RML Scientist Recognized for Virus Studies

January 8, 2014

The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and the American Committee on Arthropod-Borne Viruses has presented its Dalrymple/Young Award to Hideki Ebihara, Ph.D., an investigator who studies emerging viruses at Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML) in Hamilton, Mont. The award, given every three years to scientists in the middle of their careers, recognizes outstanding contributions to the study of viruses.

Dr. Ebihara is chief of the Molecular Virology and Host-Pathogen Interaction Unit in RML’s Laboratory of Virology. He began his studies at RML in 2009; his group focuses on the molecular virology, evolution and biology of tick-borne as well as other zoonotic viruses such as filoviruses (Ebola and Marburg), and rodent-borne hantaviruses. He previously worked at research laboratories in Tokyo, Winnipeg, and Madison, Wisc. Along with overseeing research projects at RML, Dr. Ebihara provides expert advice on research proposals submitted for funding in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Australia, Canada and the United States.

Dr. Ebihara and his research staff at RML have developed a procedure for identifying new tick-borne viruses in the bunyavirus family, which includes Rift Valley fever virus. The procedure has enabled them to discover new viruses, and they will attempt to catalogue approximately 350 previously unstudied bunyaviruses found in national repositories at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Fort Collins, Colo., and at the University of Texas at Galveston. The molecular cataloguing project will be important for disease surveillance and preparedness for future outbreaks.

“We are very proud of the important scientific contributions of Dr. Ebihara,” said Kathryn Zoon, Ph.D., director of the Division of Intramural Research (DIR) at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which oversees RML research. “His program will ensure that DIR’s research on tick-borne viruses will remain strong for years to come.”

A prior Dalrymple/Young Award recipient, Heinz Feldmann, M.D., Ph.D., recruited Dr. Ebihara to work with him at RML, where Dr. Feldmann is chief of the Laboratory of Virology.

“Dr. Ebihara has emerged as a strong leader in the fields of molecular biology and evolution of arthropod-borne viruses,” Dr. Feldmann said. “His approaches are thoughtful, creative, and innovative, and we are looking forward to many significant discoveries from his group. Dr. Ebihara represents the new generation of researchers at RML who are advancing the elegant work on tick-borne pathogens historically associated with this institution.”

ASTMH, founded in 1903, is a worldwide organization of scientists, clinicians and program professionals whose mission is to promote global health through the prevention and control of infectious and other diseases that disproportionately afflict the poor. The central activities of ASTMH members are research, healthcare and education.

RML is part of NIAID, which conducts and supports research—at the National Institutes of Health, throughout the United States, and worldwide—to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID Web site at http://www.niaid.nih.gov.

Content last reviewed on January 8, 2014