Our Work

Infectious Disease

Disease knows no borders

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Existing and emerging pathogens continue to threaten human health worldwide, so at CZ Biohub San Francisco we study the basic biology of infection and immunity, and create and deploy systems to detect and respond to infectious disease 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 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.


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Organismal Infection Biology

Keir Balla‘s group, which straddles Infectious Disease and Quantitative Cell Science, discovers zebrafish viruses and deploys them as tools for capturing infection dialogs in toto with visual and molecular precision.

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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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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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Ribosomes and Human Disease

Ranen Aviner’s group uses molecular biology, transcriptomics, and proteomics to investigate how ribosomal networks change during viral infection. Aviner also works in the Biohub’s Quantitative Cell Science initiative on neurodegeneration, with the goal of designing rational, therapeutic interventions.

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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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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.