Wildlife is the primary source of emerging infectious disease threats to human populations. I’m interested in a group of infectious rodent-borne agents called arenaviruses. Upon cross-species transmission to humans, pathogenic arenaviruses can cause a range of human diseases, including severe hemorrhagic fever and meningoencephalitis.
Using techniques in structural biology, immunology, virology and cell biology, I’m investigating the molecular mechanisms by which arenaviruses attach to human cells and are neutralized by the humoral immune response. Detailed understanding of the molecular requirements for arenavirus cross-species transmission will help to predict the emergence of new related zoonotic pathogens. Furthermore, molecular-level characterization of antibody-mediated arenavirus neutralization mechanisms will aid in rational, structure-based antiviral and vaccine design.
My work is funded by the European Commission Marie Sklodowska-Curie (MSCA) Individual Fellowship.