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Research projects

Immune Responses to Influenza infection (IRI)

About this project

Project information

Project status

In progress 2022 - 2026


Geena Paramel

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death globally, accounting for 30% deaths worldwide. While many infections have been studied for their role in triggering CVD, the most compelling evidence is for influenza infection. Influenza is one of the leading infectious causes of morbidity and mortality globally and is shown to trigger cardiovascular events including myocardial infarction, heart failure, myocarditis and arrhythmia. Although most infected patients recover from high fever, cough, and other symptoms of influenza infection without medical intervention, a proportion of people develop acute respiratory distress syndrome and eventually progress to multiple organ dysfunction syndrome and even death.

The severity of the symptoms is thought to be influenced by pre-existing immunity, viral load and the degree of inflammation generated by host response. There has been long standing effort to identify and characterize possible predictors of severity of influenza infection in human host. The host response to infection provides an alternative target to measure disease severity. Influenza-associated CVD can be caused by direct viral infection, or indirect damage due to the inflammatory cytokine storm. Although influenza vaccination is shown to reduce secondary cardiovascular events associated with influenza infection, there is still limited understanding on influenza-associated immune response in triggering cardiovascular events.

The project aims to identify novel circulating biomarkers and the molecular mechanism underlying influenza-induced cardiac pathogenesis using advanced and physiological relevant methodological approaches. The project will develop novel in vitro human heart microenvironment to study the molecular mechanism associated with influenza-mediated cardiac pathogenesis.

Research funding bodies

  • The Knowledge Foundation


  • Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc
  • Dalhousie University, Canada
  • Region Örebro län
  • Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc
  • University of Technology, Sydney, Australia