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Amazing Aspects of Insect Viruses From discovery to applications

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iNOVA4Health Seminar, with Monique van Oers

When 05 Sep, 2022 at 12:00 pm
Where ITQB NOVA Auditorium
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Title: Amazing Aspects of Insect Viruses From discovery to applications

Speaker: Monique van Oers

Abstract: In this presentation I combine several research lines. I will first focus on recent data obtained on viruses occurring in a variety of mass reared insects (e g crickets, tsetse, medflies, and caterpillars), thereby highlighting research data from the European INSECT DOCTORS training programme. Insect pathogens, including a number of before unknown viruses, easily emerge in large scale cultures, often leading to colony collapse. To be sustainable and cost effective, insect production urgently needs to become more resilient to a variety of insect pathogens. I will also explain the aim and set up of the INSECT DOCTORS program. Next I will show our recent data on the discovery of insect specific viruses in mosquitoes and how the genome properties of these viruses differ from related human and animal viruses vectored by mosquitoes. Finally, I will show recent results obtained in stabilizing West Nile virus VLPs produced with baculovirus vectors, a project which used a pH adapted insect cell line in collaboration with iBET.

Short CV: Monique van Oers obtained an MSc degree in Biology from Utrecht University 1988 the Netherlands, and a PhD degree 1994 from Wageningen University, the Netherlands. Her thesis was focused on the functional analysis of the baculovirus p 10 protein. She then started as a post doc fellow at Leiden University, analysing the hypersensitivity response to plant virus infections, and later on moved to Utrecht University to analyse the effect of baculovirus infections on the translation initiation mechanism of insect cells. After obtaining a Technology grant from the Dutch Organisation for Scientific Research, Monique had the opportunity to use the knowledge obtained to optimize the baculovirus expression system, for which she moved back to the Laboratory of Virology, in Wageningen. In 2002 Monique obtained a tenured position to initiate a new research line towards unravelling the mechanisms behind behavioural manipulation of caterpillars by baculoviruses and, in 2009 she became the group leader of the insect virus group and an associate professor the year after. Monique is Professor of Virology since 2013. Her laboratory studies insect and plant viruses, as well as vertebrate infecting viruses transmitted by arthropods (arboviruses). Research questions focus on the interaction mechanisms between viruses and hosts/vectors, and how these interactions drive virus evolution. Apart from the research, she teaches in Virology and Immunotechnology courses for BSc and MSc students.

Host: Ana Coroadinha

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