Adam Hume, PhD
BS – Bates College, 2003
PhD – University of Wisconsin – Madison, 2010
My main research interest revolves around trying to identify cellular innate immune sensing of viruses and the responses by invading viruses to inhibit these innate immune pathways. I am particularly interested in differences in the ability of viruses to inhibit these pathways in various host species and the potential role this may play in differential pathogenicity, especially in cases of zoonotic diseases.
Prime examples of zoonotic diseases which are of great concern due to the severe disease they cause in humans include the filoviruses: Marburg (MARV) and Ebola (EBOV) viruses. One of my current research aims is to determine whether filoviruses are recognized by proteins of the Toll-like Receptor family in human cells. There is currently little data concerning filoviruses and their ability to be sensed by and/or block this important early innate immunity pathway. The other main focus of my research is determining whether the same innate immunity pathways that are inhibited by MARV during infection of human cells – including inhibition of PKR, RIG-I, IRF-3/7, and IFN signaling – are also inhibited during MARV infection of cells from the bat species Rousettus aegpytiacus, a reservoir host for MARV. Any such differences would be especially intriguing considering the relative lack of pathogenicity seen in MARV infections of these bats compared to the severe disease and high rate of lethality seen in humans.