Dr. Diamond’s laboratory studies the molecular basis of disease of many globally emerging RNA viruses, and focuses on the interface between pathogenesis and host immunity. He identified many of the key innate and adaptive immune system components that define protection against flaviviruses, and the viral genes that antagonize this response. His laboratory made a seminal discovery by identifying a novel pathogen-associated molecular pattern (lack of 2'-O methylation on the 5' viral RNA cap) and mechanism of innate immune restriction through IFIT1 proteins.
His group has studied extensively the role and function of interferons (type I IFN-??? and type III IFN-?) in modulating tropism, infection, and immune responses against RNA viruses. His group has used genome-wide screening to identify host factors required by viruses for entry and infection, including Mxra8, a novel receptor for multiple alphaviruses of global concern. He has led the field in studying mechanisms of pathogenesis of Zika virus infection and disease including in pregnancy.
His group also has generated, characterized, and mapped thousands of neutralizing antibodies against flaviviruses (West Nile, Dengue, Zika, and Japanese encephalitis viruses) and alphaviruses (chikungunya, Eastern equine encephalitis, and Mayaro viruses) and studied their structure-function relationships in animal models of disease.
His work has led directly to the development of antiviral therapeutic antibodies, vaccines, and diagnostic tests against both flaviviruses and alphaviruses, several of which are approved or in advanced clinical trials.