Andersen Lab

We are using infectious disease genomics to investigate the interaction between the human host and highly pathogenic viruses such as Zika, Ebola, and Lassa. Our goal is to understand how these viruses evolve in response to selection pressures imposed by the host immune system. Using a combination of computational biology, experimentation, and field work in West Africa our hope is to change the way we develop vaccines and therapeutics for these and other emerging pathogens.

 

Positions available

Come join us at the beautiful Scripps Research Institute campus in La Jolla, California. We are currently looking to hire wet lab and computational postdocs.

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Roots, Not Parachutes - a call for sustainable research collaborations

Rooted_CollaborationsInfectious disease outbreaks continue to pose challenges to global health and security, prompting reactive countermeasures. Recently, severe outbreaks of Ebola and Zika virus were designated by the World Health Organization as “Public Health Emergencies of International Concern.” Other emerging viral pathogens have warranted similar attention, including virus outbreaks from Lassa, Chikungunya, avian influenza, Nipah, SARS, and MERS. Additionally, endemic human pathogens, such as dengue and West Nile virus, have expanded to new regions due to changing demographics and increased urbanization. Recently there has been a lot of focus on “Parachute Research“, where foreign researchers “parachute” into countries affected by infectious disease outbreaks, such as Zika and Ebola. These researchers then conduct research in isolation, and depart without creating sustainable infrastructure or a lasting impact in the affected countries. In a recent commentary in the journal Cell, we instead advocate for the creation of long-term sustainable collaborations in outbreak-prone areas of the world.

International research collaborations are essential in combating major public health emergencies. Failure to collaborate can delay critical findings, hamper outbreak response, and erode trust between institutions and nations. In the commentary, we draw on our experience establishing the Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Consortium and the African Center of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Disease in West Africa and show how “rooted” collaborations can assist during public health emergencies. Recognizing that many successful infectious disease research collaborations exist, we highlight their critical and often unheralded role in mitigating and preventing infectious disease outbreaks.

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Publications

34
Total Papers
79
Open Access
26
Glamour Journals

Genomics

59%

Immunology

24%

Other

18%

Computational Work

44%

Experimental Work

24%

Field Work

15%

Reviews/Commentaries

18%

News

Recent Posts / View All Posts

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Flawed Ebola study in Science

| Publications | No Comments

In a technical comment in Science, we show how a study published in 2015 by Hoenen, Feldmann, and others was based on faulty analyzes and a misunderstanding of the findings. The original article by the authors, as well as a later published erratum, failed to account for significant data analysis errors performed by Hoenen and colleagues. 

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Navigating the Zika panic

| News, Publications | No Comments

The epidemics of Ebola virus in West Africa and Zika virus in America highlight how viruses can explosively emerge into new territories. These epidemics also exposed how unprepared we are to handle infectious disease emergencies. This is also true when we consider hypothesized new clinical features of infection, such as the associations between Zika virus infection and severe neurological disease, including microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome.

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Zika virus pilot (update)

| Data | No Comments

We have now received several hundred de-identified clinical samples from the Dominican Republic and Colombia. Unfortunately, they all have extremely low viral lows (Ct values > 38 in the few that are positive), so we’re continuing our technology development. We are following a couple of different strategies: