— By Felix C Ohnmacht, PhD
Frontiers in Immunology is pleased to announce the launch of its latest section, Viral Immunology. The section is headed by Dr Shen-Ying Zhang (MD, PhD) at the Rockefeller University in New York, USA. Dr Zhang’s seminal collaborations led to the first identification of autosomal recessive UNC-93B deficiency associated with childhood HSE and, subsequently, the discovery of a second genetic abnormality associate with the disease, namely autosomal dominant and autosomal recessive Toll-like Receptor 3 (TLR3) deficiency.
The Viral Immunology section seeks to gain and make public insights on the battle between viruses and hosts: “Understanding human viral disease pathogenesis will eventually lead to more efficient and specific treatment for affected patients,” said Zhang.
New technologies, Zhang explains, “including next-generation sequencing, gene editing, and induced pluripotent stem cell-mediated cell differentiation”, have made this area of research enormously productive and timely. Innovative tools, Zhang points out, provide a great means to “tackle the main challenge of understanding human viral pathogenesis and providing novel forms of treatment.”
Vital to this effort, and indeed one of the main objectives in the field of viral immunology today, is a scholarly resource that connects knowledge from in vivo, in vitro, and clinical immunological studies. As a pioneering digital publisher, “Frontiers’ emphasis on collaborations as well as its integrated digital platform are perfectly designed to facilitate such connections,” highlights Zhang.
The section focuses on five main areas:
1) Host innate and adaptive immune responses to viral infections
2) Signaling pathways of virus sensors and antiviral molecules
3) Molecular interactions between viral products and host antiviral immune system
4) Organ and cell type specific antiviral immune responses
5) Molecular and cellular mechanisms of human viral disease pathogenesis
As a physician-scientist trained in Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Zhang’s own research addresses questions surrounding how the host immune system functions to fight against diverse viral infections under natural conditions. She has contributed to the identification of several novel viral infectious disease-causing gene defects, and co-authored more than 50 publications on related topics. Her work has also had major medical implications. She is a member of the European Society of Primary Immune Deficiency, and a member of the Henry Kunkel Society.
As Chief Editor of ‘Viral Immunology’, Zhang says she is excited and dedicated to “making it a reliable and rigorous place for researchers to efficiently publish original studies.” Open Access is decisive in this respect as it makes novel findings highly visible and accessible, Zhang adds.