Doctor of Philosophy, Stanford University, MI-PHD (2020)
Doctor of Medicine, Stanford University, MED-MD (2011)
Bachelor of Science, Johns Hopkins University, Public Health (2005)
There is an urgent need for prognostic assays to predict progression to severe dengue infection, which is a major global threat. While the majority of symptomatic dengue patients experience an acute febrile illness, 5-20% progress to severe infection associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Early monitoring and administration of supportive care reduce mortality and clinically usable biomarkers to predict severe dengue are needed. Here, we review recent discoveries of gene sets, anti-dengue antibody properties, and inflammatory markers with potential utility as predictors of disease progression. Upon larger scale validation and development of affordable sample-to-answer technologies, some of these biomarkers may be utilized to develop the first prognostic assay for improving patient care and allocating healthcare resources more effectively in dengue endemic countries.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.tim.2019.12.003
View details for PubMedID 31982232
Eliciting broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) against the four dengue virus serotypes (DENV1-4) that are spreading into new territories is an important goal of vaccine design. To define bNAb targets, we characterized 28 antibodies belonging to expanded and hypermutated clonal families identified by transcriptomic analysis of single plasmablasts from DENV-infected individuals. Among these, we identified J9 and J8, two somatically related bNAbs that potently neutralized DENV1-4. Mutagenesis studies showed that the major recognition determinants of these bNAbs are in E protein domain I, distinct from the only known class of human bNAbs against DENV with a well-defined epitope. B cell repertoire analysis from acute-phase peripheral blood suggested that J9 and J8 followed divergent somatic hypermutation pathways, and that a limited number of mutations was sufficient for neutralizing activity. Our study suggests multiple B cell evolutionary pathways leading to DENV bNAbs targeting a new epitope that can be exploited for vaccine design.
View details for DOI 10.7554/eLife.52384
View details for PubMedID 31820734
There is a need to identify biomarkers predictive of severe dengue. Single-cohort transcriptomics has not yielded generalizable results or parsimonious, predictive gene sets. We analyzed blood samples of dengue patients from seven gene expression datasets (446 samples, five countries) using an integrated multi-cohort analysis framework and identified a 20-gene set that predicts progression to severe dengue. We validated the predictive power of this 20-gene set in three retrospective dengue datasets (84 samples, three countries) and a prospective Colombia cohort (34 patients), with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.89, 100% sensitivity, and 76% specificity. The 20-gene dengue severity scores declined during the diseasecourse, suggesting an infection-triggered host response. This 20-gene set is strongly associated with the progression to severe dengue and represents a predictive signature, generalizable across ages, host genetic factors, and virus strains, with potential implications for the development of a host response-based dengue prognostic assay.
View details for PubMedID 30699342
Dengue virus (DENV) infection can result in severe complications. However, the understanding of the molecular correlates of severity is limited, partly due to difficulties in defining the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) that contain DENV RNA in vivo. Accordingly, there are currently no biomarkers predictive of progression to severe dengue (SD). Bulk transcriptomics data are difficult to interpret because blood consists of multiple cell types that may react differently to infection. Here, we applied virus-inclusive single-cell RNA-seq approach (viscRNA-Seq) to profile transcriptomes of thousands of single PBMCs derived early in the course of disease from six dengue patients and four healthy controls and to characterize distinct leukocyte subtypes that harbor viral RNA (vRNA). Multiple IFN response genes, particularly MX2 in naive B cells and CD163 in CD14+ CD16+ monocytes, were up-regulated in a cell-specific manner before progression to SD. The majority of vRNA-containing cells in the blood of two patients who progressed to SD were naive IgM B cells expressing the CD69 and CXCR4 receptors and various antiviral genes, followed by monocytes. Bystander, non-vRNA-containing B cells also demonstrated immune activation, and IgG1 plasmablasts from two patients exhibited clonal expansions. Lastly, assembly of the DENV genome sequence revealed diversity at unexpected sites. This study presents a multifaceted molecular elucidation of natural dengue infection in humans with implications for any tissue and viral infection and proposes candidate biomarkers for prediction of SD.
View details for PubMedID 30530648
Viruses are obligate intracellular pathogens that are dependent on cellular machineries for their replication. Recent technological breakthroughs have facilitated reliable identification of host factors required for viral infections and better characterization of the virus-host interplay. While these studies have revealed cellular machineries that are uniquely required by individual viruses, accumulating data also indicate the presence of broadly required mechanisms. Among these overlapping cellular functions are components of intracellular membrane trafficking pathways. Here, we review recent discoveries focused on how viruses exploit intracellular membrane trafficking pathways to promote various stages of their life cycle, with an emphasis on cellular factors that are usurped by a broad range of viruses. We describe broadly required components of the endocytic and secretory pathways, the Endosomal Sorting Complexes Required for Transport pathway, and the autophagy pathway. Identification of such overlapping host functions offers new opportunities to develop broad-spectrum host-targeted antiviral strategies.
View details for PubMedID 30043139
Little is known about the clinical presentation and outcomes associated with spinal implant infections. Here, we describe a single center's experience in a retrospective cohort of 109 individuals with spinal implant infections, including clinical, microbiological, therapeutic, and outcome data.
View details for PubMedID 27704027
The distribution and orientation of origin-binding protein (OBP) sites are the main architectural contrasts between varicella-zoster virus (VZV) and herpes simplex virus (HSV) origins of DNA replication (oriS). One important difference is the absence of a downstream OBP site in VZV, raising the possibility that an alternative cis element may replace its function. Our previous work established that Sp1, Sp3, and YY1 bind to specific sites within the downstream region of VZV oriS; we hypothesize that one or both of these sites may be the alternative cis element(s). Here, we show that the mutation of the Sp1/Sp3 site decreases DNA replication and transcription from the adjacent ORF62 and ORF63 promoters following superinfection with VZV. In contrast, in the absence of DNA replication or in transfection experiments with ORF62, only ORF63 transcription is affected. YY1 site mutations had no significant effect on either process. Recombinant viruses containing these mutations were then constructed. The Sp1/Sp3 site mutant exhibited a significant decrease in virus growth in MeWo cells and in human skin xenografts, while the YY1 site mutant virus grew as well as the wild type in MeWo cells, even showing a late increase in VZV replication in skin xenografts following infection. These results suggest that the Sp1/Sp3 site plays an important role in both VZV origin-dependent DNA replication and ORF62 and ORF63 transcription and that, in contrast to HSV, these events are linked during virus replication.
View details for DOI 10.1128/JVI.01538-12
View details for Web of Science ID 000310585300056
View details for PubMedID 22933283
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3497629