SARS-CoV-2 – Two Years On: Science Meets the Challenge – Course and Conference Office

EMBL Conference

SARS-CoV-2 – Two Years On: Science Meets the Challenge


EMBL is committed to sharing research advances and sustaining scientific interaction throughout the coronavirus pandemic. We are delighted to announce that the conference is going virtual and invite you to join us online.

Conference Overview

When the conference takes place it will be two years since the first identification of COVID-19 cases in China in late 2019 and since then the pandemic has become the most devastating challenge to global health for a century. In an unprecedented mobilisation, thousands of scientists world-wide have focused their attention, in a highly collaborative way, on understanding the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the disease it causes and its evolution, and, in developing counter measures. Most remarkably, highly efficient vaccines are now being deployed massively, starting less than a year from the initial infections and second generation vaccines will soon be available that take into account emerging variants.

This online conference, the third such meeting to be organised by EMBL, will bring experts from different fields together to present our current knowledge on SARS-CoV-2 molecular biology and epidemiology and strategies and approaches to anti-infectives and vaccines, with the ongoing challenge of protecting the global population against a moving target.

Session Topics

  • Zoonosis
  • Replication of SARS-CoV-2
  • Towards effective SARS-CoV-2 antivirals
  • SARS-CoV-2 vaccines
  • The future of the SARS-CoV-epidemic


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Friday, 10 December 2021

Time (Europe/
09:00-09:15Opening remarks by Edith Heard and Stephen Cusack
Virtual Session 1: Zoonosis
Session chairs: Stephen Cusack & Jürgen Deka
09:15-09:45Wendy S. Barclay – Imperial College London, UK
09:45-10:15COVID-19, CoVs and Bats
Lin-Fa Wang – Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore
10:15-10:45SARS-CoV-2’s origins and evolution in humans
David L. Robertson – University of Glasgow, UK
Virtual Session 2: Replication of SARS-CoV-2
Session chairs: David Stuart & Stephen Cusack
11:00-11:30Structure and Biogenesis of the SARS-CoV-2 Replication Factory
Ralf Bartenschlager – Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg, Germany
11:30-12:00Structure and function of the Replication machinery
Zihe Rao – Tsinghua University, China
12:00-12:30Regulatory RNA structures throughout the SARS-CoV-2 genome
Anna Pyle – Yale University, USA
Virtual Session 3: Towards effective SARS-CoV-2 antivirals
Session chairs: David Stuart & Anna Pyle
13:15-13:45Covid-19: pathogenesis, prevention and treatment
Victor Garcia – University of North Carolina, USA
13:45-14:15Talk title to be announced
Dafydd Owen, Pfizer
14:15-14:45Host Factor Targeted Drug Discovery for SARS-CoV-2 Through
an International Collaboration
Nevan Krogan – The University of California, San Francisco, USA
Virtual Session 4: SARS-CoV-2 vaccines
Session chairs: Anna Pyle & Jürgen Deka
15:00-15:30The antigenic anatomy of SARS-CoV-2
Dave Stuart – University of Oxford, UK
15:30-16:00Melissa Moore – Moderna Therapeutics, USA
16:00-16:30Vaxzevria: A global collaboration to make a vaccine for the
Sarah Gilbert – The Jenner Institute, UK
Virtual Session Session 5: The future of the SARS-CoV-
Session chairs: Ralf Bartenschlager and Rolf Apweiler
16:45-17:15Oliver Pybus – University of Oxford, UK
17:15-18:00Keynote Lecture
Jennifer Nuzzo – Johns Hopkins University, USA
18:00-19:00Panel discussion: Learning from SARS-CoV-2: Preparing for the next pandemic
Moderators: Stephen Cusack & Anna Pyle
– Rolf Apweiler
– Sarah Gilbert
– Jennifer Nuzzo
– David Stuart
– more to be announced


Keynote Speaker


Melissa Moore



Scientific Organisers

Jürgen Deka

EMBL Heidelberg


Conference Organisers

Lea Hohmann

EMBL Heidelberg


Practical Information

Registration Fees (include access to all of the talks, digital poster sessions and online group discussions, and help us cover our costs to run the event. For further information please refer to the FAQ page):

Academia25 Euro
PhD Student25 Euro
Industry25 Euro
EMBL StaffIntranet access

Childcare and fee waiver applications will be accepted until 21 October.

