Jonathan Heeney is Head of The Laboratory of Viral Zoonotics. Research focuses on cross species transmissions of viruses, and the co-evolution of viruses and their hosts including the evolution of immune mechanisms of disease protection in naturally infected but disease resistant species. Not only has this interest led to the discovery of a number of new viruses, but also genetic comparison of host and viral sequences from the same individual and sample have provided powerful genetic tools to solve some of nature’s intriguing mysteries. Currently this laboratory applies these molecular technologies to address important questions concerning zoonotic infections of importance to both veterinary and human health. Studies currently focus on understanding successful host immune responses to RNA viruses. Translationally this information is utilized for the rational design of novel vaccines for the prevention of diseases caused by notoriously complex viral pathogens.
Blogged on behalf of Milana Shapira and Sophia Doll
Prof Jonathan Heeney spoke about veterinary and human health, drawing links between the two and exploring how these can lead to greater innovation. "Vaccination and One Health initiative" integrates an understanding of veterinary and human infections; these are often closely linked, as human diseases are often acquired from animal species and the two can cause similar symptoms. Heeney pointed out that viral vaccines are approved more quickly for animals. This is largely due to higher risk, lower product development and more expensive innovative vaccine technologies in human health. Development of research infrastructure requires bringing the vaccine fields together, for a more efficacious combat of infectious diseases for both.
The presentations from the event will be made available from the 1st November.
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