Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Griffin, Diane E.
Location Johns Hopkins University
Primary Field Microbial Biology
Secondary Field Immunology and Inflammation
 Election Citation
Griffin is a world leader in the study of viral pathogenesis. She has elucidated mechanisms that control sindbis virus neurovirulence. Her pioneering work on measles virus has revealed the basis for the profound immunosuppression caused by this infection.
 Research Interests
I am interested in the pathogenesis of viral infections and have studied the viral determinants of virulence and the host responses to infection. We have examined two different types of viral infection - alphavirus encephalitis and measles. To understand the pathogenesis of viral encephalitis we have used a mouse model to determine how mosquito-borne viruses infect and damage neurons and how the host immune response can control virus replication without damaging infected cells. In addition, we have identified host genes that determine susceptibility to fatal infection and immune-mediated exacerbation of neuronal damage in susceptible strains of mice. Measles virus infection causes a different type of disease associated with rash and immunosuppression and does not have a convenient animal model. Most human deaths are due to increased susceptibility to other infections and we have shown that this is a byproduct of the immune response to measles virus infection. Part of the reason for failure to control measles in many parts of the world is the inability to immunize young infants with the current vaccine. We are working to understand the components of protective immunity and how measles virus induces long-term immune memory using a monkey model. These studies are informing development of a new measles vaccine that can be given to infants under the age of 6 months.

 
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