Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark
Student: Madalina Carter-Timofte, Ph.D. fellow
Supervisor: Prof. Trine H Mogensen, M.D., Ph.D.
Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV) is the causative agent of chicken pox; a childhood disease that infects the majority of the Western population. Interestingly, even after the infection has been cleared, the virus is able to remain hidden in the human host, and can be reactivated to cause herpes zoster or shingles. In very few individuals, infection with VZV can spread to the central nervous system (CNS) and can cause severe complications such as inflammation of the brain, also known as encephalitis. However, why some individuals develop severe neurological complications, whereas most people do not, remains unknown.
Key to an individual’s ability to fight infections is their defence mechanism, also known as the innate immune response. Immune cells are able to recognize foreign infections, and target them for destruction. Our project aims to investigate if individuals who develop severe VZV complications have different genetic variations, known as mutations, particularly in their immune defense mechanism. We predict that these genetic modifications may go some way to explain why some people develop severe disease, whereas others do not'.
Trine H Mogensen, Associate professor
Department of Infectious Diseases
Aarhus University Hospital Skejby
Palle Juul-Jensens Boulevard 99
DK-8200 Aarhus N