Department of Emerging Infectious Diseases

Emerging Infectious DiseasesEmerging infectious diseases are infectious diseases whose incidence in humans have increased in the past 20 years and threaten to increase in the near future. We are working on the basic research to develop and produce countermeasures against emerging infectious diseases, especially viral hemorrhagic fevers and influenza.

Emerging Infectious Diseases


  • Professor Jiro Yasuda
  • Assistant Professor Yohei Kurosaki
  • Assistant Professor Shuzo Urata
  • Assistant Professor Haruka Abe
  • Research Fellow Yuri Ushijima
  • Research Fellow Sayaka Okada
  • Assistant Mayuko Kimura
  • Assistant Tomomi Kamiyama
  • Graduate Student Olamide Oloniniyi


Analyses of replication mechanisms of highly pathogenic viruses

In infected cells, the viruses replicate using various cellular machinery and release a large number of progeny virions. Our interests are to clarify the molecular mechanisms of virus replication in host cells. We are currently analyzing the molecular interactions between viral proteins and cellular factors in virus infected cells. Especially, we are focusing on highly pathogenic viruses, such as Ebola, Marburg, Lassa and Influenza viruses.

Development of novel antiviral strategies

To establish novel antiviral strategies against viral hemorrhagic fevers and influenza, we are identifying the cellular factors which have antiviral activity and analyzing the molecular mechanisms of their antiviral action. We will also start highthroughput screening of organic and chemical compound libraries for antiviral drug discovery against viral hemorrhagic fevers.

Development of detection methods for highly pathogenic viruses

In case of outbreak of emerging infectious diseases, rapid and accurate diagnosis is essential to control infection and to prevent further transmission. We have developed novel diagnostic assay for emerging viral diseases.

Studies on Lassa fever in Nigeria

Lassa fever is a viral hemorrhagic fever and now endemic in West African countries. Annually 300,000-500,000 peoples are infected with Lassa virus and 5,000 patients have died in Lassa fever every year. We are carrying on the epidemiological studies, the development of novel diagnostic methods and the pathological studies on Lassa fever in collaboration with a Nigerian group.

Studies on endogenous retroviruses

Recently, it has been reported that a portion of live attenuated vaccines for pets, which were produced using mammalian cell lines, were contaminated with infectious endogenous retrovirus. Furthermore, in therapeutic use of animal cells, tissues, and organs derived from pigs as donors for xenotransplants, a major international concern is the possibility of cross-species transmission of infectious porcine endogenous retrovirus from animal donor to immunosuppressed human transplant patients. To reduce the risk induced by endogenous retroviruses in vaccine preparation and xenotransplantation, we are developing the strategies to regulate the production of endogenous retroviruses from cells.

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