University of Wisconsin
School of Medicine and Public Health

Current Research

Current Projects in the Andes' Lab

COVID-19 Antibody Assay Development

The project goal is to increase COVID-19 testing capacity by changing the assay from a 96-well plate up to a 1,536-well format, which would significantly reduce the volume of plasma needed for accurate assay performance.


Novel COVID-19 Monoclonal Antibodies for Patient Diagnostics, Therapy, and Research

The project goal is to develop a sensitive antibody (Ab)-based assay to detect COVID-19 in patient samples. The study team will generate novel, high-affinity monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against the COVID-19 envelope Spike protein (Sp) and nucleocapsid protein (Ncp), which are the two primary coronavirus immunogens and are required for infection and disease. The candidate mAbs will initially be screened against the antigens. Successful candidates will then be tested against up to 100 nasopharyngeal patient samples from the UW Biobank that are known to be positive or negative for COVID-19. The resultant mAbs could ultimately be used: (i) in basic research to reveal the molecular details of this deadly virus (ii) to more accurately detect the presence of the virus, (iii) as therapeutics for COVID-19 treatment specifically (and potential used for more broadly related coronaviral infections in the future).


Phase 3 randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multi-center study to assess the efficacy and safety of ruxolitinib in patients with COVID-19 associated cytokine storm (RUXCOVID)

The primary objective of this Phase III, multicenter, double-blind, randomized study is to evaluate the efficacy (as measured by a composite endpoint of proportion of patients who die, develop respiratory failure [require mechanical ventilation], or require intensive care unit care) of ruxolitinib + standard-of-care (SoC) therapy compared with placebo + SoC therapy, for the treatment of COVID-19 by Day 29.


Novel antimicrobials targeting MDR pathogens from animal microbial symbionts (NIH, U19)

The overarching goal of the Wisconsin Antimicrobial Drug Discovery and Development Center is to develop therapeutic countermeasures to tackle the antimicrobial resistance crisis since fungal and bacterial pathogens for which there are no effective therapies are rapidly emerging. The investigations use interdisciplinary, cutting-edgy approaches to overcome the critical bottlenecks of traditional antimicrobial discovery to develop a new platform for discovery of the next generation of antimicrobial drugs. This new platform takes advantage of the evolutionary selection of highly relevant natural products from symbiotic relationships between animals and antibiotic producing bacterial.


Development of Modernized Acinetobacter baumannii Susceptibility Guidance for Recommended Antimicrobial Agents using Pharmacometric Approaches (FDA)

The goal of this project is to apply a modern pharmacometric approach in evaluating susceptibility test interpretive criteria (STIC) that guides antimicrobial treatment of multidrug-resistant A. baumannii infection. The results will improve FDA clinical guidance for the care of patients suffering with MDR A. baumannii infection.


Biofilm induced extracellular vesicle pathogenesis (NIH, R01)

The major goals of this project are to (1) Investigate the role of biofilm induced vesicle cargo in biofilm antifungal resistance, (2) Define the role of biofilm induced vesicle cargo in biofilm dispersion, and (3) Identify the regulatory pathways that govern the biofilm vesicle function.