GRC News

Call for abstract for 5th International Symposium on Ranaviruses

The 5th ISR will be held 4-6 June 2019 in Townsville, Australia. The call for abstract is now live. Abstracts are due 1 March 2019. Click here for more details.

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Conference on mitigating pathogen(s) that threaten amphibian biodiversity

The Zoological Society of London is hosting a two-day symposium (24-25 April 2019) on mitigating single pathogen and co-infections that threaten amphibian biodiversity. This is the first international event to approach chytrids and ranaviruses as a combined threat to amphibians. It will include presentations and discussions by and with leading experts in chytridiomycosis and Ranavirus biology from around the world. More information and registration details can be found here:

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Special Emphasis Section of Virology November 2017

A special emphasis section of Virology was published this month (November 2017)! The editorial introduction details how this special section of Virology intends to acquaint the virology community with the impacts of Iridoviridae on its ectothermic hosts, as well as to highlight current studies.

Ranaviruses and other members of the family Iridoviridae: Their place in the virosphere,” written by Dr. Gregory Chinchar, Dr. Thomas Waltzek, and Dr. Kuttichantran Subramaniam, leads this section with an overview of iridovirus taxonomy. Subsequent articles include topics such as the impact of ranaviruses on ectothermic vertebrates (Price et al.), the function of viral genes (Yu et al.; Huynh et al.; Allen et al.; Robert et al.), and viral genomics, virulence, and virus replication (Hick et al.; Claytor et al.; Ince et al.).

The editorial introduction ends on how this collection of articles contributes to the appreciation of current areas of research and the further understanding of the biology and impacts of iridoviruses.


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ISR Poster Awards

The 4th International Symposium on Ranaviruses was held in Budapest Hungary from June 7th-10th, 2017. Researchers gathered from all over the globe to present their work on ranaviruses and display their research posters. For the first time the GRC awarded prizes for the three best poster of the symposium. The poster prize winners are as follows:

  1. Lewis J. Campbell: Ranavirus infection potentially alters the age structure of infected populations
  2. Narges Mashkour: Development of green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) primary cells to propagate aquatic animal viruses including Bohle Iridovirus
  3. Marius von Essen: Host range and local distribution of Bosca’s newt virus

    Pictured: Stephen J. Price, on behalf of Marius von Essen and Lewis J. Campbell with awards and Narges Mashkour with second place poster.

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Report on 3rd International Symposium on Ranaviruses published

Just in time for the upcoming 4th International Symposium on Ranaviruses in Budapest, the report on the 3rd symposium in Gainesville, Florida, USA was just published! Many thanks to Amanda Duffus and her co-authors for writing up this nice summary!


Duffus et al – JNAH 2017[3]

Duffus, A. J., P. Johnson, V. G. Chinchar, M. J. Gray, and T. B. Waltzek. 2017. Third International Symposium on Ranaviruses: Advancing understanding of the threat of ranaviruses to North American Herpetofauna. Journal of North American Herpetology 2017:34-36.

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Update on the the ISVLV and IRS

Fifteenth of March was not only the deadline for the abstract submission (now extended to 15 April) but also a national holiday in Hungary. It commemorates the bloodless revolution in Pest in 1848. The uprising grew into a war of independence from the Habsburg rule. More detail on this historical event (highlighting some important names that you will meet very often when looking around in Hungary) are provided at the end of this newsletter. But first, we come up with the important conference news.

Let us shortly introduce the statistics of the upcoming conferences so far:

  • We have already more than 80 persons registered for the ISVLV and 50 for the IRS. Participants will represent about 20 countries from 5
  • We received more than 70 and 30 abstracts for the ISVLV and IRS, respectively.
  • Outline of the scientific programs will be shared on the web sites soon.

Here are the important dates to remember:

  • Early Bird Fee payment period ends 31 March 2017
  • Regular registration period ends 31 May 2017
  • The abstract submission is now extended till 15 April 2017


Availability of American travel grants offered to US citizens can be viewed at the links below:       OR


Registration is still open and available:    OR with a Credit Card payment option via the GRC


And now some details for those of you who wish to learn about the Hungarian history. It is most likely that you will encounter some of the names, highlighted in bold, during your stay in Budapest.


History of 15th March

The revolution started in Pest and Buda (two separate cities at that time) on 15th March 1848, following a series of uprisings throughout Europe. Lajos Kossuth, a famous journalist at the time, emerged as a leader and the revolution seemed to be very successful. A new, independent and democratic government was elected with Hungary’s first Prime Minister, Lajos Batthyány. As Vienna faced its own revolution, the Habsburg Empire first accepted the new government and its demands. However, after the Austrian revolution was defeated, troops were sent to dissolve the newly elected Hungarian parliament, turning the revolution into a war between Austria and Hungary. Hungarian hussar troops fought majored victories in many battles.


