Investigating virus-host interactions to control infection
Michael leads a team that is currently researching how our innate immune system can help stop the virus behind COVID-19. They are also studying patient antibodies, antiviral drug development and an RNA-based vaccine. An international leader in the field of RNA viruses and innate immunity, Michael’s research has helped to define the innate immune response against viruses as well as strategies to control viral infection.
Earlier in his career, he led a team in Dallas that revealed RIG-I as a pathogen recognition receptor and identified the molecules in the RIG-I pathway that serve as the alarm system that triggers innate immunity when foreign RNA from viruses - such as SARS-CoV-2, hepatitis C, the flu and Zika - infect the human body. This work has led to huge advances in understanding innate immune regulation and infection by hepatitis C virus, and informed the development of drugs that can now cure most hepatitis C-infected patients. In addition to studies of COVID-19, Michael is working on ways to stop Zika and West Nile virus, and on defining processes of vaccine protection against HIV.
Affiliations: Founder and Director, Center for Innate Immunity and Immune Disease; Co-Director, Center for Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases; Professor, Department of Immunology, University of Washington; Adjunct Professor, Global Health, UW Schools of Public Health and Medicine; Adjunct Professor, Microbiology, UW School of Medicine; Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Interferon and Cytokine Research