Dr. Singh’s laboratory is focused on the development, characterization and evaluation of candidate vaccines for Ebola Viral Disease (EVD). Ebolavirus outbreaks have a huge impact on public health. In the absence of any licensed treatment and/or vaccine for EVD, mortality rates, especially in poor African countries, are often very high. A number of approaches are being tried to develop an effective Ebola vaccine. Two experimental vaccines that have made into the clinical trials are those based on EBOV glycoprotein (GP) expression on either recombinant Adenoviruses (rAd) or recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (rVSV) platform. Though promising, both these vaccines have serious limitations. While pre-existing immunity against adenovirus vectors limits the use of rAd-EBOV GP vaccines, EBOV GP vaccine on the rVSV platform had serious side effects like arthritis and vasculitis in the vaccinees. Our laboratory is focused on developing a potential Ebola vaccine on virus-like-particles (VLP) platform. Glycoproteins and nucleoproteins from different species of Ebolaviruses, alone or in combination, are being expressed on different VLP matrices and their potential to induce cross-protective immunity against different species of Ebolaviruses will be studied.
A second area of focus in our laboratory is to study the role that regulatory T cells (Tregs) play in health and disease. Tregs keep the immune system under check. Any imbalance in their number or aberration in their functioning can result in autoimmune diseases or may compromise the protective immunity of the host. Our focus is to delineate the mechanism(s) how the Tregs function and use that knowledge to develop therapeutics targeting Tregs. We are also interested in using Tregs as cellular therapeutics to induce tolerance to the transplanted organs.