Dr. Frieman’s overall research goal is to create therapeutic interventions for viruses of public health concern by developing a detailed understanding of how the viruses interact with the host. His research has focused on the recently emerged and highly pathogenic coronaviruses: Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2/COVID19), as well as Influenza virus. The coronaviruses cause severe lung disease and are highly lethal.
Important to understanding these diseases has been the development, characterization and utilization of mouse models of disease for SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2. The rapid and successful development of these models has allowed us to unravel the cellular and physiological basis for disease of these viruses. In addition, the creation of these models has allowed for therapeutic development of vaccines, antibodies, small molecules, novel and repurposed drugs and other therapeutics. Critical to his research is the synergy of in vitro and in vivo models of disease that allow for deep understandings of how these viruses work.
Work in the lab includes the identification of host factors that effect viral replication and the use of novel yeast screening techniques to identify small molecules that inhibit those proteins for use as therapeutics. In addition, we are identifying novel and repurposed drugs, antibodies and vaccines for Influenza virus, SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 inhibition. Combining our in vitro and in vivo systems identifies key proteins and nodes of regulation for further therapeutic targeting.
– Washington University in St Louis, BA, Biology, 1994-1998
– Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore MD, Cellular and Molecular Medicine Graduate Program, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, PhD, 1998-2004
– University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Post-doctoral fellow in the lab of Dr. Ralph Baric, Department of Epidemiology/Department of Microbiology and Immunology, 2004-2009
Q1: It’s been a crazy year for the country and around the globe. Your world renown team at the University of Maryland School of Medicine has been working around the clock researching and developing COVID-19 vaccines — at a speed never before seen. Tell us about this important life-saving work in terms that our viewers and listeners will understand. What’s the process and how did you do this important work so quickly?
Q2: How soon do you think we are likely to hit herd immunity?
Q3: Is it likely that we will eradicate COVID-19 or is this virus something that we will always have to live with and need booster vaccine shots each year because of evolving variants of the virus?
Q4: UMSOM has been working in the vaccine development arena for quite some time. Tell us about your team’s experience with other vaccines.
Q5: Before we part, I wanted to ask something completely off topic. So what’s your favorite local restaurant that you and your family have enjoyed during the pandemic for takeout?
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