Dr. Nichols focuses on understanding how viruses utilize cellular signaling and trafficking pathways for replication and how these interactions result in disease. Dengue virus infection results in approximately 50 - 100 million cases of disease and 22,000 deaths annually. About 2.5 billion people, or 40% of the world’s population, live in areas where Dengue virus is transmitted. There is no treatment for Dengue virus infection, and while vaccines are currently in clinical trials, none have been fully approved for use. Therefore, it is critical that we elucidate the mechanisms Dengue uses to replicate and spread throughout the body in order to create better antiviral drugs and potentially better vaccines. To address this question, Dr. Nichols’ lab aims to identify viral and cellular proteins involved in Dengue virus assembly, maturation, and release from infected cells. This work is carried out through the creation of mutant viruses that lack key elements of the viral envelope protein as well as knocking down expression of particular human proteins.

Curriculum Vitae