Funded Research

Neurodevelopmental Implications of Congenital Zika Virus Infection
Principal Investigator(s):
  • Jonathan Miner, M.D., Ph.D. Medicine
  • Robyn Klein, M.D., Ph.D. Medicine
  • Center for Metabolism and Immunity
Award Mechanism:
Interdisciplinary Research Initiative
Project Period:
2/1/2017 - 1/31/2019
Total Amount:

Brief background of the proposal and its relevance to the CDI’s objectives

Zika virus (ZIKV) is a rapidly emerging mosquito-transmitted flavivirus of medical concern because of its ability to impede brain development. ZIKV invades the brain of congenitally infected mice as well as neonatal mice infected in the first week of life. Additionally, only some congenitally infected mice develop microcephaly, which has also been observed in congenitally infected humans. The goal of this project is to define the long-term neurodevelopmental and behavioral effects of congenital and early neonatal ZIKV infection. In particular, the effects of congenital infection on learning and memory in apparently normal neonates will be examined.

Proposed specific aims

·         Define the histological features of congenital ZIKV infection using a mouse-adapted strain of ZIKV.

·         Determine the impact of congenital ZIKV infection on hippocampal function and spatial learning.

·         Determine the effects of congenital ZIKV infection on cerebral functional connectivity using optical tomography.

Potential impact on child health

This proposal has direct implications for pediatric disease and especially for ZIKV infection in the pediatric population. These studies may ultimately lead to therapies for this potentially devastating infectious disease.