You are here: Home News and Events Seminars Biology Fall 2019 "From Lesions to Lifelong Latency: Deciphering the contributions of viral genetic diversity to human herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection"

"From Lesions to Lifelong Latency: Deciphering the contributions of viral genetic diversity to human herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection"

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Speaker
Moriah Szpara Penn State
When
12 September 2019 from 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM
Where
8 Mueller Lab
Host
Dept of Biology
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Herpesviruses such as HSV-1 and HSV-2 are ubiquitous, lifelong pathogens that infect at epithelial surfaces and establish lifelong latency in human neurons. Antiviral therapy for these pathogens addresses only actively replicating virus, leaving the latent pool in neurons untouched. This leaves HSV-infected individuals to experience a lifetime of recurrences, which range in severity from skin lesions, to symptom-less viral shedding, to rare cases of encephalitis. The wide range in severity of clinical outcomes is thought to result from a combination of viral, human, and environmental factors. The Szpara lab investigates viral genetic contributions to the outcome of human infections, as well as the specific interactions of HSV with neurons. We have established both experimental and computational approaches to quantify the full range of HSV diversity genome-wide. Our studies span a wide array of in vitro and in vivo sources, ranging from infected cells – both epithelial and neuronal – to human clinical cases, ranging from newborns to adults. These analyses have led to a new understanding of the global scope of HSV genetic diversity, as well as how HSV varies within and between infected individuals. These results provide the foundation for our ongoing efforts to dissect the molecular consequences of specific viral genetic differences we have observed in vivo. Our ultimate goal is to enable personalized antiviral intervention, tailored to match each individual’s viral genetic profile.