Denver Russell Memorial Lecture 2018 - News & Features

20 September 2018
Denver Russell Memorial Lecture 2018
The Society for Applied Microbiology will this year host its fourth Annual AMR Meeting with the aim of updating professionals involved in the healthcare of humans and animals in relation to infection and use of antimicrobials.

This AMR meeting will discuss international strategies and their application to a one health model, reduction targets in agriculture, communicating vital messages, the harmonisation of antibiotic prescriptions and how farmers can play a vital role in improving public health.

Exciting news

Following the conference, we are delighted to announce that Dr Mariagrazia Pizza, Senior Scientific Director at GSK will present this year’s Denver Russell Memorial Lecture.

Mariagrazia is the first woman in history to discover and bring to licence two innovative live-saving vaccines. In 1989 she described the use of site-directed utagenesis to engineer a strain of Bordetella pertussis to express a non-toxic form of pertussis toxin that in two efficacy trials was shown to protect children from disease.

In 2000 she used genome mining (reverse vaccinology) to identify new vaccine antigens against meningococcus B. The new MenB vaccine has recently been licensed for use in adolescents and infants in 38 countries worldwide.

Best work

Despite her ground breaking and influential work with GSK she told FEMS in 2017:


“The most beautiful accomplishment in my life has been my two children. I postponed the decision of having children for years, thinking I was too busy and it was never the right time. Looking back, I often think I ran the risk of never becoming a mother because of my scientific commitment, and I often feel inadequate both as mother and scientist.

“My children were happy to get vaccinated with the new meningococcus B vaccine. Not long ago, my son told me: ‘Mam, when I will grow up I would like to do what you do, help babies not get nasty diseases’. I consider this to be one of my greatest life accomplishments.”