Our 2019 annual co-ordination meeting was held in Giulianova, Italy on the 25th and 26th of September 2019.  Our annual event was hosted by Chiara Albenello and our Italian partners at the Istituto Zooprofilattico dell'Abruzzo e Molise "G. Caporale" (IZSAM).

The presentations are available for download below:

The agenda for PALE-Blu meeting 2019

Giulianova (TE) Italy. The meeting took place on the 25th and 26th September 2019.

Day 1 (25th September 2019)


Speaker and (Institution)

Title of talk

08:45 - 9:15              Registration and Coffee

Session 1 :           Chairs: P. Mertens & Giovanni savini

9:15 – 09:30


Peter Mertens

(Coordinator) (UNott – UK)

Welcome:  PALE-Blu: welcome and introduction


09:30 – 09:45

Zati Vatansever


Talk 1: Monitoring of vector Culicoides species and important arboviral disease in Turkey

9:45 -10:00

Giovanni Savini

Alessio Lorusso, Giuseppe Mancini, Barbara Alessandrini (IZSAM – Italy)


Talk 2:

10:00 - 10:15

Christina Ries

  (FLI -  Germany)

Talk 3: “Update of the FLI activities in the PALE-blu project”

10:15 - 10:35

Natalie Golender

 (KVI - Israel)

Talk 4:  "Novel findings on circulating Bluetongue virus strains in Israel ".

10:35 - 10:55

Antoine Mignotte, Karine Huber and Claire Garros

 (CIRAD - France)

Talk 5: “The tree that hides the forest: Cryptic diversity and phylogenetic relationships in the Palearctic species vector complex Culicoides obsoletus/ C. scoticus (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) at the European level”


10:55-11:30                                   Coffee break

Session 2 :        Chairs:  Stephan Zientara & Simon Carpenter

11:30 -11:50

S. Zientaraa, E. Bréarda, C. Viarougea, Lydie Postica, G Belbisb, J Rivière b, C. Sailleaua, D. Vitour a, G Zanellac

 (Anses / INRA – France)

Talk 6: New clinical pattern of Bluetongue serotype 8 in continental France”



11:50- 12:10

C. Aguilar-Vega1*, E. Fernández-Carrión1, J.M. Sánchez-Vizcaíno1 (UCM - Spain)


Talk 7: BTV evolutionary dynamics. Epidemic and endemic scenarios for BTV-1 using Culicoides spp. abundance data”



Soukaina Daif

(IAV Morocco)

Talk 8: Molecular survey of Bluetongue virus in Morocco


Assane G. Fall, Modou M. Lo, Marie   Cécile B. Gahn, Moussa Fall, Mamadou Ciss, Mbengué Ndiaye, Biram Bitèye, Andrea Apolloni  and Momar T. Seck

    (ISRA – Senegal)

Talk 9:  "Development of protocol for collection of eggs from field Culicoides and their packaging for transport and others progress in PALE-Blu activities in Senegal" 


Simon Carpenter (TPI - UK)


Talk 10'Vector competence studies with Culicoides'



13:10 - 14:40                         Lunch break

Session  3:     Chair:  Javier Ortego  & David Haig 







Mirizami Ali, John Lijo

(SVA Sweden)


Talk 11: Genome wide screening to uncover the novel hits for resistance against Bluetongue virus (BTV)


Massimo Palmarini (UGLA-UK)

Talk 12:  “The genetic bases of BTV resilience”



Theocharis Tsoleridis, Richard Urbanowicz, Johnathan Ball

(UNott - UK)

Talk 13: “Interrogating sheep antibody repertoires using next-generation sequencing”.


Piet A. van Rijn, and René G.P. van Gennip (WBVR)



Talk 14: Report on early protection against one serotype in cattle by mono-serotype DISA vaccination”.


