Single Cell Virology

HSV-1 spread from a single infected cell

 

Why do some cells become successfully infected by viruses while others do not?

I am fascinated with the vast heterogeneity presented by seemingly identical cells during all stages of viral infection. My studies, as well as others, have shown extreme cell-to-cell variability among infected cells in the outcome of infection (abortive/productive), the timing and level of viral gene expression and the number of progeny they produce.

I aim to uncover the molecular determinants of viral infection outcome, a fundamental question in Virology and Cell Biology, the answer to which will allow the rational design of new anti-viral therapies. My research focuses on developing new approaches to interrogate virus-host interactions at the single cell level, by combining viral genetics, single-cell RNA-sequencing,  microfluidics, live-cell imaging and machine learning, using Herpes Simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) as a model system. I am currently investigating two striking phenomena revealed by studying infection at the single cell level: (1) the ability of some cells to abort infection after viral gene expression has commenced and (2) the fact most infected cells release very few progeny while a small fraction of cells release thousands (“super producers”).

 

To help disseminate and adapt single cell technologies for use in virology, Prof. Raul Andino (UCSF) and I co-organized the first Single Cell Virology symposium  during the ASV 2018 meeting.

 

Contact:

Nir Drayman, PhD
Post-doctoral fellow
The lab of Savas Tay
Pritzker School for Molecular Engineering and the Institute for Systems Biology
The University of Chicago
900 E. 57th street, Chicago, IL

email: nirdra@uchicago.edu
twitter: https://twitter.com/NirDrayman

Isolation of cells and RNA capture beads in droplets for single cell RNA sequencing (Drop-seq)