Department of Biology
Biology Faculty Profile
Katia Koelle
Associate Professor
katia.koelle@emory.edu
Office Room: Rollins 1015
Lab Room: Rollins 1161

Research Area:
Population Biology, Evolution, and Ecology
Computational Biology

Degree:

Ph.D., University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, 2005
B.S., Stanford University, 1997

The Koelle group studies the ecological, evolutionary, and within-host dynamics of RNA viruses affecting humans using quantitative approaches. These quantitative approaches include the development and simulation of mathematical models, as well as statistically fitting these models to data. Our research program spans four topics of inquiry: (1) Understanding the interplay between viral evolution and the epidemiological spread of viral infectious diseases. Research on this topic focuses on understanding patterns of antigenic and genetic evolution of partially-immunizing viruses such as influenza, where disease spread impacts herd immunity levels, which in turn drive selection pressures on viral evolution. (2) Understanding constraints on viral adaptation. We have used both modeling and statistical analyses of viral sequence data to determine the factors that limit the ability of viruses such as influenza and norovirus to adapt to new or changing environments. Some of the factors we have examined include transmission bottlenecks and constraints imposed by genetic linkage. (3) Understanding interindividual variation in within-host viral dynamics and evolution. Considerable heterogeneity exists across hosts in their susceptibility, infectivity, and response to infection with viral pathogens. With analyses of dengue virus and influenza virus, our group has examined the causes and consequences of this heterogeneity with a focus on how host immune status, as determined by infection history, impact selection pressures experienced by a viral population within a host. (4) Understanding the impact of control measures of the epidemiological and evolutionary dynamics of viral infectious diseases. Our group has contributed to understanding the potential effects of disease control for both dengue virus and influenza virus, with a focus on how vector reduction, immunization, and novel therapeutic control efforts will impact disease burden.


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