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The Orfeome Project is a collaboration of immunolgy and RNA/DNA virus pathogenesis experts, working together to address the hypothesis that RNA and DNA viruses encode common and unique mechanisms to manipulate virus replication efficiency and host responses to determine severe disease outcomes. More specifically, that these viral uncharacterized genes may function to auto-regulate virus replication efficiency, and/or function as an agonist to the host intracellular milieu in order to enhance virus replication.

To address this hypothesis, the proposal takes advantage of novel expression vector platforms, synthetic gene design, reverse genetics, animal models of human disease, and a defined set of biochemical and immunologic assays to identify, characterize and then determine the role of uncharacterized genes in the lung (e.g., H5N1, SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV) and in systemic infections (e.g., Ebola and HHV8)

Our goal is to design a robust screening platform that rapidly identifies and characterizes the function of these novel genes in replication and pathogenesis. Importantly, this platform should be:

  1. portable,
  2. can be rapidly applied to other highly pathogenic respiratory and microbial pathogens,
  3. will rapidly identify novel targets for therapeutic intervention,
  4. improve strategies for live attenuated or vectored virus vaccine design, and
  5. improve global responses to newly identified, epidemic disease outbreaks in human populations.

Read more about our goal and research strategies here.