Vasilakis Lab Member-2018

Vasilakis Lab Members 2018

Standing: Nikos Vasilakis, Jiehua Zhou, Adam Hendy. Seated: Sasha Azar

Vasilakis Current Lab Members

  • Sasha R. Azar
    Curriculum Vitae

    Present Position and Address

    Doctoral Candidate
    University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
    Institute for Translational Sciences
    Human Pathophysiology and Translational Medicine
    301 University Blvd.
    Galveston TX, 77555-1019
    srazar@utmb.edu

    Education

    08/2014-Present Graduate Student
    Human Pathophysiology and Translational Medicine
    Institute for Translational Sciences
    University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX
    08/2011-06/2013 Master’s of Science in Biomedical Sciences
    University of California Riverside, Riverside, CA
    08/2007-06/2011 Bachelor’s of Science in Microbiology (Major) and Psychology (Minor)
    University of California San Diego, San Diego, CA

    Professional and Teaching Experience

    01/2016-Present Graduate Student
    Institute for Translational Sciences
    University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston TX
    Mentor: Dr. Scott C. Weaver
    Project: "Bloodmeal determinants of arbovirus infection of Aedes (Stegomyia) spp. mosquitoes"
    11/2012-3/2013 Graduate Student
    Department of Biomedical Sciences
    University of California Riverside, Riverside, CA
    Mentor: Dr. Christian Lytle, PhD
    Project: “Colonic mucus regulation in homeostasis and disease”
    03/2012-10/2012 Graduate Student
    Department of Biomedical Sciences
    University of California Riverside, Riverside, CA
    Mentor: Dr. David Lo, MD, PhD
    Project: “Role of tight junction proteins in non-canonical large particle endocytosis”
    10/2009-08/2011 Undergraduate Researcher
    Department of Pathology
    University of California San Diego, San Diego, CA
    Mentor: Dr. Dwayne Stupack, PhD
    Project: “Role of Src family kinases and Focal Adhesion kinase in neuroblastoma resistance to anoikis in 3-dimensional cell culture models”
    Training/Supervision of Undergraduate, Graduate, and Medical Students
    04/2018-04/2018 Hands-On Trainer for Viral Isolation and Quantification; Vector Borne Disease Course, Western Gulf Center of Excellence for Vector Borne Disease
    01/2018-02/2018 Barbara Chaves, Graduate Student, Tropical Medicine Foundation Dr. Heitor Vieira Dourado, Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil
    10/2017-12/2018 Ana Carolina Terzian, PhD. Faculdade de MedicFaculdade de Medicina de São José do Rio Preto | FAMERP
    6/2016-8/2016 Scott Segura, Undergraduate: University of Texas Dallas, Summer
    Undergraduate Research Program (SURP)

    Memberships in Scientific Societies

    04/2016-Present Member: American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
    04/2016-Present Member: American Society of Microbiology
    03/2017-Present Member: American Society of Virology

    Academic and Professional Honors
    James W. McLaughlin Annual Colloquium: Poster Session Travel Award, March 31, 2017
    McLaughlin Predoctoral Fellow: September 1, 2017 to present

