ONLINE— COVID-19: Scientific Advances and its Impact on Women’s Health Symposium

September 11, 2020
8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

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organizing committee


This symposium will feature a panel of internationally-recognized speakers on the front line of basic science and global health who will discuss cutting-edge research into COVID-19 pathogenesis at the cellular and molecular levels, gender differences in COVID-19 pathogenesis, current therapies and how COVID-19 has impacted the health of women in our local and global communities.

This symposium is open to registered participants from the general public, basic scientists interested in SARS CoV-2 pathogenesis and global and public health professionals interested in learning about the impact of COVID-19 on women’s lives.

This event will take place virtually via Zoom Webinar; please register to receive your unique meeting link. Due to our Zoom license attendee cap, this webinar will also be streamed on our YouTube live stream.

View and download the flyer for this event.



8:30 a.m. Introduction 

Welcome to meeting: Dean David Perlmutter, MD and Scott Hultgren, PhD

Opening comments: Christina Stallings, PhD

8:40 a.m. Session One: SARS-CoV-2 Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention

Moderator: Christina Stallings, PhD

Keynote: Susan Weiss, PhD | Coronaviruses: Old and New

Speaker: Kanta Subbarao, MBBS, MPH | SARS-CoV-2: A Perspective from Australia

Speaker: Liise-anne Pirofski, MD | Convalescent Plasma for COVID-19: Déjà vu All Over Again

Keynote: Ralph Baric, PhD | Models of SARS-CoV2 Pathogenesis

9:50 a.m. Session Two: Highlighting COVID-19 Research at Washington University in St. Louis

Moderator: Jeff Henderson, MD, PhD

Speaker: Sebla Kutluay, PhD | Novel Insights into SARS-CoV-2 Replication and Virus-Host Interactions

Speaker: Sean Whelan, PhD | A Vesicular Stomatitis Virus Vectored Vaccine for SARS-CoV-2

Speaker: Michael Diamond, MD, PhD | Efficacy of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in pre-clinical models

10:40 a.m. Break
10:45 a.m. Session Three: COVID-19 Impact on Global and Public Health

Moderator: William Powderly, MD
Opening Comments: Janine Clayton, MD

Keynote: Haja Ramatulai Wurie, PhD | COVID-19: Societal Norms and Mental Wellbeing

Speaker: Amina Jama Mahmud, PhD | COVID-19 Governance in Fragile and Conflict Contexts; Implications for Women and Female Health Workers

Speaker: Sonia Deal, RN, MSN | Community Engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic

Speaker: Karen Joynt Maddox, MD, MPH | Inequities in COVID-19 Incidence and Outcomes in St. Louis

Keynote: Rosemary Morgan, PhD | Building Back Better: COVID-19 & the Need for Gender Responsive Pandemic Preparedness and Response Plans

12 p.m. Panel: Preparing for the Next Pandemic

Moderators: Carolina Lopez, PhD and Caline Mattar, MD

Akiko Iwasaki, PhD
Arturo Casadevall, MD, PhD
George Kyei, MBChB, PhD

12:30 p.m. Concluding Remarks

Christina Stallings, PhD


Featured Speakers

Ralph Baric, PhD
William R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor, Departments of Epidemiology and Microbiology and Immunology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, UNC-Chapel Hill

Dr. Baric’s laboratory studies viral replication, pathogenesis, molecular evolution and cross species transmission using emerging coronaviruses, flaviviruses (Dengue) and noroviruses as model systems.

Arturo Casadevall, MD, PhD
Chair, Molecular Microbiology & Immunology; Alfred & Jill Sommer Professor and Chair; Bloomberg Distinguished Professor
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Dr. Casadevall’s work has been recognized with numerous awards, including the American Society for Microbiology Founders Distinguished Service Award, the National Institutes of Health Merit Award and the Rhoda Benham Award from Medical Mycology Society of America. His research focuses on how microbes cause disease and how the immune system defends itself. His team is currently engaged in understanding how hosts defend against the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans.

Janine Clayton, MD
Associate Director for Research on Women’s Health and Director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health at the National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Dr. Clayton is the architect of the NIH policy requiring scientists to consider sex as a biological variable across the research spectrum. As co-chair of the NIH Working Group on Women in Biomedical Careers with NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins, Dr. Clayton also leads NIH’s efforts to advance women in science careers.

