• Chikungunya Virus

    Chikungunya virus is an alphavirus that is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. The disease occurs principally in tropical Africa and Asia, where the virus is indigenous. The virus causes a febrile disease that can be mild, but often includes severe joint pains and pathology that can be quite prolonged. There is currently no licensed vaccine for Chikungunya virus, although several experimental vaccines have been tested in humans. 

  • Dengue Virus

    Dengue viruses are a group of flaviviruses that infect humans following mosquito bites in endemic areas. The viruses cause a spectrum of diseases, from mild flu-like symptoms to life-threatening hemorrhagic fever syndrome. There are four serotypes of the virus, and many genotypes within each serotype. The strain diversity causes problems because prior infection with the virus of one serotype can induce an immune response that later enhances the severity of disease following infection with virus of a different serotype. Rare human antibodies neutralize the virus, without enhancing disease.

  • HIV/AIDS

    HIV-1 is the most common viral cause of acquired immunodeficiency. The virus exhibits an extreme level of antigenic variability, therefore it has long been thought that a vaccine that induces broad and potent neutralizing antibodies against most or all HIV strains was not possible. However, recent exciting research reveals there are highly conserved neutralizing epitopes.

  • Human Metapneumovirus

    Human Metapneumovirus (HMPV) is a Paramyxovirus that was discovered in 2001. Despite the fact that it was identified only relatively recently, HMPV is one of the major viral respiratory pathogens of humans. In some studies, it is the second most common virus causing lower respiratory tract illness in children. There are no specific therapies or vaccines for HMPV. 

  • Measles Virus

    Measles virus is one of the most infectious viruses of man, because it can be transmitted by small particle aerosol through the air. The virus enters through the respiratory tract, but then causes severe disease after spreading through the blood (viremia). A live attenuated virus vaccine is given to all children at about the ages of 15 months and school entry. The vaccine is highly effective, even though the same vaccine strain has been used for decades. It is of interest to determine what structures on the virus surface proteins are recognized by vaccine-induced neutralizing antibodies.

  • Norovirus

    Noroviruses are the predominant causes for acute non-bacterial gastroenteritis in adults, responsible for about 21 million cases including about 800 deaths in the United States alone. The virus is highly infectious and is easily transmitted through fomites. The disease course is usually mild and self-limiting leading to full recovery, but evokes only a limited immunity. Currently there are no animal models for growing and studying these viruses. All these features - easy transmissibility, high infectivity, low virulence, and constant evolution of the coat proteins - makes this a challenging virus to study and develop vaccines for protection. To better understand the mechanism of infection and identify the residues critical for attachment and entry, we are developing a panel of monoclonal antibodies using PBMC from human subjects challenged with the virus. 

  • Parininfluenza Virus Type 3

    Parininfluneza virus type 3 is a Paramyxovirus that is the most common cause of laryngotracheobronchitis (croup) in children. Most children become infected with this virus by the age of about five years. There is currently no licensed vaccine or specific therapy for the virus. 

  • Poxviruses (Smallpox, Monkeypox, Cowpox, Vaccinia)

    Poxviruses comprise a large group of viruses that infect many species. Smallpox (variola) virus was a major human scourge that was eradicated by a remarkable worldwide vaccination campaign with a live attenuated poxvirus strain (vaccinia virus). Routine universal vaccinia immunization was stopped after variola was eradicated in the late 1970s. Still, smallpox exists in some freezers in the world, and could be used as an agent of bioterrorism. Also, other poxviruses such as monkeypox and cowpox still infect humans after contact with infected animals. Even though the vaccinia virus vaccine is very effective, the basis for immunity to poxviruses is not well understood.

  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

    Respiratory syncytial virus  (RSV) is an enveloped negative strand RNA virus in the Paramyxovirus. This virus is the most common cause of serious viral lower respiratory tract illness in infants and children throughout the world. RSV is also a major pathogen in the elderly and in patients who are immunocompromised. There is currently no licensed vaccine for RSV.

  • Rift Valley Fever Virus

    Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a syndrome of humans caused by a viral zoonotic infection from a virus that primarily affects livestock. The virus is in the genus Phlebovirus and family Bunyaviridae. The virus is spread from animals to humans by the bite of mosquitoes. Outbreaks of RVF outbreaks occur across sub-Saharan Africa. The virus causes a spectrum of diseases, from mild fever syndromes to severe hemorrhagic disease. 

  • Rotavirus

    Rotavirus is the leading cause of severe diarrhea in infants and children, especially in the developing world. About 600,000 deaths annually are attributed to rotavirus, with greater than 80% of them in poor countries. The disease is usually limited in duration and oral rehydration and electrolyte replacement can help the children in recovery. Currently two vaccines (RotaTeq and Rotarix) are licensed for use. However, the immune correlates of protection from the virus are not completely understood. We are studying an intriguing mechanism of antibody-mediated neutralization of the virus, where the antibodies prevent egress of nucleic acid material from virus particles after internalization into the cell.