Major Areas of Research
- Pathogenesis of filoviruses
- Animal model development for filoviruses
- Vaccine development for emerging viruses
Highly pathogenic viruses, including filoviruses, arenaviruses, flaviviruses, and paramyxoviruses, continue to pose a significant threat to humans with their potential to cause global public health crises. In 2014, such a crisis was barely circumvented by the global commitment of resources to fight the Ebola virus (EBOV) epidemic that devastated West Africa and spread to Nigeria and the United States. Although there is still no FDA-licensed EBOV treatment available, despite years of extensive research, the 2014 to 2016 epidemic did result in the acceleration of clinical trials for vaccines with extensive preclinical portfolios. Among them is the vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV)-based vaccine (VSV-EBOV) that has shown promising efficacy in a ring vaccination approach in Guinea. This vaccine is being used (not licensed) in an emergency ring vaccination approach with the hopes of limiting the ongoing EBOV outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
In order to facilitate the development of therapeutics and vaccines against any emerging virus, a detailed understanding of virus-host interactions and the mechanisms by which these viruses cause often lethal disease in humans is urgently needed. Likewise, a better grasp of the mechanisms by which vaccines and therapeutics elicit protective immune responses against these pathogens is critically important. In order to achieve this, we will use Marburg virus (MARV), which is a close relative of EBOV and causes sporadic human hemorrhagic fever outbreaks in Africa with up to 90 percent case fatality rates, as a model system. We will first investigate MARV pathogenesis, and then use that knowledge to drive the development of novel therapeutics and vaccines. The long-term goal is to develop an approach that can be applied to other highly pathogenic and emerging viruses.
Dr. Andrea Marzi received her Ph.D. in virology from the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nurnberg, Germany in 2007. Her Ph.D. studies were focused on glycoprotein-mediated virus entry for Ebola virus (EBOV) and HIV. Dr. Marzi then moved to Winnipeg, Canada, where she joined Dr. Heinz Feldmann’s group at the National Microbiology Laboratory within the Public Health Agency of Canada. There, she started her work on the development of EBOV vaccines. In 2009, Dr. Feldmann moved his group to the NIAID Rocky Mountain Laboratories, Hamilton, Montana, and Dr. Marzi continued to work as a visiting fellow on vaccine development for highly pathogenic viruses using primarily the vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) platform. She also studied the pathogenesis of filoviruses and developed small animal models for these pathogens. Recently, she expanded the VSV vaccine platform to other emerging pathogens like Zika virus. In 2013, Dr. Marzi was promoted to staff scientist, and in 2017 to associate scientist. Dr. Marzi was recognized with the prestigious Loeffler-Frosch Award from the German Society of Virology for her research on filoviruses and vaccine development in 2019.
Wakako Furuyama, Ph.D.
Bharti Bhatia, Ph.D.
Keesha Matz, B.Sc.
Pierce Reynolds, B.Sc. – graduate student at Mayo Clinic
Jackson Emanuel, B.Sc. – graduate student at Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, Berlin, Germany
Marzi A, Menicucci AR, Engelmann F, Callison J, Horne EJ, Feldmann F, Jankeel A, Feldmann H, Messaoudi I. Protection against Marburg virus using a recombinant VSV-vaccine depends on T and B cell activation. 2019. Front Immunol. 2019 Jan 22;9:3071.
Marzi A, Haddock E, Kajihara M, Feldmann H, Takada A. Monoclonal antibody cocktail protects hamsters from lethal Marburg virus infection. J Infect Dis. 2018 Nov 22;218(suppl_5):S662-S665.
Nicholas VV, Rosenke R, Feldmann F, Long D, Thomas T, Scott DP, Feldmann H, Marzi A. Distinct biological phenotypes of Marburg and Ravn virus infection in macaques. J Infect Dis. 2018 Nov 22;218(suppl_5):S458-S465.
Emanuel J, Callison J, Dowd KA, Pierson TC, Feldmann H, Marzi A. A VSV-based Zika virus vaccine protects mice from lethal challenge. Sci Rep. 2018 Jul 23;8(1):11043.
Marzi A, Chadinah S, Haddock E, Feldmann F, Arndt N, Martellaro C, Scott DP, Hanley PW, Nyenswah TG, Sow S, Massaquoi M, Feldmann H. Mutations in Ebola virus Makona genome do not seem to alter pathogenicity in animal models. Cell Rep. 2018 May 8;23(6):1806-1816.
Marzi A, Robertson SJ, Haddock E, Feldmann F, Hanley PW, Scott DP, Strong JE, Kobinger G, Best SM, Feldmann H. GMP-grade VSV-EBOV rapidly protects macaques against infection with the 2014/15 Ebola virus outbreak strain. Science. 2015 Aug 14;349(6249):739-42.