The host innate immune response, particularly the interferon response, represents the first line of defense against viral invasions. Intracellular viral replication leads to interferon production and secretion in host cells. Interferon molecules then act as messengers for communication to turn surrounding cells into an antiviral state to prevent further viral infection. Despite being a powerful mechanism to stop/delay viral spread, interferon production has to be tightly regulated: excess production can damage host tissue and is associated with high pathogenicity of viruses and severe disease outcomes. We are working on developing multi-scale models and spatial models to
- elucidate the quantitative rules of host cell responses to viral replication and interferon stimulation, and
- analyze how the rules lead to emerging properties/principles arising from collective behavior of host cells that allow a host to effectively respond to novel pathogen invasion and at the same time minimize damage.