The Silva Lab studies Chikungunya virus (CHIKV), an emerging alphavirus responsible for major disease outbreaks in countries of the Indian Ocean region and the Western hemisphere. This important human pathogen causes an acute febrile illness characterized by a maculopapular rash and incapacitating arthralgia, which can evolve into chronic arthritis. CHIKV, like other alphaviruses, is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito.
Little is known about how this virus interacts with its hosts and the factors that govern tissue tropism and pathogenesis. We are investigating mechanisms of CHIKV cell entry, replication, and pathogenesis, with the aim of better understanding the viral and host factors that contribute to CHIKV virulence.