    Bibliography

    Abstracts

    1. Azar SR, Rossi SL, Haller SL, Yun R, Leal G, Zhou J, Huang J, Hanley KA, Weaver SC, Vasilakis NV. Zika virus demonstrates minimal pathology and mosquito infectivity in viremic cynomolgus macaques. Poster at the PanAmerican Dengue Research Network Meeting. Galveston, TX, April 9-12, 2018
    2. Azar SR, Roundy CM, Rossi SL, Huang JH, Yun R, Hanley KA, Vasilakis N, Weaver SC. Vector competence analysis of Aedes (Stegomyia) spp. mosquitoes from the Americas for Zika Virus. Poster at International Union of Microbiological Societies 2017.  Singapore, Singapore, July 17-21, 2017
    3. Azar SR, Roundy CM, Rossi SL, Huang JH, Yun R, Hanley KA, Vasilakis N, Weaver SC. Vector competence of American Aedes albopictus (Skuse)  populations for various strains of Zika virus. Poster at Sao Paulo School of Advanced Sciences: Arbovirology, Sao Jose do Rio Preto, Brazil, May 29, 2017
    4. Azar SR, Roundy CM, Rossi SL, Huang JH, Yun R, Hanley KA, Vasilakis N, Weaver SC. Vector competence of American Aedes albopictus (Skuse)  populations for various strains of Zika virus. Poster at Annual McLaughlin Symposium, Galveston, TX, March 31, 2017.
    5. Azar SR, Roundy CM, Rossi SL, Huang JH, Yun R, Hanley KA, Vasilakis N, Weaver SC. Vector competence analysis of Aedes (Stegomyia) spp. mosquitoes from the Americas for Zika Virus. Poster at Gordon Research Conference: Tropical Infectious Diseases, Galveston, TX, March 13-14, 2017
    6. Azar SR,  Tesh RB,  Muruato AE, Hanley KA, Auguste AJ, Langsjoen RM, Paessler S, Vasilakis N, Weaver SC, Rossi SL (2016). Development and Characterization of a Small Animal Model of Zika Virus infection. Poster at Annual McLaughlin Symposium, Galveston, TX, April 2016.

    Publications in Peer Reviewed Journals:

    1. Vanchiere JA, Ruiz JC, Brady AG, Kuehl TJ, Williams LE, Bazar WB, Wilkerson GK, Nehete PN, McClure GB, Rogers DL, Rossi SL, Azar SR, Roundy CM, Weaver SC, Vasilakis N, Simmons JH, Abee CR, 2017. Experimental Zika Virus Infection of Neotropical Primates. Am J Trop Med Hyg. (Published Online Ahead of Print) doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.17-0322
    2. Roundy CM, Azar SR, Brault AC, Ebel GD, Failloux A, Fernandez-Salas I, Kitron U, Kramer LD, Lourenço-de-Oliveira R, Osorio JE, Paploski ID, Vazquez-Prokopec GM, Ribeiro GS, Ritchie SA, Tauro LB, Vasilakis, Weaver SC, 2017. Lack of evidence for Zika virus transmission by Culex mosquitoes. Emerg Microbes Infect 6: e90.doi: 10.1038/emi.2017.85.
    3. Azar SR, Roundy CM, Rossi SL, Huang JH, Leal G, Yun R, Fernandez-Salas I, Vitek CJ, Paploski IAD, Stark PM, Vela J, Debboun M, Nava MR, Kitron U, Ribeiro GS, Hanley KA, Vasilakis N, Weaver SC. Differential vector competency of Aedes albopictus populations from the Americas for Zika virus. Am J Trop Med Hyg 97: 330-339. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.16-0969
    4. Zhao Z, Yang M, Azar SR, Soong L, Weaver SC, Sun J, Chen Y, Rossi SL, Cai J, 2017. Viral Retinopathy in Experimental Models of Zika Infection. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 58: 4075–4085. doi:  10.1167/iovs.17-22016
    5. Roundy CM, Azar SR, Rossi SL, Huang JH, Leal G, Yun R, Fernandez-Salas I, Vitek CJ, Paploski IAD, Kitron U, Ribeiro GS, Hanley KA, Weaver SC, Vasilakis N, 2017. Variation in Aedes aegypti competence for Zika virus transmission as a function of viral strain, blood meal type, and mosquito geographic origin. Emerg Infect Dis 23: 625-632. doi: 10.3201/eid2304.16148
    6. McGrath EL, Rossi SL, Gao J, Widen SG, Grant AC, Dunn TJ, Azar SR, Roundy CM, Xiong Y, Prusak DJ, Loucas BD, Wood TG, Yu Y, Fernandez-Salas I, Weaver SC, Vasilakis N, Wu P, 2017. Differential Responses of Human Fetal Brain Neural Stem Cells to Zika Virus Infection. Stem Cell Rep. doi:10.1016/j.stemcr.2017.01.008
    7. Hart CE, Roundy CM, Azar SR, Huang JH, Yun R, Reynolds E, Leal G, Nava MR, Vela J, Stark PM, Debboun M, Rossi SL, Vasilakis N, Thangamani S, Weaver SC, 2017. Zika Virus Vector Competency of Mosquitoes, Gulf Coast, United States. Emerg Infect Dis 23: 559–560.
    8. Vinhaes ES, Santos LA, Dias L, Andrade NA, Bezerra VH, de Carvalho AT, de Moraes L, Henriques DF, Azar SR, Vasilakis N, Ko AI, Andrade BB, Sigueira IC, Khouri R, Boaventura VS, 2016. Transient Hearing Loss in Adults Associated with Zika Virus Infection. Clin Infect Dis: doi:10.1093/cid/ciw770
    9. Guerbois M, Fernandez-Salas I, Azar SR, Danis-Lozano R, Alpuche-Aranda CM, Leal G, Garcia-Malo IR, Diaz-Gonzalez EE, Casas-Martinez M, Rossi SL, Del Río-Galván SL, Sanchez-Casas RM, Roundy CM, Wood TG, Widen SG, Vasilakis N, Weaver SC, 2016. Outbreak of Zika virus infection, Chiapas State, Mexico, 2015, and first confirmed transmission by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in the Americas. J Infect Dis: Pii: jiw302
    10. Smalley C, Bechelli J, Brouwer D, Saito TB, Azar SR, Ismail N, Walker DH, Fang R, 2016. Rickettsia australis Activates ASC-Dependent Inflammasome in Macrophages Only Transiently Involving NLRP3. PLoS One 11:e0157231
    11. Shan C, Xie X, Muruato AE, Rossi SL, Roundy CM, Azar SR, Yang Y, Tesh RB, Bourne N, Barrett AD, Vasilakis N, Weaver SC, Shi PY, 2016. An infectious cDNA Clone of Zika Virus to Study Viral Virulence, Mosquito Transmission, and Antiviral Inhibitors. Cell Host Microbe 19:891-900
    12. Rossi SL, Tesh RB, Azar SR, Muruato AE, Hanley KA, Auguste AJ, Langsjoen RM, Paessler S, Vasilakis N, Weaver SC, 2016. Characterization of a Novel Murine Model to Study Zika Virus. Am J Trop Med Hyg 94:1362-9
    13. Ponsnusamy D, Kozlova EV, Sha J, Erova TE, Azar SR, Fitts EC, Kirtley ML, Tiner BL, Andersson JA, Grim CJ, Isom RP, Hasan NA, Colwell RR, Chopra AK, 2016. Cross-talk among flesh-eating Aeromonas hydrophila strains in mixed infection leading to necrotizing fasciitis. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 113:722-7

