Director's update (12/06/2022)

Dear Hep B community,

Some of you may have noticed that I have been on the boards a little less frequently than usual and that has been because I’ve been busy with a lot of competing priorities. I just wanted to update you all on what has been happening behind the scenes to improve this community and let you know that this is still very much high on my list of priorities.

Conferences: We are right in the middle of a huge wave of conferences that require organinsing, attending, presenting at, etc. These have included:

  • The Australian Centre for HIV and Hepatitis virology Scientific Conference (25-27/05). I was doing a lot of the sessions for this as president for the Australian Centre for Hepatitis Virology. We’ve also had to completely restructure these meetings for the future given a reduction in funding. On the plus side to the restructure, I am now pushing for this to include a session focused on the affected community and promoting these inter-community conversations.
  • The Australian Viral hepatitis 2022 meeting (29/05 - 31/05) This was a great meeting for primary care, public health, policy and implementation of viral hepatitis issues. Some of the users on this board attended and I think it was a great way to highlight the lived experience. I organised a session, but was unfortunately unable to attend as I was presenting at…
  • Science of HBV cure 2022 (30/05 to 03/06) in Singapore. In the end, I am a molecular scientist so this is more relevant to my everyday work. It was great to hear some of the region’s/world’s greatest experts talk about what is next in HBV cure. I was able to give a couple of talks about my perspectives, but more importantly it was good to see some colleagues (including @availlant and @Pietro_Lampertico). These sorts of chats are important to make sure that experts know how important it is to come and directly talk to the affected community.
  • World Hepatitis Summit (07/06 to 10/06) One of the major global conferences on public health, policy and implementation for hepatitis elimination. It included huge array of stars, including: @Suwang88, @lien.tran, @Nafisa.Yussf, @CFreeland, @Carrie, @rgish , @jessicah, @YellowWarriorsPH, @chari.cohen, and @Capucine. @Suwang88 and I were able to promote a bit in a couple of talks, but the time-zone made it difficult for me to attend most of the sessions. It would be great if some of the attendees could start a thread to maybe summarise their experiences!
  • New South Wales Hepatology Nurse Masterclass 2022 (21/06) Organised by @kristen.mckee and others, I’ll be promoting the forum here too to make sure nursing staff in NSW know that there’s a place to refer people with Hep B to.
  • EASL ILC 2022 in London (22/06 to 26/06) One of the biggest liver meetings in the world (something around 10,000 people go). Again, great to promote the importance of talking to the affected community. I’ll be attending in person to make these connections and be completely jetlagged :).

Funding: Aside from promotion, we also need to make sure that there are funds available to run the forum. There are also some additional administrative aspects of the community that need setting up. Honestly speaking, I cannot do this alone in my spare time while also doing everything else; we need to hire people to make sure that all the things needed by this community get done. To fund this, we need to apply for grants. With a general funding rate of ~10% (if you’re lucky), I expect to be submitting 10 applications to get just 1, so we will have to be patient with these and just keep applying (each one of these are 3-15 pages in length). I guess one good thing here is I’m up to application number 8 for trying to secure some longer term funding for the forum…

Research showcase: As many of you have seen, we have been organising our first ever research showcase. While opening the subforum itself and reviewing the entries has not been difficult, getting the attention of the research community to get more entries has been a little challenging. I have been able to get partners to promote the showcase (thank you to the Hepatitis B foundation, World Hepatitis Alliance, the Gastroenterological Society of Australia, Australian Centre for Hepatitis Virology, the International Meeting for Molecular Biology of Hepatitis Viruses, ASHM, EASL, APASL, and AASLD). These scientific and clinical societies represent hundreds to thousands of HBV scientists that are doing cutting edge research and I’m hoping that this will make our first showcase a success. I thank the great entries that we have already and encourage all of you to interact with the wonderful researchers that volunteer their efforts to present their work.

