COVID-19 One Year Later: A Host Response Symposium


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Join us for a short symposium featuring scientific talks and a panel discussion around COVID-19 research and how it has impacted the future of infectious disease studies as we celebrate the one year anniversary of the launch of the nCounter® Host Response Panel, a 785-plex, pathogen-agnostic panel for studying the innate and adaptive host immune response to invading pathogens.


2:00 PM SGT – 20 mins

The nCounter Host Response Panel as Part of the Infectious Disease Toolbox – Presented by Elizabeth Schneider, PhD, Senior Global Marketing Manager, NanoString Technologies, Inc.

2:20 PM SGT – 20 mins

An investigation of Type I IFN driven immunity against SARS-CoV-2 – Presented by Jonathan Lopez, PhD, PharmD, Medical Biologist, LBMMS of the CHU de Lyon, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Lyon East Faculty of Medicine, & Lyon Cancer Research Center

SARS-CoV-2 infection induces strong type I Interferon (IFN) immunity in both blood and nasopharyngeal mucosa of mildly symptomatic COVID-19 patients, but this response is compromised in critically ill patients with autoantibodies against type I IFNs.  In this study, we used the nCounter Host Response Gene Expression Panel to study early nasal type I IFN immunity against SARS-CoV2 in patients with autoantibodies against type I IFN.

2:40 PM SGT – 20 mins

Determining a role for SARS-CoV-2 membrane protein in COVID-19 pathogenesis – Presented by Yusuf Omosun, PhD, Assistant Professor Microbiology, Biochemistry & Immunology, Morehouse School of Medicine

This pilot study used the nCounter Host Response Panel to identify differentially expressed host genes induced by SARS-CoV-2 membrane protein following treatment of human lung epithelial cell lines. Using the nSolver™ and Advanced Analysis Software and ontology analyses, we determined pathways associated with disease pathogenesis. We identified differentially expressed host genes after treatment for 6, 12, 24, and 48 hours. The chemokine-cytokine, TNF receptor, and ribosome synthesis pathways were amongst the most prominent. We also noticed some lesser-known genes and pathways that might be potential therapeutic targets.

3:00 PM SGT – 20 mins

A self-transcribing and replicating RNA-based SARS-CoV-2 vaccine produces protective adaptive immunity in mice – Presented by Esther Shuyi Gan, PhD, Research Fellow, Duke-NUS Medical School

A self-transcribing and replicating RNA (STARR)-based vaccine (ARCT-021) has been developed to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection. This vaccine encodes an alphavirus-based replicon and the SARS-CoV-2 full-length spike glycoprotein. A single prime vaccination in mice led to robust neutralizing antibody responses and activation of an antigen specific CD8+ T lymphocyte response.

Furthermore, transcriptomic analysis of whole blood cells and lymph nodes revealed distinct differences in immune responses following vaccination with either a self-amplifying or mRNA only construct. LUNAR-COV19 vaccination at two doses completely protected human ACE2 transgenic mice from mortality and infection.

3:20 PM SGT – 10 mins – Q&A Session

3:30 PM SGT – 30 mins

How has the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic changed the face of infectious disease research?

A Panel Discussion with Drs. Lopez, Omosun, and Gan

Moderator: Elizabeth Schneider


Elizabeth Schneider, PhD

Senior Global Marketing Manager, NanoString

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Jonathan Lopez, PharmD, PhD

Medical Biologist, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Hospices Civils de Lyo

Dr. Lopez is a PharmD PhD who teaches Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Faculty of Medicine in Lyon-Est and leads the Genomics Core Facility at Lyon University Hospital. He was one of the early adopters of the GeoMx® Digital Spatial Profiling (DSP) platform in Europe.

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Yusuf Omosun, PhD

Assistant Professor, Morehouse School of Medicine, Microbiology, Biochemistry & Immunology

Dr. Omosun is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology, Biochemistry, and Immunology. The overall objective of his research involves elucidating the molecular mechanisms underpinning infectious disease pathogenesis. His research uses genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and systems biology to answer pertinent questions about infectious disease pathogenesis. Dr. Omosun has an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry, and Masters and a Ph.D. degree in Cellular Parasitology. He was an ASM postdoctoral fellow at the Malaria Branch, Center for Global Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He is currently a guest researcher at the Molecular Pathogenesis Laboratory in the Division of Scientific Resources at the CDC.

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Gan Shuyi Esther, PhD

Research Fellow, Duke-NUS Medical School

Dr. Gan is a Research Fellow at Duke-NUS Medical School who works with flaviviruses and SARS-CoV-2 in both BSL2 and BSL3 laboratories. She and her colleagues study viral pathogenesis to aid development of vaccines and therapeutics against emerging infectious diseases. Current studies include developing small animal models to test virological, immunological and efficacy outcomes of candidate vaccines and antiviral therapeutics for Sars-CoV-2.