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Assistant Professor, Center for Microbial Pathogenesis, Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Department of Pediatrics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
2009 PhD, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
2013 Research Fellow, Vanderbilt University Medical School, Nashville, Tenn.
Dr. Silva earned an undergraduate degree with a double major in Molecular Biology and Microbiology at Oklahoma State University. She received her Ph.D. in Virology at Harvard University studying viral replication proteins of herpesviruses. Trained as a virologist, Dr. Silva has been studying chikungunya virus for over ten years and leads a research program on the biology of chikungunya virus. Dr. Silva’s research interests are focused on virus-host interactions that dictate chikungunya virus entry, replication within cells, tropism, and pathogenesis. Dr. Silva also serves as the BSL3 Facility Manager for the A-BSL3 Facility at Rangos Research Center.
Chikungunya virus is an emerging, mosquito-borne alphavirus that causes an acute febrile illness called chikungunya fever characterized by a maculopapular rash and incapacitating arthralgia. Acute disease can evolve into chronic arthritis in a substantial subset of patients, with symptoms persisting for months to years. Over the past fifteen years, the geographic range of the virus has expanded drastically, spreading to regions historically free of the virus, including islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans and numerous countries in the Caribbean and South and Central America. Currently, there are no licensed vaccines or therapeutics to prevent or treat infections caused by chikungunya virus. Addressing knowledge gaps in virus-host interactions and the factors that govern tissue tropism, dissemination, and pathogenesis is critical for development of treatments for this important human pathogen.
The research in my lab centers on virus-host interactions required for chikungunya virus to initiate and complete its replication cycle within cells and establish infection within a host. Using a multidisciplinary approach, we are investigating mechanisms of CHIKV cell entry, replication, and pathogenesis, with the goal of better understanding the viral and host factors that dictate CHIKV virulence, which will inform strategies for the development of antiviral therapeutics and vaccines. Research projects in the lab include:
View Dr. Silva's full list of publications from PubMed.
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