Dr Marios Koutsakos
Marios completed his BSc in Biomedical Sciences at Imperial College in London, working with Professor Wendy Barclay on the molecular virology of influenza B viruses. He then obtained a Masters degree in Systems and Synthetic biology, also at Imperial College. Marios subsequently undertook a PhD with Professor Katherine Kedzierska in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Melbourne, focusing on understanding protective immunity to influenza viruses, especially the understudied but clinically relevant influenza B viruses. Marios is now focused on (i) understanding influenza B virus evolution & virus-host interactions, (ii) dissecting antigenic evolution and antibody responses to influenza B viruses, (iii) rationally designing a universal influenza B virus vaccine.
Influenza B virus evolution and virus-host interactions
Influenza B viruses (IBV) exhibit distinctive evolutionary dynamics with exclusive circulation in humans as well as the emergence and extinction of IBV lineages in human populations. We are interested in understanding the evolution of IBV in humans and the viral and host factors that shape IBV evolution. We utilise molecular virology techniques and reverse genetics to characterise viral replication and novel virus-host interactions in in vitro and in vivo models of IBV.
Antigenic evolution & antibody responses to influenza B viruses
Due to immune pressure, the IBV surface glycoproteins haemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) are undergoing antigenic evolution, which necessitates the annual reformulation of the influenza vaccine components. We are using a combination of antigenic and serological analyses to dissect the molecular basis of HA and NA antigenic evolution over the last 80 years of IBV circulation in humans.
Design of a universal influenza B vaccine
We are interested in the rational design of a universal IBV vaccine that would provide broad and long-lasting immune protection. By combining our knowledge of influenza virology and immunology with the group's expertise in vaccine biology, we are exploring the rational design of immunogens that elicit broadly cross-protective immunity to IBV.
IBV infected A549 cells