Ilaria Capua, DVM, PhD
Director of Virology Department and of International Reference Laboratories at the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie
Dr Ilaria Capua is the Director of the Research and Development Department at the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie, Legnaro (Italy) which hosts the National, FAO/OIE Reference Laboratory for Avian Influenza (AI) and Newcastle disease (ND) and the OIE Collaborating Centre for Diseases at the Human–Animal Interface. Her group of 70 staff provides diagnostic assistance at a national and international level and is involved in cutting edge research on influenza viruses and viral zoonoses. Her group collaborates with major research institutes worldwide and has developed international collaborative projects aiming at capitalising on investments for capacity building in developing countries.
In 2000 she developed the “DIVA” (Differentiating Vaccinated from Infected Animals) strategy, the first ever developed to combat AI by vaccination still enabling trade of commodities and is now among the strategies recommended by international organizations such as OIE/FAO and by the EU to combat AI on a global scale.
From 2005 to 2009 she has been Chairman of OFFLU - the OIE/FAO network on Animal Influenza, which aims at supporting developing countries in managing the AI crisis and offering veterinary expertise to complement the international efforts and the medical community in managing the pandemic threat posed by AI and other animal influenza viruses.
In 2006 she was a co-author of a letter to Nature magazine (A global initiative on sharing avian flu data) signed by over 70 medical and veterinary virologists and 7 Nobel laureates. This eventually led to the launch of the GISAID initiative to share avian influenza virus sequences and thus better understand the evolving epidemiology of animal and human influenza infections with a transdisciplinary approach which now is a core part of the global influenza preparedness strategy.
From 1990 to 2010 she authored and co-authored over 300 publications, mainly in international peer-reviewed journals and has co-authored two text books on avian influenza.
She is currently coordinating 2 EU–funded projects which focus on a practical approach to the global AI crisis (FLUAID and FLUTRAIN) and is a partner of additional 5 EU projects and is a WP leader in the EU Network of Excellence EPIZONE devoted to research in the field of animal pathogens.
In 2007 she was among the winners of the Scientific American 50 prize and in 2008, was included among Seed’s Revolutionary Minds series, for leadership in science policy for promoting sharing of information at an international level.
Dr Ilaria Capua
FAO/ OIE and National Reference Laboratory for Avian Influenza and Newcastle Disease
OIE Collaborating Centre for Diseases at the Animal/ Human Interface
Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie
Viale dell’Universitа 10
35020 Legnaro (PD)