The research endeavors of Hideki Ebihara, Ph.D., are to better understand the molecular basis of the replication, pathogenesis, host-virus interaction and evolution of highly pathogenic emerging viruses. His laboratory utilizes molecular and cellular biological techniques and disease modeling to decipher host-pathogen interactions and pathogenesis with molecular detail.
Dr. Ebihara has been involved in the development of vaccines against several emerging viruses — the long-term research goal of his lab is to improve the health care community's ability to counteract emerging zoonotic diseases.
- Research targets pathogens. Dr. Ebihara's research focuses on various zoonotic emerging viruses causing serious life-threatening illnesses in humans, such as Ebola virus; Marburg virus; hantavirus; emerging tick-borne viruses such as Heartland virus, Bourbon virus and Powassan virus; and mosquito-borne viruses causing hemorrhagic fever and encephalitis.
- Dissecting the viral replication machinery and host-virus interactions. Dr. Ebihara's laboratory conducts research to identify the roles of viral protein functions and virus-host protein interactions in virus replication and modulation and dysregulation of cellular and immune responses. These responses are essential processes for viral replication and significant molecular triggers that induce disease in a host.
- Elucidating the pathogenesis of emerging viral diseases. Dr. Ebihara investigates the mechanisms of disease that result from infection by various viruses causing hemorrhagic fevers. This research yielded better disease model systems for evaluating vaccines and post exposure treatments.
- Understanding the mechanisms of virulence acquisition and emergence. Using virological and evolutionary bioinformatics approaches, Dr. Ebihara's research group studies the evolutionary strategies of tick- and mosquito-borne viruses that contribute to the emergence of novel emerging viruses and their impact on human health. Additionally, Dr. Ebihara's research also contributes to the discovery of novel tick-borne viruses.
- Development of medical countermeasures. Dr. Ebihara's research has been geared toward the development of effective live-attenuated viral vector-based vaccines against viral hemorrhagic fevers (such as Ebola virus disease and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome) as well as post-exposure interventions for viral hemorrhagic fevers that specifically target the viral replication cycle, and aberrant host responses induced by virus-host protein interactions.
Significance to patient care
The ultimate goal of Dr. Ebihara's research is to facilitate the control of diseases caused by emerging zoonotic viruses. Clinical diseases caused by emerging viruses are often severe and have a significant fatality rate due to complicated disease processes and pathogenesis involving both systemic virus replication and dysregulation of host immune responses. Therefore, through a better understanding of molecular basis of virus replication, host-virus interaction and pathogenesis, Dr. Ebihara's laboratory aims to develop therapeutics that specifically target the viral replication cycle and aberrant host responses induced by virus-host protein interactions.
Dr. Ebihara's research on molecular evolution of emerging arthropod-borne viruses improves the understanding of the evolution and re-emergence of tick- and mosquito-borne viruses such as Zika, and may facilitate future prevention and prediction of newly emerging viruses as well as development of improved differential diagnostics for emerging viruses.
- Associate editor, Frontiers in Microbiology (Virology), 2015-present
- Member, Bunyavirus Study Group, International Committee on Taxonomy of Virus (ICTV), 2014-present
- Recipient, The Dalrymple/Young Award, American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and the American Committee on Arthropod-Borne Viruses, 2013
- Editorial board, Archives of Virology, 2013-present
- Member, Filoviridae study group, ICTV, 2010-present