Project Director: Christine Parent
With the increasing global mobility of human populations, individuals are being exposed to an increasing diversity of viruses. Many approaches are used to study viral coinfections at different organizational levels, ranging from very detailed molecular studies of specific viruses to epidemiological studies at the population level, but very few systems offer the possibility to study the multi-level dynamics of viral coinfection, from molecules to communities.
Our research is building on the host-virus system of Drosophila and associated viruses to leverage the advantages of studying large host and viral populations, powerful genetic tools, and ready access to sequencing technology. In collaboration with the CMCI, we will focus on questions typically not easily addressed in other experimental systems. Specifically, we will establish a tractable invertebrate model of viral infection and co-infection, and develop mathematical models to understand how viruses interact with each other and their host to ultimately affect the host pathology and population dynamics.