Dr. Gonzaelz has left the Jacobs lab to take an Assistant Professor position at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile.  The research interests and goals of his lab are detailed below. We wish him the best of luck!

 

Pablo González, PhDAssistant Professor | Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology | Pontifical Catholic University of Chile

We are constantly exposed to viruses that can seriously affect our health. Due to the diversity and characteristics of viruses, these microbes are difficult to treat and often must be controlled by the immune system thus, extending the time needed to recovery. While a large number of viruses infect the host in an acute manner (transient infection), other viruses chronically infect the host persisting in the individual life-long.

The main interest of our research laboratory is to identify, characterize and counteract the action of molecules certain viruses to chronically infect the host. We are particularly interested in studying viruses from the herpes virus family, especially those affecting the mucosae, such as herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2). This virus persists in the host in a dormant state, characterized by symptomatic (skin lesions) and/or asymptomatic (no lesions) reactivations that translate into pathology and virus dissemination. It is estimated that HSV-2 infects nearly 500 million people worldwide and significantly increases the likelihood of acquiring HIV-1. Currently there is no vaccine to prevent HSV-2 infection.

The main research lines of our laboratory are:

A. Identification and characterization of HSV-2 virulence factors involved in the modulation of the host cell antiviral response and innate and adaptive immunity. We are especially interested in studying the role of HSV-2 surface glycoproteins in these processes. To date, 11 surface glycoproteins have been described for HSV-2.

B. Vaccine development by genetically manipulating HSV-2 (recombinant strains) to express molecular factors that favor the host antiviral response.

 

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