Viruses are paradigms to study the principles and mechanisms of macromolecular assembly, genome packaging and release, allosteric regulation, and membrane dynamics. The biennial Physical Virology GRC is the only international meeting devoted to providing a forum for basic scientists and engineers from a broad range of disciplines to discuss research that emphasizes Physical Virology. Our conference is unique in that it embraces both the basic sciences and the applications of virology. The overall scientific objectives of this meeting are (1) to understand the biophysical mechanisms that regulate and propel virus infections and, (2) apply the principles that drive virus self-assembly and that regulate structural dynamics to the development of viral nanotechnology platforms for drug delivery, biomedical therapeutics, and vaccines. The 2019 Physical Virology GRC will be held January 20-15, 2019 in Ventura, CA, USA. The accompanying Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) will be held January 19-20 at the same location. Our scientific conference goals are in-line with the mission of NIAID to support basic and applied research on causative agents of infectious disease. Our meeting has three independent Aims, each with the potential for synergy. First, we will promote interdisciplinary research in Physical Virology. This will be accomplished by showcasing cutting-edge research in the field of Physical Virology. We have divided the conference into nine oral sessions with 49 talks. All of our invited speakers (30 total) are confirmed. To emphasize the overlap between disciplines, sessions are arranged by physical principles, and include speakers with different areas of scientific expertise. The 9 invited and confirmed discussion leaders are responsible for conveying the overall theme and relationship between talks for the audience while fostering discussion. We have 4 days of poster sessions (divided into two groups) which allows ample time for informal discussions, collaborations, and networking. Second, we will provide training and opportunities for the next generation of scientists. When selecting short talks from the abstracts, priority will be given to post-docs, graduate students, and undergraduates. All registered post-docs and students will be accepted to participate in a poster session. For two days before the onset of the GRC, we will hold a GRS with is organized by graduate students for post-docs and students. The keynote speaker for the GRS, Erica Ollmann Saphire from The Scripps Research Institute, has been confirmed. Third, we will bring equity to the forefront of the Physical Virology field. Of our invited speakers and discussion leaders, 38% are women, 8% are under-represented minorities, and 22% are early-career (non-tenured) faculty members. These numbers are a significant increase from previous Physical Virology meetings and we will strive to increase this via selection of short talks. We will have a Power Hour, open to all participants, where we discuss issues women face in the scientific community and how each of us can play a role in achieving equity.
The Physical Virology conference brings together a group of scientists with expertise in virology, chemistry, biology, computational science, material science, mathematics, physics, and engineering who share a common desire to understand the biophysical mechanisms that regulate and propel virus infections. Furthermore, attendees have a goal to apply the principles that drive virus self-assembly and regulate structural dynamics to the development of viral nanotechnology platforms for drug delivery, biomedical therapeutics, and vaccines. These conference goals are in-line with the mission of NIAID to support basic and applied research on causative agents of infectious disease.