About our research group/lab
Arboviruses are expanding globally due to demographic change, global travel and trade, climate change, and political and social instability. As a consequence, there is an increase in co-circulating arboviruses, with increasingly complex interactions varying from cross protection to enhanced disease. The aim of this research line is to understand the basic arbovirus infection lifecycle and the factors impacting it, using a range of in vitro and in vivo models. Current research focuses on the impact of the zika virus on bone metabolism in relation to flavivirus immunity, and on the in-depth qualitative, quantitative and functional characterization of antibody profile in response to arbovirus infection and vaccination. This is done by building a B cell cloning and immortalization platform, supporting departmental research lines through departmental strategic funding (the Talent Fund), and so on.
Hantaviruses, while less common, are an intriguing EID – variants exist that differ greatly in their human health impact and mode of transmission. A key element of EID preparedness is to understand how in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo models can be used to assess critical parameters that can inform the public health response. This research studies fundamental aspects of hantavirus pathogenesis as a model EID, to answer key research questions regarding tissue tropism, transmission and the role of the host immune response in organ-specific pathogenesis.
Pathogenesis, immunology and prevention of zoonotic coronaviruses.
In addition to arboviruses, influenza viruses and coronaviruses rank highest among the emerging infectious disease threats. This research focuses on the infection, pathogenesis, and transmissibility of the coronavirus in reservoir hosts and disease hosts. After the discovery of MERS CoV and field studies defining its origin as a camel virus, our current work focuses on pathogenesis in relation to viral variants on the one hand and risk factors in humans on the other. We also use the B cell platform for an in-depth characterization of immune responses, including the cross-reactive response to human-specific coronaviruses.