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Purdue professor part of National Academies Zika virus workshop


A Purdue University professor and virus expert is participating in a national workshop on Tuesday (Feb. 16) to explore potential Zika virus research priorities.

At the request of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Assistant Secretary of Preparedness Response, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine are hosting the one-day public workshop to explore potential research priorities arising as a result of the emergence of Zika virus in the United States. The workshop will begin at 8:30 a.m. and will be publicly available via live stream at

"This workshop will bring together key stakeholders and experts to discuss the research priorities needed to inform medical and public health practice that can be implemented under real-world conditions to better understand the true risk that Zika virus poses to the public in the U.S. and adequate prevention efforts and interventions to mitigate that risk," the National Academies Institute of Medicine said in a statement about the workshop.

Richard Kuhn, professor and head of Purdue's Department of Biological Sciences and inaugural director of the Purdue Institute for Inflammation, Immunology and Infectious Diseases (PI4D), will speak at the workshop.

Kuhn will be part of an expert panel discussing viral genetics, evolution, structure and replication; viral disease pathogenesis, complications, immune responses, virus clearance and persistence; and animal models.

Kuhn currently studies the Zika virus and has studied flaviviruses, a group that includes Zika, dengue and West Nile, for more than 10 years. The National Institutes of Health funds his research into the Zika virus, and his focus is on the viral replication and interactions with human and mosquito hosts.

Kuhn identifies targets for vaccines, antiviral drugs and treatments for viruses within the flavivirus group. Kuhn and Michael Rossmann, Purdue's Hanley Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences, were among the team that was to first map the structure of the dengue virus in 2002.

Purdue recently announced a $250 million investment in the life sciences over the next five years to advance research that improves lives and supports the life sciences business sector. The investment includes the establishment of the Integrative Neuroscience Center and Institute for Inflammation, Immunology and Infectious Disease.

The National Academies workshop agenda is available at More information is available at

Writer: Elizabeth K. Gardner, 765-494-2081,

Sources: Richard Kuhn, 765-494-4407,

National Academies Zika Research Workshop,

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Note to Journalists: The workshop will be held at the National Academy of Sciences building in Washington, D.C. Reporters interested in attending the workshop should email to register. The webinar will be live streamed on the IOM Zika Workshop website

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