Infectious Diseases

Virology

The Molecular Virology Group in Trieste (Marcello) and the Vector Borne Group in New Delhi (Sunil) investigate the molecular characteristics of different members of the fl avivirus family, including dengue, chikungunya, zika and tick-borne encephalitis viruses. Delhi (Chandele) runs a joint program with the Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA to identify novel biomarkers and therapeutics, also testing and evaluating strategies for improving vaccine design. The Membrane Protein Biology Group (Arockiasamy) strives to uncover the molecular mechanisms underlying the function of membrane proteins, especially focusing on the properties of ion transport and protein translocation across inner membranes of bacterial pathogens, primarily Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Research on HIV/AIDS is carried out in Trieste by the Molecular Medicine (Giacca) and Molecular Virology Groups, which investigate the molecular interactions between the virus and human cells. Rotavirus is also the focus of research by the Molecular Immunology Group (Burrone).

Highlights

The Molecular Virology Group in Trieste made important advances in our understanding of how Hepatitis C overcomes the host immune response (Cevik et al., 2017, J. Virol., 91, e00880-17) and also reported the development of a novel portable viral diagnostic device that can be operated using smart phone technology (Tagliabue et al., 2017 BBRC, 492, 558). Collaboration with the Vector Borne Diseases group in New Delhi monitored the co-infection status of Chikungunya virus and Dengue virus in a large Indian disease outbreak in 2016. The results found a surprisingly large degree of co-infection and highlight the critical importance of testing for both viruses to improve patient treatment (Kaur et al., 2017, New Microbe New Infect., 20, 39).