Please note that we do not ask for payments until the registration fee waivers and childcare grants have been announced on 22 October 2021.

Accredited journalists may be eligible to register for a complimentary registration. Registrants may be required to provide accreditation or equivalent proof of press membership after registration. Please contact Lea Hohmann for more information.

Confirmation and Payment

Registration will be on a first-come first-served basis. Your place can only be confirmed after payment of the registration fee.
Types of payments accepted are international bank transfers and credit card payments.

There will be no abstracts submissions nor poster presentations for this conference.

Financial Assistance

Financial Assistance

Registration Fee Waivers

All academic and student registrants are invited to apply for a registration fee waiver, provided by the EMBL Advanced Training Centre Corporate Partnership Programme and EMBO. The registration fee waiver covers the registration sum that you have paid to attend the meeting. Conference participants are not required to pre-pay the registration fee to be selected for a fee waiver for a virtual meeting. If you have already paid the registration fee and are awarded a fee waiver, it will be reimbursed after the meeting. Course participants are required to pay the course fee in advance, which will then be reimbursed after the recipient has attended the course.

Childcare Grants

For participants and speakers with childcare responsibilities there is the possibility to apply for a grant, provided by the EMBL Advanced Training Centre Corporate Partnership Programme and EMBO, to offset childcare costs incurred when participating at a virtual event. Eligible costs include fees for a babysitter or childcare facility or travel costs for a care giver. Please note that priority will be given to early stage researchers. Costs will be reimbursed after the meeting only once a reimbursement form and original receipts have been received. Attendance at the event is required in order to be eligible to receive the reimbursement. In order to apply for this grant, you must be registered by the abstract submission deadline.


Applications for financial assistance can be submitted via the submission portal* (for the submission of abstracts for conferences or the submission of motivation letters for courses) by completing the Financial Assistance Application Section (underneath the section for entering abstract/motivation letter information). The link to the portal can be found in the registration confirmation email that you will receive after registering for the conference or course.

For conferences, if you are not submitting an abstract, you can still apply for financial assistance in the submission portal. Read the instructions on how to apply for financial assistance.

Note that priority will be given to those submitting an abstract to present at the conference. In your application you will be asked to answer questions regarding your motivation for applying, and, for registration fee waivers, the reasons why your lab cannot fund your attendance and how your attendance will make a difference to your career. Application for financial support will not affect the outcome of your registration application.

*For some events, applications for Childcare Grants will still be done by email. Information about the grant will be sent out shortly after the abstract/motivation letter deadline. Please contact the event Conference Officer if you have any questions.


The scientific organisers will select the recipients of registration fee waivers during the abstract selection process for conferences and the participant selection process for courses. Results will be announced approximately 3 – 4 weeks before the event start date. Selection results do not impact your admission to the meeting. Registration fee waiver selection is based on your current work or study location, your motivation for applying, the reasons for needing financial support and the impact this event will have on your career. Childcare grants are allocated based on career stage, with priority given to early stage researchers.

Further details

Check out this list of external funding opportunities or get more information on attending the conference as an event reporter.

For further information about financial assistance please refer to the FAQ page.


Sponsorship Opportunities

We offer a variety of event sponsoring possibilities, with the flexibility to select a set sponsorship package or combine individual sponsorship options to suit your event budget. Discounts are available for companies sponsoring multiple events at EMBL Heidelberg. View other conferences, or contact sponsorship@embl.de for further information.

If you are interested in becoming a media partner of this event, please visit our media partnerships webpage.

Date: 10 Dec 2021

Location: Virtual


Registration: 2 Dec 2021


  • Stephen Cusack
    EMBL Grenoble, France
    • Jürgen Deka
      EMBL Heidelberg, Germany

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