Join us for a timely event with virologist Dr. Olivier Pernet about the COVID-19 Variants. Learn from the expert, find ways to take action in your community and dig deeper. There will be a 20 minute, interactive presentation, followed by a Q&A with Dr. Pernet.
Biography / Olivier Pernet, PhD
Dr. Olivier Pernet is a virologist with 15 years of research experience in the field of emerging zoonotic viruses, with special attention on bat-related diseases (Nipah Virus, Ebola Virus, SARS-CoV-1, SARS-CoV-2,...). Dr. Pernet work focuses on host-virus interactions and how to use them for biomedical applications (outbreak preparedness, surveillance, high-throughput serology, drug discovery, gene therapy,...).
After a brief period at bioMérieux where he worked on SARS-CoV-1 detection assay, Dr. Pernet moved to Paris and completed a Master Degree in Medical Virology at the Paris Diderot University and the Institut Pasteur. He then joined the École Normale Supérieure de Lyon for his PhD under the mentorship of Dr. Robin Buckland. There he studied Henipaviruses cellular entry in the Bio-Safety Level 4 Jean Mérieux “P4” laboratory. During his time in Lyon, he unraveled a new entry model for Paramyxoviruses and identify drugs with the potential to treat the dreaded Nipah Virus. He also worked on antivirals targeting Ebola Virus and Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever Virus. Additionally, while in France Dr. Pernet worked on outbreak prevention and mitigation by studying viral shedding in bats from France and Mali.
Dr. Pernet then moved to the US on a joint position at UCLA and UTMB/Galveston National Laboratory. Under the supervision of Dr. Benhur Lee and Dr. Alexander Freiberg, he continued his work on viral entry, using the Henipavirus glycoproteins to design new vectors for gene therapy. While at UCLA, Dr. Pernet also documented the first human cases of Henipavirus on the African continent and identified risk factors for zoonotic transmission in Cameroon. He has since moved on to work at Keck Medicine of USC, in the department of Pediatrics where he works on immune response toward viral infections in LA’s highly diverse population.
In 2018, with a group of UCLA alumni, Dr. Pernet founded EnViro International Laboratories, a nonprofit organization that studies viral dynamics in emerging hot areas, and provides resources for outbreak preparedness at the local level, especially in Gabon. Dr. Pernet is currently serving as President of EnViro International Laboratories.
During the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, Dr. Pernet has continued his work at Keck Medicine of USC, where he developed a highly sensitive saliva-based assays against SARS-CoV-2 in order to increase hospitals testing capacities. Dr. Pernet is now working viral dynamics during the course of the diseases and especially focuses on asymptomatics/presymptomatics patients.
Since 2017, Dr. Pernet teaches Virology (MIMG XL-102) and Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology (MCDB XL-100) at UCLA Extension.