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The Patton laboratory studies rotaviruses, etiological agents that represent the primary cause of severe dehydrating diarrhea in infants and young children. Globally, rotavirus infections result in nearly 500,000 deaths each year, with the vast majority occurring in developing countries. Despite their pathogenic importance, many of the fundamental events in the replication cycle of these segmented double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) viruses are not understood. An overall mission of the Patton laboratory is to acquire knowledge about the molecular biology, immunology, and epidemiology of rotaviruses that can be applied to developing methods for preventing and treating rotavirus disease. The current aims of the laboratory are to (i) elucidate the structures, functions, and interactions of viral proteins involved in viral genome packaging and replication, (ii) describe the pathway by which rotaviruses antagonize host cell interferon responses, (iii) characterize the diversity and evolutionary dynamics of circulating human rotaviruses, and (iv) develop reverse-genetic strategies to aid studies of rotavirus biology and to create live-attenuated vaccine candidates.
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