Virology | Mary Hauser, PhD and Jennifer Smith, Ph

An overview of the field of virology, covering the basics from virus structure to the mechanisms of viral infections to PCR testing.

Mary Hauser and Jennifer Smith present an overview of the field of virology, covering the basics from virus structure to the mechanisms of viral infections to PCR testing.

After receiving her Masters degree from the University of Georgia, Jennifer worked with world-renowned virologist Dr. Robert Webster analysing avian and human influenza viruses. Her team’s work lead to the development of an efficacious H5N3 poultry vaccine, and an H5N1 vaccine to be stockpiled for use in humans. Jennifer undertook a PhD with Dr. Webster. Her work on the ecology and evolution of avian influenza viruses had an impact on policies and practices regarding the sale of poultry in live animal markets in Southeast Asia. Upon completion of her PhD, she joined the NIAID Center of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance at the University of Georgia. In collaboration with the CDC, she assessed methods for improved delivery of vaccines for mass vaccination campaigns. Jennifer was also involved in research using parainflenza virus 5 as a novel vaccine vector for influenza, rabies, and mumps viruses, and has been involved in work testing candidate vaccines against hemorrhagic fever viruses. In 2016, she moved into public health, taking a position as an epidemiological specialist in the Disease Outbreak Control Division at the Hawaii Department of Health. Part of her responsibilities involved serving as the influenza surveillance coordinator. She was also instrumental in the COVID-19 pandemic response efforts by identifying and investigating cases and contact tracing.

After obtaining a Bachelor degree in Chemistry, Mary received a PhD in Microbiology & Immunology from Wake Forest University. She subsequently carried out postdoctoral research at the University of Georgia and Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute. Her work in Virology and Immunology has involved studies with multiple virus families and contributed to the understanding of host-pathogen interactions including viral and cellular determinants of innate immune pathways, as well as structural changes of replicating viruses. Mary currently works at a biotech company in Georgia and directs evaluation of preclinical immunogenicity and efficacy of multi-antigen virus vectored vaccines.

PANDA’s Open Science Sessions provide an opportunity for science, research and policy to be presented by various leading international experts in a variety of diverse fields. These sessions aim to broaden understanding and inspire new insights.

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Publisher’s note: The opinions and findings expressed in articles, reports and interviews on this website are not necessarily the opinions of PANDA, its directors or associates.

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