CEIRS 9th Annual Network Meeting Summary

The 9th Annual Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance (CEIRS) Network Meeting was hosted by St. Jude CEIRS in Memphis, Tennessee. Each year, the CEIRS Network gathers to share the accomplishments and efforts from the last year and to foster future collaborations between the Centers. This year’s meeting kicked off with a welcome from principal investigators Richard Webby and Stacey Schultz-Cherry. Over the course of three days, investigators shared updates on their research and CEIRS projects in meeting sessions covering a variety of topics and learned about new resources available to the CEIRS Network.

Meeting sessions focused on many influenza research topics, including pandemic preparedness, surveillance, immunity and vaccines, pathogenesis and transmission, and molecular virology. Investigators shared their past accomplishments and future directions of their research. Each session also included updates from relevant CEIRS Network working groups. Two panel discussions were held during the meeting, one focused on an update of the Gain of Function Research of Concern Policy and next steps for investigators, and the other featured a friendly debate on the benefits and possible downsides to a universal influenza vaccine.

During the meeting, several new resources available to the CEIRS Network were discussed as opportunities and examples of collaboration between the different Centers. Team Ferret has been working to produce virus and protein reagents, protocols, primary cells and cell lines, recombinant antibodies, tissues, recombinant proteins and ferret antiserum against a number of viruses and cell lines, and a diet-induced obese ferret model to further influenza research using the ferret model. The hope is that a production pipeline for protein reagents and antisera will soon be developed to distribute resources to the scientific community. The Distributed Influenza Genome Sequencing (DIGS) Core was also discussed; DIGS is now accepting sequencing requests from CEIRS investigators to help increase the sequencing capacity of the CEIRS Network and develop an informatics infrastructure to support CEIRS activities. These resources were highlighted as examples of collaboration efforts of the CEIRS Network.

The CEIRS Network will next meet in the fall at the 2016 CEIRS Surveillance Meeting in Columbus, Ohio.