The 2019 NW ASM Branch meeting will have presentations from faculty, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students from 7 different institutions in the northwest region as well as a highly anticipated keynote address from Stephen M. Beverley, an ASM distinguished lecturer from the Washington University School of Medicine.
Stephen M. Beverley
Ph.D, Washington University
ASM Distinguished Lecturer
Role of RNA Viruses as Pathogenicity Factors in Protozoan Parasites
Many protozoans contain endogenous viruses; examples include Leishmania, Trichomonas, Giardia, and several apicomplexans including Cryptosporidium, Babesia, and Toxoplasma. Focusing mostly on Leishmania, we showed a few years ago that these actually contribute towards parasite virulence in animal models and probably in humans. As endobiont viruses, these in effect constitute the “virome within.” Lecture topics would include the emerging parasite viromes including viral discovery, the structure and functional relationships of viruses within the parasite host, how these contribute to mammalian pathogenicity, and exploiting these viruses as therapeutic targets. Leishmania will be the central paradigm but studies of the other protozoal viruses will be incorporated depending on the specific lecture.
Dr. Beverley’s laboratory studies the biology of the protozoan parasite Leishmania, including virulence factors, host response and basic metabolic functions. His laboratory has focused on the development of genetic tools and their applications to diverse questions in Leishmania biology, more recently incorporating genomic and gene editing approaches. Recent foci include the study of the RNAi interference pathway as a tool and also the forces contributing to its loss during evolution in some Leishmania species. These studies have led his laboratory into the study of Leishmania RNA viruses and their role in parasite virulence. Translational interests include the identification of chemotherapeutic targets and live vaccination strategies.
Dr. Beverley earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, and did postdoctoral research at Stanford University. In 1983 he moved to Harvard Medical School and went on to become Professor and Interim Chair of the Department of Biological Chemistry & Molecular Pharmacology. In 1997 he joined the faculty at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis as Head of the Department of Molecular Microbiology. He is a Burroughs-Welcome Scholar in Molecular Parasitology, a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, a member of the American Academy of Microbiology, a Fellow of the AAAS, and a Fellow of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. In 2017, Dr. Beverley received the Peter Raven Lifetime Achievement Award from the St. Louis Academy of Sciences.