Professor Seng Gee Lim, FRACP, FRCP, FAMS, MD, is Director of Hepatology at the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, National University Health System, Singapore, and was previously Chief of Division. He graduated in 1980 from Monash Medical School completed his research MD at the Royal Free Hospital. He is a member of the editorial boards for Liver International, Journal of Viral Hepatitis, Hepatology International, Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology, and Evidence Based Internal Medicine Solutions, He is also on the advisory board of Gilead Sciences, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Bristol Myers Pharmaceuticals, Merck Sharpe and Dohme Pharmaceuticals, Springbank, Abbvie and Abbott Diagnostics.
He is currently chairman of the Singapore Hepatology Conference and Science of HBV cure conference, and was previously the Chairman of the Asia Pacific Association for Study of the Liver (APASL) Liver Week 2013 Congress. He served as Governing Council member from 2014-2018 of the International Association for Study of Liver (IASL), and has been appointed to the AASLD Asia Pacific Regional Advisory Council in 2018. He is faculty at the Asia Pacific EBM workshop. His research includes clinical trials of new treatments for chronic hepatitis B and C, and translational research in viral hepatitis, involving molecular biology and immunology of hepatitis B. He has over 207 peer review publications and has been awarded over $36 million in grant funding for his research, including a recent award of a $25 million National Translational Clinical Research grant in 2015 to investigate eradication of HBV. In 2018 he was awarded the NMRC Clinician Scientist Award for research in HBV.
Professor of Medicine, Sapienza University, Centre de Recherche en Cancerologie de Lyon (CRCL) Lyon, France
Massimo Levrero is Professor of Medicine at the University Claude Bernard Lyon 1 (UCLB1), Lyon, France, and Praticien Hospitalier in the Service d’Hepatologie et Gastroenterologie – Hopital de la Croix Rousse – Hospices Civils de Lyon. He leads a Research Unit on” Epigenetics and Epigenomics of Hepatocellular Carcinoma”, at the Centre de Recherche en Cancérologie de Lyon (CRCL) – INSERM U1052 in Lyon, France. He also serves as Associate Member at the IIT – Sapienza Center for Life NanoScience (CLNS) in Rome and he is on leave of absence from the Department of Internal Medicine (DMISM) at the Sapienza University of Rome, where he had his research activity and academic practice in hepatology until 2014.
Professor Levrero trained and completed his residency at Sapienza before holding posts at the University Paris VI and the Institut Gustave Roussy in Paris. He has acted as Scientific Secretary of EASL (European Association for the Study of the Liver) and he currently presides the CSS12 study session on basic and translational research on viral hepatitis at the French National Agency for Research on AIDS and Viral Hepatitis (ANRS). He is a founding member and seats in the Governing Board of ICE (International Coalition to Eliminate HBV).
He is actively involved in clinical research and treatment of HBV and HCV chronic hepatitis, and he served as Network Coordinator and/or Primary Investigator in a number of research projects and clinical studies. HBV research focuses on the epigenetic regulation of cccDNA function and HBV replication, the identification of new targets for anti-¬‐viral therapy and on liver oncogenesis in HBV-¬‐ related hepatocellular carcinoma. Additional research interests include signal transduction and transcription in the liver; IFN transcriptome; chromatin modifiers in solid tumours development and progression.
Professor Levrero is the author of over 200 publications in peer-reviewed journals, including Nature, Nature Medicine, Nat Cell Biol, Nature Communications, Science, J Clin Invest, J Exp Med, Mol Cell, PNAS USA, Cancer Res, Oncogene, EMBO J, J Biol Chem, Sci Rep, Gastroenterology, J of Hepatology, GUT, Hepatology, J of Virology, Virology, J Gen Virol, J Infect Dis, Blood.
