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Tracking influenza's every movement
Date:5/19/2008

nization Global Influenza Surveillance Network collected this data between 2002 and 2007, keeping track of when and where different strains of the virus popped up. They analyzed the shape differences between the proteins each virus uses to bind to human cells, along with the genetic makeup of each virus.

The team used this information to create an antigenic map which visually shows the relationships between all the different viruses. This map allowed them to determine the migration patterns of the virus around the world.

The work was funded by an NIH Directors Pioneer Award (http://nihroadmap.nih.gov/pioneer) to Smith given for highly innovative research that has the potential for big impacts.

The roots of the project extend all the way back to when Smith was a graduate fellow at the Santa Fe Institute doing a PhD with Stephanie Forrest and Alan Perelson. He later began collaborating with Alan Lapedes, Robert Farber, and Terry Jones, all of whom were also affiliated with the Santa Fe Institute, to develop the methods and software to build antigenic maps.

This work is highly multidisciplinary, with epidemiologists, computer scientists, computational biologists, mathematicians, virologists, immunologists, geneticists, veterinarians, and MDs, Smith says. It was made possible by collaborations with people from all of these disciplines. The Santa Fe Institute is one of the few places that could have gestated such work and I am immensely grateful for the 5 years I spent at SFI.


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Contact: Derek Smith
d.smith@zoo.cam.ac.uk
Santa Fe Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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