Host responses to SARS-CoV-2

C.E. Credits: P.A.C.E. CE Florida CE
Speaker
  • Associate Research Scientist, Center for Infection and Immunity, Columbia Mailman School of Public Health
    Biography

      Dr. Rasmussen is a virologist studying host responses to infection by combining classical virology with modern systems biology approaches. Her research objectives are to identify host response signatures predictive of infection severity or disease outcome and host pathways to target drug development or repurposing. She is particularly interested in viruses that are highly pathogenic, newly emergent or likely to emerge because of climate change, land development, or ecological disruption. Dr. Rasmussen has employed Collaborative Cross (CC) mouse models, which provide an expanded range of disease presentations, to study viral disease characteristics. At the University of Washington, she developed a CC mouse model of Ebola virus disease, utilizing the diversity of CC mouse disease phenotypes to study genetic and transcriptomic factors underlying disease severity in humans. She is currently evaluating CC mouse models towards investigation of sex-specific host responses to viral infection, as well as to investigate disease presentation in other viruses that pose a major threat to global public health, such as dengue virus, influenza virus, and SARS-CoV-2. Ultimately, these host response profiles can be used for translational or biodefense applications, such as diagnosing infection, predicting disease severity, informing vaccine design, and developing or repurposing host-targeted drugs to impair virus replication or reverse pathology.


    Abstract

    The host response to infection is a critical determinant of virus pathogenicity. Emerging viruses require the host cellular machinery to replicate and successfully infect new hosts, and must subvert host immunity to effectively hijack host cells. The interplay between pathogen and host, and the subsequent responses induced by infection, is the battleground that determines disease phenotype and clinical outcome. Viruses induce myriad host responses, including both antiviral responses that protect the host and aberrant responses that cause damage and enhance pathogenicity. My talk focuses on my approach to understand the complexity of virus-host interactions by combining classical virology with modern systems biology approaches. A key component to this is using reliable experimental models such as the Collaborative Cross mouse systems genetics resource. We used this panel of genetically diverse mice to characterize host responses to infection, elucidate mechanisms of pathogenesis, predict disease outcome, and identify translational opportunities for therapeutic intervention in Ebola virus disease. This model is now being applied to studying SARS-CoV-2.

    Learning Objectives:

    1. Understanding how systems approaches can be used to investigate the role of the host response in virus pathogenesis

    2. Explain the advantages and disadvantages to using different animal models to study human viral disease

    3. Understand how the Collaborative Cross mouse model is useful for investigating the host response to Ebola virus infection and its role in disease pathogenesis


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