Researchers at La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI) are investigating how CHIKV infects cells and how the immune system responds to a CHIKV attack.
LJI Research Assistant Professor Daniela Weiskopf, Ph.D., and LJI Professor Alessandro Sette, Dr.Biol.Sci., are investigating how the immune system’s T cells recognize and target CHIKV. Their goal is to uncover which sites on the virus, called “epitopes,” prompt a strong response from human T cells. Dr. Weiskopf is also working with patient samples from a 2014-2015 CHIKV outbreak in Colombia to learn more about T cell activity in people who were diagnosed with the disease. This research is a key step in developing vaccines that trigger a protective T cell response.
A critical tool in this CHIKV research is the Immune Epitope Database (IEBD), home of expertly curated data and cutting-edge tools to analyze how the immune system recognizes and responds infectious agents and allergens. The IEDB is directed by Dr. Sette and LJI Professor Bjoern Peters, Ph.D. Scientists around the world have submitted their data on CHIKV infections and immune responses to the IEDB.
LJI Professor, President, and CEO Erica Ollmann Saphire, Ph.D., MBA, is investigating how human antibodies target viruses such an CHIKV and related alphaviruses. Her laboratory uses high-resolution imaging techniques such as cryo-electron microscopy to map viral structures and uncover where viruses are vulnerable to neutralizing antibodies.
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