Gaining understanding

At Dalhousie University, our world-renowned molecular virology and viral pathogenesis researchers are making great strides towards better understanding viral pathogens, as well as the host response to infection.

As a student researcher, you’ll gain extensive training in areas like:

•                viral genetics and evolution
•                host innate immune responses to viral infection
•                viral pathogenesis
•                vaccines and antivirals
•                cancer-fighting oncolytic viruses

Significant breakthroughs

Our research team has achieved a number of significant breakthroughs.

These include fundamental advances like Dr. Christopher Richardson’s discovery of new receptors for measles virus, Dr. Denys Khaperskyy’s discovery of new ways that influenza A virus interferes with host immune responses, Dr. Craig McCormick’s discovery of the unfolded protein response as an important virus-host interface, and Dr. Jean Marshall’s fundamental studies of mast cell responses to viral infection. In fact, basic virology research has long been a strength in this Department, with Dr. Stoltz leading the way in characterizing and naming the polydnaviruses.

There is a strong translational aspect of our research. For example, Dr. Roy Duncan’s fundamental studies of reovirus fusion-associated small transmembrane (FAST) proteins led to the development of the Fusogenix technology that underpins Entos Pharmaceuticals’ made-in-Canada COVID-19 DNA vaccine, Covigenix (currently in Phase I clinical trials across the street at the Canadian Center for Vaccinology). Similarly, Drs. Shashi Gujar, Chris Richardson, Roy Duncan and Brent Johnston study how oncolytic viruses train the immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells.

The Clinical Virologists on our team, Dr. Todd Hatchette and Dr. Jason Leblanc, conduct research in the development of sensitive and rapid new assays to detect viral infection. Meanwhile, Dr. Lisa Barrett is shaping public health policy towards to the goal of Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) elimination, while pursuing fundamental studies of how aging immune systems handle viral infections.

We have all re-focused our research efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. David Kelvin and his international team of researchers have made important new discoveries of the immune correlates of severe COVID-19 disease. Drs. Khaperskyy and McCormick have identified and characterized new candidate antiviral drugs. Dr. Richardson has developed new tools for SARS-CoV-2 diagnostics and vaccine development. Drs. Barrett, Hatchette and Leblanc have led the remarkable scale-up of SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic testing in the Provincial Virology Lab, while also developing new public outreach models for rapid testing in the community.

Our team

Lisa Barrett
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Roy Duncan

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Shashi Gujar
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Todd Hatchette

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Brent Johnston
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David Kelvin

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Denys Khaperskyy
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Jason LeBlanc
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Jean Marshall
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Craig McCormick

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Christopher Richardson   

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Don Stoltz

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