Research and Clinical Interests
Research interests of the laboratory are the development of novel vaccines and viral pathogenesis.
Vaccines: Our laboratory develops Rhabdovirus-based vectors as vaccines against other infectious diseases. We are particularly interested in using molecular adjuvants and other molecules to enhance antigen-specific immunity and manipulate and retarget immune cells.
Using different molecular approaches, we perform detailed studies of highly attenuated RVs expressing HIV-1 or SIV genes and analyze their immunogenicity in mice. Our most promising HIV vaccine candidates are currently being analyzed in a monkey model for AIDS.
Other approaches include using genetically modified RV G proteins or RV capsids to carry antigens of other pathogens as vaccines against Anthrax and Botulism.
We also seek to develop safer and more potent RV vaccines for wildlife and humans.
Pathogenesis: We are interested in understanding the interaction of rabies with the infected host at the molecular level. The molecular mechanism of rabies virus pathogenesis is not well understood, and our research analyzes the different functions of the rhabdoviral proteins (e.g. rabies virus) and their interactions with host proteins and the immune system.
Current projects are directed toward understanding:
- RV virus neurotropism and neuroinvasiveness: The transport of RV within neurons and the interaction of the RV phosphoprotein and glycoprotein with host proteins (receptors and transporter molecules)
- Immune responses of wild-type RV and RV-based vectors in the infected host (innate and adaptive)