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NIMBioS Seminar Series

In conjunction with the interdisciplinary activities of the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS), a seminar series on topics in mathematical biology will be hosted at NIMBioS every other Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. (unless otherwise noted) in the Hallam Auditorium, Room 206, Claxton Building, 1122 Volunteer Blvd. Seminar speakers will focus on their research initiatives at the interface of mathematics and many areas of the life sciences. Light refreshments will be served in Room 205 beginning 30 minutes before each talk. Faculty and students from across the UT community are welcome to join us.

R. Ke photo.

Speaker: Dr. Ruian Ke, Mathematics, North Carolina State Univ.

Time/Date: Tuesday, October 10, 2017, 3:30*

Location: Room 206, Claxton Building, 1122 Volunteer Blvd.

Topic: Superinfection and cure of infected cells as novel mechanisms for hepatitis C virus expansion and persistence

Abstract: RNA viruses exist as a genetically diverse quasispecies with extraordinary ability to adapt to abrupt changes in the host environment. However, the mechanisms that contribute to their rapid adaptation and persistence are not well studied. Here we probe hepatitis C virus persistence by analyzing clinical samples taken from subjects who were treated with a novel protease inhibitor. Frequent longitudinal viral load determinations and single genome sequence analyses revealed rapid antiviral resistance development, and surprisingly, dynamic turnover of dominant drug resistant mutant populations long after treatment cessation. We fitted mathematical models to the data, and the results provided strong support for the critical roles that superinfection and cure of infected cells play in facilitating the rapid turnover and persistence of viral populations. Thus, we propose a new theoretical framework integrating viral and molecular mechanisms to explain rapid viral evolution, resistance and persistence despite antiviral treatment and host immune responses.

Dr. Ruian Ke joined NC State in January 2015 as a Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Program cluster hire in Personalized Medicine. He is an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics and a member of the Comparative Medicine Institute. His research focuses on developing mathematical theories and tools to understand viral dynamics, treatments and immune responses across multiple scales of biological organization, including at intracellular, cellular and population scales. An overarching theme of his research is to elucidate emerging principles at higher scales arising from viral-host interactions at lower scales. He aims to use the theories and principles to address pertinent biological, clinical and epidemiological problems

*Join us for refreshments at 3 p.m.

Seminar Flyer (pdf)

Video icon. Watch seminar online. This seminar was streamed live. Live-streamed seminars are archived for later viewing on NIMBioS' YouTube channel.

For more information about this and other NIMBioS Seminars, visit

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From 2008 until early 2021, NIMBioS was supported by the National Science Foundation through NSF Award #DBI-1300426, with additional support from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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