Laura Hertel

Principal Investigator
UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital and Research Center, Oakland

Human cytomegalovirus (CMV) can cause serious disease in immunocompromised individuals such as AIDS patients, transplant recipients, and newborns. Because of this, the development of new ways to block viral dissemination within infected individuals, to interfere with the lifelong maintenance of latent viral genomes, and to create an effective anti-CMV vaccine is a priority. Dr. Laura Hertel's research focuses on the interactions between human CMV and hematopoietic cells, including CD34+ progenitor cells, the main site of viral latency, and dendritic cells, the essential initiators of immune responses against this virus.

The immediate goals of Dr. Hertel's research are:
1. to identify the viral and cellular factors that promote or restrict CMV infection in dendritic cells and other cell types
2. to determine how latent viral genomes are maintained over time and
3. to investigate how hematopoietic cells respond to CMV infection.