Welcome

We have two major areas of research:

  • respiratory viruses
  • newly emerging pathogens. 

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), human metapneumovirus (hMPV), and human rhinoviruses (HRV) are the major respiratory viruses of childhood. We have defined the molecular epidemiology of RSV and have demonstrated that specific genotypes of RSV are associated with greater severity of illness. We are currently exploring the genetic basis for the difference in phenotypes of strains of RSV. We were the first to describe hMPV infection in children in the United States and demonstrated that infection with this virus is common in early childhood. We are currently investigating whether maternally acquired hMPV-specific antibodies protect infants from hMPV infection. In clinical studies, we have demonstrated that HRV are a major cause of wheezing and hospitalization in children less than 2 years old. Ongoing studies will determine whether HRV are associated with lower respiratory tract infections in older children.

Recently, many previously unidentified human viruses have been discovered. Several of these viruses fall into the parvovirus or polyomavirus family of viruses. We have used molecular probes to detect these viruses in respiratory secretions, serum and plasma of both children and adults, including HIV-infected individuals suggesting that immunocompromised individuals may be susceptible to infection with these viruses. Ongoing studies are focused on the role of there new viruses in immunosuppressed individuals.

Recent Publications

Wattier RL, Vazquez M, Weibel C, Shapiro ED, Ferguson D, Landry ML, Kahn JS., "Role of human polyomaviruses in respiratory tract disease in young children." Emerging Infectious Diseases, 14:1766-8, 2008.

Piotrowska Z, Vazquez M, Shapiro ED, Weibel, C. Ferguson, D. Landry, M. L. Kahn, J. S., "Rhinoviruses are a major cause of wheezing and hospitalization in children less than 2 years of age." Pediatric Infectious Diseases Journal, 28:25-9, 2009.

Kahn JS, Kesebir D, Cotmore S, et al., "Seroepidemiology of human bocavirus defined using recombinant virus-like particles." Journal of Infectious Diseases, 198:41-50, 2008.

Shao X, Guo X, Esper F, Weibel C, Kahn JS., "Seroepidemiology of Group I Human Coronaviruses in Children." Journal of Clinical Virology, 40(3):207-13, 2007.

Kahn JS, "Newly discovered respiratory viruses" Pediatric Infectious Diseases Journal, 26(8):745-6, 2007.