Sujan Shresta, Ph.D., and her team study the immunology and virology of mosquito-borne human pathogens such as dengue virus (DENV) and Zika virus (ZIKV). DENV causes a spectrum of clinical disease ranging from dengue fever, a self-limited febrile illness, to a life-threatening syndrome called severe dengue or dengue hemorrhagic fever/dengue shock syndrome. ZIKV has been proven to cause serious birth defects, and is also associated with other neurological conditions including Guillain-Barré Syndrome and meningoencephalitis.
Studies suggest that the host’s immune system plays a dual role in protection and pathogenesis; however, how the immune response to DENV and ZIKV protects against or contributes to severe disease remains unclear and controversial. Using mouse models, primary human cell culture models, and patient samples, Dr. Shresta and her team dissect the protective versus pathogenic mechanisms of the immune system in response to these viral infections. As mosquito-borne viruses are increasingly spreading from tropical to temperate zones worldwide, the team has also begun to investigate the emergence of DENV and ZIKV in Nepal. A better understanding of the virus-host interactions is critical for developing much-needed antivirals and vaccines against DENV and ZIKV.
Adaptive Immune Response to DENV and ZIKV
Vaccine development for DENV is challenging in that the vaccine must induce long-lasting immunity against all four DENV serotypes (DENV1-4),
Development of Vaccines Against DENV and ZIKV
Emergence of Mosquito-Borne Viruses Such as DENV and ZIKV in Nepal
Innate Immune Response to DENV and ZIKV
The IFN system is a major mechanism by which many viruses evade the cellular antiviral response. DENV and ZIKV can
Awards & Honors
- The Blasker Award from the San Diego Foundation, 2008
- Research Scholar Development award from the NIAID, 2005