Multi-Level Dynamics of Viral Co-Infection
I am currently working as a part of a collaborative and interdisciplinary effort through the CMCI at the University of Idaho. We are building upon a host-virus system of Drosophila and associated viruses to develop a tractable invertebrate model for the study of viral infection and co-infection on multiple organizational levels, from molecule to community.
My task is to use RNA sequencing to determine patterns of differential gene expression in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster under single and co-infection events using Drosophila C Virus and Drosophila X Virus.
I am also interested in the ability of the commonly found endosymbiotic bacteria Wolbachia pipientis to confer antiviral protection to host flies and mosquitoes. Recently, Wolbachia have garnered attention regarding introduction into mosquitoes as a biocontrol of vector-borne pathogens to combat the spread of diseases such as dengue and malaria. Mosquitos that are infected with Wolbachia strains from Drosophila have shown immune priming of genes associated with anti-microbial peptides. However, the same immune response genes were not up-regulated in the natural host D. melanogaster. These results suggest that the core mechanism involved in antiviral protection is not dependent upon immune priming of antibacterial response genes.
I am interested in exploring the tripartite interaction between host, virus, and bacteria to determine the molecular mechanisms of antiviral protection conferred by Wolbachia in a natural Drosophila host