PhD course in Experimental Oncology and surgery at the University of Palermo and of the PhD course in Animal Health and Zoonotic Infections at the University of Bari. She is member of national scientific societies including: the “Società Italiana di Microbiologia” (SIM) and the “Società Italiana di Virologia Medica” (SIVM).

Invited Speakers

Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Bari

Paolo Capozza, DVM (Doctor in Veterinary Medicine), graduated in Veterinary Medicine, in 2015, and Specialization diploma in Infectious Diseases of Animal in November 2018, at the Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Bari. Currently Ph.D. student in Animal Health and Zoonosis at the Department of Veterinary Medicine of University of Bari (Italy), with the topic in "New diagnostic techniques in animal virology and virus discovery" under the supervision of Prof. Vito Martella. Since 2019, he carries out activities of diagnostics, research, and practical teaching on human and domestic animals infectious diseases, in laboratories of the Section of Infectious Disease of Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Bari. Major areas of research include hepatic and enteric viral infections, including rotavirus, astrovirus, circovirus, hepadnavirus, hepevirus. He contributed to identified hepatotropic viruses, hepadnavirus and hepevirus, in domestic carnivores. He is the author and/or co-author of publications in international peer-reviewed journals.

Department of Health Promotion, Mother and Child Care, Internal Medicine and Medical Specialties

Floriana Bonura, Doctor in Biology (Biomedicine) in 2008 and Specialization School in Microbiology and Virology in July 2013 at the University of Palermo. From 1 July 2011 to 31 December 2011, Scientific research project on the "Study of the genomic diversity of rotavirus” at the Laboratory for Clinical and Epidemiological Virology (Rega Institute for medical research K.U.Leuven, Belgium). From 2012 to 2018 at the University of Palermo, Scientific research projects on the "Study of the genomic diversity of Human Calicivirus”, "Study of the Poliovirus”, "Validation of dynamic irreversible thermoporation: a novel thermal process for microbial inactivation” and “National sourveillance of Poliovirus and enteric viruses. Currently Ph.D. student in Animal Health and Zoonosis at the Department of Veterinary Medicine of University of Bari (Italy), with the topic in “Genetic diversity of Human gastro enteric viruses” under the supervision of Prof. Vito Martella and Prof. Simona De Grazia. Major areas of research include enteric viral infections, including norovirus, rotavirus, astrovirus and adenovirus. She is author/co-author of 32 publications in international journals with Impact Factor.

Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Statistics, University of Barcelona

Dr. Susana Guix is an Associate Professor at the Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Statistics, University of Barcelona. She obtained her PhD in 2003 and performed a Fulbright postdoctoral stay at Baylor College of Medicine (Houston, US; 2004-2007). Her research is devoted to the study of human foodborne enteric viruses such as norovirus, hepatitis A and astrovirus, covering their role as food and environmental contaminants, as well as molecular and clinical aspects. The expertise on these human foodborne and waterborne pathogens is based on a solid inter-disciplinary background on the understanding of their molecular epidemiology, the implementation of new detection tools, and the development and validation of control options to reduce their impact on the food chain. Dr Guix reports more than 75 peer-reviewed international publications and book chapters. Currently, Dr Guix is the secretary of the Institute of Nutrition and Food Safety of the University of Barcelona (INSA-UB); she has been a member of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV), and the scientific committee of the Spanish Authority for Food Safety and Nutrition (AESAN).

Virology and Research, Clinical Development Program Leader

Dr. Ciarlet is an experienced virologist and research and clinical development program leader with broad scientific skills and 25+ years of expertise in virology research and vaccine clinical development experience. After obtaining his PhD in microbiology, Dr. Ciarlet became an Assistant Professor in the Molecular Microbiology and Virology Department at Baylor College of Medicine, where he worked on the development of animal models to study rotavirus infection, pathology, disease, immunity, and protective efficacy of candidate rotavirus vaccines. Subsequently, he joined Merck Research Laboratories to continue efforts to develop a safe and effective vaccine against rotavirus, the main causative viral agent of gastroenteritis in infants worldwide. Eventually, he became the Head of the Product Development Team and Head of the Clinical Team for the Rotavirus Vaccine Program in both the developed and developing world (Africa and Asia). In 2010, he joined Novartis Vaccines and was the franchise Head of the Early and Exploratory Clinical development team bridging preclinical evaluation and First-in-man clinical trials. Dr. Ciarlet has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed publications, including several book and encyclopedia chapters, has over 200 scientific meeting presentations, and has given over 150 invited talks. Dr. Ciarlet continues to collaborate with his academic colleagues worldwide to understand rotavirus evolution, ecology, and diversity in human and animal species.



Time in CEST/CET

Chair Prof. Simona De Grazia

Last updates on gastroenteric viruses

3:30 - 3:35 pm

Dr. Max Ciarlet

Rotavirus Vaccines: Successes and Future Directions

3:35 - 3:55 pm

Dr. Paolo Capozza

Rotaviruses, a nearly 50 year-long journey

3:55 - 4:15 pm

Dr. Floriana Bonura

Molecular evolution of Norovirus over the time

4:15 - 4:35 pm

Dr. Susana Guix

Classic and Novel Astroviruses: gastroenteritis and beyond

4:35 - 4:55 pm

Q&A Session

4:55 - 5:00 pm

Closing of Webinar

Prof. Simona De Grazia

5:00 - 5:05 pm

Webinar Content

On Tuesday, 28 September 2021, MDPI and the Journal Pathogens organized the 4th webinar on Pathogens, entitled " Latest Updates on Gastroenteric Viruses".

The introduction was held by the Chair of the webinar, Prof. Dr. Simona De Grazia, from the Department of Health Promotion, Mother and Child Care, Internal Medicine and Medical Specialties, University of Palermo in Italy. She opened the session with a short presentation of the principal mechanisms of virus evolution, and put the basis for a successful discussion on Gastroenteric Viruses.

The first presentation made by Dr. Max Ciarlet, focused on the efficacy of Rotavirus vaccines with a particular attention to developing countries were the rate of mortality for rotavirus infection is still high. Dr. Paolo Capozza, highlighted in second talk, the milestones of rotavirus discovery and the role of animals as source of novel human viruses. Continuing this trail of explanation, Dr. Floriana Bonura, showed the Norovirus GII.4 genetic evolution, with over more than 30 years of epidemiological surveillance. Finally, common and novel Astroviruses and their pathogenetic interaction with the host were presented by Dr. Susana Guix.

The presentations were followed by a Q&A and a discussion, moderated by the Chair Professor De Grazia. The webinar was offered via Zoom and required registration to attend. The full recording can be found here on Sciforum website. In order to stay updated on the next webinars on Pathogens be sure to sign up for our newsletter by clicking on “Subscribe” at the top of the page.

Relevant SI

Pediatric Gastroenteritis and Related Viral Infections

Guest Editors: Prof. Dr. Simona De Grazia, Dr. Floriana Bonura
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 October 2021

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