Profile of the Month

Justin Chu Jang Hann

BSc (Hons), PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Microbiology and Immunology

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Molecular RNA Virology and Antiviral Strategies

Positive-strand RNA viruses encompass over one-third of all virus genera and include numerous human pathogens, such as dengue virus, West Nile virus, Enterovirus 71, Chikungunya virus, MERS coronavirus and hepatitis C virus. Host factors participate in most, if not all steps of positive-strand RNA virus infection, including entry, viral gene expression, virion assembly and release. Moreover, host factors are targeted by positive-strand RNA viruses to modulate host gene expression and immune defenses. In our current study, human Enterovirus 71, mosquito borne flaviviruses (Zika and Dengue) as well as Chikungunya virus are used as the virus models to decipher the interplay of essential host factors with positive-strand RNA viruses. Knowledge gained from these investigations has enabled us to facilitate the formulation of effective vaccine or therapeutic intervention against these medically important virus infections and possibly other pathogenic positive-strand RNA viruses.