Bio-X SIGF Graduate Student Fellow

Awarded in 2022
Home Department: Immunology
Faculty Advisors: Catherine Blish (Medicine – Infectious Diseases) and Purvesh Khatri (Medicine and Biomedical Data Science)

Research Title: Elucidating Conserved and Targetable Severity-Associated Monocyte Responses in Acute RNA Viral Disease

Research Description: The 21st century has seen a multitude of virus-driven pandemics. Despite emerging viruses constantly threatening global health, we remain largely unprepared for the next pandemic. Previous pan-virus multi-cohort analyses of blood cells from virally-infected patients have found that emergency myelopoiesis and monocyte dysregulation correlate with severe disease; however, shared features and therapeutic targets of these severity-associated monocytes remain unexplored. Here, Kalani, the Blish and Khatri labs will leverage (1) proteomic, transcriptional, and epigenetic single-cell profiling and (2) diverse host-pathogen and drug-target interaction data to identify conserved mechanisms of pathological monocyte activation and broad-spectrum antivirals across acute RNA viral diseases. This work aims to develop diagnostics and therapeutics across multiple viruses to enhance pandemic preparedness.