The project builds upon previous work in the Balistreri research group where large genetic screens were used to identify cellular proteins that play crucial roles in the infection of different RNA viruses, including pathogens that can cause lethal respiratory diseases in children. The project, which was given a 6/6 score by both a national and international evaluation commetees, will be founded by The Academy of Finland for five years. The aim is to characterise the function of the identified cellular proteins and understand how they favor, or inhibit, virus infection. The gained knowledge will be used to develop novel antiviral strategies aimed at interfering with cellular resources that each virus needs. The research is based on collaborations with national and international top Universities and the used of state-of-the-art technologies such as CISPR/Cas9 gene editing, single-molecule resolution microscopy, artificial intelligence, and an arsenal of cell biology and biochemical approaches. The goal is to find new, affordable cures for pathogenic human viruses.
From September 2018 our Lab will be funded by the Academy of Finland for research on virus-cell interactions and the identification of novel antiviral targets.