Our group focuses on development of vaccines, antibody treatments and small molecule treatments against filoviruses Ebola and Marburg and on investigation of the mechanisms of their high pathogenicity. Our research includes the following specific topics:
• Characterization of antibody responses to filovirus infections in humans
• Development of therapeutic human monoclonal antibody treatments for filoviruses
• Development of mucosal respiratory tract vaccines against filoviruses based on human and non-human paramyxovirus vectors
• Investigation of mechanisms of “immune paralysis” caused by filoviruses
• Development of therapeutics targeting filoviral replication and interferon-antagonist functions
• Comparative immunology of bats as a reservoir of filoviruses
• Genome sequencing of emerging viral pathogens, including paramyxoviruses and filoviruses
To get insight into these scientific topics, we are using molecular tools, including reverse genetics (i.e. development of genetically modified filoviruses from the DNA-copies of their genomes and use of mini-genomes), immunological tools such as multi-parameter flow cytometry, and human immune cells and animal models. Our research includes experiments in a BSL-2 lab and in BSL-4 labs of the Galveston National Laboratory.
Our research is supported by multiple sources, including R01 and multiple U19 grants from NIH, and grants from DTRA (DoD) and the Department of Homeland Security.