Virology at the U of A
GROUNDBREAKING VIROLOGY RESEARCH
- Novel therapeutics and vaccines for Hepatitis C (Team Lead: Dr. M. Houghton). Dr. Houghton received the Lasker Medical Award in 2000 for his contribution to the discovery of the Hepatitis C virus.
- Transgenic mouse model with humanized liver (KMTTM Mouse) (Team Leads: Drs. N. Kneteman and L. Tyrrell). Using this model, a University of Alberta spinoff company, KMT Hepatech Inc., is the US National Institutes of Health primary site for testing antivirals against Hepatitis C. This model can also be used for studies of Hepatitis B, malaria, and other anti-virals.
- High throughput siRNA screening (Team Lead: Dr. E. Foley). Identification of potential new therapeutic cellular targets involved in viral uptake and replication that can be inhibited by pharmaceutical intervention.
- Immune boosters of innate immunity (Team Lead: Dr. L. Babiuk). New compounds have been identified that can be used together with anti-infectives to help clear a pathogen, as well as to act as novel adjuvants to modulate the immune response.
- HIV / AIDS Research – multi-disciplinary team studying HIV epidemiology, pathogenisis, and associated diseases. Have established a large clinical specimen bank with over 20,000 individual patient samples collected over 20 years for longitudinal studies at a local, national and global context.
AREAS OF INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION
- Hepatitis B – Dr. L. Tyrrell, former Dean of Medicine, developed the world’s first oral antiviral drug lamivudine now marketed worldwide by GSK.
- Hepatitis C – Dr. M. Houghton (Li Ka Shing Professor of Virology & Canada Excellence Research Chair), Lasker award winning scientist led the discovery of Hepatitis C virus at Chiron.
- Pox – Dr. D. Evans, Chair, Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, sits on the smallpox scientific advisory panel of the World Health Organization.
- Viral/Cell interaction – Drs. M. Berry and R. Wozniak, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Scholars.
- Vaccinology – Dr. L. Babuik, Canada Research Chair in Vaccinology and Biotechnology (founder of VIDO, Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization).