• Adjunct Research Professor, Global Health
  • Research Professor, Laboratory Medicine and Pathology
  • Adjunct Research Professor, Microbiology

Harborview Medical Center, Research & Training Building
Ninth and Jefferson Building
908 Jefferson Street, 3NJ-345
Box 359690
Seattle, WA 98104
United States

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My research focuses on the interactions between cells and viruses, including flaviviruses (hepatitis C (HCV), Zika (ZIKV)), filoviruses (Ebola (EBOV), Marburg (MARV)), arenaviruses (Lassa (LASV), Junin (JUNV)), and more recently, coronaviruses (SARS-CoV-2). One area of study is the cellular innate antiviral and inflammatory responses to virus infection. We also study how natural products engage human cells to protect them from damage by virus infection and chronic inflammation, and have a current project focused on botanicals that suppress SARS-CoV-2 infection and inflammation. We are also actively engaged on repurposing approved drug combinations that synergistically suppress globally threatening viruses including filoviruses, arenaviruses, and coronaviruses. Repurposing of approved drugs provides cost-effective antiviral countermeasures that can be deployed during the critical period between virus identification and the development of new vaccines, virus-specific drugs, and therapeutic antibodies.

  • PhD (McMaster University (Canada))
  • BS (McMaster University (Canada))
Country Affiliations 
Health Topics 
  • Biodefense Infectious Diseases
  • COVID-19
  • Drug and Vaccine Development
  • Ebola
  • Hepatitis
  • Infectious Diseases (other than STDs)
  • Pathobiology
  • Research
  • Viruses
Pathobiology research areas 
DGH Centers, Programs and Initiatives and Affiliated Organizations 

Postpartum metabolic syndrome and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein after gestational hypertension and pre-eclampsia.
Osoti AO, Page ST, Richardson BA, Guthrie BL, Kinuthia J, Polyak SJ, Farquhar C. Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2020 Aug 19. doi: 10.1002/ijgo.13352. PMID: 32812650

Arbidol and Other Low-Molecular-Weight Drugs That Inhibit Lassa and Ebola Viruses. Hulseberg CE, Fénéant L, Szymańska-de Wijs KM, Kessler NP, Nelson EA, Shoemaker CJ, Schmaljohn CS, Polyak SJ, White JM. J Virol. 2019 Apr 3;93(8). pii: e02185-18. doi: 10.1128/JVI.02185-18. Print 2019 Apr 15. PMID: 30700611

The Antiviral Drug Arbidol Inhibits Zika Virus. Fink SL, Vojtech L, Wagoner J, Slivinski NSJ, Jackson KJ, Wang R, Khadka S, Luthra P, Basler CF, Polyak SJ. Sci Rep. 2018 Jun 12;8(1):8989. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-27224-4. PMID: 29895962

The Synthetic Antiviral Drug Arbidol Inhibits Globally Prevalent Pathogenic Viruses. Pécheur EI, Borisevich V, Halfmann P, Morrey JD, Smee DF, Prichard M, Mire CE, Kawaoka Y, Geisbert TW, Polyak SJ. J Virol. 2016 Jan 6;90(6):3086-92. doi: 10.1128/JVI.02077-15. PMID: 26739045

Silymarin Suppresses Cellular Inflammation By Inducing Reparative Stress Signaling. Lovelace ES, Wagoner J, MacDonald J, Bammler T, Bruckner J, Brownell J, Beyer RP, Zink EM, Kim YM, Kyle JE, Webb-Robertson BJ, Waters KM, Metz TO, Farin F, Oberlies NH, Polyak SJ. J Nat Prod. 2015 Aug 28;78(8):1990-2000. doi: 10.1021/acs.jnatprod.5b00288. Epub 2015 Jul 17. PMID: 26186142