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9/23/2018  |   12:00 PM - 1:00 PM   |  Diamond Ballroom I

Basic Biology of CMV: Application to Diagnosis, Therapy, and Prevention

This session will be a simple, straightforward primer on the basic biology of the CMV virus. A historical time-line of evolving knowledge about CMV will be presented, spanning the initial discovery of the virus through more recent scientific insights into viral genetics, strain variation, and immunity. The ways in which CMV can infect an individual will be reviewed, with emphasis not only on how the virus gets into (and injures) a cell during the process of infection, but also on how this infection pathway can be blocked by antiviral treatments and candidate vaccines. Additionally, the session will address gaps in the understanding of the immune response to CMV, and will provide information on how the virus encodes functions that evade the immune response (in the process complicating the development of protective immunity and the design of vaccines). Clinicians, allied health providers, and families alike should all benefit from this review on the basic biology of CMV. This background session should serve as a valuable introduction for the meeting, particularly for those attendees who may have a limited knowledge of the virus itself. The viral correlates of transmission and pathogenesis will be considered against the broader context of other congenital viral infections, including Zika virus. The format will be highly interactive with blocks of time for questions about: diseases caused by CMV (how does the virus actually injure an individual?); diagnosis (how do we prove someone has a CMV infection?); antiviral drugs and globulins (how do these interventions work?); and vaccines (how does CMV "hide" from the immune system and what does this mean for maternal and fetal infections that occur during pregnancy?).

  • Describe the basic biology of the CMV virus, including its genetic structure and profile, its classification in the world of virology, and how it spreads, both in an infected individual and in the human population.
  • Learn about how the replication cycle of the virus and understand how replication can be targeted by the antiviral drugs we use in clinical practice.
  • Understand the basic structure of the virus and how virus-encoded proteins affect the development of immunity, and how this knowledge in turn impacts the design of CMV vaccines. Understand the biology behind the phenomenon of “re-infection” with CMV.

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Mark R. Schleiss (POC,Primary Presenter), schleiss@umn.edu ;
Dr. Schleiss is a Professor of Pediatrics and holds the American Legion and Auxiliary Endowed Research Chair at the University of Minnesota Medical School. His laboratory is supported by the NIH and March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation. He conducts research in small animal models testing vaccine strategies against congenital CMV infection. His laboratory is also engaged in the study of the epidemiology, pathogenesis and management of congenital and neonatal CMV infections.


Financial - Receives Consulting fee for Consulting from Merck and GSK Vaccines.  

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exists.


Financial - Receives support from Dr. Schleiss is a consultant for Merck and GSK vaccines..