Department of Microbiology
Balaji Manicassamy’s research is focused on understanding the dynamic interplay between viral and host factors that govern pathogenicity and immunity, using influenza virus as a model pathogen. He and his team have developed techniques to engineer recombinant influenza viruses to carry fluorescent reporter genes. This technology will be used to understand how highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (H5N1) spreads in infected animals, how the host immune system fights to control the infection, and how the virus counteracts or evades the host immune system. Other aspects of his research include understanding the molecular details of influenza virus replication processes, from virus entry to exit. Manicassamy’s overall objective for his research is to gain a sound understanding of complex interactions between virus and host, and to utilize this information to develop novel therapeutic drugs against influenza viruses and potentially other respiratory pathogens.
His research publications include “Analysis of In Vivo Dynamics of Influenza Virus Infection in Mice Using a GFP Reporter Virus,” “Cross-Presenting CD103+ Dendritic Cells Are Protected from Influenza Virus Infection,” and “Differential Contribution of PB1-F2 to the Virulence of Highly Pathogenic H5N1 Avian Influenza A Viruses in Mammalian and Avian Species.”
Manicassamy received his PhD in microbiology and immunology from the University of Illinois at Chicago and his bachelor of technology in industrial biotechnology from Anna University, India.
Manicassamy joined the University of Chicago faculty in 2012.