Juan Carlos Zapata
My main research interest is in virus-host interactions using animal models, genomic profiling, and basic molecular virology. I focused not only on host responses but also on changes that occur in the viral population in order to describe virus-host coevolution. I identified mutations in the arenavirus nucleocapsid protein (NP) that are likely to impact viral pathogenesis and the induction of protective immunity. During my postdoctoral training, I worked in detecting and characterizing HIV viral factors related with latency in the reservoir cells and in implanting patient-derived ATL cells into NSG mice to study cancer pathogenesis and treatment options. Currently, I am using humanized animal models to study infectious diseases (HIV, HTLV, HBV, HCV, and Dengue), human cancers and graft vs host disease (GvHD). I have also detected and characterized a CD8+ T cell sub-population, in humanized mice, that correlated with HIV protection in human beings.