NYSCF Innovator Works to Understand the Zika Virus
NYSCF – Druckenmiller Fellow Dr. Hongda Li, The Rockefeller University, was first author on two papers investigating the zika virus. The first paper, published in Cell Stem Cell, described how zika may affect adult brain cells in addition to the mounting evidence that it causes abnormalities in the brains of developing fetuses. Using adult mouse models, the scientists showed that zika infects neural progenitor cells, cells thought to be critical in learning and memory.
The second paper in The American Journal of Human Genetics identified genetic mutations linked to the mechanisms causing autosomal-recessive primary microcephaly, a genetic form of microcephaly. This research helps illuminate the specific genetic pathways leading to microcephaly, a devastating side effect of zika infection in utero.