Andrew Pekosz, Johns Hopkins University

“Human influenza surveillance in two distinct geographic areas identifies variations in virus strains, disease severity and immune responses to infection”

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January 17, 2018, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

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My research interests lie in understanding the interaction of viruses with the respiratory epithelium. Our efforts are primarily focused on influenza A virus, but we have interests in several other viruses including the severe, acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), enterovirus-D68 (EV-D68), Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and Andes virus, a South American hantavirus responsible for Hanatavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS).

There are two main focuses to our research program. The first is in how viral proteins target to sites of assembly and identifying the viral and cellular factors that are important for the production of infectious virus particles. For these studies we use influenza A virus to study virus assembly at the plasma membrane and Andes and SARS-CoV to study virus assembly at intracellular sites.

The second research focus of the laboratory is in understanding how viruses can counteract antiviral innate and adaptive immune responses. For these studies we utilize animal models of infection, as well as primary cell cultures of respiratory epithelial cells. By identifying the viral proteins that control the host immune response, we hope to gain a better understanding of how the virus can establish an infection and identify the key host proteins that play a role in controlling virus replication and the immune response to viral infection. In a related line of research, we are investigating how influenza A viruses can adapt to productively infect a new host. Of particular interest is the identification of viral and cellular factors that are important for efficient replication of canine, equine and avian influenza A virus strains to human respiratory epithelial cells.

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