Viral pandemics in modern times were associated primarily with specific strains of influenza until SARS-CoV-2 arose. Nevertheless, other RNA viruses like SARS-CoV, MERS, and ZIKV have all evoked illness, fear, and death within the last two decades, while DENV and other flaviviruses have caused misery over a much longer timeframe. The Richner laboratory at the University of Illinois, Chicago College of Medicine studies the biology of these pathogens and dissects the underlying signaling, cytokine, and cellular interplay responsible for generating an effective adaptive immune response and immunologic memory following viral infection or vaccination. Other major areas of focus include understanding the biological basis of age-related diminution of the immune response and application of mRNA vaccine technology against flaviviruses and coronaviruses. His webinar will concentrate primarily on his compelling findings related to mRNA vaccines against ZIKV and DENV as well as his quest to develop a pan-coronavirus vaccine.
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