My laboratory focuses on understanding the pathogenic mechanisms of Flaviviridae family of viruses –
Hepatitis C Virus, Zika Virus and Dengue Virus. Globally over 3 billion people are at risk of contracting
these viral pathogens through mosquito vectors and contact with contaminated blood and bodily fluids.
Zika virus (ZIKV), a major human pathogen, causes congenital eye disease and microcephaly. ZIKV is
transmitted by Aedes species of mosquitoes and through sex. Currently, there is no vaccine or treatment
available against ZIKV. Our main research focus is to develop a potent recombinant vaccine to prevent
Zika virus infection. We have developed a reverse genetics system to engineer attenuating mutations in
the Zika viral genome and animal models to test the safety and immunological profiles of these
engineered vaccine candidates.
In addition, we are investigating the differing impact of sexual (vaginal and rectal routes) and mosquito
vector modes of transmission in infected adults on fetal outcome. For modeling congenital ZIKV eye
disease, we are utilizing human pluripotent stem cells derived ocular progenitor cells and 3D optic cup
organoids. In these human cell-based systems, we have observed differential activation of signaling
pathways and long non-codling RNAs (lncRNAs) by various Zika viral pathotypes. We are evaluating the
genetic and molecular basis of these specific cellular perturbations, which can allow for understanding
the basic biology of eye development and identifying novel therapeutic interventions.
We are further focusing on developing a recombinant Zika virus-based immuno-oncolytic therapy
targeting glioblastoma (GB). Cancer immuno-therapies have been shown to be effective for hematologic
cancers, but demonstrate limited efficacy for solid tumors. We propose that oncolytic virus based solid
tumor cell killing can provide space and additional stimuli to recruit host T-cells as well as CAR-T cells to
cancer site. Despite decades of research, patients with glioblastoma have a median survival of 12 to 15
months following diagnosis. Zika virus-based oncolytic therapy can provide additional treatment option
to this destructive cancer.
Tsui Irena, Moreira Maria Elisabeth Lopes, Rossetto Julia D, Vasconcelos Zilton, Gaw Stephanie L, Neves Luiza M, Zin Olivia A, Haefeli Lorena, Silveira Filho Joel Carlos Barros, Gomes Saint Clair, Adachi Kristina, Pone Marcos Vinicius da Silva, Pone Sheila Moura, Pereira Jose Paulo, Belfort Rubens, Arumugaswami Vaithilingaraja, Brasil Patricia, Nielsen-Saines Karin, Zin Andrea A,
Eye Findings in Infants With Suspected or Confirmed Antenatal Zika
Gong Danyang, Zhang Tian-Hao, Zhao Dawei, Du Yushen, Chapa Travis J, Shi Yuan, Wang Laurie, Contreras Deisy, Zeng Gang, Shi Pei-Yong, Wu Ting-Ting, Arumugaswami Vaithilingaraja, Sun Ren,
High-Throughput Fitness Profiling of Zika Virus E Protein Reveals
Different Roles for Glycosylation during Infection of Mammalian and
Qi Hangfei, Chu Virginia, Wu Nicholas C, Chen Zugen, Truong Shawna, Brar Gurpreet, Su Sheng-Yao, Du Yushen, Arumugaswami Vaithilingaraja, Olson C Anders, Chen Shu-Hua, Lin Chung-Yen, Wu Ting-Ting, Sun Ren,
Systematic identification of anti-interferon function on hepatitis C
virus genome reveals p7 as an immune evasion protein
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
Irudayam Joseph Ignatius, Contreras Deisy, Spurka Lindsay, Subramanian Aparna, Allen Jenieke, Ren Songyang, Kanagavel Vidhya, Nguyen Quoclinh, Ramaiah Arunachalam, Ramamoorthy Kalidas, French Samuel W, Klein Andrew S, Funari Vincent, Arumugaswami Vaithilingaraja,
Characterization of type I interferon pathway during hepatic
differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells and hepatitis C virus
Stem cell research.
Hatada Seigo, Subramanian Aparna, Mandefro Berhan, Ren Songyang, Kim Ho Won, Tang Jie, Funari Vincent, Baloh Robert H, Sareen Dhruv, Arumugaswami Vaithilingaraja, Svendsen Clive N,
Low-Dose Irradiation Enhances Gene Targeting in Human Pluripotent Stem
Stem cells translational medicine.
Chu Derrick, Ren Songyang, Hu Stacy, Wang Wei Gang, Subramanian Aparna, Contreras Deisy, Kanagavel Vidhya, Chung Eric, Ko Justine, Amirtham Jacob Appadorai Ranjit Singh, Sinha Sanjeev, Jalali Ziba, Hardy David W, French Samuel W, Arumugaswami Vaithilingaraja,
Systematic analysis of enhancer and critical cis-acting RNA elements
in the protein-encoding region of the hepatitis C virus genome
Journal of virology.