I am a Research Associate in the Section of Immunology of Infection, Department of Infectious Disease. I develop mathematical models to understand how biological mechanisms drive the time course of infection within the host, and interactions between infection and host immunity.
My current work focuses on understanding the relationship between host genetics, CD8 T cell dynamics and immune control of chronic virus infections including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and human T cell leukemia virus (HTLV-1). Previous work in our group (Boelen et al. (2018)) showed that possession of an iKIR gene along with a gene encoding a KIR ligand enhanced protective and detrimental HLA class I associations for HIV-1, HCV, and HTLV-1. Analysis of virus dynamics, in vitro survival assays, and mathematical modelling suggested that iKIR ligation enhances HLA associations by increasing T cell survival. To test this hypothesis, I am now estimating T cell turnover rates for T cell populations with and without iKIR ligation, for individuals with varying iKIR genotypes, by fitting mathematical models to stable isotope labelling data.
I was previously a Research Associate at the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis, Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, School of Public Health. As part of the Wellcome Trust Collaborator Award project "The evolution of influenza virus: studies of within host and between host evolution to improve pandemic risk assessment and vaccine updates", we are developing a framework integrating replicative and transmission fitness to predict the pandemic potential of an influenza strain. I continue to collaborate on this project by determining the replicative fitness of influenza strains through fitting viral dynamics models to laboratory data.
My PhD studies at the School of Mathematics and Statistics at The University of Melbourne analysed the effects of different components of the immune response on within-host influenza infection. I was awarded a Victoria Fellowship for 2015.
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et al., 2018, The distribution of the time taken for an epidemic to spread between two communities, Mathematical Biosciences, Vol:303, ISSN:0025-5564, Pages:139-147
et al., 2017, Modelling cross-reactivity and memory in the cellular adaptive immune response to influenza infection in the host (vol 413, pg 34, 2017), Journal of Theoretical Biology, Vol:419, ISSN:0022-5193, Pages:394-394
et al., 2017, Modelling cross-reactivity and memory in the cellular adaptive immune response to influenza infection in the host, Journal of Theoretical Biology, Vol:413, ISSN:0022-5193, Pages:34-49