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Lizzie Horton


I am doing my PhD at the University of Oxford, researching the human immune response to virus infections. The human immune system has two main prongs: an innate response, which is an initial, reasonably non-specific response of the body to any foreign attack, and an adaptive response, which is highly specific to each virus encountered and creates an immune memory. This immune memory remembers the virus so that when you next ‘see’ it, your body can react more quickly. They work as a team so that when you’re infected with a virus, the innate response holds off the infection until the adaptive response kicks in. I research the innate response, more specifically, how tiny molecules in our body can sense invading viruses and relay this information such that our bodies put up anti-viral barriers and mount an adaptive response. Understanding how these molecules function could lead to the development of new anti-viral drugs.

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