31st March 2020 - Influenza and viral pandemics including COVID-19 – current challenges

Event Date: On demand

Duration: approximately 1.5 hrs

*To view the webinar on-demand, please register at the bottom of the page*

This seminar will provide an updated overview of Influenza and COVID19 epidemiology, transmission and severity with an Australasian focus. It will examine the molecular and immunological mechanisms that result in severe illness after infection. We will review public health messaging strategies including the role of school closures and approaches to individual patient communication. This seminar will consider how knowledge gained from the study of influenza can help address other pandemic viral respiratory illness such as novel coronavirus. ​


Prof Kanta Subbarao - Global transmission and variation of Influenza and COVID-19
Director, Who Collaborating Centre for Influenza
Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity

Dr. Kanta Subbarao is the Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity and Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, The University of Melbourne. She is a virologist and a physician with specialty training in pediatrics and pediatric infectious diseases. Previously, she was Chief of the Emerging Respiratory Viruses Section of the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), NIH in the USA. Dr. Subbarao’ s research is focused on newly emerging viral diseases of global importance including pandemic influenza, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronaviruses. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and the Infectious Diseases Society of America. She serves on the Editorial Board of PLoS Pathogens and mBio.

Prof Allen Cheng - Influenza epidemiology in Australia, and the contrasting epidemiology of COVID-19
Monash University
Allen Cheng is an infectious diseases physician, Director of the Infection Prevention and Healthcare Epidemiology Unit at Alfred Health and Professor of Infectious Diseases Epidemiology at Monash University. He runs the FluCAN sentinel surveillance system and is involved in immunisation policy as Chair of the Advisory Committee for Vaccines and Co-Chair of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation. He has been helping advise the Australian government on public health policies relating to COVID-19.

Prof Katherine Kedzierska - Molecular and immunological mechanisms of severe disease
Laboratory Head
University of Melbourne/Doherty Institute

Prof Katherine Kedzierska is a laboratory head in Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Melbourne, at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity. Katherine received her PhD from Monash University in 2002 for her studies on the mechanisms underlying defective immune functions after HIV infection. Her PhD work was recognised by the 2001 Premier’s Commendation for Medical Research, 2002 Monash University Mollie Holman Doctoral Medal and an NHMRC Peter Doherty Postdoctoral Fellowship to pursue her postdoctoral research with Laureate Professor Peter Doherty at University of Melbourne. Her postdoctoral work was focused on the early establishment of influenza-specific CD8+ T cell memory, TCR repertoire diversity and viral escape in a mouse model of influenza virus infection. In 2007, she got awarded an NHMRC RD Wright Fellowship and grant funding to establish her own research team. She is currently an NHMRC Senior Research Fellow and a group leader of ‘Human T cell Laboratory’. Her research interests include human T cell immunity to pandemic, seasonal and newly emerged influenza viruses, anti-viral immunity in the young, the elderly and Indigenous Australians, viral escape and generation of immunological memory in human influenza infection. Katherine is a recipient of a number of prestigious awards, including 2016 Australian Academy of Science Jacque Miller Medal, 2011 NHMRC Excellence Award and 2011 Scopus Young Researcher of the Year Award. In 2019, she was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Science (AAHMS).

Assoc Prof Margie Danchin - Long Term Social Impacts of Covid19 and Effective Risk Communication
Consultant Paediatrician and Senior Research Fellow
Murdoch Children's Research Institute

Margie is a consultant paediatrician within the Department of General Medicine, Royal Childrens Hospital (RCH), and an Associate Professor and David Bickart Clinician Scientist Fellow, Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne and Murdoch Childrens Research Institute. As leader of the Vaccine Uptake Group, MCRI, she is an immunisation expert with over ten years of experience in vaccine research and clinical work, both in Australia and in resource poor settings. Her research includes vaccine social science, program evaluation, health system strengthening in low resource settings, vaccine safety and vaccine clinical trials to improve the uptake and use of currently available vaccines, particularly amongst high risk-groups and in low and middle-income countries. In Australia, she is the current chair of the Collaboration on Social Science in Immunisation (COSSI) Group, an initiative of the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS), and a trusted national spokesperson on vaccination issues and leader in vaccine acceptance with a strong advocacy role and prominent media profile. Internationally, she is engaged as a consultant with WHO, is a member of Sabin’s Vaccine and Acceptance Research Network (VARN) steering group and a member of the International Pediatric Association (IPA) Vaccine Trust Project Program Advisory Group.


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