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Research in Emerging Infectious Diseases


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Emerging infectious diseases:

Viruses are one of the most serious threats to human health today. The current monkeypox outbreak and COVID-19 pandemic have emphasized the importance of basic science research aimed at elucidating the mechanics of viral infection, replication, and transmission. Nucleo-Cytoplasmic Large DNA Viruses (NCLDVs), such as vaccinia, ORF and others are the principal monophyletic assemblage of gigantic eukaryotic DNA viruses. They either replicate solely in the cytoplasm of the host cell or begin their life cycle in the host nucleus and complete it in the cytoplasm. NCLDVs are found in a wide range of animals and were responsible for the death of almost a quarter of the world's pig population in 2021.

What we do

Despite the frequent spill-over of NCLVs to farmers we still do not understand the factors which permit their transmission between hosts. Studying NCLVs provides the understanding of how viruses expand their host range and how to prepare for future pandemics. We aim to characterize the molecular mechanisms controlling Nucleo-Cytoplasmic Large DNA Virus functions and infectivity. We examine genes for each stage of the virus life cycle using modern techniques such as CRISPR-Cas9 and transposon mutagenesis screening. 

Selected Publications:

5. Single-dose replicating poxvirus vector-based RBD vaccine drives robust humoral and T cell immune response against SARS-CoV-2 infection, Stephen Boulton, Joanna Poutou, Nikolas T Martin, Taha Azad, Ragunath Singaravelu, Mathieu JF Crupi, Taylor Jamieson, Xiaohong He, Ricardo Marius, Julia Petryk, Christiano Tanese de Souza, Bradley Austin, Zaid Taha, Jack Whelan, Sarwat T Khan, Adrian Pelin, Reza Rezaei, Abera Surendran, Sarah Tucker, Emily EF Brown, Jaahnavi Dave, Jean-Simon Diallo, Rebecca Auer, Jonathan B Angel, D William Cameron, Jean-Francois Cailhier, Réjean Lapointe, Kyle Potts, Douglas J Mahoney, John C Bell, Carolina S Ilkow, Molecular Therapy, 2022.

4. A computational approach to rapidly design peptides that detect SARS-CoV-2 surface protein S, Maryam Hajikarimlou, Mohsen Hooshyar, Mohamed Taha Moutaoufik, Khaled A Aly, Taha Azad, Sarah Takallou, Sasi Jagadeesan, Sadhna Phanse, Kamaledin B Said, Bahram Samanfar, John C Bell, Frank Dehne, Mohan Babu, Ashkan Golshani, NAR genomics and bioinformatics, 2022.

3. Identification of FDA-approved bifonazole as a SARS-CoV-2 blocking agent following a bioreporter drug screen, Zaid Taha, Rozanne Arulanandam, Glib Maznyi, Elena Godbout, Madalina E Carter-Timofte, Naziia Kurmasheva, Line S Reinert, Andrew Chen, Mathieu JF Crupi, Stephen Boulton, Geneviève Laroche, Alexandra Phan, Reza Rezaei, Nouf Alluqmani, Anna Jirovec, Alexandra Acal, Emily EF Brown, Ragunath Singaravelu, Julia Petryk, Manja Idorn, Kyle G Potts, Hayley Todesco, Cini John, Douglas J Mahoney, Carolina S Ilkow, Patrick Giguère, Tommy Alain, Marceline Côté, Søren R Paludan, David Olagnier, John C Bell, Taha Azad, Jean-Simon Diallo, Molecular Therapy, 2022.

2. SARS-CoV-2 S1 NanoBiT: A nanoluciferase complementation-based biosensor to rapidly probe SARS-CoV-2 receptor recognition, Taha Azad, Ragunath Singaravelu, Emily EF Brown, Zaid Taha, Reza Rezaei, Rozanne Arulanandam, Stephen Boulton, Jean-Simon Diallo, Carolina S Ilkow, John C Bell, Biosensors and Bioelectronics, 2021.

1. Nanoluciferase complementation-based bioreporter reveals the importance of N-linked glycosylation of SARS-CoV-2 S for viral entry, Taha Azad, Ragunath Singaravelu, Zaid Taha, Taylor R Jamieson, Stephen Boulton, Mathieu JF Crupi, Nikolas T Martin, Emily EF Brown, Joanna Poutou, Mina Ghahremani, Adrian Pelin, Kazem Nouri, Reza Rezaei, Christopher Boyd Marshall, Masahiro Enomoto, Rozanne Arulanandam, Nouf Alluqmani, Reuben Samson, Anne-Claude Gingras, D William Cameron, Peter A Greer, Carolina S Ilkow, Jean-Simon Diallo, John C Bell, Molecular Therapy, 2021.

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