Homeland security the focus of annual vaccine conference

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. – October 12, 2012 – Biodefense and homeland security will be the focal points of this year’s Vaccine Renaissance Conference beginning Monday in Providence. The annual event, hosted by the University of Rhode Island’s Institute for Immunology and Informatics, draws national leaders in the vaccine industry who present the latest discoveries in vaccine research, vaccine delivery, clinical trials and basic immunology.

The Institute, more commonly known as iCubed, applies cutting-edge bioinformatics tools to accelerate the development of treatments and cures for diseases such as Lyme Disease, Hepatitis C and Dengue Fever.

Each year the conference provides an opportunity to learn about vaccines from elite researchers from around the world. Among the list of this year’s speakers is Joel McCleary, former Deputy Assistant to the President under Jimmy Carter and founder of PharmAthene, Inc. Mr. McCleary will talk about the accomplishments of the United States’ biological weapons programs. Dr. Stephen Thomas of Walter Reed Army Institute of Research will discuss his work as director of the Institute’s Viral Diseases Branch. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse will also be in attendance to give an overview of the state’s legislative initiatives involving biodefense.

The event begins on Monday, October 15 at the Hotel Providence and continues there on Tuesday. Monday will be comprised of two sections: Developments in Homeland Security and Animal Vaccines and Human Health. Tuesday’s agenda will cover Neglected Tropical Diseases and Vaccine Vectors and Human Microbiome. The conference concludes on Wednesday at URI’s Feinstein Providence Campus. Wednesday’s program will consist of hands-on laboratory and informatics training open to any researcher interested in applying the skill set to their research.

This year’s conference also marks the fourth year anniversary of iCubed. The Institute was established in 2008 with the help of a $13 million NIH-funded Translational Immunology Research and Accelerated Vaccine Development (TRIAD) grant to the Institute’s first faculty member, Annie De Groot, M.D. De Groot then recruited Denice Spero Ph.D., a scientist experienced in bringing drugs from discovery into development. Together the two have developed iCubed into a center for innovative vaccine research.

For more information on the 6th Annual Vaccine Renaissance Conference or iCubed, please visit http://www.immunome.org.

Patrick Lowney (401) 277-5408, PLowney.uri@gmail.com