Mala Maini is a Professor of Viral Immunology in the Division of Infection and Immunity at UCL, London and also works as a Consultant Physician in the viral hepatitis clinic. Her lab researches liver immunity and immunopathology, focusing on cellular interactions and metabolic constraints. By dissecting the immune correlates of viral persistence and liver damage, the Maini lab aims to contribute to the development of novel immunotherapeutic strategies for hepatitis B and hepatocellular carcinoma. Mala was awarded Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Awards in 2013 and 2019 and elected to the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2016. Work in the Maini lab is also funded by the Cancer Research UK, EU Horizon 2020, Medical Research Foundation, NIHR, UKRI, British Infection Association.
(1988) M.S. Peking Union Medical College and Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing, China
(1985) M.D. Lanzhou University College of Medicine, Lanzhou, China
(1994) Postdoctoral Fellow, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A.
Appointment at the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute: W. Thomas London Distinguished Professor; Chair, Department of Experimental Therapeutics
Other appointments: Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Drexel University College of Medicine
The Guo laboratory research is mainly focused on understanding the pathogenesis of HBV infection and discovering antiviral and immune-modulating agents to treat chronic hepatitis B. It also has a long-term research effort toward understanding how interferons control virus infection and how viruses evade innate antiviral immune responses to colonize their hosts.
Dr. Gane is Professor of Medicine at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, Hepatologist and Deputy Director of the New Zealand Liver Unit at Auckland City Hospital.
Dr. Gane trained in hepatology at the Institute of Liver Studies, King’s College School of Medicine, London, where he completed his MD on the pathogenesis of hepatitis C-related liver injury. In 1998, Dr. Gane was appointed as Chief Physician for the first New Zealand Liver Unit at Auckland City Hospital, which provides a national transplant and HCC programme. Dr Gane helped set up the community-based national HBV Surveillance Programme, which is the largest in the world. He now chairs the Ministry of Health committee responsible for HCV elimination and co-wrote the first New Zealand National HepC Action Plan.
Dr. Gane is an investigator for many international clinical trials with particular interest in early phase development of new direct acting antiviral therapies against chronic hepatitis C, hepatitis B, NASH and HCC. He has published 350 papers peer-reviewed journals including The Lancet and The New England Journal of Medicine. Dr Gane is a member of APASL, EASL, ILTS, ILCA and AASLD and is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Hepatology
In 2011, Dr Gane received the New Zealand Health Research Council (NZHRC) annual Beaven Medal for best funded research project and in 2014, he received the NZHRC annual Liley Medal for outstanding contribution to the health and medical sciences.
In 2011, Dr. Gane was awarded Member of the Order of New Zealand for Services to Medicine.
In 2017, Dr Gane was named as New Zealand Innovator of the Year for his work towards HCV elimination in New Zealand.
In 2018, he was elected to the Royal Society of Medicine.
Dr. Vaillant is the Chief Scientific Officer at Replicor Inc. He has more than 20 years of experience in the fields of nucleic acid chemistry, virology and drug development and is the discoverer of nucleic acid polymers (NAPs). Dr. Vaillant has authored numerous primary publications and reviews and patents on the use of NAPs in various infectious diseases focusing on HBV and HDV and the role of HBsAg loss and transaminase flares in achieving functional cure of HBV. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Montreal Neurological Institute and holds a Ph.D. in Cell Biology from the University of Ottawa.
Director of the Department of Medicine II (Gastroenterology, Hepatology, Endocrinology and Infectious Diseases)
My research focus lies on the immune responses in hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection as well as hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), specifically the immunological determinants of viral clearance and persistence. My work as a PI is supported by grants from the DFG, BMBF, several foundations and the EU. With this support my group has provided important novel insights into the mechanisms of T cell success and failure in viral hepatitis, SARS COV2 infection and hepatocellular carcinoma. For example, we have characterized the protective role of virus-specific CD8+T cells in HBV and HCV infection, the determinants of virus-specific CD8+ T cell failure in both infections, such as viral escape and T cell exhaustion and the fate of exhausted CD8+ T cells after antigen removal.
Full Professor and Head of the Department of Internal Medicine II Gastroenterology, Hepatology, Endocrinology and Infectious Diseasessince 2013
h-index: 60(Web of Science)
Oberhardt V, (…), Thimme R*, Neumann-Haefelin C, Hofmann M. Rapid and stable mobilization of CD8+ T cells by SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccine. Nature. 2021 Jul 28. Online ahead of print.
