Dr. Lijun Rong a Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine. He is currently working on identifying small drug molecules that can prevent some of the most dangerous viruses including Ebola, Marburg and MERS from infecting cells. He uses a high-throughput screening facility to screen and identify drugs and agents for their virus-blocking potential.
By removing proteins on the viral surface involved in recognizing, binding to and entering host cells, and affixing them to much less dangerous viruses, Dr. Rong can safely test agents that interfere cell infection. Thus far, he and his colleagues have identified a few lead molecules that show promise against Ebola.
He is also searching for small molecules to prevent infection with H7N9, a new strain of the avian influenza virus that caused an outbreak in China in March 2013.