Location: Cleveland Clinic Florida Research & Innovation Center
The Younho Choi Lab studies the molecular mechanism of immunopathogenesis of emerging tick-borne viruses including severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus.
Dr. Choi did his PhD studies in microbiology at Seoul National University, South Korea. From 2013, postdoctoral studies on RNA viruses were conducted at the University of Southern California and Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute. In 2021, he was appointed Assistant Staff at Cleveland Clinic Florida Research & Innovation Center.
Dr. Choi’s research comprises five parts: (1) viral immune evasion and signal transduction, (2) viral genetics and animal models, (3) viral pathogenesis (4) host recognition of viral infection, (5) vaccine and treatment development. Dr. Choi is now mostly interested in understanding the molecular mechanism of immunopathogenesis of emerging tick-borne viruses including Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) virus (SFSTV), which is an RNA virus of the order Bunyavirales, genus Bandavirus, was spread to all over East Asia. SFTSV is on concern because it causes hemorrhagic fever, thrombocytopenia, and multi-organ failure with a high fatality rate (12-30%) in human. Infected ticks, mostly Haemaphysalis longicornis (Asian longhorned tick) are the major source of human SFTSV infection, however, human-to-human transmission by direct contact has been reported. Due to the lack of therapies and vaccines, there is a pressing need to understand SFTSV pathogenesis. Dr. Choi’s research uses cutting-edge genomic, biochemical, and immunological analyses of viral genes in culture as well as animals including mouse and ferret. Because SFTSV is BSL3 agent, Dr. Choi is well trained for BSL3 work and uses a reverse genetic approach for generating a new and mutant virus in the BSL3 facility to define the viral pathogenesis and to develop vaccines.
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Dr. Jae Jung will study the natural course of infection and viral reassortment of the emerging pathogen, Severe Fever with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome Virus (SFTSV).