    Book Chapters

    1. Roundy CM, Azar SR, Rossi SL, Weaver SC, Vasilakis N, 2017. Insect-Specific Viruses: A Historical Overview and Recent Developments. Adv Virus Res 98: 119-146

    Invited Presentations

    1. Azar SR. Vector competence analysis of Aedes (Stegomyia) spp. mosquitoes from the Americas for Zika Virus. Invited Oral presentation: International Collaboration in Infectious Disease Research: Tropical Medicine Foundation Dr. Heitor Vieira Dourado, Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil, March 19, 2018
    2. Azar SR.The A129 mouse model of Zika Virus Infection: Initial characterization and subsequent applications. Invited oral presentation: AALAS National Meeting, Session: “Sex, Blood & Babies: Animal Models of Zika Virus Research”, Austin, TX, October 17, 2017
    3. Azar SR. Vector competence analysis of Aedes (Stegomyia) spp. mosquitoes from the Americas for Zika Virus. Invited Oral presentation: Gordon Research Conference: Tropical Infectious Diseases, Galveston, TX, March 14, 2017
  • Adam Hendy
    Curriculum Vitae

    Current position

    Research Fellow
    Department of Pathology
    University of Texas Medical Branch
    301 University Boulevard
    Galveston TX-77555
    adhendy@utmb.edu

    Education

    11/2013-02/2018 PhD
    Biomedical Sciences
    Institute of Tropical Medicine/University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium
    09/2011-09/2012 MSc
    Biology and Control of Disease Vectors
    London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK
    09/2001-06/2004 BSc Biological Sciences and Parasitology
    King’s College London, London, UK