Michael Diamond, MD, PhD
The Herbert S. Gasser Professor, Departments of Medicine (Infectious Diseases), Molecular Microbiology, Pathology & Immunology, Washington University School of Medicine

Research in the Diamond lab focuses on the interface between viral pathogenesis and the host immune response for globally important human pathogens, including SARS-CoV-2.

Sonia Deal, RN, MSN
Assistant Vice President of Clinical Integration, Affinia Healthcare

Ms. Deal works closely with internal departments and community members to create patient education programming, facilitate patient chronic disease programs, provide staff training on organizational quality measures, perform quality/performance improvement data analysis and evaluation, lead initiatives for the health homes and Community Health Workers, and collaborate with internal departments and community partners to develop public health education. Ms. Deal also leads the Infant Mortality initiatives in the Maternal Child department.

Akiko Iwasaki, PhD
Waldemar Von Zedtwitz Professor of Immunobiology and Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology; Professor of Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Dr. Iwasaki is currently directing a translational Immunology team to investigate the role of immune response in COVID-19 disease outcome.  She will discuss the immune responses that correlate with positive vs. negative COVID-19 outcome, and the sex differences in immune response to SARS-CoV-2 that underlie disease susceptibility.

Amina Jama Mahmud, PhD
Founder of the Women in Global Health, Somalia Chapter; Project Director, Save the Children International

Dr. Amina Jama Mahmud utilizes her experiences, skills and education to contribute towards rebuilding the health and education systems in Somalia. Her research interests focuses equity on advancing evidence-based approach to capacity building, policy making in universal and equitable health care services and gender inequality in health and education.

Sebla Kutluay, PhD
Assistant Professor, Molecular Microbiology, Washington University School of Medicine

Dr. Kutluay is interested in how RNA-binding proteins regulate HIV-1 replication. More recently she has focused on development of new methods and models to study SARS-CoV-2 replication and host interactions.

George Kyei, MBChB, PhD
Assistant Professor, Medicine, Washington University; Senior Research Fellow, Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, University of Ghana

Dr. Kyei has HIV pathogenesis laboratories at WashU and the University of Ghana working on HIV cure. He is currently in Ghana and has been deeply involved in COVID-19 testing and research in Ghana since the pandemic started.

Karen Joynt Maddox, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor, School of Medicine; Co-Director, Center for Health Economics and Policy, Institute for Public Health, Washington University School of Medicine

Dr. Joynt Maddox is a health services and health policy researcher with expertise in quality measurement, value-based and alternative payment models, and disparities in care and serves on committees related to quality measurement and payment reform with the National Quality Forum, American College of Cardiology, and American Heart Association.

Rosemary Morgan, PhD
Assistant Scientist, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Dr. Morgan currently leads the Sex and Gender Analysis Core for the NIH funded Sex and Age Differences in Immunity to Influenza (SADII) project and works as a Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) advisor for the UK Partnerships for Health Systems programme (UKPHS).

David Perlmutter, MD
Executive Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs, Dean of the School of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine

Dean Perlmutter is a respected leader in the field of pediatric gastroenterology with decades of experience in academic medicine. Prior to joining Washington University in 2015, he was distinguished professor and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at University of Pittsburgh as well as physician-in-chief and scientific director of the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Liise-anne Pirofski, MD
Professor, Departments of Medicine (Infectious Diseases), Microbiology & Immunology; Chief, Department of Medicine Division of Infectious Diseases; Selma and Dr. Jacques Mitrani Chair in Biomedical Research, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Liise-anne Pirofski is a member of the American Association of Physicians and a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, American College of Physicians, Infectious Diseases Society of America, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Her research programs are focused on vaccine and antibody mediated immunity.

William Powderly, MD
J. William Campbell Professor of Medicine; Larry J. Shapiro Director, Institute for Public Health; Director, Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences; and Co-Director, Division of Infectious Diseases, Washington University School of Medicine

Dr. Powderly has been actively involved in HIV-related clinical research for over thirty years.  His recent focus as Director of the Institute for Public Health has been on translating scientific advances to a wider population to improve public health.

Kanta Subbarao, MBBS, MPH
Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza, Doherty Institute

Kanta Subbarao’s research is focused on newly emerging viral diseases of global importance including seasonal and pandemic influenza, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and now COVID-19.

Susan Weiss, PhD
Professor and Vice-Chair, Department of Microbiology, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine

Co-director of the Penn Center for Research on Coronaviruses and Other Emerging Pathogens at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, which studies murine and human coronavirus pathogenesis, including MHV, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV.

