FURI | Fall 2021

Harnessing Zika Virus to Access the Neuroimmune System

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Neuroinflammation has been implicated in nearly every neurodevelopmental, and degenerative disease, yet the capability to manipulate neuroimmune cell types remain limited. Microglia, a neuroimmune cell type, have developed a resistance to established viral tools. However, it has been shown that Zika Virus can suppress the microglial immune response. In recent years, research into Zika has developed tools such as the Zika plasmid vectors, which provide a starting point for synthetic biology. The present study aims to develop a microglial selective gene vector by engineering incompetent Zika virus and evolving the virus into human microglia optimized gene vector.

Student researcher

Garrett Moormann

Biomedical engineering

Hometown: Tucson, Arizona, United States

Graduation date: Spring 2022