Surbhi Trivedi

Dengue Virus Intrahost Diversity in Human Infections

The goal of this research project is to investigate the genetic diversity profile of dengue virus populations within each human host. Dengue, like other RNA viruses, can evolve through the accumulation of genetic mutations that arise due to the error-prone nature of the replicase. This virus also undergoes population bottlenecks and genetic recombination that affect the viral diversity profile. During my 2013 SURF-Rose Hills experience, I processed pediatric samples of infected PBMCs (peripheral blood mononuclear cells) and serum (cell-free fluid separated from blood) using high throughput sequencing technology. We are currently investigating hotspots of diversity found within specific genes and domains (namely the envelope and pre-membrane structural genes) and are performing follow-up functional studies in order to survey their effects on predicted protein function and antibody-mediated neutralization of dengue serotype-3. This type of study is important in understanding dengue virus evolution and the host immune system’s detection of dengue virus.

Message to Sponsor

As a Cal graduate, it was a welcome privilege to be able to spend a few more months in the lab where I learned more than I could have imagined about the dengue field. This summer will be an invaluable time as I continue working on this project, expanding my lab skill set, and learning about virology. I also hope to answer more of the questions we initially set out to understand and, as research often tends to do, produce further questions for future studies. I am very grateful for this opportunity, given to me by the Rose Hills Foundation. Thank you!
  • Major: Molecular Cell Biology, Neurobiology
  • Sponsor: SURF Rose Hills fellow
  • Mentor: Eva Harris, Public Health