    Professional Experience

    02/2018 - Present Research Fellow
    Department of Pathology
    University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX
    Supervisor: Prof. Nikos Vasilakis
    Project: Transmission and emergence dynamics of emerging zoonotic arboviruses.
    11/2013 - 1/2018 Predoctoral Assistant
    Department of Biomedical Sciences
    Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium
    Supervisors: Prof. Jean-Claude Dujardin, Prof. Dirk Berkvens
    Project: Blackfly ecology and Onchocerca volvulus transmission in three formerly hyperendemic foci in Uganda, Tanzania and Cameroon.
    01/2013 - 10/2013 Education and Research Assistant
    Department of Life Sciences
    Natural History Museum, London, UK
    Supervisors: Dr. John Tweddle, Dr. Erica McAlister
    Project I: Delivering educational programmes in insect ecology and botany on behalf of the Natural History Museum to Cothill Education Trust.
    Project II: Developing a pictorial identification key for nine species of Aedes (Albuginosus) mosquitoes.
    02/2010 - 09/2011 Research Assistant/Volunteer
    Department of Life Sciences
    Natural History Museum, London, UK
    Supervisors: Dr Mark Spencer, Dr. Erica McAlister
    Project I: Modelling the impact of climate-related events on plant and animal phenology using data held in museum collections.
    Project II: Identification of spirit-preserved insects collected in French Guiana.

    Academic and Professional Awards

    FWO Travel Grant: Awarded funding for a one-month research stay at Clemson University, SC (2015).
    Flemish Government SOFI Grant: Awarded €665,038 (as co-applicant) for the project "An interdisciplinary study contributing to the identification of the cause of nodding syndrome in four countries" (2014).
    John Spedan Lewis Foundation: Awarded £5,000 to study the morphology, phylogenetics and bionomics of Aedes (Albuginosus) mosquitoes (2013).
    Mansfield Aders Scholarship: Awarded tuition fees to study a master’s degree at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (2011).

    Conferences and Presentations

    10th European Congress on Tropical Medicine and International Health (ECTMIH), 2017. Antwerp, Belgium. "The blackfly vectors and transmission of Onchocerca volvulus in Mahenge, south eastern Tanzania." Oral presentation.

    10th European Congress on Tropical Medicine and International Health (ECTMIH), 2017. Antwerp, Belgium. "Esperanza Window Traps for the collection of anthropophilic blackflies (Diptera: Simuliidae) in Uganda and Tanzania." Poster presentation.

    1st International Workshop on Onchocerciasis Associated Epilepsy (OAE), 2017. Antwerp, Belgium. "Blackfly ecology and O. volvulus transmission in Uganda, Tanzania and Cameroon." Oral presentation.

    1st International Workshop on Onchocerciasis Associated Epilepsy (OAE), 2017. Antwerp, Belgium. "The blackfly vectors and transmission of Onchocerca volvulus in Mahenge, south eastern Tanzania." Poster presentation.

    2nd International Conference on Nodding Syndrome, 2015. Gulu, Uganda. "Blackflies (Diptera: Simuliidae) and Onchocerca infection in Nodding Syndrome-affected districts of northern Uganda." Oral Presentation.

    13th Annual North American Black Fly Association (NABFA) Meeting, 2015, Athens, Georgia, USA. "Investigating a relationship between blackflies (Diptera: Simuliidae), onchocerciasis and Nodding Syndrome: An entomological perspective." Oral Presentation.

