BBSRC Discovery Fellow
I am interested in exploring viral and host determinants of species specificity and susceptibility in infectious disease.
I focus on Influenza A virus, for which wild waterfowl constitute the main reservoir, but which also spills over into several mammalian species, sometimes causing devastating outbreaks or pandemics. In my previous work, I studied cross-species transmission dynamics and antigenic evolution of this virus in wild birds and livestock. As a BBSRC Discovery Fellow, I will study its evolution and pathogenicity in marine mammals – specifically two closely-related species of pinnipeds: grey and harbour seals – which happen to exhibit dramatically distinct outcomes due to viral infections. In grey seals, the disease if any, remains subclinical, but harbour seals develop visible disease and suffer mass mortality events.
The idea is to use the avian-seal interface as a kind of “natural experiment” to study how avian influenza adapts to mammals, and the mechanisms underpinning the varying levels of host susceptibility to disease. This research can help us anticipate and respond to wildlife disease outbreaks and potentially, future pandemics.
Antigenic Characterization and Pandemic Risk Assessment of North American H1 Influenza A Viruses Circulating in Swine
Venkatesh D. et al, (2022), Microbiology Spectrum, 10
Antigenic Distance between North American Swine and Human Seasonal H3N2 Influenza A Viruses as an Indication of Zoonotic Risk to Humans.
Souza CK. et al, (2022), Journal of virology, 96
Swine Influenza A Viruses and the Tangled Relationship with Humans
Anderson TK. et al, (2021), Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine, 11, a038737 - a038737
Regional Transmission and Reassortment of 18.104.22.168b Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) Viruses in Bulgarian Poultry 2017/18
Venkatesh D. et al, (2020), Viruses, 12, 605 - 605
Regional transmission and reassortment of 22.214.171.124b highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) viruses in Bulgarian poultry 2017/18
Venkatesh D. et al, (2020)