May 28, 2020
Dr. Bility works with humanized
mouse models to investigate
infectious viruses like HIV.
He explains his microbiology work by sharing with listeners
Moses T. Bility, Ph.D., is
Assistant Professor of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology at the
School of Public Health and the University of Pittsburgh.
In this conversation he explains how Stephen Hawking's theory of model-dependent realism inspired his approach to studying infectious viruses. In an effort to rethink the paradigm that can explain and predict human disease in a more effective way, he works with rodent models that are humanized. He explains the technique for introducing human organ systems in mice, including the liver, hypothalamus, kidney capsule, skin, and the whole immune system.
This realigns how a microbiology
lab can analyze
infectious viruses, from HIV to Covid-19. Dr. Bility describes
his current investigation, namely in HIV interaction with
macrophages and iron. Macrophages are multifunctional cells that
play a role in maintaining tissue integrity and initiating an
He describes how they developed a humanized mouse model with a human spleen and studied the model to see what allows the HIV virus to persist and how they could affect the virus. They had an exciting outcome, namely that they were able to control HIV in their mouse model. They now will do some machine learning and other studies to see how they can design a vaccine around their findings in terms of controlling the virus.
For more, see his faculty page at https://publichealth.pitt.edu/home/directory/moses-bility.