Oakland University
Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Mathematics of Influenza

A team of mathematicians, led by CBR member Libin Rong (Department of Mathematics and Statistics), is studying how the immune system responds to a virus infection. In a recent article, Rong, his post doc Giao Huynh, and his former graduate student Kasia Pawelek analyze the Modeling Within-Host Dynamics of Influenza Virus Infection Including Immune Responses (PLoS Computational Biology, Volume 8, Article Number e1002588). The author summary is reproduced below.
"Influenza, commonly referred to as the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza virus infections. Although most infected subjects with intact immune systems are able to clear the virus without developing serious flu complications, the mechanisms underlying viral control are not fully understood. In this paper, we address this question by developing mathematical models that include both innate and adaptive immune responses, and fitting them to experimental data from horses infected with equine influenza virus. We find that the innate immune response, such as natural killer cell-mediated infected cell killing and interferon’s antiviral effect, can explain the first rapid viral decline and subsequent second peak viremia, and that the adaptive immune response is needed to eventually clear the virus. This study improves our understanding of influenza virus dynamics and may provide more information for future research in influenza pathogenesis, treatment, and vaccination."
Pawelek receiced her PhD in Applied Mathematical Sciences in May, and left OU this month to become an Assistant Professor at the University of South Carolina – Beaufort.

Rong has been busy, with another article published in the Bulletin of Mathematical Biology (Modeling Quasispecies and Drug Resistance in Hepatitis C Patients Treated with a Protease Inhibitor, Volume 74, Pages: 1789-1817). His research was supported in part by a National Institutes of Health grant (P30-EB011339) to establish a core center in quantitative biology.
A team of mathematicians led by CBR member Libin Rong study the mathematics of influenza.

Created by Brad Roth (roth@oakland.edu) on Thursday, August 2, 2012
Modified by Brad Roth (roth@oakland.edu) on Thursday, August 2, 2012
Article Start Date: Thursday, August 2, 2012