Hinh Ly, MA, PhD

Hinh Ly

Contact Info

hly@umn.edu

Mailing Address:
295 AS/VM Building
1988 Fitch Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55108

PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

MA, University of California, Los Angeles

BS, University of California, Los Angeles


Summary

Lassa fever virus infection can lead to severe and sometime fatal hemorrhagic fever diseases in humans, for which there is no vaccine or effective drug. Studies of Lassa (LASV) and other pathogenic arenaviruses have been hindered by the strict requirement for BSL-4 containment to work with these select agents. Dr. Ly's lab has developed an infectious molecular clone for a prototypic BSL2 arenavirus (Pichinde virus) as well as a safe and convenient surrogate animal model for LASV. These novel systems have afforded us with unique resources and unprecedented opportunities to investigate in details the processes of viral entry/infection, genome replication/transcription and virulence. They are also interested in characterizing novel mechanisms of host innate-immune suppression by these viruses and in developing novel vaccines against bacterial and viral pathogens that can cause severe and lethal diseases in humans and animals.

More specifically, Dr, Ly's lab has a keen interest in understanding the molecular mechanisms of arenavirus-mediated immune suppression. They focus their major research effort on characterizing the roles of the arenaviral nucleoprotein in inhibiting the production of the type I interferon in virus-infected cells. We have, for example, discovered for the first time that arenaviral nucleoproteins posses a unique enzymatic (RNase) activity that can degrade immune-stimulated biological molecules (RNAs) in infected cells, which formed the basis for my funded R01 grant. Dr.Ly's lab has more recently found that this viral nucleoprotein can also modulate the activities of different host factors, such as the immune activator protein PACT (the subject of my R01 renewal application, submitted in 2017 but not funded) as well as the cellular apoptosis-inducing factor AIF1 (the subject of my R21 grant, submitted in 2016 but not funded) in order to optimize viral replication. They are also interested in developing novel vaccines against bacterial and viral pathogens that can cause severe and lethal diseases in humans and animals. Dr. Ly has prepared and submitted several grant applications to different agricultural funding agencies on these efforts, some of which have been funded and others have not. While several new grant applications are in review, more NIH R01/R21 and other types of grant application will be prepared and submitted (along with several local faculty colleagues and collaborators elsewhere) in order to further our on-going and new research directions.

Expertise

Arenavirus, Innate Immunity, Vaccine Development

Research

Research Summary/Interests

Lassa fever virus infection can lead to severe and sometime fatal hemorrhagic fever diseases in humans, for which there is no vaccine or effective drug. Studies of Lassa (LASV) and other pathogenic arenaviruses have been hindered by the strict requirement for BSL-4 containment to work with these select agents. We have developed an infectious molecular clone for a prototypic BSL2 arenavirus (Pichinde virus) as well as a safe and convenient surrogate animal model for LASV. These novel systems have afforded us with unique resources and unprecedented opportunities to investigate in details the processes of viral entry/infection, genome replication/transcription and virulence. We are also interested in characterizing novel mechanisms of host innate-immune suppression by these viruses. These efforts may lead the development of effective therapeutics against this deadly viral pathogen.

Publications

Teaching

Courses

  • CMB 8303 – Comparative Models of Disease – course coordinator and instructor
  • VMED 5410 – Scientific Writing and Speaking – course instructor