Global Health & Infectious Disease Trainee Oral Symposium

April 14, 2016
1 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.
McDonnell Sci Bldg, Erlanger Aud., Medical Campus

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the 2014 Global Health & Infectious Disease Trainee Oral Symposium.

Check out our Photo Album from the event.

Event Timeline

Registration will begin at 12:30 pm, with talks from 1:00 to 4:15 pm, followed by a reception. Dr. Boon will speak at 1:15 pm and Dr. Doering will speak at 3:30 pm. See below for full details.


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Faculty Speaker Bios

Boon_350Jacco Boon, PhD

Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and Department of Molecular Microbiology and Pathology and Immunology

Title: Global Challenges During an Influenza Pandemic


Dr. Jacco Boon earned a Ph.D. in viral-immunology at the Erasmus University in The Netherlands and did his post-doctoral training at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. He has had a long standing interest in influenza viruses and their complex interaction with the infected host. He was among the first to identify the significant impact of host genetic variation on the outcome of disease after pathogenic influenza infections.

Associate Professor of Medicine, Molecular Microbiology, Pathology & Immunology, School of Medicine

In 2011, he joined the faculty in the Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine to continue his studies on influenza virus. The research in the Boon lab is focused on understanding how highly pathogenic influenza viruses cause severe and fatal disease, and why some individuals are genetically predisposed to severe influenza disease. These studies will ultimately lead new ways to treat influenza virus infection. Dr. Boon has published 40 peer-reviewed papers and received funding from the NIH to support his work.


Influenza viruses are a major global health problem with an estimated 3-5 million severe cases and about 400,000 deaths each year. This can increase dramatically during an influenza pandemic when a novel strain of influenza virus infects and transmits between humans. The virus and host factors that contribute to this devastating process are only partially known. H5N1 and H7N9 influenza viruses are among the most likely to cause the next influenza pandemic. More than 1,000 human cases have been identified so far and more than 40% of those have died. Fortunately, sustained human-to-human transmission has not been reported for these two viruses. However, experimental evidence suggests that only a few mutations are needed to allow this to happen. To prepare for a potential pandemic with these viruses we need vaccines and therapeutics to prevent and cure influenza virus infected patients. To identify key host factors we compare the genomes of susceptible and resistant hosts or species to identify novel factors that determine the outcome of infection. These factors will form the basis for the rational design of new treatments against influenza virus.

Photo_DoeringTamara Doering, MD, PhD

Professor, Department of Molecular Microbiology

Title: Cryptocococcus neoformans: Historical Curiosity to Modern Pathogen


Tamara L. Doering, MD, PhD, is the Alumni Endowed Professor of Molecular Microbiology at Washington University Medical School. Dr. Doering graduated with honors from Johns Hopkins University, where she performed undergraduate research in the laboratories of Michael Edidin and Saul Roseman. She earned her graduate degrees from the Medical Scientist Training Program at Johns Hopkins Medical School, where she performed thesis research on GPI anchor biosynthesis in African trypanosomes, mentored by Paul Englund and Gerald Hart. She then moved to the University of California at Berkeley for a postdoctoral fellowship with Randy Schekman, where she studied ER to Golgi transport of GPI-anchored proteins in model yeast. In the fall of 1997, following a brief period as a visiting scientist with Arturo Casadevall at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, she joined the faculty in Pharmacology at Cornell University Medical College.

Two years later she moved her lab to Washington University Medical School, where her research focuses on capsule synthesis, gene regulation, and host interactions of the opportunistic fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans. She is a fellow of the AAAS and of the American Academy of Microbiology, a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, and a reviewer for NIH and multiple scientific journals. Closer to home, she directed the Graduate Program in Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis from 2007-2012 and is the current president of the Academic Women’s Network.


Cryptococcus neoformans is an opportunistic fungal pathogen that causes meningoencephalitis in over one million people each year, primarily in developing areas of the world. Despite recent advances in diagnostics, the mortality associated with cryptococcal meningitis remains extremely high, with recent estimates for Africa of ~70%. The Doering lab studies the fundamental biology of this pathogen, with particular focus on mechanisms of synthesis and regulation of its major virulence factor, an extensive polysaccharide capsule, as well as on the interactions of this yeast with mammalian host cells. The first part of the presentation will provide background on the organism and disease as well as an overview of lab interests. The second part of the talk will summarize recent studies of how capsule is transcriptionally regulated and report on an image-based screen that has elucidated how protein modification in C. neoformans relates to fungal virulence.


Event Sponsors: Supported by the Departments of Medicine, Molecular Microbiology, and Pathology and Immunology in the School of Medicine