Hensel N, (…), Thimme R*, Hofmann M. Memory-like HCV-specific CD8+ T cells retain a molecular scar after cure of chronic HCV infection. Nat Immunol. 2021 Feb;22(2):229-239.
Schulien I, (…), Thimme R*, Hofmann M, Neumann-Haefelin C. Characterization of pre-existing and induced SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cells. Nat Med. 2021 Jan;27(1):78-85.
Alfei F, (…), Thimme R*, Youngblood B*, Zehn D*. TOX reinforces the phenotype and longevity of exhausted T cells in chronic viral infection. Nature. 2019 Jul;571(7764):265-269.
Schuch A, (…), Thimme R. Phenotypic and functional differences of HBV core-specific versus HBV polymerase-specific CD8+ T cells in chronically HBV-infected patients with low viral load. Gut. 2019 May;68(5):905-915
Professor Kumar Visvanathan is a specialist in infectious diseases and the immunology of the innate immune system with a career spanning over three decades. He is currently the Deputy Chair of Medicine at the University of Melbourne (Eastern Hill Campus), Co-Director of the Immunology Research Centre at St Vincent’s Hospital (Melbourne) as well as a Senior Infectious Diseases Physician at St Vincent’s Hospital. Following his medical undergraduate degree in 1986, Kumar completed his PhD thesis at the University of NSW and undertook postgraduate work at Rockefeller University in New York. He came back to Australia in 2000 and started his laboratory in innate immunity at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute moving to Monash University and Monash Medical Centre in 2005 before moving to the University of Melbourne and St Vincent’s Hospital in 2012.
Prof Antonio Bertoletti is an expert in the field of viral hepatitis, with a specific interest in the immunopathogenesis of HBV infection since 1991. He spent two years at The Scripps Research Institute (La Jolla) characterizing for the first time the Hepatitis B virus (HBV) specific cytotoxic T cell response in man, before continuing his study of human HBV specific T cells as a Clinician Scientist at the University of Parma.
In 2006, he moved to Singapore where he was appointed Director of Infection and Immunity Programme at the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences, A*STAR until 2013. He then served as Professor at the Emerging Viral Disease Programme at Duke-NUS Medical School Singapore. He also maintains an Adjunct Position at the Singapore Immunology Network, A*STAR. He won the Singapore Translational Research Awards for two terms in 2013 and 2018.
In 2015, he founded Lion TCR Pte, a biotech company developing immune-based treatments for virus-related cancers (HBV-HCC and EBV related malignancies) and chronic viral infections. The company has been the first to initiate and run clinical trials (Phase I and II) for the treatment of HBV-related HCC relapses in liver transplant patients and in primary HCC in Singapore and China.
His current research focuses on the development of new immunological based therapies (TCR-redirected T cells) for the treatment of HBV chronic infection and Hepatocellular carcinoma and on the characterization of antiviral Immunity in chronic HBV patients. In the last 6 months, after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, his laboratory has been actively involved in the characterization of SARS-COV2 specific T cell immune response in COVID-19 and SARS convalescent and healthy individuals.
Professor of Medicine, Lyon University, Institut Universitaire de France
Medical Director, Hepatology Department at the Hospices Civils de Lyon, France
Scientific Director, Viral Hepatitis Research Laboratory, INSERM Unit 1052, Cancer Research Center of Lyon, France
Fabien Zoulim obtained his M.D. in Gastroenterology and Hepatology in Lyon Medical School in 1991. He has also obtained a PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology and was trained as a post-doctoral researcher at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. He is Professor of Medicine at Lyon I University since 1997. He is Head of the Hepatology Department at the Hospices Civils de Lyon, and Head of the Viral Hepatitis Research Laboratory of INSERM Unit 1052. Dr Zoulim is currently Associate Editor for Gut. He also served as a Governing Board member of the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL). Dr Zoulim received the William Prusoff award of the International Society for Antiviral Research. He is currently coordinating the ANRS “HBV cure” Task Force in France and the “IP-cure-B” project within the EU H2020 workprogram. He co-founded and is currently the chair of the International Coalition to Eliminate HBV (ICE-HBV: http//:www.ice-hbv.org). He has published more than 500 articles (Web of Science H index 90).
