Adam Swick, PhD

Position title: Yin Laboratory 2008-2014

Research Title: Visualizing Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV) Infection Spread and Resulting Host Immune Responses in Vitro with a Dual Color Fluorescent Reporter System

Research Summary: Although the molecular mechanisms by which host cells defend themselves against viral infection have been studied in great depth, and countermeasures viruses employ to suppress such defensive responses have been widely documented, relatively little attention has been devoted toward elucidating how such interactions between virus and host are resolved over multiple rounds of infection. Trainee Adam Swick, together with lab colleagues, has developed of a dual-color fluorescent reporter system to study how viral infections spread through a host cell monolayer and how the cellular innate immune system mounts an antiviral response. He employed recombinant, red fluorescent protein (RFP) expressing mutants of a prototypical RNA virus, vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) to enable identification and tracking of infected cells. Further, he generated stable reporter cells that use green fluorescent protein (GFP) to report on the expression of IFIT2, an interferon stimulated gene (ISG) involved in the interference of viral protein translation, and a marker of antiviral defense activation. This two-color system enabled Adam to track and quantify in live cells how viral replication and activation of host defensive responses play out over multiple rounds of infection. Initial study of propagating infections demonstrated that antiviral activation over multiple rounds was critical for slowing and ultimately halting the spread of infection.

Adam was awarded a Nationa Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship Award in 2011. Dr. Swick is currently a Project Manager at Catalent Pharma Solutions.