Keynote lecture 20-9-2017: 9.20-9.50h
Prof. Peter Mertens studied Virology at Warwick and Oxford Universities in the UK and as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Guelph in Canada in 1979. He returned to the UK in 1981, working at the UK’s National Virology Centre, at the Pirbright Institute in Surrey untill 2016.
His group at Pirbright developed diagnostic assays and epidemiology studies that have been widely used to help identify and track the bluetongue outbreaks within Europe and elsewhere since 1998, contributing to the eradication of BTV-8 from the region in 2008-2009. His group also played a major role (with he Structural Biology Group in Oxford) in determination of the atomic structure of the bluetongue virus core-particle by X-ray crystallography, still one of the largest single molecular structure determined to date. In 2016 Prof Mertens became ‘Chair of Virology’ at the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, University of Nottingham, establishing a new Orbivirus Research Group and coordinating a major new EU H20:20 grant ‘PALE-Blu’ concerning bluetongue virus, involving 19 partner institutions across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Professor Mertens has written over 240 scientific papers on these viruses and has supervised over 30 Ph.D. students. He is a Visiting Professor in the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Glasgow; the University of Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte in Brazil; and at LUVAS Veterinary University in Hisar, India. Prof Mertens is an OIE Bluetongue expert and a member of the Reoviridae Study Group for ICTV.