You are not alone: Despite this all, I would like all users to know that I read every single post even if I am not responding. I don’t say this to be lionised or fish for complements - I am saying it because everyone here should know that they are not alone. In fact, this is the single most important thing that I want everyone with Hep B to know.

Acknowledgements: I am grateful for all of the forum members for creating such a wonderful supportive environment. It is truly rewarding for me to see an idea come to fruition like this. I also want to say special thanks to the following active volunteers:



Hi Thomas,

I just wanted to say thank you for being such a dynamic and dedicated advocate for the CHB community. I’ve always been impressed how you can juggle your professional, personal and volunteer life. We are certainly in great hands and are blessed that we have you and that you are so impassioned about your calling. Imagine if we had 10, 100 or even 1,000 of you. Unfortunately, we can’t clone you.

I have to admit that I have not been participating as much the past few months. As I had mentioned to you a few months ago, I got hit hard with Omicron and then it seems that ‘Long Covid’ kept throwing punch after punch. First it attacked my already dysfunctional digestive system, then went to my kidneys and most recently my pancreas. It seems that each month, it was moving from one organ to another. I think things are starting to level out and I am hoping that whatever it is, has stopped its attack on my organs.

That being said, I have been reading each post and try to respond here and there. When I am bedridden, I will use my phone to read the posts via email. It’s difficult for me to respond via my phone, so I wait until I am able to be at the computer to interact with the community.

I must say that @availlant has been such a great addition to the experts in this community and glad he is here to field the questions for experts, especially while you are so busy with all these added conferences and projects.

If I can stay stable for the next month without disabling issues, then I would like to get back to doing the virtual meetups again.

You are such a support and inspiration to all of us and I hope that you accomplish each project and goal you are shooting for. Know that you have this community’s heart with you and best wishes for all parts of your life.

All strength and confidence be with you,



Please can all apply, if so how is it done and and funding for what? Can l get a further explanation to it.thank you

Usually these grants are for large projects (years), and need to be applied for via an institution (like a university in my case). This is the usual way most academic research and social programs are funded and are usually offered by governmental or industry bodies. Basically you write about what the problem is you’re trying to solve, how you would do it, and explain why you’re the best person/team to do it.

Dear @PuallyHBV,

Thank you for the kind words. I am glad you are feeling better after your health issues. I was worried that we hadn’t heard from you in a while, but it’s good that you’re looking after yourself. Take your time, but it’d be great to have the virtual meet-ups running again (something I have let slip as well).

As you mention, I am also juggling other things such as my day job as a research group leader that involves teaching, supervising, overseeing finances, strategic planning, reviewing, writing, troubleshooting, sitting on advisory boards, presenting data, and sometimes actually doing science. I’m also a husband, a dog (and bird) owner, a friend, a mentor, and a person in my own right, all of which come with their own responsibilities.

I don’t really want to hide that it has been hard and that I’ve been particularly stretched. I, in fact, have been mentally struggling with feeling like I’m failing in all of these roles and tasks. There is a saying that academia is waking up every day and deciding on who to disappoint. Everyday it felt like I chose everyone and myself.

But I am trying to get better and not let these thoughts take me down. I am trying to take note how I am improving each day. I am trying to be OK with imperfection and that showing up is half the battle. I am trying to be thankful of what I have and what I’ve been able to achieve. I am trying to be better about accepting help.

I recently took a class in Kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing with gold. I came away from the workshop with this plate I restored with my own hands, which was very satisfying.

Such a great philosophy too: not to hide away your flaws but highlight how you’ve improved. It was very helpful in this time for getting me out of the funk.

Anyway, I natter on…



Hey Thomas,

I was wondering why I was putting strength and confidence be with you. It’s not my normal closing. I guess it really fit. Thank you for the wise words. Your illustration reminds me that a plate can only get so full before it overflows. We need to remember at times, to empty our plate before we fill it with more. That can have different meanings for each of us.



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