Jean Patterson

Jean Patterson, Ph.D.

Scientist, Chair of BSL-4 Task Force | Virology & Immunology

Research Focus

Dr. Patterson’s laboratory works on the development of countermeasures against potential biological weapons. Her group focuses on the development of therapies and vaccines against naturally occurring pathogens that can cause sporadic but lethal outbreaks, and her most recent studies concentrate on hemorrhagic fever viruses. Dr. Patterson has been involved in the development of three vaccines against Ebola and two vaccines against Lassa fever that are undergoing further studies.

Her lab utilizes the maximum containment laboratory (BSL-4) at Texas Biomed.

Dr. Patterson helped develop a marmoset model used for multiple infectious agents:

  • Ebola virus
  • Marburg virus
  • Lassa fever
  • Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus

In The Lab

My laboratory has worked on the development of countermeasures against many select agents. This involved the development of three vaccines against Ebola, one with Emory University, one with Crucell (Janssen Pharmaceuticals), and one with Bavarian Nordic, all of which are undergoing further studies. The Department of Defense and NIH are committed to an Ebola and Marburg vaccine, and our lab is working with them toward this goal.

We have also worked with the University of Maryland on the development of two vaccines against Lassa fever, a hemorrhagic fever that causes serious outbreaks in West Africa. The zoonotic, single- stranded RNA virus responsible for Lassa fever (family Arenaviridae) causes infections in more than 500,000 persons every year, resulting in a roughly 10 percent fatality rate and many different forms of lasting health effects.

In collaboration with Dr. Ricardo Carrion, Jr. in our department, our lab developed the marmoset as a model for many infectious agents. Thanks to its size and behavior, this small non-human primate is a much better model organism than other larger, more aggressive non-human primates. To date, we have utilized the marmoset for the model development of Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus, Lassa fever virus, Ebola virus, and Marburg virus. The marmoset is an important model for our work, since the pathogenesis of these viral diseases in marmosets closely mimics that of human disease.

Our group worked with Dr. Charles Chui (UCSF) and identified a novel adenovirus associated with baboons (SAdV-C) in an acute respiratory outbreak in a baboon colony, which underscores the potential for cross-species transmission of adenoviruses between humans and non-human primates.

We are also working on the development of detection assays using novel technologies. One of the newest technologies is optofluidic analysis for amplification of free, direct detection of Ebola infection.

Main Technologies And Methods Used

  • Non human primate model (marmoset)
  • Viral growth requirements and particle characterization
  • Novel diagnostic technologies
  • Determination of vaccine efficacy