    Publications

    Hendy, A., Krüger, A., Pfarr, K., De Witte, J., Kibweja, A., Mwingira, U., Dujardin, J.C., Post, R., Colebunders, R., O’Neill, S. & Kalinga, A., 2018. The blackfly vectors and transmission of Onchocerca volvulus in Mahenge, south eastern Tanzania. Acta Tropica, 181, pp.50-59. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actatropica.2018.01.009  
    Hendy, A., Sluydts, V., Tushar, T., De Witte, J., Odonga, P., Loum, D., Nyaraga, M., Lakwo, T., Dujardin, J.C., Post R.J., Kalinga, A. & Echodu, R., 2017. Esperanza Window Traps for the collection of anthropophilic blackflies (Diptera: Simuliidae) in Uganda and Tanzania. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 11(6): e0005688. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0005688
    Colebunders, R., Hendy, A. & van Oijen, M., 2014. Nodding syndrome in onchocerciasis endemic areas. Trends in Parasitology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pt.2016.05.013 
    Orsborne, J., DeRaedt Banks, S., Hendy, A., Gezan, S.A., Kaur, H., Wilder-Smith, A., Lindsay, S.W. & Logan, J.G., 2016. Personal protection of permethrin-treated clothing against Aedes aegypti, the vector of dengue and Zika virus, in the laboratory. PLOS ONE, 11(5): e0152805. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0152805  
    Colebunders, R., Hendy, A., Mokili, J., Wamala, J., Kaducu, J., Kur, L., Tepage, F., Mandro, M., Mucinya, G., Mambandu, G., Komba, M., Lumaliza, J., van Oijen, M. & Laudisoit, A., 2016. Nodding syndrome and epilepsy in onchocerciasis endemic regions: comparing preliminary observations from South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo with data from Uganda. BMC Research Notes, 9:182. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13104-016-1993-7
    Deblauwe, I., Demeulemeester, J., De Witte, J., Hendy, A., Sohier, C. & Madder, M., 2015. Increased detection of Aedes albopictus in Belgium: no overwintering yet, but an intervention strategy is still lacking. Parasitology Research, 114, pp.3469–3477. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00436-015-4575-z
    Colebunders, R., Post, R., O’Neill, S., Haesaert, G., Opar, B., Lakwo, T., Laudisoit, A. & Hendy, A., 2015. Nodding syndrome since 2012: recent progress, challenges and recommendations for future research. Tropical Medicine & International Health, 20(2), pp.194-200. https://doi.org/10.1111/tmi.12421
    Colebunders, R., Hendy, A., Nanyunja, M., Wamala, J.F. & van Oijen, M., 2014. Nodding syndrome—a new hypothesis and new direction for research. International Journal of Infectious Diseases, 27, pp.74-77. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijid.2014.08.001
    Demeulemeester, J., Deblauwe, I., De Witte, J., Jansen, F., Hendy, A. & Madder, M., 2014. First interception of Aedes (Stegomyia) albopictus in Lucky bamboo shipments in Belgium. Journal of the European Mosquito Control Association, 32, pp.14-16.

  • Jiehua Zhou
    Curriculum Vitae

    Appointment: Research Associate II
    Professional Education

    2005 M.S. Latrobe University, Australia Health Administration
    1993 B.S. Capital Medical University, China Senior Nursing Profession
    Research Interests Basic research on the genetics, ecology, evolution and pathogenesis of arthropodborne
    viruses (arboviruses), virusmosquito interactions, and vaccine development.

    Professional Experience

    12.17.2015- Present Research Associate II, Department of Pathology,
    University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX
    12.15.2014 -12.16.2016 Research Fellow, Department of Pediatrics,
    University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX
    10.24.2014 – 12.14.2014 Visiting Scientist, Department of Pathology,
    University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX
    08.2013 – 10.2014 Research Assistant, Department of Public Health,
    Harbin Medical University of Heilongjiang, China

    Selected Publications

    Zhou Jiehua, Liu S, Fu Y, Chen Y, Silver AJ, Hill SM, Lee I, Lee YS, and Bao X.
    "Identification of two novel functional tRNA-derived fragments induced in response toRSV infection", J Gen Virol. 2017 Jul

    Chen Y, Deng X, Deng J, Zhou Jiehua, Ren Y, Prusak,DJ, Wood TG, and Bao X. "Functional Motif Responsible for Human Metapneumovirus M2-2-mediated InnateImmune Evasion". Virology. 2016, accepted

    Deng J, Ptashkin RN, Chen Y, Cheng Z, Liu G, Phan T, Deng X, Zhou J, Lee I, Lee YS, Bao X. "Respiratory Syncytial Virus Utilizes a tRNA Fragment to Suppress Antiviral Responses Through a Novel Targeting Mechanism." Mol Ther. 2015 Oct;23(10):1622-9