Thomas Friedrich, PhD
University of Wisconsin-Madison
585 Science Drive, Room 127
Madison, WI 53711
Why do we get sick? This simple question underpins all research in my laboratory. Our overarching goal is to understand where pandemic viruses come from, how they begin infecting people, and why immune responses sometimes fail to protect us from acute and chronic viral diseases. We study innate and adaptive immune responses to acute and chronic viral infections and the mechanisms viruses have evolved to subvert them. We also work to discover novel viruses and understand the rules that govern their transmission to new species. Through our discoveries, we hope to contribute to the global campaigns against pandemic influenza and AIDS, and to predict and prevent new pandemics.
Our work focuses on virus-host interactions in humans and nonhuman primates. Because monkeys’ physiology, genetics, and immune systems so closely resemble our own, they provide the best possible approximation of human infections. These same attributes make nonhuman primates an important reservoir for emerging and re-emerging viruses. My lab is affiliated with the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center, which provides expert veterinary care and support for the nonhuman primates used in research on campus.
Current lab projects include:
Determining the contribution of immune responses other than neutralizing antibody to protection against newly emerging influenza viruses in humans and nonhuman primates.
Using a unique primate model to understand how immune responses allow “elite controllers,” a small subset of individuals, to effectively control the AIDS virus.
Discovering novel RNA viruses in wild African primates and assessing their potential for cross-species transmission.
Other lab activities:
I also direct the Virology Services Unit at the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center. This group provides expert support to virological research conducted at WNPRC.
B.S. University of Wisconsin
Ph.D. University of Wisconsin