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Ebony Monson Graduate Researcher, Physiology Anatomy & Microbiology

Viral infections of humans causes significant morbidity and mortality and although we have developed vaccine strategies for a number of significant viral threats, a large proportion of viral pathogens still remain untreatable. It is clear that the development of novel anti-viral strategies is needed, and current research efforts have shifted to modulation of the host’s own immune system to combat viral infections. However, in order to favourably manipulate the host response to viral infection, we need to have a more complete picture of the essential host factors involved.

The anti-viral innate response consists of the activation of multiple networked pathways. These pathways culminate in interferon production, which upregulates hundreds of interferon stimulated genes creating an anti-viral state in the infected cell and surrounding tissue. Recently, we have shown that lipid droplets play an integral role in clearing a viral infection.

The ability to further tease apart the pivotal host proteins and organelles associated with an effective anti-viral immune response will further allow us to tailor novel anti-viral treatments to combat both current and emerging viral pathogens of significance.

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