Guest Speaker: Dr. Carl Gelhaus

"Developing an Animal Model of Congenital Zika Syndrome"

In June 2015, Zika Virus (ZIKV) autochthonous infections were reported for the first time in Brazil. Co-incident with the Brazil ZIKV outbreak, a 20 fold increase in microcephaly prevalence was reported and in 2016, ZIKV has spread throughout Central America.

As of February 1, 2017, 221 locally-acquired and 4,752 travel-associated ZIKV infections have been reported in the United States, with all locally-acquired cases occurring in Florida and Texas; all 50 states having at least one travel-associated infection.

ZIKV is the etiologic agent of Congenital Zika Syndrome and vaccines and therapies are desperately needed.

Animal models of ZIKV infection are critical to the development of vaccines and therapies. We describe initial investigations of ZIKV infection in pregnant mice and the impact on pups as models to develop ZIKV vaccines and therapies.


Dr. Gelhaus is Senior Program Manager in the Medical Countermeasures Division of MRIGlobal, where he directs cutting edge research to protect the world from biological threats.

Dr. Gelhaus is also an adjunct faculty member at KCU. Dr. Gelhaus has 19 years of experience in the field of immunology, covering a diverse range of topics. Dr. Gelhaus has nine years of experience in infectious disease, with emphasis on bioweapons and bioterror threats.

At the United States Army Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), Dr. Gelhaus performed research on the role of toll-like receptors (TLR) involved in the pathogenesis of diseases caused by gram-negative select agent bacteria, namely, Burkholderia mallei, Burkholderia pseudomallei, Francisella tularensis and Yersinia pestis.

At Battelle, Dr. Gelhaus was involved in the development of animal models as a Study Director for Good Laboratory Practices regulated studies, including supporting licensure of medical countermeasures through the US Food and Drug Administration Animal Rule.

At MRIGlobal, Dr. Gelhaus oversees a portfolio of research that included companion animal health, including diabetes, cancer therapeutics, traditional biodefense agents (B. anthracis, B. mallei, B. pseudomallei, F. tularensis, Y. pestis, and Ebolavirus), influenza and Zika virus.