Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Other Degree Name/Area of Focus

Integrative Microbiology and Biochemistry

Department or School/College

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Committee Chair

Scott Samuels

Commitee Members

J. Stephen Lodmell, Michele McGuirl, Jean-Marc Lanchy, Christopher Palmer


University of Montana


Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) is an emerging infectious pathogen that causes severe disease in humans and livestock and has the potential for global spread. Currently, there is no treatment for RVFV infection and there is no proven safe and effective vaccine. Inhibition of RNA binding to RVFV nucleocapsid (N) protein represents an innovative antiviral therapeutic strategy because several essential steps in the RVFV replication cycle involve N binding to viral RNA. The overall goals of our research are to better understand how RVFV N protein interacts with RNA, to develop a high-throughput drug screening assay for identification of compounds that inhibit a N-RNA binding interaction and to test the efficacy of potential antiviral drug compounds during RVFV infection. Completion of the proposed research will result in an increased understanding of the basic biology of this important human pathogen and aid in the design of more powerful and effective anti-RVFV drugs.



© Copyright 2014 Mary Lee Ellenbecker