The Patel Group
Our group study molecular aspects of hepatitis C virus infection and replication, specifically mechanisms of virus entry; neutralizing antibodies & vaccine development; virus-host interactions and identifying factors contributing to virus-associated progression of liver disease.
A major hurdle for the design of effective treatments and vaccines is the significant genetic variation of the virus worldwide. This is a result of the inherent high mutation rate of the virus enabling it to rapidly evolve and evade the host immune responses. In order to develop new targets for effective therapy and preventative vaccines it is necessary to gain greater understanding of the processes involved in virus infection and the effect on cellular metabolism.
The research in my group is focused on:
- Molecular aspects of virus infection and replication with a specific emphasis on studying mechanisms of virus entry and morphogenesis
- Virus-host interactions and viral pathogenesis
- Factors involved in progression to liver disease. Here our work is particularly focused on investigating host immunity in cohorts of HCV-infected patients with respect to the B-cell and antibody responses and their links with extrahepatic disorders
- Vaccine development – we are using structural and antibody-based approaches to develop novel candidate vaccines
- High-throughput screens of large compound libraries to identify novel inhibitors of virus infection that would also facilitate basic research on viral life cycle at the mechanistic level.