16:00-16:30                                   Coffee break

Chair:  David Haig  & Piet Van Rijn 

16:30 – 16:50

Piet A. van Rijn, and René G.P. van Gennip (WBVR)


Talk 15:

Report on protection in sheep by vaccination with a cocktail of DISA vaccines”


16:50 - 17:10

Sergio Utrilla-Trigo, Eva Calvo-Pinilla, Sarah Gilbert, Aitor Nogales, Javier Ortego (INIA - Spain)


Talk 16:  “Immunization with ChAdOx1 and MVA vaccines expressing protein NS1 enhances CD8 T cell responses that protect mice and sheep against bluetongue virus”.


17:10 – 17:30

Jennifer Matthews

 (UoN - UK)

Talk 17: Finances

End of Scientific session for Day 1

Dinner:   19:30 






Day 2 - Session 4 :         Chair:  Nicholas Svitek & Massimo Palmarini



Serafin Gutierrez


Kyriaki Nomikou (UNott - UK)


Talk 18:  "Developments in virome analysis from Culicoides samples"


 Nicholas Svitek, Robert Muriuki, Lucilla Steinaa

Talk 19“BTV in Kenya – Insights from Isiolo, and progress on molecular typing and virus isolation”



David Pascall, Maude Jacquot, Kyriaki.Nomikou, Peter Mertens, Massimo Palmarini,  Roman Biek  (UGLA -UK)

Talk 20David to join via Skype if neccesary


Hela Kallel (Institut Pasteur de Tunis)


Talk 21: "Progress in the expression of a chimeric VP2 protein of different BTV serotypes in the methylotrophic yeast Pichia pastoris".


Maude Jacquot, William Wint, Jean Artois, Simon Dellicour, Marius Gilbert.

(ULB – Belgium)


Talk 22: “Quantifying connectivity between BT epizones through wind and livestock trade patterns”

10:40-11:20                  Coffee

Session 4 (continued):         Chair:  Peter Mertens  &  Houssam Attoui

11:20 – 11:40


David Haig; Elizabeth Reid; Sarah Gilbert* Houssam Attoui** and Peter Mertens

UNott, Anses / INRA, Jenner, UOxford


Talk 23: “Update on novel BT vaccines and vaccination strategies for bluetongue virus (BTV): cross-serotype protection”.



Kyriaki Nomikou (UNott - UK)

Talk 24; TBC


Andrea Apolloni, Mamadou Ciss, Fallou Niakh and Assane Gueye Fall

  (CIRAD - France)

Talk 25: The transmission potential of FCO virus among small ruminants in Senegal: the development of risk maps”.



Houssam Attoui

 (Anses / INRA - France)

Talk 26:  Interactions of Orbiviruses and hosts.



Lesley Bell-Sakyi

(University of Liverpool – UK)

Talk 27: “Bring on the midge eggs – we have our first cell line!”




13:00 - 14:30                        Lunch break

14:30– 17:30

Discussion of collaborations for Objectives 1 to 6  (up to 30 minutes each)

Initiated by 5 minute talk by each work package leaders

Objective 1: (WP1 & WP2) (Chairs: Kyriaki Nomikou & Roman Biek)

Develop a more detailed and up-to-date molecular-epidemiology map of BTV strains circulating in domesticated and wild ruminants in Europe and neighbouring countries:

Objective 2: (WP3 & WP4)   (Chairs Thomas Balenghien & Marius Gilbert)

Map interactions between the environment, the composition of the Culicoides species community, the genetic characteristics of Culicoides populations and their microbiomes, to quantify connectivity between midges and virus sub-populations:

Objective 3: (WP5)    (Chairs: Peter Mertens  and Stephan Zientara)

Develop innovative multiplex diagnostic tools for BTV identification and typing:

16:00 – 16:30       Coffee

Objective 4: (WP6,  WP7, WP8, WP9)   (Chairs: Peter Mertens & Simon Carpenter)

Characterise orbivirus-related genetic control of infection and horizontal transmission in vertebrate hosts, as well as infection replication and vector competence in European Culicoides spp.:

Objective 5: (WP10, WP11) ( Chairs:  David Haig & Massimo Palmarini)

Develop novel BT vaccines, vaccination strategies and antiviral approaches for BTV:

Objective 6: (WP12)  (Chairs: Peter Mertens David Haig)

Project management, coordination and communications:

17:45 End of meeting

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