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Viruses immune evasion Viral infection induces diverse immune responses in the host that work coordinately to eliminate the virus and clear the infection. To establish infection, viruses have evolved numerous immune evasion mechanisms that allow them to replicate and spread in the host despite the antiviral immune responses. Understanding the basis of the dynamic interaction between the immune system and viruses is therefore essential for developing novel therapeutic approaches for viral infection. In our lab, we aim to shed light on the complex interaction between viruses and the immune system. We use advanced single-genome sequencing techniques and other virological and immunological methods to monitor immune responses to viral infection and to identify the mechanisms used by viruses to escape these antiviral responses.

 

The clonality of the antiviral immune response We are interested in mapping the immune-dominant epitopes of the influenza virus and in characterizing the T-cell clones that recognize these epitopes. We are developing novel tolls to dissect the diversity of the polyclonal immune responses in the respiratory system. Our long-term goal is to generate a comprehensive map of the interaction between epitope-specific T cells and the influenza virus and to profile viral escape from individual T-cell clones.  This will allow to identify novel influenza virus-derived peptides that will elicit a potent and broad antiviral immune response upon immunization. We also aim to test the protective capacity of the immunodominant peptides that we will identify in immunization experiments. 

 

Oncolytic immunotherapy Cancer treatment has been transformed by the introduction of immunotherapy in which immune cells are activated against tumor cells. Oncolytic viruses can replicate in tumor cells and eliminate them without harming the host. Oncolytic immunotherapy is an emerging approach in which oncolytic viruses are used not only to directly eliminate tumor cells but also to elicit anti-tumor immunity. We aim to improve the anti-tumor activity of reoviruses by enhancing their ability to activate immune cells against malignant cells.