The  23rd International Conference on Kaposi’s Sarcoma Herpesvirus (KSHV) and Related Agents is planned for June 22 – June 25, 2020 at Hotel White Sands Resort & Conference Centre, located 15 miles (25 km) north of Dar es Salaam city center, on a private 1 km stretch of beach, Jangwani Beach, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The conference will be followed by a dedicated networking and training workshop on Friday, June 26th to engage Africa and the next generation of researchers.

Marking the beginning of a new quarter century since the discovery of this cancer virus, KSHV 2020 will be the first in this conference series to be held in Africa, where the majority of HIV infections take place and where KS is more common than prostate cancer is in the US. The organizing committee and the participants felt that this should mark a new era in inclusiveness and global outreach such that the numerous groundbreaking discoveries about the virus can be more quickly translated to preventing the disease and treating the affected patients, for the international community of researchers to engage African researchers, clinicians and trainees, to foster collaborations in basic, translational and clinical research.

This 23rd iteration of the International KSHV Conference series will continue to serve as the premier forum for the exchange of new developments in the field of the Kaposi’s sarcoma virus (KSHV), which is the etiological agent of the AIDS defining malignancy, Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS). Researchers in the KSHV field have held 22 previous annual conferences, typically attended by 100-184 participants.

The KSHV 2020 international organizing committee (IOC) and scientific advisory committee (SAC) will formulate an innovative and thematic format for the meeting to be hosted in Dar es Salaam from June 22nd – June 25th of 2020, followed by a dedicated networking and training workshop on Friday, June 26th to engage Africa and the next generation of researchers. Our objective is to bring together a diverse audience of researchers and clinicians, especially those on the ground in Africa who are encountering HIV-associated diseases daily, to facilitate the conduct of both translational and basic research on KSHV and KS, to foster new collaborations, and to explore novel therapeutic strategies for treating patients with ailments associated with KSHV in diverse populations and geographies.

This yearly meeting is key to enhance interactions among scientists in the field and promote interdisciplinary communication and collaborations among researchers with expertise that span molecular virus biology, innate and adaptive immunobiology, animal models of pathogenesis, pathology, epidemiology and therapeutic strategies. Thus, this meeting facilitates cross-fertilization of ideas, techniques, and reagents.

In addition, we believe this venue is a critical environment to strengthen the education and professional development of our trainees, especially African researchers and trainees, spanning graduate students, medical students, post-doctoral fellows and clinical fellows, and pre-tenured early careers faculty. Our meeting encourages the presentation of data before publication to enable open discussion and feedback from a field of experts. There are no invited lectures or keynotes. All contributions are equal, which encourages the participation of trainees.  

This meeting will provide structured networking opportunities for trainees to interact with senior faculty at academic institutions and scientists from industry and government. From bench science to clinical application, a conversation starter for an international collaboration of researchers.

KSHV 2020 International Organizing Committee:

  • Dr. Charles Wood, Lewis/Lehr 3M University Professor of Biology and Biochemistry at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Co-Chair)
  • Dr. Dirk P. Dittmer, UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center member and Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at UNC-Chapel Hill (Co-Chair)
  • Dr. Julius Mwaiselage, the Executive Director of the Ocean Road Cancer Institute (Local Host)
  • Dr. Owen Ngalamika, Head of the Skin and STI Clinic at the University Teaching Hospital/University of Zambia School of Medicine
  • Dr. Tamiwe Tomoka, Head of pathology of Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe Malawi and a member of UNC Project Malawi