Avan Antia

Program: Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis

Current advisor: Siyuan Ding, PhD

Undergraduate university: University of Maryland-College Park

Research summary
Rotaviruses (RVs) are the global leading cause of diarrhea-related morbidity and mortality in infants and young children worldwide, causing 128,500 deaths and more than 258 million episodes of diarrhea in 2016. Aside from the typical gastroenteritis, around 75% of infected children have viremia and 90% have antigenemia, and RV detection in the sera is often associated with high fever. Furthermore, various reports indicate the presence of RV RNA or antigen in extraintestinal tissues, including the hepatobiliary system and pancreas, which have been linked to clinical manifestations such as biliary atresia and type 1 diabetes mellitus.

The mechanisms by which RV disseminates to systemic organs from the small intestine are not clear. We are studying the pathogenesis of RV extraintestinal dissemination, specifically the role of M cells in providing a gateway for RV intestinal escape. M cells are a subset of specialized intestinal epithelial cells that sample and transport content from the lumen to antigen-presenting cells at the basolateral side of the epithelium. Various enteric pathogens are known to exploit M cells to gain access to host systemic sites. Conceptually, this study will define the mechanisms by which RV, a major childhood enteric pathogen, can disseminate systemically and resolve the longstanding question of how M cells transcytose substrates, paving the path for rational design of M cell-targeted mucosal vaccines for improved immunogenicity and antigen delivery.

Graduate publications
Antia A, Alvarado DM, Ding S, Ciorba MA. 2022 Adding Fuel to The Fire? A Role of Intraepithelial Lymphocytes in Enteric Immune Responses to SARS-CoV-2 Infection. Gastroenterology, ():S0016-5085(21)04120-2.

Antia A, Pinski AN, Ding S. 2022 Re-Examining Rotavirus Innate Immune Evasion: Potential Applications of the Reverse Genetics System. mBio, ():e0130822.

Anita A, Alvarado DM, Zeng Q, Davis DL, Ciorba M, Ding SA. (2022) SARS-CoV-2 Omicron (BA.1) variant infection of human colon epithelial cells. American Society for Virology (ASV) 2022 Conference, Madison, WI, Abstract.


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