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Lakdawala Lab

Principal Investigator

Seema S. Lakdawala, PhD
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439 Bridgeside Point II
450 Technology Dr.
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Research Description

Respiratory viruses like Influenza and coronaviruses pose a major public health risk from seasonal epidemics and sporadic pandemics. The Lakdawala lab studies the molecular properties contributing to the epidemiological success of these viruses to better predict future pandemics. There are two main areas of research in my lab 1) exploring succesful viral replication in human airway cells and 2) defining properties necessary for efficient airborne transmission.

We combine biochemistry and sophisticated microscopy tools to define where, when and how assembly of viral genomic RNA occurs. This research has broad implications for understanding the reassortment potential of circulating animal influenza viruses and may lead to the development of new antiviral targets. In addition, airborne transmission of respiratroy viruses is critical for rapid spread during epidemics and pandemics. We have established a method to study the viability of viruses in expelled aerosols and droplets at different environmental conditions as well as the airborne transmissibility of respiratory viruses in the ferret model. These studies will define the viral and environmental properties that promote the spread of influenza and other respiratroy viruses. Combining these two areas of research we will be able to develop a comprehensive surveillance system to determine the pandemic potential of circulating zoonotic viruses, which will be useful in all areas of pandemic preparedness.

In collaboration with CMU, we are also incorporating data science to study the impact of non-pharamcuetical interventions on transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Our work on Public Health Interventions aGainst Human Transmission (PHIGHT) of COVID has helped inform public policy and will enhance forecasting tools for coronaviruses and influenza viruses. Our interactive dashboard can be found at www.phightcovid.org  

Click here to leave the University of Pittsburgh site and visit Dr. Lakdawla's lab site.

Lab Members:

Dr. Valerie Le Sage (Research Assistant Professor)

Dr. Jenny Jones (Postdoctoral Fellow)

Dr. Nicole Rockey (Postdoctoral Fellow)

Andrea (Janie) French (PMI graduate student)

Meredith Shephard (Research Technician)

Sydney Walter (Research Technician)


Valerie Le Sage -Research Assistant Professor