Shedding Light on Emerging and Re-Emerging Infectious Diseases
Around the world, outbreaks of emerging and re-emerging viruses pose a significant threat to public health. In recent years, outbreaks of Ebola virus, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, and Zika virus have had devastating effects on people and health care systems, especially in developing nations.
Because we know so little about the pathologic or molecular processes of these diseases, dealing with outbreaks often means relying solely on supportive care. As Canada Research Chair in Molecular Pathogenesis of Emerging and Re-Emerging Viruses, Dr. Jason Kindrachuk aims to better understand the biological mechanism(s) that lead to these diseases.
Kindrachuk and his research team are characterizing the complex relationships between the cellular responses to these emerging and re-emerging viruses and the clinical manifestations of the diseases they cause. In particular, they are focusing on viruses for which there are few, if any, drug treatments available, since as a result, these often pose the greatest threat to public health.
Specifically, Kindrachuk and his team will investigate how host cells and tissues respond to these viruses at the level of complex cell signalling networks. They will also use basic science and clinical research to develop the knowledge needed to develop effective therapies.
As the rates of outbreaks continue to rise, rapid and detailed characterization of molecular pathogenesis is critical to identifying treatments and improving patient care. Ultimately, Kindrachuk’s research will help achieve these goals.