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Engineering and Evolving Viruses to Expand Functionality

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Engineering and Evolving Viruses to Expand Functionality

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September 15 - 18, 2019
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Viruses are critical reagents for many biological experiments. In model organisms, they complement the use of transgenics and enable otherwise-impossible functionalities, such as targeted retrograde tracing. In non-model systems, they are often the only option for genetic access to cell types. In humans, they represent by far the greatest hope for gene therapy. Although there are many viral reagents to choose from, nearly all are very small modifications of the naturally occurring serovars. As such, their properties are optimized for the virus’s lifecycle rather than for experimental purposes in the lab or medical uses in humans.

Combined protein & genetic engineering represents the best opportunity to: 1) optimize these critical reagents for purposes for which they are already suitable but sub-optimal, and 2) engineer entirely new functionality into them. This meeting will bring together world experts in the fields of structural biology, protein engineering, genetic engineering, neuroscience, non-model organisms, gene therapy and virology to assemble a first-in-class conference on cutting-edge strategies for viral engineering. This is the future for next-generation viral tools & gene therapy vectors, and Janelia is excited to lead the way.

Application deadline: May 24, 2019 (11:59 p.m. ET)


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Viviana Gradinaru, California Institute of Technology    
Loren Looger, Janelia Research Campus/HHMI    
Kimberly Ritola, Janelia Research Campus/HHMI    
David Schaffer, University of California, Berkeley    
Sarada Viswanathan, Janelia Research Campus/HHMI

Invited Participants

Aravind Asokan, Duke University    
Tomas Bjorklund, Lund University    
Constance Cepko, HHMI/Harvard Medical School    
Deniz Dalkara, Vision Institute    
Melina Fan, Addgene    
Katherine Ferrara, Stanford University    
Nick Flytzanis, California Institute of Technology    
Guangping Gao, University of Massachusetts      
Alla Karpova, Janelia Research Campus/HHMI     
Liliana Maruri Avidal, Ignite Immunotherapies    
Thomas McCown, UNC Chapel Hill    
W. Allen Miller, Iowa State University    
Jason Shepherd, University of Utah     
Wesley Sundquist, University of Utah     
Benjamin Tenoever, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai    
Luk Vandenberghe, Harvard Medical School      
Ian Wickersham, Massachusetts Institute of Technology