Alexandra Cloherty



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Research interests

I am a PhD student in the Autophagy-directed Immunity (ADI) group, led by Dr. Carla Ribeiro.

 Autophagy functions as an antiviral defense mechanism by degrading intracellular viral components. In degradative autophagy, HIV-1 components can be targeted for destruction, thus preventing HIV-1 infection and transmission1. Recently, another function for autophagy in secretion has been discovered2. However, the molecular mechanism of secretory autophagy is poorly understood. Notably, secretory autophagy may play important roles in virus-induced inflammation and viral transmission3.

My PhD project aims to define the molecular mechanism of secretory autophagy, and its role in molecular inflammation and viral transmission. Specific objectives are: 1) Elucidate the molecular mechanism of secretory autophagy; 2) Identify inflammatory output released by secretory autophagy; and 3) Investigate the role of secretory autophagy in viral transmission in vitro and ex vivo.

1. Ribeiro CMS, Sarrami-Forooshani R, Setiawan LC, et al. Receptor usage dictates HIV-1 restriction by human TRIM5α in dendritic cell subsets. Nature. 2016;540(7633):448-452. doi:10.1038/nature20567.

2. Kimura T, Jia J, Claude-taupin A, et al. Cellular and molecular mechanism for secretory autophagy. Autophagy. 2017;13(6):1084-1085. doi:10.1080/15548627.2017.1307486.

3. Wu Y, Mettling C, Wu S, Yu C, Perng G. Autophagy-associated dengue vesicles promote viral transmission avoiding antibody neutralization. Nat Publ Gr. 2016;(6):32243. doi:10.1038/srep32243


Autophagy-mediated secretion: A novel mechanism of molecular inflammation and viral transmission

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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