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Ultan Power, Professor of Molecular Virology in Queen’s University, Belfast Northern Ireland, UK

Ultan Power is Professor of Molecular Virology in Queen’s University Belfast. He graduated from University College Cork with a PhD in Microbiology. Following postdoctoral training in St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, USA, he moved to the pharma sector in France where he was Head of Virology in the Centre of Immunology Pierre Fabre, the biotech research arm of Institut de Recherche Pierre Fabre. Prof. Power played a central role in the conception, research and development of the first subunit vaccine against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) to enter phase III clinical trials. RSV is a major cause of severe lower respiratory tract disease in infants and the elderly worldwide. In 2004, he established a research group in Queen’s University Belfast. His group established novel in vitro models of respiratory virus infection based on primary human airway epithelium. In response to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, his research pivoted to studying the pathophysiology of COVID-19 disease in human airway epithelium and repurposing known drugs as potential therapeutics to treat COVID-19. Prof. Power was Chair of the International Respiratory Syncytial Virus Society (2018-22), a member of the British Society for Immunology Expert Task Force on COVID-19 (2020-present), and principal investigator on multiple research grants, including UKRI-funded. He was an expert witness to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee on the “Science of COVID-19” (2022) and has had numerous media appearances throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the challenges of the pandemic years, Prof. Power has been very active in delivering the mission of the International Respiratory Syncytial Virus Society through a series of RSV webinars in February 2021 and as Chair of the 12th RSV Symposium in 2022 (Belfast), with notable success. In addition, he serves on the Editorial Board of the ISIRV Journal (IORV).