The Brass laboratory is studying the pathogenesis of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and most recently influenza A virus. They are using functional genomics as a powerful methodology for uncovering such viral dependency factors. By combining the human genome sequencing project and the technology of RNAi, they can specifically deplete each human gene product, and subsequently test if loss of that factor impacts viral replication. Combined with proteomics, as well as conventional molecular genetic and biochemical approaches, functional genomics promises to greatly increase their knowledge of host-viral interactions, and further their goal of alleviating human suffering by defeating these pathogens. Their studies have revealed not only key host components which are co-opted by invading viruses, but also native host genes (e.g., the IFITM family) which confer a baseline level of resistance to influenza, as well as other devastating viruses.
Part of The Investigator's Annexe program.