The Fight Against Infectious Diseases: New Products Against Biological Threats


The fight against infectious diseases never ends, and globalization has dramatically increased the rate at which emerging diseases can spread throughout the world. Though traditional methods of infection control and established medicines are valuable tools in this fight, new medical countermeasures are badly needed to save lives and prevent future outbreaks. Our session will focus on the innovative work in progress at a variety of companies and institutions toward the development of products to prevent and cure infectious diseases. The panel will bring together viewpoints from biotech vaccine developers, academic research, drug delivery and pharma manufacturing to address progress against HIV, Ebola, developing world diseases (polio, measles, rubella) and bioterror.

Robert (Bob) McNally, PhD
President and CEO, GeoVax, Inc.


Dr. McNally currently is the President and CEO of GeoVax, Inc., a Smyrna, Georgia, clinical stage biotechnology company specializing in the development of vaccines to protect against Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Hemorrhagic Fever viruses (Ebola, Sudan, Marburg and Lassa), Zika virus, Malaria, chronic Hepatitis B infections and MUC1-positive cancer types. Prior to GeoVax, he co-founded and served as President of Cell Dynamics, a local company providing FDA regulated human tissue and cell processing services for research, pharmaceuticals and cell therapy.  In 1984, Dr. McNally, co-founded CryoLife, Inc., a Kennesaw based company revolutionizing the use of human tissue.  His name is associated with the patents for cryopreserved human heart valves, veins, arteries and components of the human knee used for reconstruction and transplant. During his association with CryoLife, the company went public on the New York Stock Exchange and became a recognized world leader in tissue transplant technology.


He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers; chairs the advisory board for the Georgia Tech Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience, and is a member of the advisory boards for Schiller College of Management at Tech and Villanova University entrepreneurial commercialization programs.  He also serves as a member of the Kennesaw State advisory board for the College of Science and Mathematics. He is a current member of the board and the Past Chairman of Georgia BIO, the state association for healthcare technology, and is the 2005 recipient of their Biomedical Industry Growth Award.


Dr. McNally is an electrical engineering graduate from Villanova University and has a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.  His career of mixed science and business has spanned 36 years.

Christopher Basler, PhD
Professor and Director, Center for Microbial Pathogenesis Institute for Biomedical Sciences, Georgia State University

Christopher F. Basler obtained his PhD from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1995.  He became Professor of Microbiology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City in 2013.  He moved the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State University in 2016 to start the Center for Microbial Pathogenesis.  He was elected Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology in 2014.  His major research interests are immune evasion and replication mechanisms of filoviruses and other emerging RNA viruses.  Notable achievements include the identification and characterization of Ebola virus and Marburg virus interferon antagonist proteins, identification of replication mechanisms and application of these findings for antiviral development.

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