Professor S.S. Vasan, who goes by his surname, is based at CSIRO's secure ‘Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness’ (ACDP) facility in Geelong. He leads on R&D and preclinical evaluation of vaccines and countermeasures against pathogens of high consequence requiring physical containment at levels 3 and 4. He and his team were the first outside China to grow coronavirus stocks, first to show that ferrets are susceptible, and used this model to evaluate the Oxford/AZD1222 vaccine as injection versus nasal spray. Since early 2020, he has been researching and publishing on the evolution of SARS-CoV-2, identification of variants of interest, impact of variants of concern on vaccines and therapies, and cost-effective ways to combat them.

Vasan was previously at the equivalent high containment facility in Porton Down, UK, and prior to that with Oxford University’s spin-out Oxitec as Head of Public Health working on arboviral diseases. He is Honorary Professor of Health Sciences at the University of York, UK, and a Fellow of several professional bodies. He obtained his doctorate from Trinity College, Oxford, on a Rhodes Scholarship.

As the CSIRO's COVID-19 Project Leader, Dr Vasan led his ACDP project team of 92 scientists to the Chairman's Medal 2020, the highest award bestowed by the national science agency of Australia. He collaborates extensively with the Australian eHealth Research Centre (especially the Transformational Bioinformatics Group and the Health Data Interoperability Team) and Data61 (especially Modelling and Simulations Team), and jointly received the CSIRO's Collaboration Medal 2020 from the Chief Executive.


University of York:

The Conversation: