Elucidation of the roles of IRF9 and IFI6 in RSV Cytopathogenesis

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a major cause of severe lung disease in young infants, the elderly, and immunocompromised people. It causes symptoms ranging from runny noses to life threatening bronchiolitis and pneumonia. The World Health Organisiation estimates that RSV infects >60 million infants worldwide and causes >160,000 deaths annually. Despitate its clinical impotance, there are no RSV vaccines or specific therapeutics. To develop effective drugs against RSV disease, it is essential to understand how RSV interacts with its target cells, the human airway epithelium. The Power Lab have established novel authentic models of RSV infection of paediatric airway epithelium based on primary airway epithelial cell cultures that look and behave like airway epithelium in infants.In a potentially major breakthrough, by comparing gene transcription profiles from RSV-infected airway epithelium cultures derived from cohorts of healthy infants with histories of severe or mild RSV disease, the Power Lab identified a number of genes that may be associated with disease severity. This PhD thesis investigated two of these genes, IRF9 and IFI6, in detail to determine their role in RSV cytopathogenesis and whether they have potential as biomarkers of severe RSV disease.

Date of AwardJul 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SponsorsNorthern Ireland Department for the Economy
SupervisorMichael Shields (Supervisor) & Ultan Power (Supervisor)

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