Research | More on Jean L. Patterson
Jean L. Patterson, Ph.D.
Chair and Scientist
Texas Biomedical Research Institute
Department of Virology and Immunology and SNPRC
Tel: (210) 568-9431Fax: (210) 670-3329Email:
Texas Biomed's Department of Virology and Immunology develops vaccines and therapeutics against highly lethal viral pathogens, and determines how they replicate and spread through basic and applied research. To defeat viruses that cause AIDS, hepatitis, herpes, hemorrhagic fevers, and a host of other illnesses, our scientists approach viruses on two different fronts. First, they examine how viruses replicate and propagate in order to identify their vulnerability. Second, they study how the immune system recognizes a virus and how best to stimulate immune response to clear viral infections.
Since the anthrax attacks in 2001 the US government has been committed to developing countermeasures to potential biological weapons, now referred to as select agents. Texas Biomed has had a BSL4 maximum containment laboratory since 2000. Patterson’s laboratory has worked on the development of countermeasures against many select agents. Her group works to develop therapies and vaccines against naturally occurring pathogens that can cause sporadic but lethal outbreaks. She has helped develop three vaccines against Ebola, one with Emory University and one with Crucell pharmaceuticals and one with Bavarian Nordic, all are under going further studies. The laboratory has also worked with the University of Maryland on the development of two vaccines against Lassa fever. Lassa fever is a hemorrhagic fever which causes serious outbreaks in West Africa; more than 500,000 persons are infected every year with approximately a 10 percent fatality rate and many different forms of lasting effects. The Department of Defense and NIH are committed to an Ebola and Marburg vaccine by 2015, Patterson’s group is working with them toward this goal.
Along with Dr. Ricardo Carrion, Jr., an Associate Scientist in the department, she has developed the marmoset as a model for many infectious agents. The marmoset is a small non-human primate that is not readily available to researchers. Its size and behavior make it a much better model than other larger and more aggressive non-human primates. To date Drs. Carrion and Patterson have utilized the marmoset for the model development of Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus, Lassa fever virus, Ebola and Marburg virus. The pathogenesis of these viral diseases in marmoset s closely mimics that of human disease.
The BSL4 laboratory is utilized by the federal agencies, DOD, NIH, FDA and FBI for studies that require specific capabilities. It is also utilized by pharmaceutical companies for testing of new treatments and vaccines against all highly lethal and contagious pathogens.
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M & I Graduate Student