Tilahun D. Yilma

University of California, Davis


Election Year: 2004
Primary Section: 61, Animal, Nutritional, and Applied Microbial Sciences
Secondary Section: 44, Microbial Biology
Membership Type: Member

Research Interests

My research focuses primarily on the development of recombinant vaccines and rapid diagnostic kits for viral diseases of animals and humans. I have developed a safe and highly efficacious vaccinia virus recombinant vaccine and an inexpensive rapid diagnostic kit for rinderpest, a devastating viral disease of cattle in Africa and Asia, which are expected to achieve the global eradication of this disease. My earlier work demonstrated IFN-gamma deficiency in Arabian foals with severe combined immunodeficiency, a recessive autosomal trait. This led to my use of cytokines as attenuating and adjuvant genes to enhance the safety and efficacy of subunit and live recombinant vaccines in normal and immunodeficient animals. In addition, my laboratory has been investigating the expression of immune-evading genes by vaccinia virus and regulatory genes by immunodeficiency viruses (HIV and SIV), and the effects of these proteins on the host. Deletions of these genes along with the expression of cytokine genes has resulted in the development of viral vectors that can be used for the generation of safe and highly efficacious recombinant vaccines. Most gratifying, however, are my contributions to furthering the transfer of sustainable technologies in molecular biology to developing countries; these efforts can lead to self-sufficiency of disease control in Africa and Asia.

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