The war for independence lasted until August 1849. Initially the Hungarian forces achieved several victories, which led to Hungary’s complete independence from Austria and Lajos Kossuth was named Governor-President. This prompted the Habsburgs to ask for help from their most powerful ally, Tsar Nikolas I. The Russian army invaded Hungary and the revolution was eventually defeated. Kossuth resigned and fled into exile. He visited several countries including the US, where he was widely honoured for his achievements. Kossuth County in Iowa State was named after him. He died at the age 92 in Turin, Italy. Following the war of 1848–49, Lajos Batthyány, the first Hungarian Prime Minister was executed in Pest on a place called Szabadság (Liberty) square presently. Additionally, 13 generals were also executed in the city of Arad (being part of Romania nowadays). Among these martyrs was the major-general János Damjanich of Serbian origin. Two Polish soldiers, József Bem and Henryk Dembinsky also served as lieutenant generals in the Hungarian army. Lipót Rottenbiller was the mayor of Pest in that era. Some streets around the Veterinary University are named after these distinguished heroes.


Celebrations at 15 March and Cockade

Today, 15 March is a national holiday in Hungary and there are several buildings and traditions, which have become a symbol of the revolution and site of the commemorative ceremonies. Hungarians proudly wear cockades on this day and some of the official celebrations are held at the Hungarian National Museum where young Hungarian revolutionaries, led by poet Sándor Petőfi, held a mass demonstration on the first day of the revolution in 1848.

 Thanks for reading! We look forward to welcoming you in the historic Budapest. Please, forward this message to your colleagues and friends who might be interested in the topic. Also, please let us know if you wish to be omitted from our mailing list. Thank you!


Mária Benkő, Balázs Harrach and Tibor Papp

members of the local Organizing Committee (IVMR CAR HAS)


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Update on funding to attend the 4th ISR/10th ISVLV meeting: 14 March 2017

We have secured approximately $20,000 from the USDA and NSF to support travel to the upcoming joint meeting of the ISR/ISVLV.  Preference will be given to US citizens and Permanent residents (i.e., Green Card Holders) as well as to graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, research associates, junior faculty, women, and members of under-represented minorities.  We anticipate awarding approximately $1000 for travel, registration, and housing.  This figure may vary depending upon demand (i.e., number of applicants) and other considerations.

If you would like to be considered for this award, please contact Thomas Waltzek ( before April 1st.  We will attempt to finalize awardees by April 15.  Prospective meeting attendees will likely need to pre-pay costs on the front end, and then be reimbursed at the completion of the meeting.

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Nearly 40 papers on ranaviruses in 2015!

In 2015 researchers published nearly 40 papers and book chapters on ranaviruses! This speaks to the growing interest and breadth of research into this fascinating group. May 2016 be just as productive for all of you!

-Jesse Brunner & Matt Gray


P.S. If your paper published in 2015 or other years is not listed or you notice other mistakes in the list of publications, please just send us an email at and we will fix the error as soon as possible.

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New online class on ranavirus biology

Dr. Matt Gray will be leading an international, online course on Ranavirus biology in early 2016. Open to students and professionals, this course is eligible for continuing education credits.  It will cover:

  • the global context of ranavirus die-offs,
  • ranavirus phylogenetics, evolution, and ecology,
  • pathology, replication and immune evasion,
  • diagnostic techniques, and
  • experimental design.

Over 20 professionals from around the globe representing diverse disciplines (microbiology, veterinary medicine, ecology, mathematics) will participate in instructing this first-ever course on ranaviruses.

For more information see the course page.

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Global Ranavirus Reporting System (GRRS) is now live

We are excited to announce that the Global Ranavirus Reporting System (GRRS) is now live!

The GRSS allows you to create and manage records for Ranavirus studies and reports, import and export data, view tables and maps of reports, and leave reviews and comments on reports. It should be an invaluable resource and research tool.

This system was constructed by the amazing group at the EcoHealth Alliance (Andrew Huff, Russell Horton, Nathan Breit, Amy Slagle) and designed in collaboration with several GRC members (Jesse Brunner, Amanda Duffus, Matt Gray, Debra Miller) and largely funded by the U.S. Forest Service (Dede Olson). We would like to thank all of them for making this a reality.

We encourage all ranavirus researchers to upload previously confirmed cases (published and unpublished) of ranavirus infection and disease by 31 December 2015.  Once the GRRS is populated, its full potential will be realized.  You can upload cases as individual records or in bulk with a CSV file.  After files are uploaded, a database manager will inspect them before they are released publically.  Records can be shared with the public fully or obfuscated.  Video and written instructions are provided on the GRRS website.  Additionally, questions and suggestions for improvement can be emailed to Amanda Duffus ( or Jesse Brunner (

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