Track: 25, Arbovirus pathogenesis and development of innovative vaccine candidates
Eric Snijder (LUMC)
Marjolein Kikkert (LUMC); Martijn van Hemert (LUMC)
Barry Rockx (EMC)
Leiden University Medical Centre
Description PhD project
Characterization of emerging arboviruses helps us to understand the risks they pose, and be better prepared. The goals of this project are to characterize the phenotypes of viral variants, using reverse genetics based on both rational design and variants identified in field studies. These will be studied to assess their transmissibility, virulence and immune evasion capabilities, and to assess the molecular determinants involved. I am collaborating with colleagues looking into innate immune evasion mechanisms, neuropathogenicity, and virulence phenotypes in avian and mosquito models in order to answer these questions. Results from these studies will be applied to create attenuated designs for use in a range of vaccine platforms.
My progress so far has involved designing and creating attenuated variants and vaccine candidates, and developing both in vitro and in vivo models in which to test them.
I am currently working mainly with Usutu Virus (USUV) as a model but the scope of this project also includes using these tools to study West Nile Virus (WNV), and the potential to incorporate other arboviruses with risks of emergence in line with a proactive one health approach.