Sean Whelan, PhD
Marvin A. Brennecke Distinguished Professor and Head of the Department of Molecular Microbiology, Washington University School of Medicine

Following post-doctoral training at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Dr. Whelan started his own laboratory at Harvard Medical School where he was promoted to Professor in 2011. In 2020, he joined Washington University in Saint Louis. He pioneered reverse genetic approaches to manipulate the genome of vesicular stomatitis virus. This work led to a licensed human vaccine against Ebola has been developed using this technology.

Haja Ramatulai Wurie, PhD
Dean, Faculty of Nursing; Senior Lecturer, Biochemistry Department, College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences, University of Sierra Leone

Dr. Wurie is involved in health systems research and capacity strengthening within Sierra Leone to deliver credible, relevant research for effective policy making and practice.


organizing committee

Michael Caparon, PhD
Professor, Department of Molecular Microbiology, Washington University School of Medicine

Dr. Caparon leads an interdisciplinary research program focusing on host-pathogen relationships and the development of novel antibiotic-sparring therapeutics targeting Gram-positive bacteria that infect the bladder and the skin.

Jeff Henderson, MD, PhD
Associate Professor, Medicine and Molecular Microbiology; Core Faculty, Center for Women’s Infectious Disease Research, Washington University School of Medicine

Dr. Henderson’s interdisciplinary research program revealed an unanticipated new function for a prominent virulence factor shared by bacteria causing urinary tract infections, pneumonias, and plague. He was elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation in 2016 and is a founding member of the COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project

Scott Hultgren, PhD
Helen L. Stoever Professor of Molecular Microbiology; Director, Center for Women’s Infectious Disease Research, Washington University School of Medicine

Dr. Hultgren has developed an interdisciplinary program of basic and clinical research to elucidate specific disease-causing interactions between pathogens and patients, their consequences and mechanisms of macromolecular assembly of bacterial virulence factors.  From this work he has developed two antibiotic-sparing therapeutics now in clinical trials.

Andrew Kau, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Division of Allergy/Immunology, Washington University School of Medicine

Dr. Kau’s basic and translational research program is directed at understanding how the consortia of human microbes that colonize our mucosal surfaces shape human health, particularly in their ability to modify immunity. Currently, his lab is focused on dissecting how the microbiota influences the development of asthma by characterizing human clinical samples using a combination of metagenomic sequencing, microbiology, and immunology.

Sebla Kutluay, PhD
Assistant Professor, Molecular Microbiology, Washington University School of Medicine

Carolina Lopez, PhD
Professor and BJC Investigator, Department of Molecular Microbiology; Center for Women’s Infectious Disease Research,  Washington University School of Medicine

Dr. López is an active member of the American Association of Immunologists and the American Society for Microbiology. Her laboratory studies viral factors that impact the development of the host’s immune response and the infection outcome.

Caline Mattar, MD
Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine Division of Infectious Diseases, Washington University School of Medicine

Dr. Mattar leads several Global Health programs on campus, and her research interests are antimicrobial resistance and infection prevention in resource limited settings. She currently advises a wide range or international organizations on public health and infectious diseases issues.

Christina Stallings, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Molecular Microbiology; Director, Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis Graduate Program; Center for Women’s Infectious Disease Research, Washington University School of Medicine

Dr. Stallings’ research program integrates microbiology and immunology to study infectious disease, with a focus on the molecular mechanisms involved in Mycobacterium tuberculosis pathogenesis.

Jacaranda van Rheenen, PhD
Global Health Center Manager, Institute for Public Health, Washington University

Dr. van Rheenen is the organizational lead on Washington University Global Health Center’s initiatives, including the annual conference, summer research program, and other research and educational activities. Currently she co-leads a USAID-ASHA funded grant to install radiotherapy equipment in a cancer hospital in Guatemala. Dr. van Rheenen’s international background has made her passionate about global health.

Event Sponsors: Center for Women's Infectious Disease Research at Washington University in St. Louis, Washington University School of Medicine, Global Health Center at the Institute for Public Health (WUSTL), Department of Molecular Microbiology (WUSTL), Department of Medicine (WUSTL), Brown School (WUSTL), Women in Global Health-Midwest Chapter, Forum for Women in Medicine (WUSTL), American Society for Virology, Fimbrion Therapeutics & Sequoia Sciences