Adam Gehring received his Ph.D. at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. His training included a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Institute of Hepatology at University College London and a position of Senior Research Fellow, and subsequently Assistant Principal Investigator, at the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences with Antonio Bertoletti. During his postdoctoral training Dr. Gehring was instrumental in developing TCR gene therapy for chronic HBV. His foundational work resulted in human application of engineered T cells for HBV-related HCC tumors expressing viral antigen. Dr. Gehring moved to Saint Louis University as an Assistant Professor in the Molecular Microbiology and Immunology department in March 2013 before joining the Toronto Center for Liver Disease as Biology Lead in February 2016.
Dr. Gehring runs a translational HBV immunology research lab focused on liver pathogenesis and sex-based differences in disease progression. His primary interest lies in defining the mechanisms driving liver inflammation during HBV-related flares using functional and transcriptomic approaches in liver biopsies. He has established an internal immune monitoring core within his lab to process and analyze immune responses in Phase 1/2 clinical studies for HBV.
Dr. Gehring is currently Co-Chair for the Immune Monitoring Workgroup of the HBV Forum and on the Governing Board of the International Coalition to Eliminate HBV (ICE-HBV). He is Co-Chair for the International HBV Meeting being organized in Toronto in September, 2021.
Website research summary
My research is focused on translational human liver immunology, particularly the pathogenesis of chronic liver disease, with the major research program being immunopathogenesis of chronic Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. 292 million people are chronically infected with HBV with no effective cure. Chronic infection leads to persistent liver damage that causes fibrosis and cirrhosis, leading to either liver cancer or transplant.
Liver damage is the result of a dysregulated liver immune system. Our research uses clinical samples – blood, liver biopsies, samples from liver transplant – to investigate immune cell types and mechanisms responsible for damage in the human liver. This relies heavily on single-cell RNA sequencing data from patient liver biopsies who are enrolled in early-stage clinical trials testing new therapies for chronic HBV infection. The goal of our research is to identify mechanistic pathways in the human liver that can be targeted to improve immunotherapeutic approaches for hepatitis B or manage liver inflammation to improve patient outcomes.
His work focuses on the hepatitis B and C viruses that infect the liver and cause cirrhosis, mainly on three themes: (1) natural history, (2) treatment, and (3) clinical virology studies. Specifically, the aims of his research are to: (1) define the host, viral, and environmental factors that determine the natural history and outcome of HBV and HCV infection; (2) develop and evaluate novel, safer, and more effective therapies for chronic viral hepatitis B and C; and (3) conduct clinical virology studies.
William Delaney, PhD joined Assembly as Chief Scientific Officer in May 2020. Prior to joining Assembly, he most recently served as Executive Director, Biology at Gilead. During his 20-year career at the company, he headed the Viral Hepatitis & Herpes Discovery Biology Groups and served as the Research Therapeutic Area Head for HBV. He began his career as a Research Scientist, Clinical Virology at Gilead and later transitioned into Drug Discovery where he held positions of increasing responsibility. Over the course of his career, he has contributed to the development of several marketed products, including Hepsera®, Viread®, and Vemlidy® for HBV and Sovaldi®, Harvoni®, Epclusa®, and Vosevi® for HCV. He earned a BS in Biotechnology from the University of Delaware and a PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology from the Penn State College of Medicine. In addition, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory (VIDRL), Department of Research & Molecular Development.
