FACULTY RESEARCH

Faculty List

Vaithilingaraja Arumugaswami, Ph.D.

Email Address: VArumugaswami@mednet.ucla.edu

Lab Number: 3108252020

Office Phone Number: 3107949568

Office Address:
10833 Le Conte Ave
B2-049A CHS
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Department / Division Affiliations
Member, CTSI
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Molecular & Medical Pharmacology

Research Interests
My laboratory focuses on understanding the pathogenic mechanisms of Flaviviridae family of viruses – Hepatitis C Virus, Zika Virus and Dengue Virus. Globally over 3 billion people are at risk of contracting these viral pathogens through mosquito vectors and contact with contaminated blood and bodily fluids. Zika virus (ZIKV), a major human pathogen, causes congenital eye disease and microcephaly. ZIKV is transmitted by Aedes species of mosquitoes and through sex. Currently, there is no vaccine or treatment available against ZIKV. Our main research focus is to develop a potent recombinant vaccine to prevent Zika virus infection. We have developed a reverse genetics system to engineer attenuating mutations in the Zika viral genome and animal models to test the safety and immunological profiles of these engineered vaccine candidates. In addition, we are investigating the differing impact of sexual (vaginal and rectal routes) and mosquito vector modes of transmission in infected adults on fetal outcome. For modeling congenital ZIKV eye disease, we are utilizing human pluripotent stem cells derived ocular progenitor cells and 3D optic cup organoids. In these human cell-based systems, we have observed differential activation of signaling pathways and long non-codling RNAs (lncRNAs) by various Zika viral pathotypes. We are evaluating the genetic and molecular basis of these specific cellular perturbations, which can allow for understanding the basic biology of eye development and identifying novel therapeutic interventions. We are further focusing on developing a recombinant Zika virus-based immuno-oncolytic therapy targeting glioblastoma (GB). Cancer immuno-therapies have been shown to be effective for hematologic cancers, but demonstrate limited efficacy for solid tumors. We propose that oncolytic virus based solid tumor cell killing can provide space and additional stimuli to recruit host T-cells as well as CAR-T cells to cancer site. Despite decades of research, patients with glioblastoma have a median survival of 12 to 15 months following diagnosis. Zika virus-based oncolytic therapy can provide additional treatment option to this destructive cancer.


Publications

A selected list of publications:

Tsui Irena, Moreira Maria Elisabeth Lopes, Rossetto Julia D, Vasconcelos Zilton, Gaw Stephanie L, Neves Luiza M, Zin Olivia A, Haefeli Lorena, Silveira Filho Joel Carlos Barros, Gomes Saint Clair, Adachi Kristina, Pone Marcos Vinicius da Silva, Pone Sheila Moura, Pereira Jose Paulo, Belfort Rubens, Arumugaswami Vaithilingaraja, Brasil Patricia, Nielsen-Saines Karin, Zin Andrea A   Eye Findings in Infants With Suspected or Confirmed Antenatal Zika Virus Exposure Pediatrics, 2018; 142(4): .
Gong Danyang, Zhang Tian-Hao, Zhao Dawei, Du Yushen, Chapa Travis J, Shi Yuan, Wang Laurie, Contreras Deisy, Zeng Gang, Shi Pei-Yong, Wu Ting-Ting, Arumugaswami Vaithilingaraja, Sun Ren   High-Throughput Fitness Profiling of Zika Virus E Protein Reveals Different Roles for Glycosylation during Infection of Mammalian and Mosquito Cells iScience, 2018; 1(4): 97-111.
Ramaiah Arunachalam, Dai Lei, Contreras Deisy, Sinha Sanjeev, Sun Ren, Arumugaswami Vaithilingaraja   Comparative analysis of protein evolution in the genome of pre-epidemic and epidemic Zika virus Infection, genetics and evolution : journal of molecular epidemiology and evolutionary genetics in infectious diseases, 2017; 51(4): 74-85.
Qi Hangfei, Chu Virginia, Wu Nicholas C, Chen Zugen, Truong Shawna, Brar Gurpreet, Su Sheng-Yao, Du Yushen, Arumugaswami Vaithilingaraja, Olson C Anders, Chen Shu-Hua, Lin Chung-Yen, Wu Ting-Ting, Sun Ren   Systematic identification of anti-interferon function on hepatitis C virus genome reveals p7 as an immune evasion protein Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2017; 114(8): 2018-2023.
Contreras Deisy, Arumugaswami Vaithilingaraja   Zika Virus Infectious Cell Culture System and the In Vitro Prophylactic Effect of Interferons Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE, 2016; 114(114): 2018-2023.
Irudayam Joseph Ignatius, Contreras Deisy, Spurka Lindsay, Subramanian Aparna, Allen Jenieke, Ren Songyang, Kanagavel Vidhya, Nguyen Quoclinh, Ramaiah Arunachalam, Ramamoorthy Kalidas, French Samuel W, Klein Andrew S, Funari Vincent, Arumugaswami Vaithilingaraja   Characterization of type I interferon pathway during hepatic differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells and hepatitis C virus infection Stem cell research, 2015; 15(2): 354-364.
Hatada Seigo, Subramanian Aparna, Mandefro Berhan, Ren Songyang, Kim Ho Won, Tang Jie, Funari Vincent, Baloh Robert H, Sareen Dhruv, Arumugaswami Vaithilingaraja, Svendsen Clive N   Low-Dose Irradiation Enhances Gene Targeting in Human Pluripotent Stem Cells Stem cells translational medicine, 2015; 4(9): 998-1010.
Talavera-Adame Dodanim, Gupta Ankur, Kurtovic Silvia, Chaiboonma Kira L, Arumugaswami Vaithilingaraja, Dafoe Donald C   Bone morphogenetic protein-2/-4 upregulation promoted by endothelial cells in coculture enhances mouse embryoid body differentiation Stem cells and development, 2013; 22(24): 3252-60.
Chu Derrick, Ren Songyang, Hu Stacy, Wang Wei Gang, Subramanian Aparna, Contreras Deisy, Kanagavel Vidhya, Chung Eric, Ko Justine, Amirtham Jacob Appadorai Ranjit Singh, Sinha Sanjeev, Jalali Ziba, Hardy David W, French Samuel W, Arumugaswami Vaithilingaraja   Systematic analysis of enhancer and critical cis-acting RNA elements in the protein-encoding region of the hepatitis C virus genome Journal of virology, 2013; 87(10): 5678-96.