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‘The Virological Covid Response: Research in real-time during a pandemic.’

School of Medical Sciences Seminar Series

Speaker: Associate Professor Stuart Turville, Kirby Institute, UNSW Sydney


Associate Professor Stuart Turville background is as a basic and translational scientist with extensive expertise in molecular virology (Nature Methods 2008; PloS Pathogens 2012; Traffic 2017) and basic immunology (Nature Immunology 2002, Blood 2004). Using this foundation, I have utilized many mechanistic aspects of basic science research to focus on translation solutions with regard to gene therapy efforts (Molecular Therapy, 2015 & 2017). With extensive understanding of the target cells and their primary resistance to current gene therapy, my team is well placed to develop the next generation of gene delivery platforms that can meet the ambitious target of gene therapy in vivo.
In 2020, this program was placed on hold but was used as the foundation to build a pandemic response program in real-time. Using our experience in gene therapy we built a portfolio of tools that now serve as the foundation for many ongoing studies. These include but are not limited to rapid isolation of virus from quarantine, ultra-sensitive and modular platforms for serology, high content solutions for drug screens and human whole genome CRIPSR screens to map viral-host interactions for therapeutic targeting.


Pandemic research starts with nothing in the cupboard but in front of you are plenty of people to feed. The assays always needed to be ready yesterday. Samples numbers go from tens to thousands and solutions need to be found in real-time to deal with the realities of fatigue and burn-out.
In the Covid response journey, I will highlight how a small team of hard-working researchers found novel solutions in real-time. How for months they generated reagents in real-time to enable of pipeline of analysis that was not only high content but future proofed to be modular to the account for the changing face of the virus. Through this journey I will outline mapping of the humoral immune response to SARS-CoV-2 using powerful suite of modular assays through to the generations of hyper-permissive cells that have enabled the rapid isolation of virus from hotel quarantine networks in Australia. This work has highlighted that the virus has significantly changed since the beginning of 2020 and briefly discuss the challenges that face us in 2021 and beyond.


Dr Nicola J Smith:,   John Lock PhD:

Event Date: 
Wednesday, 14 April 2021 - 3:00pm
Online via Microsoft Teams
Event Type: 
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