Research | Publications | Awards
Griffiths lab - TX Biomedical Research Institute Tel: (210) 258-9562Email:
B.S. in Biology, University of Colorado Denver
The family Filoviridae contains two genera of nonsegmented, negative-strand, RNA viruses. Filoviruses are highly lethal hemorrhagic fever viruses with fatality rates of up to 90% and must be handled in maximum containment. My research involves investigating the dynamics of filovirus adaptive evolution. Specifically, my research focuses on the idea that filoviruses have high spontaneous mutation rates that are important for viral diversity, virus biology and pathogenicity.
Related RNA viruses show high rates of spontaneous mutation and my preliminary research indicates that significant diversity does exist within filovirus populations. High spontaneous mutation rates may lead to rapid evolution and the generation of a heterogeneous viral genome population, typically referred to as “quasispecies.” High spontaneous mutations rates and the resulting quasispecies help give viruses adaptive potential because they allow viruses to rapidly respond to selection pressures. Quasispecies and rapid adaptation are thought to be involved in emergence, diverse tissue tropisms, diverse host ranges, and high potential for spread to new regions.
Over the course of my project, I aim to identify the genetic and phenotypic changes in filoviruses during adaptation to cell culture. Specifically, I will determine how serial passage affects replication efficiency, infectivity, morphology, and viral genome sequence. In addition, I aim to characterize filovirus diversity in vivo.
Received student travel grant to attend 2014 ASM Biodefense and Emerging Diseases Research meeting
Chosen to present oral presentation at 2014 ASM Biodefense and Emerging Diseases Research meeting (Washington, DC)
American Society for Microbiology
American Society for Virology
Shurtleff, A.C.; Biggins, J.E.; Keeney, A.E.; Zumbrun, E.E.; Bloomfield, H.A.; Kuehne, A.; Audet, J.L.; Alfson, K.J.; Griffiths, A.; Olinger, G.G.; Bavari, S. Standardization of the Filovirus Plaque Assay for Use in Preclinical Studies. Viruses 2012, 4, 3511-3530.