RML scientist receives award for virus studies

A scientist with Rocky Mountain Laboratories, a Hamilton, Montana-based lab overseen by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was recently honored for his outstanding contributions to virus study, according to the NIAID.

Hideki Ebihara received the Dalrymple/Young Award from the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and the American Committee on Arthropod-Borne Viruses. The award is given every three years to scientists making outstanding contributions to the study of viruses in the middle of their careers.

Ebihara is the chief of molecular virology and host-pathogen interaction unit in RML's Laboratory of Virology. Ebihara's group focuses on the molecular virology, biology and evolution of tick-borne and other zoonotic viruses, including filoviruses like Marburg and Ebola and rodent-borne hantaviruses.

Ebihara and his team developed a procedure to identify new tick-borne viruses in the bunyavirus family, which includes Rift Valley fever virus. The procedure allows scientists to discover and categorize new viruses, which may help disease surveillance and preparedness for future outbreaks.

"We are very proud of the important scientific contributions of Dr. Ebihara," Kathryn Zoon, the director of the Division of Intramural Research at the NIAID, said. "His program will ensure that DIR's research on tick-borne viruses will remain strong for years to come."

The NIAID said Ebihara provides expert advice on research proposals submitted for funding in Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, the U.K. and the U.S.

"Dr. Ebihara has emerged as a strong leader in the fields of molecular biology and evolution of arthropod-borne viruses," Heinz Feldmann, a prior Dalrymple/Young Award recipient, said. "His approaches are thoughtful, creative, and innovative, and we are looking forward to many significant discoveries from his group. Dr. Ebihara represents the new generation of researchers at RML who are advancing the elegant work on tick-borne pathogens historically associated with this institution."