College of Medicine

Research Area(s)

  • Molecular Virology, Virus-host Interactions, Innate Immune Response



  • BSc, Agricultural Sciences (1999) Kerala Agricultural University, Kerala, India
  • MSc, Plant Pathology (2001) Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, India
  • PhD, Molecular Virology (2010) University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany

Post-doctoral training

  • 2010-2013, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
  • 2014-2020, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

Research Interests

Our lab is interested in studying the biology of positive-stranded RNA viruses causing diseases in humans. We use high-throughput genetic and interactome screens to identify host proteins playing important roles in viral infection and elucidate the mechanisms involved. The current focus of our lab are two human pathogens namely Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus (EEEV) and Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68), associated with viral encephalitis and acute flaccid myelitis respectively.

EEEV is a mosquito-transmitted virus causing fatal encephalitis in humans and horses. The disease is prevalent in eastern Canada and United States and causes several deaths annually. Currently there are not approved vaccines or therapeutics against EEEV. Our lab studies the strategies evolved by EEEV to evade and counteract host immune response and successfully infect cells. Another focus of our work is the systematic mapping of interactions between the viral proteins and human proteins and investigating their functional roles in infection. We strive to identify novel, druggable cellular targets, that can be exploited to develop new therapeutic strategies.

EV-D68 infections are strongly linked to a recently emerged polio-like neurological illness in children termed ‘acute flaccid myelitis’ (AFM).  In the past, EV-D68 was mostly associated with mild respiratory illness. The association between EV-D68 infections and AFM suggests the emergence of more virulent viral strains that can enter the central nervous system (CNS) and infect neurons. Our lab uses a reverse-genetics system and an animal model to study how the mutations that emerged in EV-D68 genome enabled the virus to enter CNS and infect motor neurons leading to AFM. We also use genetic screens to identify novel host dependency factors of EV-D68 that can be targeted for development of novel therapeutics.   

Recent Publications

  • Joaquin Lopez-Orozco, Nawell Fayad, Juveriya Qamar Khan, Alberto Felix-Lopez, Mohamed Elaish, Megha Rohamare, Maansi Sharma, Darryl Falzarano, Jerry Pelletier, Joyce Wilson, Tom C. Hobman#, Anil Kumar#. (2023) The RNA interference effector protein Argonaute 2 functions as a restriction factor against SARS-CoV-2.  Journal of Molecular Biology: 168170. (#corresponding authors)

  • Juveriya Qamar Khan,  Megha Rohamare, Karthic Rajamanickam, Kalpana K. Bhanumathy, Jocelyne Lew, Anil Kumar, Darryl Falzarano, Franco J. Vizeacoumar, and Joyce A. Wilson. (2023) Generation of a SARS-CoV-2 reverse genetics system and novel human lung cell lines that exhibit high virus-induced cytopathology. Viruses 15, no. 6: 1281.

  • Jumari Snyman#, Louwrens P. Snyman#, Kayla J. Buhler, Carol-Anne Villeneuve, Patrick A. Leighton, Emily J. Jenkins#, and Anil Kumar#. (2023) California Serogroup Viruses in a Changing Canadian Arctic: A Review. Viruses 15, no. 6: 1242. (#corresponding authors)

  • Shu Y. Luo, Eman W. Moussa, Joaquin Lopez-Orozco, Alberto Felix-Lopez, Ray Ishida, Nawell Fayad, Erik Gomez-Cardona, Henry Wang, Joyce A. Wilson, Anil Kumar, Tom C. Hobman, and Olivier Julien. (2023) Identification of Human Host Substrates of the SARS-CoV-2 Mpro and PLpro Using Subtiligase N-Terminomics." ACS Infectious Diseases 9, no. 4: 749-761.

  • Ishida Ray, Jamie Cole, Joaquin Lopez-Orozco, Nawell Fayad, Alberto Felix-Lopez, Mohamed Elaish, Shu Yue Luo, Olivier Julien, Anil Kumar#, and Tom C. Hobman. (2021) Mayaro virus non-structural protein 2 circumvents the induction of interferon in part by depleting host transcription initiation factor IIE subunit 2. Cells 10, no. 12: 3510. (#corresponding authors)

  • Anil Kumar*#, Ray Ishida*, Tania Strilets*, Jamie Cole, Joaquin Lopez-Orozco, Nawell Fayad, Alberto Felix-Lopez, Mohamed Elaish, Danyel Evseev, Katharine E Magor, Lara K Mahal, Les P Nagata, David H Evans and Tom C Hobman#. (2021) SARS-CoV-2 non-structural protein 1 inhibits the interferon response by causing depletion of key host signaling factors. Journal of Virology, doi:10.1128/JVI.00266-21 (*joint first author, # corresponding author)

  • Ke Zhang, Lisa Miorin, Tadashi Makio, Ishmael Dehghan, Shengyan Gao, Yihu Xie, Hualin Zhong, Matthew Esparza, Thomas Kehrer, Anil Kumar, Tom C Hobman, Christopher Ptak, Boning Gao, John D Minna, Zhijian Chen, Adolfo García-Sastre, Yi Ren, Richard W Wozniak, Beatriz MA Fontoura (2021) Nsp1 protein of SARS-CoV-2 disrupts the mRNA export machinery to inhibit host gene expression. Science Advances, 7(6), eabe7386.

  • Cameron D Griffiths, Leanne M Bilawchuk, John E McDonough, Kyla C Jamieson, Farah Elawar, Yuchen Cen, Wenming Duan, Cindy Lin, Haeun Song, Jean-Laurent Casanova, Steven Ogg, Lionel Dylan Jensen, Bernard Thienpont, Anil Kumar, Tom C Hobman, David Proud, Theo J Moraes, David J Marchant (2020) IGF1R is an entry receptor for respiratory syncytial virus. Nature, 583 (7817), 615-619

  • Mirko Cortese*, Anil Kumar*, Petr Matula, Lars Kaderali, Pietro Scaturro, Holger Erfle, Eliana Gisela Acosta, Sandra Buehler, Laurent Chatel-Chaix, Karl Rohr and Ralf Bartenschlager. (2019) Reciprocal effects of fibroblast growth factor receptor signaling on Dengue virus replication and virion production. Cell Reports, 27, 2579-2592 (*joint first author)