Investigation of host factors that contribute to antiviral immunity is important for understanding the innate response to infection and identifying protective pathways following viral infection. This is particularly important when studying viruses for which there are no vaccines available, such as Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), a human pathogen which infects nearly every child before the age of 2, and in some cases, can result in lifelong complications.
I primarily study the innate immune response in the context of (-)ssRNA respiratory viruses which include RSV and Sendai Virus (SeV), a virulent mouse pathogen in the same family of viruses as RSV. Following infection with RSV or SeV, hundreds of Interferon Stimulated Genes (ISGs) are up-regulated, yet the functional significance of many of them remains unclear. An in-depth understanding of the mechanisms of these early responding ISGs could be used to prevent disease complications or establishment of chronic symptoms. Through targeted mutation and cellular characterization of ISGs, we hope to identify proteins and pathways that are protective for the host following viral infection to serve as targets for new therapeutic approaches.