September 6, 2018

Priya Shah, assistant professor of chemical engineering, is part of a team of researchers who are providing new insight into a family of viruses that includes Zika, West Nile, Hepatitis C and dengue

Researchers at the University of California, Davis, and the University of Alberta, Canada, have made preliminary discoveries about how Zika and hepatitis C viruses reproduce at the cellular level, providing new insight into a family of viruses that also includes West Nile and dengue. Now their cutting-edge research will be supported by a $1 million grant from the prestigious W.M. Keck Foundation. The foundation primarily focuses on pioneering efforts in the areas of medical research, science and engineering, and undergraduate education.

The research has the potential to lead to new, more effective antiviral drug treatments. Millions of people could ultimately benefit, with 3.5 million cases of hepatitis C in the U.S. alone, 40 percent of the global population at risk for dengue fever (resulting in 390 million infections per year) and Zika emerging as a viral threat.

The recipients are UC Davis assistant professors Ben Montpetit of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and Priya Shah of the College of Biological Sciences and College of Engineering, and Associate Professor Christopher Fraser of the College of Biological Sciences, with partner Professor Richard Wozniak at the University of Alberta.

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