Our Work

Infectious Disease Initiative

Disease knows no borders

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Existing and emerging pathogens continue to threaten human health worldwide. That’s why we create and deploy systems to detect and respond to infectious diseases globally.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has shown, infectious diseases and emerging new viruses remain a major threat to human health. Our goals are to understand virus-host interactions as a guide to developing antiviral therapeutics, to develop vaccines that can prevent infection, to preemptively identify emerging viruses, and to disseminate the technologies needed to diagnose and discover the source of microbial infections in the developing world.

These efforts are anchored by the pioneering work of CZ Biohub co-President Joe DeRisi in microbial genomes and genomic diagnostics, and by Senior Investigator Peter Kim, whose lab is developing new strategies to enable vaccine creation.

Groups

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Viral Replication and Transcription

Amy Kistler’s group combines synthetic biology, genetic, biochemical, and computational approaches to dissect and compare the minimal components, host factor requirements, and function of diverse viral replication and transcription complexes.

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Rapid Response Team

Our Rapid Response Team, led by Cristina Tato, is tasked with disseminating the modern technologies of sequencing, metagenomics, and molecular epidemiology to health agencies in the U.S. and developing world. The aim is to empower public health experts to use genomic methods to identify the causes of microbial infections and for surveillance of emerging pathogens.

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Protein Science

John Pak’s Protein Science group develops and applies methods to design, produce, and characterize viral antigens and antibodies that are highly relevant to human health.

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Virus–Host Interactions

The group led by Carolina Arias explores virus–host interactions in cells infected with medically relevant viruses. Using comparative virology, the team aims to identify and validate conserved nodes within the proteostasis network that can be targeted pharmacologically to develop broad-spectrum antivirals.

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Organismal Infection Biology

Keir Balla‘s group discovers zebrafish viruses and deploys them as tools for capturing infection dialogs in toto with visual and molecular precision.