The Gale laboratory is participating in two research projects within the PNWRCE:
Mechanisms of Ebola Virus Pathogenesis and Innate and Adaptive Immunity
Ebolavirus causes severe hemorrhagic disease in humans with mortality rates that approach 90%. Currently, no licensed vaccines or antiviral drugs are available to control Ebolavirus infections. The NIAID has classified Ebola virus as a category A virus, which is a classification that is given to only the most dangerous viruses. To broaden our understanding of this deadly pathogen, the Gale laboratory is collaborating with the laboratories of Dr. Yoshihiro Kawaoka at the University of Wisconsin and Dr. Ilhem Messaoudi at the Oregon Health & Science University to understand how Ebolavirus interacts with components of infected host cells and suppresses host cell immune responses. This knowledge is critical for the development of effective therapeutic treatments for patients infected with Ebola virus.
Pro- and Anti-viral Host Pathways in Flavivirus Pathogenesis
Flaviviruses are RNA viruses that are transmitted by insect vector and infect a wide-range of species. Due to their constant transmission, adaptation to new hosts, rapid replication, and high virulence, flaviviruses represent a major public health threat. West Nile Virus (WNV) is an emerging flavivirus that has rapidly spread throughout the Western hemisphere since its introduction to New York in late 1999. The emergence of WNV in the United States has placed millions of people at risk as WNV infection is now a common cause of encephalitis in the United States, and has caused death at an increased rate in the past decade. Currently, no licensed vaccines for protection against WNV have been developed and the current antiviral for WNV treatment are non-specific and of limited use. Therefore, research in how the immune system responds to WNV infection is urgently needed to advance our ability to develop more effective vaccine and treatment regimens.
To better understand how the immune system responds to WNV at the early stages of infection, the Gale laboratory is collaborating with the laboratory of Dr. Michael Diamond at Washington University to define the virus-host interactions that trigger and control innate immunity against flavivirus infection. Our goal is to define therapeutic targets of the innate immune response, the host kinome, and virus replication that control flavivirus infection. Our studies are designed to deliver novel targets and compounds that can serve antiviral therapeutic applications through regulation of innate immunity, protein kinase function, and actions of novel flavivirus inhibitors. These studies will deliver novel therapeutic targets for strategies to modulate immunity to WNV infection.