The fourth Veterinary Vaccinology Network conference was held at the Stirling Court Hotel, University of Stirling, Scotland on the 18th – 19th January 2018 and was attended 100 delegates. The main theme of this years conference was fish vaccinology and immunology, which began with a session on fish vaccination strategies chaired by Prof. Alexandra Adams that included presentations by some of the most renowned scientists in the field. Prof. Oystein Evensen (Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway) gave an overview on fish vaccine strategies, Prof. Chris Secombes (University of Aberdeen) then provided an update on fish cytokines, Dr. Maria Forlenza (Wageningen University and Research, Netherlands) presented a case study on the application of zebrafish as an experimental animal model using trypanosome infections in transparent fish, and Dr. Carolina Tafalla (INIA Madrid, Spain) highlighted the progression made in fish vaccine adjuvant technology.
The second session evaluated the challenges faced when taking vaccine research to the field with regards to the end user, effectiveness and evaluation chaired by Prof. Brian Perry. This session was introduced by a guest talk from Prof. Helen McShane (University of Oxford) on novel approaches to human TB vaccine development. This was followed by presentations on Vaccine evaluation by Prof. Eyal Klement (Koret School of Veterinary Medicine, Israel) and factors that influence industry investment in vaccine development by Dr. Catherine Cherreyre (Merial, France). Prof. Brian Perry (Afrique One Aspire) closed the session with a report on the Brucella melitenensis vaccine competition.
From left to right (Madeleine Clark, Sean Monaghan, Marc Faber, Amy Thomas, Rowena Hoare, Bryan Charleston, Sandra Adams)
The early career researcher session chaired by Dr. Sean Monaghan and Dr. Rowena Hoare (University of Stirling) included 9 talks on a range of vaccine developments in fish and mammals by researchers from PhD to post-doctoral level. The speakers were given 5 minutes to present followed by 3 minutes to answer questions from the audience. The speakers included Khalid Shahin (University of Stirling), Marie-Christine Bartens (The Royal Veterinary College, London), Dr. José Ramirez-Paredes (University of Stirling), Dr. Kimberly Veenstra (University of Aberdeen), Dr. Surdaxshina Murdan (UCL School of Pharmacy), and Alana Dowling (The Royal Veterinary College, London). Suzanne Martin (The Royal Veterinary College, London) won third prize for her talk on ‘Generation of recombinant rabies N protein in a bacterial periplasm expression system’. Amy Thomas (University of Bristol) won second prize for her talk on ‘Attenuated vaccines as model respiratory viral infection systems: from human to bovine’, and Marc Faber (University of Aberdeen) won first prize for his talk on ‘Proliferative kidney disease in rainbow trout: Field testing of novel DNA-vaccine candidates’. All talks were of an excellent standard and the chairs and judges congratulate all speakers, especially the winners, on their fantastic presentations.
The third session on Vaccine platforms on the second day, chaired by Dr. Bryan Charleston began with Dr. Tim Connelley (The Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh) who presented an update on the International Veterinary Vaccinology Network. This was followed by a talk on mRNA based vaccines to prevent infectious diseases by Dr. Edith Jasny (CureVac, Germany). Exciting new technologies were presented including Spy and Snoop technologies that can accelerate vaccine development by Dr. Mark Howarth (University of Oxford) and drug carrier technology by Dr. Michael Welsh (SISAF Ltd).
The fourth and final session on Zoonotic diseases and emerging technologies was chaired by Dr. Gary Entrican beginning with a fascinating, if at times alarming!, talk by Prof. Mark Woolhouse (University of Edinburgh) on What will cause the next pandemic? A case study was presented on the impact of vaccination on a re-emerging disease in the EU ,Blue Tongue, by Dr. Mahesh Kumar (Zoetis). Prof. Adam Cunningham (University of Birmingham) closed the session with a brief update on BactiVac – a new network to support vaccinology for bacterial vaccines.
Dr. Bryan Charleston and Prof. Alexandra Adams closed what proved to be an enjoyable and informative conference with extensive opportunities for networking for all 100 participants from the UK and further afield.