Developing Therapeutics for Infectious Diseases


Infectious diseases impose major public health risks. For instance, SARS-CoV-2 is a novel coronavirus identified in December of 2019 which is responsible for the ongoing global pandemic. Drug design related to infectious diseases can be directed toward two major pathways:

  1. targeting viral proteins
  2. targeting the host-cell proteins by antiviral agents

Designing antiviral therapeutics including drugs and peptides that target the viral proteins have several benefits such as targeted specificity against the virus while maintaining minimal detrimental effects on humans. Our long-term goal is to design, synthesize and evaluate the efficacy of highly potent and selective antiviral therapeutics targeting the viral proteins of SARS-CoV-2, dengue and Zika viruses, employing state of art computational modelling and bioinformatics, robust in-vitro screening, and a broad spectrum of experimental techniques including mass spectrometry, ITC, NMR, and X-ray crystallography.

Experience Gained

Students will do various tasks in the different phase of the project including: 

  • Reading and reviewing scientific articles
  • Performing computational screening and computer aided drug design
  • Synthesizing and characterizing drug and peptides
  • Conducting protein binding assay experiment and analyzing data
  • Acquiring and interpreting mass spectrometry data
  • Machine learning and principal component analysis
  • Presenting poster in conferences and publishing articles in scientific journals

Majors and Interests Needed

  • Chemists
  • Biochemists
  • Biologists
  • Microbiologists
  • Biomedical Engineers
  • Computational Scientists
  • Bioinformaticians
  • Statistician and Data Scientists   

Team Advisors

  • Name
  • Mohammad A. Halim, Ph.D.

    Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry