Luis Martinez-Sobrido, Ph.D.
Professor, Disease Intervention and Prevention, Texas Biomedical Research Institute
Dr. Luis Martinez-Sobrido is a Professor in the Department of Infectious Disease and Pathogenesis at Texas Biomedical Research Institute, Adjunct Professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics (MIMG) at University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio (UT-Health SA), and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at University of Rochester, New York. His Ph.D. research focused on the study of viral replication and transcription of respiratory syncytial virus under the guidance of Dr. Jose Antonio Melero at the Instituto de Salud Carlos III in Madrid, Spain. He also conducted post-doctoral research on the molecular biology of influenza viruses under the supervision of Dr. Adolfo Garcia-Sastre at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, USA. His research interest during the last 20 years have been focused on the molecular biology, immunology and pathogenesis of negative-stranded (influenza viruses, respiratory syncytial virus, human metapneumovirus, arenavirus, thogoto virus, ebola virus, Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever virus) and positive-stranded (dengue virus, SARS coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, mouse hepatitis virus) RNA and DNA (human cytomegalovirus and vaccinia) viruses. His current research interest focuses on the molecular biology of RNA viruses, mainly influenza, arenaviruses, Zika virus and coronaviruses. Dr. Martinez-Sobrido has extensive knowledge in plasmid-based reverse genetics techniques to rescue recombinant RNA and DNA viruses, pioneered the development of techniques and screening assays to identify and characterize viral-encoded interferon antagonist proteins, and established new molecular biology techniques to study highly pathogenic viruses without the requirement of special biosafety conditions.
Dr. Martinez-Sobrido’s lab is interested in the molecular biology, immunology, and pathogenesis of negative-strand and positive-strand RNA, and DNA viruses. Likewise, Dr. Martinez-Sobrido’s lab aims to develop vaccines and antivirals that can be long-lasting for viral infections in humans. The team plans to use the maximum containment biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) laboratory to safely study pathogens responsible of causing hemorrhagic fever in humans. Current research in Dr. Martinez-Sobrido’s laboratory focus on:
- Characterizing influenza virus infections, development of vaccines and antivirals
- Reverse Genetics (RG) approaches for RNA and DNA viruses
- COVID-19 immunogenicity, pathogenesis and development of animal models
- Development of live attenuated vaccines for the treatment of viral infections
- Identification of neutralizing antibodies with prophylactic and therapeutic applications
- Molecular virology
- Viral immunology
Dr. Martinez-Sobrido is widely recognized for his expertise in generating recombinant viruses, specifically influenza, arenaviruses, and Zika virus, using plasmid-based reverse genetic approaches. He also developed plasmid, cellular and virus based assays to identify virus-encoded interferon antagonist proteins that have helped to uncover the molecular mechanisms involved in viral pathogenesis. He has several Department of Defense and NIH grants for the study of these and other important viral pathogenes. Currently, Dr. Martinez-Sobrido’s team is mainly focusing on the study of SARS-CoV-2.
Dr. Martinez-Sobrido is continuing his work with the New York Influenza Center of Excellence, which is part of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance (CEIRS) program through the National Institutes of Health. In addition to characterizing the influenza virus, as part of this project, he is working with collaborators to develop a universal flu vaccine with the use of broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) or blood proteins that can recognize key pieces of the virus to help a person’s immune system clear infected cells from the system. Studies are underway to test these bNAbs in small animal models and suitable candidates will move into nonhuman primate models.
Field of Study: Virology
Sub-Field of Study: Vaccine Development
Relevant Diseases: Viruses
Relevant Techniques: Moleculary Biology Techniques