Susan Uprichard

Associate Professor

Loyola University Chicago
Hepatology
Fahey Building, Room 167

Email: sluprich@uic.edu

The objective of our research is to facilitate the development of effective antiviral therapies and vaccines against Hepatitis C Virus. Although HCV infects more than 2% of the world population and represents a significant public health burden, research efforts to understand HCV infection have been hindered by the lack of experimental systems. For this reason, one initial and continuing focus of the laboratory is the establishment, characterization, and optimization of the HCV experimental models needed to dissect the HCV life cycle, understand molecular mechanisms of HCV-associated liver disease, and identify the viral-host interactions that determine the outcome of infection.

Based on our success establishing the first infectious HCV cell culture system, our current in vitro efforts include studying the viral-host interactions that regulate the intracellular trafficking of the virus (e.g. entry, uncoating, assembly, and egress), developing a high throughput screening platform to identify potential HCV inhibitors, performing genomic screens to identify host cell factors that regulate viral infection, and developing RNAi therapeutics for the treatment of chronic HCV infection.

In addition, as small animal models are still needed to elucidate the critical viral-host interactions that determine how the virus avoids clearance by the host immune response and how the resulting chronic infection induces the HCV-associated liver pathology observed, efforts to develop mouse models of HCV replication are also in progress. These projects, which build upon our recent discovery that the JFH-1 HCV viral clone can replicate in mouse hepatocytes, include both transgenic and liver repopulation strategies.