Mathematical Virology: Geometry as a key to the discovery of novel anti-viral solutions

Reidun Twarock
University of York, UK 
Monday, October 19, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Via Zoom

Viruses encapsulate their genetic material into protein containers that act akin to molecular Trojan horses, protecting viral genomes between rounds of infection and facilitating their release into the host cell environment. In the majority of viruses, including major human pathogens, these containers have icosahedral symmetry. Mathematical techniques from group, graph and tiling theory can therefore be used to better understand how viruses form, evolve and infect their hosts, and point the way to novel antiviral solutions. In this talk, I will present a theory of virus architecture, that contains the seminal Caspar Klug theory as a special case and solves long-standing open problems in structural virology. I will also introduce mathematical models of symmetry breaking in viral capsids and discuss their consequences for our understanding of more complex viral geometries. By combining these geometric insights with a range of different mathematical and computational modelling techniques, I will demonstrate how viral life cycles can be better understood through the lens of viral geometry, and how such insights can act as drivers of discovery of novel anti-viral solutions. Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 948 1730 3643 Passcode: R90eZ8