Dr. Picchio joined Arbutus Biopharma in October 2018 and serves as the Company’s Chief Development Officer. Previously, Dr. Picchio was with Janssen R&D, bringing with him over thirty years of basic and clinical experience in the field of human virology, and sixteen years of industry experience dedicated to the development of antiviral drugs including drug approvals for the treatment of HIV (etravirine and rilpivirine) and HCV (telaprevir and simeprevir). In 2015, Dr. Picchio was a recipient of the Johnson Medal for the development of telaprevir and simeprevir and combinations thereof. Prior to joining Arbutus, Dr. Picchio served in various senior management positions at Janssen R&D, including Vice President—Scientific Innovation Infectious Diseases & Vaccines, Vice President—Hepatitis Disease Area Leader and Vice President—Clinical Virology Infectious Diseases & Vaccines. Dr. Picchio also spent time in academia working at the Scripps Institute in La Jolla, CA, on HIV and EBV pathogenesis. Dr. Picchio received a Masters in Molecular Biology from University Centro de Altos Estudios en Ciencias Exactas, Buenos Aires, and a PhD degree from University of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Dr Cynthia Wat MBBS MRCP MFPM, Therapeutic Area Leader in Infectious Diseases for Pharma Research & Early Development (pRED) at Roche. She has more than 20 years of clinical development experience in the pharmaceutical industry, dedicated to the development of antiviral drugs, including: translational medicine of novel HBV and HIV molecules both antiviral and immune-modulatory agents, phase III registration studies and drug approvals of Fuzeon® (accelerated for HIV) and of Pegasys® for both adult and pediatric in HBV and HCV populations, including gaining the first pediatric clinical trial approval in China; extensive predictive biomarker research in chronic hepatitis B; and the development of Tamiflu® for the treatment of influenza. She contributed to the multi-stakeholder HBV Forum Working Group (involving the US FDA, hepatology experts and industry) that evaluated liver safety assessment in clinical trials of new agents for chronic hepatitis B.
Over the course of her career, Dr Wat has served in strategic leadership and managerial positions within global cross-functional teams. She received the Roche pRED I3 Award in recognition of her leadership in the HBV combination strategy and design of the phase 2 platform study, and the RETHINK D Award for her contribution to the development of Pegasys®. She continues to be passionate about clinical and translational research and has published widely in the areas of HBV, HCV, HIV & influenza.
Dr Wat trained at St Mary’s Hospital Medical School, Imperial College, University of London, UK, specialising in infectious diseases and microbiology, previously working for the NHS in multiple London hospitals in the UK.
Professor, Graduate Institute of Clinical Medicine
Professor, Graduate Institute of Clinical Medicine, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University (Hepatitis virology; Genomics research; Gastroenterology)
Molecular virology of hepatitis virus
Current focus is on the hepatitis D virus (HDV). HDV is the simplest RNA virus that employs a unique strategy for viral replication and expression. It uses a currently unknown cellular RNA polymerase and one viral protein, the small-hepatitis delta antigen for replication. We are interested in identifying this cellular polymerase by genetic and biochemical approaches. Viral small delta antigen is modified post-translationally (such as phosphorylation). These modifications play important role in ushering in different stage of viral life cycle. The mechanisms are under investigation.
Treatment of hepatitis B
Persist hepatitis B has been very difficult to eradicate, though many current treatments can suppress HBV to a low level. Recently, stimulation of cellular immunity by therapeutic vaccine (especially DNA-based) becomes a promising approach. We set up a chronic hepatitis B animal model (in woodchucks) and would try the therapeutic vaccine.
Carcinogenesis of liver cancer
Cancer is now considered as a genetic disease of somatic cells whose chromosomes are mutated because of carcinogen-induced injuries. Search for genes with mutations in liver cancer genomes will shed light on the transformation process. Genome research technique, including allele mapping, linkage analysis, large-scale sequencing and functional genomics will be applied.
• Isolation of virus
• Molecular Biotechnology
• SNPs and sequencing in virus and disease
• Protein modification
• Chronic hepatitis B animal model (in woodchucks)
MD, Laboratory of Viral Immunopathology, Unit of Infectious Diseases and Hepatology, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria di Parma, Parma, Italy
Dr. Boni is physician at the Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria of Parma and Contract Professor of Infectious Diseases at the University of Parma.
