Dr Slonchak's research is focused on harnessing the power of systems biology to uncover the molecular mechanisms of flavivirus-host interactions. Flaviviruses represent a substantial global disease burden. They include human pathogens such as West Nile virus (WNV), Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) and Zika virus (ZIKV). To date, there are no specific treatments for the diseases caused by neurotropic flaviviruses, mainly because the mechanisms of their neuropathogenesis are not clear.


Recent developments in transcriptomics, proteomics, high-throughput molecular methods and computational tools gave rise to systems biology. This novel approach in research allows understanding the larger picture of biological processes by putting its pieces together in contrast to the traditional reductionist biology, which relies on taking the pieces apart and studying them in isolation. This holistic approach provides the opportunity to dissect the molecular mechanisms of the complex biological phenomena that involve interactions between multiple genes, proteins and pathways such as flavivirus-host interactions. Dr Slonchak has established an array of tools for high-throughput analysis of flavivirus infection and developed a systems biology paradigm for understanding the virus-host interactions. They also employ this research strategy to identify the molecular mechanisms that determine functions of flavivirus noncoding RNAs known as subgenomic flaviviral RNAs.


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