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Sydni Smith

Department: Microbe-Host Interaction

Faculty Mentor: Kristen Ogden, Ph.D.

Dissertation DescriptionInvestigating the pathway of transmission: Virus, Vesicles and Infection

Extracellular vesicles, including sorting microvesicles derived from the plasma membrane and exosomes derived from multi-vesicular bodies, are widely recognized for their roles in intercellular signaling. Recent studies suggest several human viruses are transmitted between host cells within extracellular vesicles. In the Ogden lab, we study mechanisms by which viruses of the Reoviridae family acquire genetic diversity and interact with the host to mediate infection. The Reoviridae family of segmented RNA viruses includes rotavirus and reovirus. Rotavirus is a pediatric gastrointestinal pathogen that causes significant morbidity and mortality. Reovirus is in clinical trials as an oncolytic therapeutic. It has been shown that rotavirus is released from host cells in extracellular vesicles similar in size to microvesicles. My project will focus on elucidating the origin of reovirus-containing vesicles released from infected cells.