Elina I. Zúñiga

Title
Assistant Professor
Department
Section of Molecular Biology
Institution
University of California, San Diego
Address
9500 Gilman Drive # 0322
3106 Bonner Hall
City, State, Zip
La Jolla, CA 92093-0322
Country
United States
E-mail
eizuniga[at]ucsd.edu
Website
http://labs.biology.ucsd.edu/zuniga/index.htm
Research Field
Immunology
Award Year
2002
Country Of Origin
Argentina
Mentor Name
Michael Oldstone, M.D.

Research

Microorganisms have evolved sophisticated mechanisms to interfere with the ensuing immune response, leading to a race between microbe (virulence) and immune system (resistance) that dictates whether the pathogen establishes chronically or is eliminated. Dramatic examples of human viruses wining this race are human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV). Despite major scientific and medical efforts, these viruses continue to affect the lives of millions of people globally.

Viral persistence requires a long-term relationship between the host and the microbe that involves multiple layers of interactions from molecular to cellular to whole organisms. Our laboratory studies cellular and molecular aspects of virus-host interactions during acute versus chronic viral infections to determine general principles of viral immune-evasion, persistence and pathogenesis. The ultimate goal is to modulate or recover immune system functions to prevent or eradicate chronic viral infections.