Terence S. Dermody, M.D., How Viruses Infect the Brain

Many pathogenic viruses can spread throughout the body to cause disease. However, the mechanisms that guide viruses from the site of primary infection to sites of secondary infection in various organs are not well understood. Dr. Dermody studies a particular class of these viruses called reoviruses to better understand how they replicate and the mechanisms they use to cause disease. In his public lecture, he will discuss how reovirus can disseminate through the bloodstream and infect the central nervous system. Remarkably, different components of the protein shell that surround the reovirus are used to engage specific receptors. This work identifies factors in the virus itself and in the host that regulate the spread of the infectious agent and the subsequent injury to the targeted organs such as the brain.