By Jessica Montez
PhD Candidate, Medical Microbiology and Immunology
Faculty advisor: Andrew Mehle, Assistant Professor, Medical Microbiology & Immunology
Katherine Amato is a second-year PhD student conducting research in the laboratory of Dr. Andrew Mehle. Her research examines how influenza virus interacts with the cellular environment during infection. Like all viruses, influenza virus is completely dependent upon the host cell for replication. Competition between pro- and antiviral forces in a cell greatly influence the outcome of viral infection and disease severity, but little is known about the specific host factors that contribute to this balance. Amato’s research aims to identify and define the molecular mechanisms by which host factors contribute to viral infection. Her approach uses modified CRISPR technology to conduct a genome-wide screen to pinpoint critical cellular regulators of infection, and will yield detailed knowledge about potential new targets for the rational design of antivirals.