Major Areas of Research
- Identification of virus and host factors for pathogenicity
- Analysis of immune responses to vaccination and challenge to identify important components for protection
- Development of prophylactic and therapeutic strategies against highly pathogenic 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 2014-2016 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 filoviruses (EBOV and Marburg virus) as model systems. 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. Marzi received her Ph.D. in virology from the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nurnberg, Germany in 2007 where she studied the glycoprotein-mediated entry of Ebola virus (EBOV) and HIV. Later that year Dr. Marzi moved to Winnipeg, Canada to join Dr. Heinz Feldmann’s group at the National Microbiology Laboratory, Public Health Agency of Canada to work in the BSL4 laboratory on filoviruses and EBOV vaccines.
In 2008, Dr. Marzi moved with Dr. Feldmann to the NIAID Rocky Mountain Laboratories, Hamilton, MT and continued her BSL4 work 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 selected as a tenure-track investigator in the NIAID Laboratory of Virology in 2019.
The German Society of Virology recognized Dr. Marzi with the prestigious Loeffler-Frosch Award for her research on filoviruses and vaccine development in 2019.
Wakako Furuyama, D.V.M., Ph.D.
Amanda Griffin, Ph.D.
Kyle O’Donnell, Ph.D.
Kyle Shifflett, B.Sc.
Pierce Reynolds, B.Sc. – graduate student at Mayo Clinic
Jackson Emanuel, B.Sc. – graduate student at the Charite, Berlin, Germany
Keesha Matz, B.Sc. – graduate student at the University of Montana, Missoula
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.
Marzi A, Haddock E, Kajihara M, Feldmann H, Takada A Monoclonal antibody cocktail protects hamsters from lethal Marburg virus infection. 2018. J. Infect. Dis. Jun 8.
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. 2018. J. Infect. Dis. Sept 12.
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, Chadinha S, Haddock E, Feldmann F, Martellaro C, Sow S, Nyenswah TG, Massaquoi M, Scott DP, Hanley PW, Feldmann H. Mutations in Ebola virus Makona genome do not seem to alter pathogenicity in animal models. 2018. Cell Rep. May 8;23(6):1806-1816.
Marzi A, Robertson SJ, Haddock E, Feldmann F, Hanley P, Scott D, 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. 2015. Science. Aug 14;349(6249):739-42.