Amanda Rae Mannino, MLS (ASCP)CM
Ph.D. Candidate and Graduate Research Assistant
UT Health San Antonio
San Antonio, USA
Amanda Mannino’s research focuses on simian immunodeficiency virus, the nonhuman primate (NHP) analog of HIV, and its restriction in baboons. The mechanisms underlying baboon’s natural immunity against SIV remain unknown. Understanding the mechanisms behind some individual’s ability to control human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections without the assistance of antiretroviral therapy could be the key that unlocks a functional cure for this debilitating disease. This select group, known as elite controllers (EC), are a heterogeneous population. An animal model for investigating EC’s innate immunity against immunodeficiency virus would be invaluable to the scientific community. Her aim is to characterize baboon as a model organism for innate immunity against SIV and developing baboons as a model for EC. For her dissertation, she has developed a two-pronged approach to investigate this unique host-pathogen interaction, including investigating both host response to viral challenge, as well as viral adaptation to baboon’s inherent selective pressures. Additionally, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, she investigated the immune responses of different NHP to SARS-CoV-2 infection, and along with her colleagues, published their work characterizing these NHP as animal models for COVID-19 pathology.