University of South Florida

Global Virus Network, USF launch online course “Microbiomes and Their Impact on Viral Infections”

GVN offers four scholarships to self-paced online training course

Baltimore, MD  (Nov 17, 2020) — The Global Virus Network (GVN), together with the University of South Florida (USF) Institute of Microbiomes, recently launched the self-paced online course “Microbiomes and Their Impact on Viral Infections.Taught by world-renowned instructors, this course will provide students, academics, and health professionals with the latest knowledge of the importance and role of microbiomes in preventing, mitigating, and treating diseases. The initiative also supports GVN’s mission to train the next generation of virologists and better prepare mankind for future viral threats.

“This course is timely as virologists around the world work to further their investigations into the causes, catalysts, and prevention mechanisms of viral infection,” said Dr. Christian Bréchot, president of GVN and professor at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. “We are pleased to collaborate with the USF Institute of Microbiomes, which houses the online, transdisciplinary program. It is a terrific example of a much-needed training partnership critical to mitigating viral threats.”

Gut bacteria , gut flora, microbiome. Bacteria inside the small intestine, concept, representation with title "Microbiome". 3D illustration.

Microbiomes and Their Impact on Viral Infections is a non-credit course comprised of two sessions. The first, “Introduction to Microbiomes,” consists of 11 modules while the second, “Symbiotic Evolutions in the Microbiome World,” comprises nine modules and is available to students for up to eight weeks after the start date. With a transdisciplinary approach, students will have access to lectures and complementary material, and will receive a certificate and a digital badge upon course completion.

GVN awarded four course scholarships to the following investigators working in various stages of viral infection prevention: Joseph Osega, a Kenya-based technical advisor and national HIV recency coordinator, who has extensive knowledge of HIV, malaria and TB diagnostics to build capacity and develop public health infrastructure in Kenya; Nanma Cosmas, a lecturer and a doctoral candidate at the University of Jos, Nigeria, who focuses on prevention of HPV and other sexually transmitted infectious diseases among adolescent and young adults through studies of microbiome in various parts of the body; Onyekachukwu Okeke, a doctoral candidate at the University of Jos, Nigeria, who works at a medical laboratory and has been on the front line during the COVID-19 crisis; and Sophia Osawe, a doctoral candidate at the University of Jos, who researches the effects of maternal HIV infection and prenatal immunization on the immune responses and growth of infants.

“The learning modules are designed by GVN virologists from 33 nations, 57 Centers of Excellence (CoEs), and 11 affiliated laboratories that are at the heart of GVN’s strength,” said Dr. Ramesh Akkina, a director with a GVN CoE at Colorado State University where he is a professor and an instructor of the microbiomes course. “Besides furthering research, GVN members are focused on training virologists to help identify, research and combat pandemics of the future.”

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic more than 55 million cases have been reported, and this partnership provides a critical balance between creating new knowledge and making that knowledge available to researchers in the field,” Dr. Brechot added. “I am happy that GVN and USF have come together to partner on important initiatives to advance the transfer of knowledge.  The GVN is pleased to provide necessary training opportunities for tomorrow’s leaders.”

As the only coalition of its kind, GVN leads with scientific, evidence-based solutions to function as an essential global resource for researchers, medical practitioners and policymakers as well as students considering the field of virology as a career choice.

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