MGB-SB Lab Group

Our research is carried out in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UTMB. The laboratory is co-directed by Drs. Bradrick and Garcia-Blanco and is focused on two areas of biomedical importance: (i) host-pathogen interactions involving pathogenic flaviviruses such as dengue, yellow fever and zika viruses, and (ii) alternative splicing regulation of the interleukin-7 receptor alpha (IL7Rα) pre-mRNA and its connection to autoimmunity, especially in the context of multiple sclerosis. 

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Human and insect host factors important
for flaviviruses.
Flaviviruses are a major health problem in the tropics and represent an emerging danger to global health. Previous work from the laboratory employed en masse approached to identify host factors, both insect and human, that impact infection by pathogenic flaviviruses. Some of these are pro-viral factors required for efficient viral replication, while others are antiviral factors, which limit infectivity and are part of the host defense against viral pathogens. 

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Alternative splicing in autoimmunity.
In collaboration with Dr. Simon Gregory (Duke University), we previously showed that a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) associated with increased risk of multiple sclerosis is important in the regulation of the alternative splicing of IL7Rα transcripts. This receptor is critical for T cell ontogeny and function, which are intimately linked to the development of multiple sclerosis.