I am a viral immunologist focusing on persistent RNA virus infections associated with human disease. My interests include the study of host – viral pathogen interactions and the activation of the innate and adaptive immune response during viral persistence. My current research includes an in vivo model of infection utilizing a pathogenic human strain of coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3) to better understand tropism, viral-mediated immunopathology, and the occurrence of autoimmune-like diseases in susceptible organs harboring persistent virus. Coxsackieviruses are ubiquitous pathogens which have been associated with a number of acute and chronic diseases in humans, including pancreatitis, myocarditis, diabetes, and aseptic meningitis. My latest findings indicate that CVB3 preferentially targets and injures neural stem cells eventually leading to developmental defects and chronic disease in the central nervous system. I hope to use the knowledge gained from these investigations to devise treatment and vaccine strategies in order to alleviate diseases initiated by CVB3 and other persistent viruses.



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