This is the abstract of a talk prepared for the Oeiras Mathematical and Computational Biology Workshop. June 20, 2003, Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência
Abstract: My research interests lie in the study of the dynamical interactions of the immune system with pathogens, especially those leading to the establishment of viral chronic infections such as human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis C and hepatitis B viruses. I develop “simple” mathematical models, which try to capture the essence of the biology of the process, and which are used for data analysis and testing theories. I will give a brief overview of what this work entails, with a special emphasis on recent work on the analysis of hepatitis C virus treatment data. A key question in this area is why does treatment work for some people but not for others. The modeling approach aims at giving insight at the biologic and mechanistic basis for that observation. I try to estimate parameters of the viral dynamics, such as viral half-lives in the blood and how they differ among patients groups.
My approach has a lot in common with the framework used in epidemiology and as such shares many of the computational challenges and characteristics of that area. In particular it is a very interdisciplinary endeavour, and I work with people from many different backgrounds: mathematicians, physicians, physicists, virologists, immunologists, and computer scientists.