barrettAlan DT Barrett, PhD
Professor, Pathology and Microbiology & Immunology
John D. Stobo, MD Distinguished Chair in Vaccinology
Director, Sealy Center for Vaccine Development

Email: abarrett@utmb.edu
Overview:
Molecular genetics of flaviviruses; bunyaviruses; tropical virus diseases; vaccine development.

Education: PhD, 1983, University of Warwick, United Kingdom
MSc, 1980, University of Warwick, United Kingdom
BSc, 1978, University of Warwick, United Kingdom

Research Interests

Our laboratory is undertaking basic research on the development of vaccines against flavivirus diseases. This includes West Nile, Japanese encephalitis, yellow fever and dengue. We undertake studies on the excellent yellow fever 17D vaccine as a model to understand the molecular basis of attenuation of this vaccine. This is of major importance as the 17D vaccine virus is being used as an attenuated backbone to generate chimeric vaccine viruses against other flavivirus diseases, including dengue and Japanese encephalitis. We are also studying the molecular basis of reversion to neurovirulence of this vaccine virus. In addition, recombinant DNA technology and infectious clone technology/reverse genetics are being used to identify molecular determinants of virulence of West Nile and Japanese encephalitis viruses with the aim of mutating these virulence determinants to develop candidate attenuated vaccine strains. In addition, we investigate the molecular epidemiology of flaviviruses as it is important to understand genetic and antigenic variation of a particular virus for design of candidate vaccines that are effective against all known forms of a particular virus. A number of collaborations have been established with other arbovirologists at UTMB including Drs. Bob Tesh, Scott Weaver and Steve Higgs that include studies on dengue, yellow fever and Oropouche viruses. The latter is an emerging bunyavirus found in the Amazon Basin which causes a febrile illness similar to dengue. Finally, collaborations with Drs Jim Lee and Vicne Hilser of the Sealy Center for Structural Biology and Molecular Biophysics at UTMB investigate the structure-function of the ?avivirus envelope protein to identify immunogens associated with protective immunity.

The Research Program Involves Collaborations with:

  • Division of Virology, National Institute of Biological Standards and Control, U.K.
  • Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • U.S. Naval Medical Research Center Detachment, Lima, Peru
  • Instituto Evandro Chagas, Belem, Brazil

Recent Publications

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