On Virology and Immunology—Nicolas Vabret, PhD—Assistant Professor of Medicine, Hematology, and Medical Oncology at Mount Sinai
Professor Nicolas Vabret has had an almost lifelong interest in viruses, and has been studying them since obtaining his PhD in 2011.
He joins the show to discuss a number of interesting topics, including the following:
- How the two main arms of the immune system differ in function, and the nature of immune cells vs non-immune cells
- How an examination of the cytokines produced in response to the COVID-19 virus might shed light on why and whether some patients will develop a very serious form of the illness and some will remain asymptomatic
- What approaches have been and are currently being taken to find a treatment for HIV
What happens as soon as a virus enters the body? What allows the body to recognize non-self cells and to respond accordingly? Some cells have the ability to detect the presence of viruses and bacteria that enter the body, and activate the first step in the innate immune response, which eventually leads to the activation of the second phase of the immune response. Vabret is particularly interested in understanding the early molecular mechanisms that make this possible.
He describes the differences between the innate immune response and adaptive immune response, the role and function of pattern recognition receptors, RNA production, the importance of cytokines in the response to virally-infected hosts—in particular those infected with COVID-19, viral strategies for counteracting immune responses, characteristics of the HIV virus and chimpanzee versus human immune responses to it, current research in the field of immunology, and so much more.
Available on Apple Podcasts: apple.co/2Os0myK