Dr. Boni’s research is mostly focused on the characterization of the immune mechanisms responsible for viral persistence and liver damage in chronic HBV infection with the final objective of developing new immune therapeutic strategies for chronically infected patients.
She has published 40 original articles (4556 citations; H index =26) and presented the results of her research in the field of hepatitis virus infections at several national and international meetings.
She provided original contributions to the HBV immune pathogenesis field, in particular for the characterization of the immunological correlates of protection in acute and chronic HBV infection and for the definition of new biomarkers to assess and predict the effect of a novel immune therapies.
Dr. Thomas Tu is a molecular biologist with a particular focus on integrated Hepatitis B virus DNA and its role in disease progression. He currently leads a research group at the Westmead Institute for Medical Research in the Storr Liver Centre (Sydney, Australia), where his team focuses on persistent forms of the Hepatitis B virus (covalently closed circular DNA and integrated HBV DNA). He is particularly passionate about developing a HBV cure and mitigating the associated liver cancer, as he himself lives with chronic Hepatitis B.
Dr. Tu is the current President for Australian Centre for Hepatitis Virology (ACHV), the premier Australian society for hepatitis virus researchers. He is also board member of Hepatitis Australia, guiding the strategic direction of the peak national advocacy body for people with liver disease. Dr. Tu is founder and director of HepBCommunity.org (a global support network for people affected with HBV), guiding people through their HBV diagnosis and linking them with trustworthy scientific and medical information.
Heiner Wedemeyer is Professor and Chairman of the Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Endocrinology at Hannover Medical School since April 1, 2020. He was Professor and Chairman of the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the University Clinic Essen from February 2018 to April 2020.
He received his medical degree from the University of Göttingen in 1996 and subsequently started his training in Internal Medicine at Hannover Medical School in Germany. From 1998 to 2000, he was a research fellow in immunology at the Liver Diseases Branch, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, USA. Since 2001, he completed his training in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology at Hannover Medical School, where he became Professor of Medicine in 2011.
Professor Wedemeyer has been involved in the scientific coordination of the German Network of Competence on Viral Hepatitis (Hep-Net) and the German Liver Foundation for more than 15 years. Currently, he serves as the Managing Director of the German Hepatitis C-Registry. Heiner Wedemeyer is member of several scientific organizations and was Secretary General of the European Association for the Study of the Liver from 2009 to 2011.
Professor Wedemeyer has a long-term research interest in liver diseases with a main focus on viral hepatitis, liver transplantation and hepatocellular carcinoma. He has been principal investigator in numerous clinical trials, focusing on antiviral therapy and immunotherapy of viral hepatitis B, C, D and E. He has authored over 500 original articles; his current Hirsch-Index is 98 (google scholar; March 2021) and his work has been quoted more than 42.000 times.
Heiner Wedemeyer has received numerous awards including the Hans Popper Award of the International Association of the Study of the Liver in 2002, the Innovation Award of the German Medical Faculties (2011) and the Rudolph-Schoen-Awards (2011). His research has been funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, the German Ministry of Research and Education, the European Union, the European Association for the Study of the Liver and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Dr. Shahzada Khan, a Senior Scientist at Gilead Sciences, has more than 15 years of biomedical research experience in an array of research fields including innate and adaptive immune responses to infectious agents, oxidative / nitrative stress responses, and viral / bacterial disease pathogenesis. Shahzada obtained his PhD in medical sciences from Kumamoto University Japan and postdoctoral training at Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco, CA. At Gilead Sciences, he is currently involved in discovery research and development of immunotherapeutic agents for treatment of chronic HBV infection.
Shihyun You, Ph.D. is a Senior Director heading HBV research at GlaxoSmithKline. She has more than 20 years of experience in viral infectious diseases and thirteen years of industry experience in the drug discovery and development including HCV and HBV. She earned a MS in genetic engineering from SungKyunKwan University, South Korea and a PhD on dengue virus replication from University of Kansas Medical Center. She obtained postdoctoral training focusing on HCV with Prof. Charlie Rice at the Rockefeller University.