Organization, activities and inhibitors of viral RNA synthesis apparatus
In 2002 Andres Merits obtained position of senior research scientist in Estonian Biocentre (Tartu) and in become group leader and Research professor at University of Tartu. Later he was elected to position of Professor of Applied Virology in Institute of Technology, University of Tartu. Current research topics include studies of replication of different RNA genomic viruses, including alphaviruses (Semliki Forest virus, Chikungunya virus, Ross River virus, O’nyong’nyong virus), flaviviruses (Zika virus, Dengue virus) and hepaciviruses (hepatitis C virus), construction of virus-based gene expression vectors. The research also includes construction of systems for antiviral drug screening (Chikungunya virus, Zika virus) and analysis of antiviral properties of low molecular weight compounds and oligonucleotide-based inhibitors. The research has leaded to 130 peer-reviewed publications. Andres Merits current research group, working at these topics, consists from 8 researchers: three senior scientists (with Ph.D. of equivalent degree), three Ph.D. students and two M.Sc. students. This group is involved in intensive collaboration with other research groups Estonia as well as inworld-wide international collaboration.