We study the infections and innate immune responses to Enveloped RNA viruses – a remarkably diverse family of viruses, some of which are the most ubiquitous disease-causing viruses of humans and animals. Besides studying basic properties of how these important pathogens grow and kill cells, we have three general areas of research focus:

  1. Development of vectors for cancer- and immuno-therapy. In collaboration with the Copik lab, we have developed viral “oncolytic” viruses which act in concert with immune cells to enhance the specific killing of cancer versus normal cells.

  2. For many RNA viruses, an initial acute infection can transition to a prolonged or persistent infection, in which infected cells survive and continue to produce progeny virus. We are interested in how:
    • the infected cell changes during a persistent infection to avoid recognition by the immune system, and
    • the virus produced from persistent infections differs from virus produced during acute infection.

  3. In collaboration with the Seal lab in College of Engineering, we have a range of projects where we are helping to develop novel nanoparticles as potent antiviral agents and uncovering the mechanisms of their ability to inactivate a wide range of pathogenic human viruses.

Recent Publications

  1. Varudkar N, Oyer J, Copik A and Parks GD. 2021. Oncolytic Parainfluenza Virus Combines with NK Cells to Mediate Killing of Infected and Noninfected Lung Cancer Cells within 3D Spheroids: Role of Type I and III Interferon Signaling. J. Immunother Cancer 9:e002373. doi: 10.1136/jitc-2021-002373.

  2. Neal CJ, Fox CR, Sakthivel TS, Kumar U, Fu y, Drake C, Parks GD, and Seal S. 2021. Metal-mediated Nanoscale Cerium Oxide Inactivates Human Coronavirus and Rhinovirus by Surface Disruption. ACS Nano. 15(9):14544-14556. doi: 10.1021.

  3. Kumar U, Fox CR, Neal CJ, Sakthivel TS, Fu y, Parks GD, and Seal S. 2022. Potent Inactivation of Human Respiratory Viruses Including SARS-CoV-2 by a Photo-activated Self-Cleaning Regenerative Anti-viral Coating. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 14:40659-40673. doi: 10.1021.

  4. Kedarinath K, Fox CR, Crowgey E, Mazar J, Phelan P, Westmoreland TJ, Alexander KA, and Parks GD. 2022. CD24 Expression Dampens the Basal Antiviral State in Human Neuroblastoma Cells and Enhances Permissivity to Zika Virus Infection. Viruses 14:1735. doi: 10.3390/v14081735.

  5. Fox CR and Parks GD. 2022. Complement Inhibitors Vitronectin and Clusterin Are Recruited from Human Serum to the Surface of Coronavirus OC43-Infected Lung Cells through Antibody-Dependent Mechanisms. Viruses 14:

  6. Varudkar N, Shiffer E, Oyer J, Copik A and Parks GD. 2023. Delivery of a Novel Membrane-anchored Fc Chimera Enhances NK Cell-Mediated Killing of Tumor Cells and Persistently Virus-Infected Cells. Plos One, 18(5):e0285532.doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.

  7. Fox CR, Kedarinath K, Neal CJ, Sheiber J, Kolanthai E, Kumar U, Drake C, Seal S, Parks GD. 2023. Broad-Spectrum, Potent, and Durable Ceria Nanoparticles Inactivate RNA Virus Infectivity by Targeting Virion Surfaces and Disrupting Virus-Receptor Interactions. 28(13):5190

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