2023 April Virtual Seminar
Session Chair: Dr Erica Bickerton, The Pirbright Institute, and UK-ICN Co-Lead for Countermeasures and Interventions
Dr Nerea Irigoyen, University of Cambridge – Manipulation of the unfolded protein response as a pharmacological antiviral strategy for coronavirus infection.
Nerea is Research Group Leader in the Division of Virology (Department of Pathology) at the University of Cambridge. Nerea undertook a PhD in molecular virology at the Spanish National Biotechnology Centre in Madrid (Spain) where she studied the assembly and maturation of the capsid of the infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV). In October 2010, she moved to the Department of Pathology in Cambridge to study non-canonical translational mechanisms in coronaviruses and retroviruses under the supervision of Prof Ian Brierley as a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow (Wellcome Trust). During that period, she also applied a technique called ‘ribosome profiling’, a global snapshot of translation, to RNA viruses such as coronaviruses (e.g. MHV-A59), retroviruses (e.g. MuLV and HIV-1), and flaviviruses (e.g. Dengue and Zika viruses).
In September 2018, she established her own research group aiming to understand how virus protein translation can play a role in viral pathogenicity and disease with a special focus on virus-host interactions. Currently, her model systems are coronaviruses (e.g. MHV-A59 and SARS-CoV-2) and flaviviruses (e.g. Zika virus).
Dr Arinjay Banerjee, University of Saskatchewan – Lessons learnt from coronavirus-host interactions in wildlife reservoirs and spill over in hosts.
Short abstract: Bats perform important ecological roles in our ecosystem. However, bats are also reservoirs of emerging viruses that have spilled over into humans and agricultural animals to cause severe disease. These viruses include Hendra and Nipah paramyxoviruses, Ebola and Marburg filoviruses, and coronaviruses that are closely related to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), and the recently emerged SARS-CoV-2. Intriguingly, bats that are naturally or experimentally infected with these viruses do not show clinical signs of disease. Highly pathogenic zoonotic coronaviruses have evolved proteins that can effectively block innate and intrinsic responses in human cells. In this talk, we shall explore how coronaviruses interact with innate and intrinsic responses in their wildlife (bat) and spill over (human) hosts. We will discuss lessons learnt from our studies on bat antiviral responses and translational outcomes that will enable us to design better countermeasures for coronavirus infections in humans.