Research Summary

Flavivirus encephalitis in India – new approaches to improving the diagnosis and understanding the disease mechanisms

Acute encephalitis is a life-threatening inflammation of the brain. Outbreaks of acute encephalitis result in many thousands of deaths in India every year, and leave many more permanently disabled, notably affecting children. The exact cause of this brain inflammation remains unknown in about 70% of the cases. I am working with teams of virologists and clinical microbiologists to identify viruses associated with this condition.

In particular, I study a family of viruses called Flaviviruses – notorious members of this family include Japanese encephalitis virus, dengue viruses and Zika virus. My interest lies both in expanding the spectrum of agents known to cause encephalitis and in developing an understanding how these viruses cross the fortress like barrier between the blood and the brain to infect the brain.