Yale labs to lead new investigations into emerging pathogens
Two Yale labs will lead projects, in collaboration with other leading research universities, tasked with developing new approaches to understand and combat pathogens. The ambitious projects will be funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s (HHMI) Emerging Pathogens Initiative, a $100 million effort that involves 13 project teams comprised of 70 researchers from 29 institutions.
One team, headed by Richard Flavell, Sterling Professor of Immunobiology at Yale, will explore the development of vaccines that do not directly target microbes. The group will include four researchers from Yale — Erol Fikrig, Maudry Laurent-Rolle, Aaron Ring, and Heidi Zapata — as well as researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the University of Pennsylvania.
Another team, led by Anna Pyle, Sterling Professor of Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology at Yale, will investigate how RNA biology and new biosafety technologies can be merged to create new RNA vaccines that can combat a wide spectrum of viral infections. Pyle will collaborate with four researchers from Boston University.
Flavell and Pyle are also investigators for HHMI.
In addition, Yale’s Akiko Iwasaki, Sterling Professor of Immunobiology, is part of a team led by Stanford researchers that will study how brain function is affected by viruses such as SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Yale’s Paul Turner, Rachel Carson Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, will play a key role in a fourth project, headed by the University of California, San Diego, which will explore how phage therapy can combat antibiotic-resistant infections.
A full description of the initiative can be found on the HHMI website.