There are more than 120 viruses that can infect humans and 72 of these can spread to us from other species. Incredibly this list continues to expand! Our lab investigates how such viruses exploit our cells and how we defend ourselves from their relentless attacks. Our goal is to use this knowledge to prevent and treat viral infections. Learn more about our lab, work, discoveries and publications.
Using functional genomics to study the pathogenesis of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1), flaviviruses, hepatitis B virus (HBV), and influenza A virus, we have discovered key host proteins which are co-opted by invading viruses and host genes (e.g., the IFITM family) which protect our cells from viral attack. Read more
“These viral dependencies on human proteins represent weaknesses that could potentially be used to prevent or stop infection,” said Brass. “Just like any enemy, the more we know about how these viruses function and replicate, the better.” . Read more
“This work represents the first look at how our cells defend themselves against Zika virus’ attack,” said Dr. Brass. “Our results show that Zika virus has a weakness that we could potentially exploit to prevent or stop infection.” . Read more
“There are certain characteristics of a virus you can only learn about by keeping it intact and seeing it in action in single cells,” explains Jill Perreira, Research Associate in the Brass lab and a co-lead author on the study. “Researchers have been studying HIV for 30 years, but we still didn’t have a really good way to look inside infected cells. We thought that if we could just see what’s going on, then we could get a better idea of what the virus is doing and how to stop it.” Read more