Shining New Light – Dr. Trushar Patel (University of Lethbridge)

Shining New Light – Dr. Trushar Patel (University of Lethbridge)


“First the deadly flu and the new and alarming numbers coming in from the CDC tonight.” The real problem right now is that we see
virus pandemics now almost every month. The yellow fever virus… The Zika virus… West Nile virus, Powassan virus.. Dengue fever, the Japanese Encephalitis virus…
The idea is, we’d really just like to make a difference. Viruses are prevalent in the
entire world. There is no place you can go where you won’t come across a virus.
What we do here in this lab is we try to understand how viruses survive.
My name is Trushar Patel, I work here as an assistant professor, and I’m a Canada Research
Chair in RNA and Protein Biophysics. So my lab works on understanding how viral
non-coding regions of the RNA talk to our host proteins, or human proteins. If we understand
that communication, then we can develop and design some sort of blockage that can disrupt
their communication, and that will then inhibit or suppress viral replication leading us to
some sort of treatment for those viral infections. I’m Tyler Mrozowich, I’m a master’s candidate
here in Dr. Trushal Patel’s lab. In a perfect world, the outcome of this research
would be a vaccine that we could apply that could focus on multiple different viruses
at once… A vaccine that would apply to a family of viruses, not just the specific virus.
Once of the recent studies that we just published in a journal called Viruses, we actually studied
different types of genotypes from the Hepatitis B virus and we demonstrated that there are
these concentric, overlapping nucleotide sequences that can be targeted for potential drug therapy
development. I worked with Trushar during my undergrad
and I found he was just a really excellent supervisor. He really motivated you, his research
program is really interesting. Nobody else in the University really does what he does. That really drew me in and made me want to stay. We have an ongoing commitment to train and teach the next generation of trainees, starting
from the first year undergrad all the way to the PhD program. If you are motivated,
we help you create and harness your research skills. We make you a better researcher, so
that helps us push our research forward but it also helps you get your career moving forward.

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